Provincial Visits Oblates in Tewksbury
By Fr. Louis Studer, OMI, U.S. Provincial
Before the June Provincial Council meeting and the Joint Session of Canada and U.S. Provincial Councils with the General Administration later in June, I was able to visit Oblates in Tewksbury, MA, and also visit the new Oblate parish in Georgetown, MA, and its mission parish where we begin ministry in July.
Unfortunately, I was not able to be present for the 100th birthday celebration of Fr. Pat Healy, OMI. Fr. Pat still ministers at the Old Soldier’s Home despite poor eyesight. Fr. Jim Brobst represented the province to honor Fr. Pat. I heard it was a grand celebration which Fr. Pat enjoyed very much!
Fr. John Hanley, Superior of the Immaculate Heart of Mary Residence, drove Fr. Brobst and me to the parish in Georgetown and its mission in Rawley, MA, where Fr. Mike O’Hara, OMI and Fr. Harry Winter, OMI, will begin ministering in July. Fr. Vincent Gianni, the current Administrator, welcomed us and gave us a tour of the church and rectory. At 78 years young, Fr. Gianni is delighted that the Oblates are arriving to take over this ministry.
I was able to also spend some time at St. William’s Oblate Parish in Tewksbury where Fr. Quilin Bouzi, OMI, is Pastor. I concelebrated Mass and met some of the parishioners who expressed over and over their thanks for the ministry of Fr. Quilin and also Oblates Bill O’Donnell, John Hogan and George Roy for their ministry there. This was once the largest parish in the archdiocese of Boston and continues to provide a host of programs and activities, including outreach to the poor.
The Oblates founded this parish in 1938 and we have served there since. We are blessed with several vocations from there also.
Typically when I visit one of our healthcare facilities, I continue to learn more and more about the ministry that our senior Oblates do for one another, living together in community. I see them assisting one another while walking the property, praying the rosary together, bringing food to one who is more feeble at table, listening to each others’ pain, loneliness, anxiety, past missionary endeavors and activities.
The care, thoughtfulness and compassion these missionaries show one another is always edifying. I was invited to preside and preach at the community Mass my final day there and thanked them for the Oblate missionary spirit of charity and generosity they show each other daily. Their dedication and perseverance in their Oblate vocation is quite remarkable and exemplary.