Busy Provincial Visits Hispanic Ministry, Installs New Superiors

Belleville, IL

By Very Rev. Louis Studer, OMI, U.S. Provincial

(Editor’s note: While in Belleville, Illinois to preside at the 1st Profession of Vows at the Oblate Novitiate, and at a Mass during the Annual Novena to Our Lady of the Snows at the Shrine dedicated to her, U.S. Provincial, Fr. Louis Studer, OMI took time to visit Holy Rosary Parish, an Oblate Hispanic ministry in nearby Fairmont City. Below are his observations on the experience.

In addition, Fr. Studer also formally installed new Superiors at some Belleville – area Oblate ministries, details below.

Fr. Studer is at left-center talking with parishioners, Fr. Fisher is in the rear.

“Meeting parishioners at Holy Rosary Parish after daily Mass. The parish serves a large Hispanic population and a variety of programs in Spanish and English. The Oblates arrived here one year ago to minister to the large group of Hispanics in the area. Fr. Harold Fisher is fluent in both Spanish and English. The catechetical program of the parish teaches the faith to almost 300 children. Many of the parishioners also attend Mass at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows which is only a short distance from the parish.”

Fr. Fisher in his well-stocked food pantry

“Fr. Harold Fisher, OMI, Pastor of Holy Rosary Parish, Fairmont City, IL, arranges food items in the parish’s food pantry, preparing to assist families during the covid pandemic. ‘Parishioners are very generous in their assistance to those in need,’ Fr. Harold told me.”

Fr. Harold Fisher, OMI installed as Superior of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows and King’s House Retreat Center

On Monday, August 3rd, during Midday Prayer at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, Provincial, Fr. Louis Studer, OMI installed Fr. Harold Fisher, OMI, as Superior of the Oblate Community at the Shrine and of the Oblates ministering at King’s House Retreat and Renewal Center in Belleville. Fr. Harold is assisted in his new responsibilities by Fr. Raul Salas, OMI, Associate Director of the Henri Tempier Pre-Novitiate and Shrine Associate Director, and by Fr. Mark Dean, OMI, who preaches and ministers at King’s House.

 Fr. Fisher, Pastor at Holy Rosary Parish, Fairmont City, IL is Superior of 14 Oblates who are in active ministry or in reduced ministry, living on the Shrine grounds. There are 3 Oblates preaching at King’s House. One Oblate, Fr. Sherman Wall, ministers at parishes in the rural Ozarks in southern Missouri.

Oblate Harold Fisher is installed as Superior by Provincial Louis Studer as Fathers Raul Salas (L) and Mark Dean, Consultors, look on.

L-R, Front Row: Oblate Fathers Pauldass Selvaraj, Harold Fisher, Elvis Mwamba, Louis Studer, Juan Gaspar L-R, Back Row: Oblate Fathers David Uribe, Raul Salas, Mark Dean, Jim Fee, Bro. Tom Ruhmann

Provincial installs Fr. David Kalert, OMI Superior of St. Henry’s Oblate Community 

Fr. Studer (L) installs Fr. David Kalert as Superior of St. Henry’s Community

During Evening Prayer with the St. Henry’s Oblate Community in Belleville, IL, on Monday, July 27th, Fr. Studer installed Fr. David Kalert, OMI, as Superior of the 18 Oblates in residence there. Fr. Joseph Hitpas, OMI and Fr. Walter Butor, OMI, will serve as Consultors.

Several of these Oblates are referred to as “RAMs” (Reduced Active Ministry) the majority of whom are in their 80’s. Nevertheless, most are still active in ministry on weekends at various parishes throughout the Belleville Diocese, as well as ministering at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows and King’s House Retreat Center. Their assistance with Masses and Confessions is an invaluable service they willingly give, even as many of them experience health issues.

Fr. Bill Woestman, OMI, who also belongs to this community, ministers in Chicago.