By Will Shaw
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.