Special Thanks to Oblate Vocation Directors, Fr. Richard Hall, OMI and Fr. Paul Dass, OMI
Sixteen young men from around the country gathered with Oblates in Brownsville Texas over the weekend of June 27, – July 1, 2019 to participate in a “Come and See” Weekend where they could get to know some Oblates, and see some facilities and ministries to help in their discernment regarding a missionary life. The men, who came from California, Texas, Illinois, Virginia and Tennessee were joined by Mateusz Garsteki, who has just finished two years in the Oblate Prenovitiate in Buffalo, NY. Mateusz, who will be entering the Oblate’s novitiate in the fall, was able to share his experience with the men who are anxious to know all about what to expect as they consider Oblate formation.
The group gathered at Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville where they were hosted by pastor, Fr. Mike Amesse, OMI. There was a morning Mass at the Cathedral presided over by one of the Oblate Vocation Directors, Fr. Paul Dass, OMI.
Over the next few days the young men had presentations by Fathers Art Flores and Mike Amesse, and had the opportunity to hand out food to Brownsville’s homeless, plus visits to important sites in Oblate history including: The former Shrine of San Juan de los Lagos in San Juan, TX., Port Isabel and the La Lomita Chapel in Mission, TX. Outside the historic La Lomita, they heard Fr. Roy Snipes talk about the 100-plus years history of the chapel, and about some of the recent history in which the chapel has found itself in the way of the proposed border wall along the Rio Grande River. Some even experienced the “rare privilege” of riding in the boat Fr. Snipes uses to minister along the banks of the Rio Grande.
In addition, there was time for the visitors to get to know a bit about each other, and to chat more deeply with Oblates about the rewards and challenges of life as a religious missionary. According to Vocations Director, Fr.Richard Hall, OMI, “This was a mature group of very spiritual men who are very interested in religious life. They especially enjoyed the “hands on” opportunity to hand out food to the homeless with Fr. Amesse.”
At the end of the weekend it the Oblates accepted six of the young men into the Oblate formation program at the prenovitiate in Buffalo, NY.
The next Oblate “Come and See” Weekend will be held October 11-14, 2019 at the Oblate Prenovitiate in Buffalo, NY.