Oblates Celebrate Feast Day with Associates and Honorary Oblates in Belleville

Belleville, IL

By Will Shaw

Oblate Fathers Jim Allen (L) and Sal Gonzalez enjoying the festivities at the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

The Esquiline Retirement Community (formerly the Apartment Community) in Belleville, Illinois was the scene of a festive celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception with area Oblates and their guests. The gathering, hosted by the Oblates of St. Henry’s Community, is held at the Esquiline so that the retired Oblates living there may easily participate. It’s also convenient for the Oblates who live and work at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

The Superior of St. Henry’s, Fr. Jim Allen who coordinates the event, also invited the Honorary Oblates of the area, and the local Oblate Associates through Geri Furmanek, Director of Oblate Associates. Rounding out the group were the formators and novices from the Oblate’s Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate, located in nearby Godfrey, Illinois.

The celebration began at 4:30 with a prayer service led by Fr. Allen, after which everyone dug in to a sumptuous pot-luck supper featuring an entree provided by the Oblates with numerous side dishes and desserts brought in by the Associates.

Fr. Allen led the opening prayer service

(L-R) Fr. Tom Hayes, Ron and Sandee Richards, Mary Mertzlufft (in foreground) and Mary Wescovich listen as Fr. Allen speaks.

After prayer the buffet is open and in line are Associates, Jean Brennan, Dorothy Glatz, and Oblate Brother Tom Ruhmann.

(L-R) Oblate Novices, Prasad Marapogu, Chombwa Kangwa, and Brandon Garcia, are followed by Fathers Joe Ferrioli and Jim Allen in the buffet line.

Fr. David Uribe visits with Associates, Margarita Garza (L) and Sandy Lukowsky

Oblate Associate, Mary Wescovich appears to be conspiring with Fr. Elmar Mauer

Sandy Essien (foreground) seems to be waiting patiently for her table-mates to return from the buffet

Fr. David Uribe still making the rounds, here with Associate, Mildred Boykin-Cox