By Fr. James Brobst, OMI, Vicar-provincial for Mission and Ministry
DURING THE SUMMER OF 2021, the United States Province will be providing pastoral leadership for a new parish
in the Archdiocese of Boston and another in the Diocese of Corpus Christi. Both parishes include smaller, attached missions. Both have opportunities to expand English-speaking pastoral ministries, and are located near one of the five embraced ministries of the Province. This is to ensure sustainable, local, communities within easy driving distance of each other.
ST. MARY’S PARISH IN GEORGETOWN, MA and its mission by the same name in nearby Rowley, MA will be led by Oblates Mike O’Hara, with Harry Winter in residence. This parish is located about a 30-minute drive from St. Joseph the Worker Shrine, up in the Merrimac Valley. The three weekend masses are easily covered by a single priest. Again, this location is further from the seat of the Archdiocese and will give opportunities for pastoral work beyond the local parish for an English-speaking RAM.
OUR LADY OF CONSOLATION PARISH IN VATTMAN, TX will be led by the Oblate pastor of neighboring Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Sarita Texas, a parish we have had for many years. Andy Sensenig will be pastor of all the communities, which includes two nearby mission chapels: Our Lady of Guadalupe at Riviera and Sacred Heart in Ricardo. Each has one weekend mass in English. Andy will continue to live in Sarita (where he is known to be an excellent host to visiting Oblates) and will be supported by other Local Oblates who will live at the Kenedy Ranch in Sarita. The Oblates at the Kenedy Ranch will also provide much-needed support to other nearby parishes of the dioceses of Corpus Christi and Brownsville.
THE RENEWED MINISTRY AT THE KENEDY RANCH IN SARITA, TX will be staffed byDavid Ullrich and Roger Bergkamp. They will be joined temporarily by USP Treasurer Jim Chambers who will help with the legal and financial transition from the now-closed ministry of Lebh Shomea House of Prayer. The specifics of how the new ministry proceeds will depend on some flexibility, discernment and experience, especially in the first year.
All the above decisions reflect the USP stated goals of discerning ministry to match our charism, to be sustainable (matching our personnel, their talents, and our finances) and to support community with the nearby geographical area.