By Fr. Louis Studer, OMI
Ninety-five years, almost a century, is not a short period of time! For ninety-five years the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate have faithfully ministered to the people of this local community.
It was the Missionary Oblates who came to Santa Rosa Parish in San Fernando, California, built up the faith of this Hispanic community, as well as the faith of all the people of San Fernando. The Oblates were the pioneers, the Religious who forged the way to create a sense of community with the people who had settled here on the west side of Los Angeles.
In the ministry we do, we Oblates like to pride ourselves about how we minister. We are Religious who respect, who honor, who take seriously, the people with whom we work and minister. We have carried out, and faithfully lived, that way of doing ministry with the good people of Santa Rosa these many years.
How do we minister? We minister with you, trusting, relying on your gifts, your talents, your contributions in a multitude of ways. With you we have built up this local church to become a vibrant, faith-filled, loving, caring community.
We foster, we build up, we establish, and we move on. And that is what our celebration is about: the great work that has been done here, the Oblates and parishioners and staff and employees who have made it happen. We leave here with great confidence, trust, and assurance that what has begun so well will continue with the same spirit and respect for the good people, the faith-filled parishioners here.
I received over 5,000 signatures from you, petitioning the Oblates to stay here. That told me clearly about the love, the respect, the great care you have for the ministry of the Oblates who have served you so well, as well as past Oblates who served you during these 95 years.
Would it be easier to stay? Yes, but as Missionaries who are sent, we are needed elsewhere.
The local church has been capably built up. It is now well established. There is competent, professional leadership here, thanks to the Oblates which faithfully served here.
Thank you for the trust, the respect, the love, the cooperation you have given to the Oblates these many years, almost a century!
Without that mutual cooperation and closely ministering with us, the great things that have happened here – and continue to happen – would never have been possible.
Louis Studer, OMI