By Sebastian Veits, (Oblate Associate)
Approximately fifty Oblates and Lay Associates from Germany, Austria and the Czech Republic gathered at the Provincial House in Hünfeld, Germany, from October 2 – 4, 2019. Together they reflected on the future and the mission of the Oblate Family in the Central European Province.
The Gospel passage ‘Jesus Feeding the Five Thousand’ guided us spiritually through the days. As the disciples returned from their missions and intended to rest, the people, mostly the poor, looked out for them and for Jesus. However, Jesus looked at the people with compassion, and told the disciples “Give them something to eat”.
How does Jesus look at the world today? What does He ask us to do today? How best can we be His true disciples? Those who gathered in Hünfeld reflected upon these questions and took the first steps towards a successful vision plan for the future.
The challenges faced by the Oblate family in the Central European Province are obvious: The People of God seem to get further away from the Church. Most of them do not understand our way of life as a call from God. As a result, the support we receive, both moral and financial, is getting increasingly infrequent. Therefore, it has come to the point that financial resources must be used wisely and with great responsibility. We have a great number of elderly Oblates, while the number of young Oblates is declining. ‘What is our mission?’ – this question must be constantly taken into consideration and reflected in the context of our reality.
These and many other questions triggered a lively discussion among the participants. Eventually, we came up with some concrete proposals and a “vision” for the Oblate family in the Central European Province. These will be further discussed at the Provincial Assembly in February, 2020, and mandatory decisions will be made and be put into practice thereafter.