Photo and reporting by Eugenia Vallarta Joson, Coordinator, Oakland Oblate Associates
Oblate Associates of Oakland, California came together for their annual retreat over the weekend of February 9-10 at Sacred Heart Church. Each year after months of ongoing formation in their Associate faith community, a day of reflection/retreat is held concluding with the renewal of their commitment to live the charism of St. Eugene in their everyday lives. In addition to the re-commitments, a new Associate, Cristina Grappo, made her first commitment as an Oblate Associate on February 10th.
Oblate Fathers Bill Mason, Pastor of Sacred Heart, and Philip Singarayar attended the retreat and celebration of this group that was founded in November of 1997 with the support of the late Fr. José Arong, OMI. At this retreat, the Associates welcomed two special guests: U.S. Provincial, Fr. Louis Studer, OMI and Vicar-provincial, Fr. Jim Brobst, OMI
After morning prayer with Fr. Bill, the Provincial spoke to the Associates about St. Eugene’s charism, his love for the poor and how to be missionaries for Jesus. In his second presentation, Fr. Studer focused on forgiveness, compassion, and the mystical experience St. Eugene de Mazenod had while looking at the crucifix on Good Friday.
After the presentations there was Q & A with the Oblates sharing the stories of their vocations, after which the Associates shared similar stories of how they became Oblate Associates. According to Coordinator, Eugenia Vallarta Joson, “It was a great, holy, happy day!”