By Fr. Louis Studer, OMI, Photos by Fr. Jim Brobst, OMI
Vicar Provincial Jim Brobst and I traveled to Edmonton to participate in the OMI Lacombe Province Convocation, held in Edmonton, Canada, from Monday evening, May 30, till Friday morning, June 3.
Facilitators, Jesuit Peter Bisson, Xaverian Sister Laurence Loubieres, and Mr. Harry Lafond led us in prayer, conversation and discernment during these five days.
Provincial Ken Thorson, OMI, welcomed 72 Oblates and 27 Oblate Associates Monday evening.
Preparatory materials were sent beforehand to each participant, inviting us to spend ample time in prayer and to “write down the fruits of these prayer exercises in your journal.”
The primary purpose of the gathering was made clear to us: “It will be a time of communal discernment as one apostolic body, to help determine where the Lord is leading us to grow and to venture in new steps, moving forward in our mission in Canada.”
It was an honor for Jim and I to be invited as full participants and to be able to contribute to that continuing discernment as a Canada-U.S. region.
A particularly significant moment in that discernment was the opportunity for everyone present to share about the possibility and level of interest regarding administrative restructuring in the region, as has been already done in three other province Convocations, to help ensure a renewed missionary presence in North America. While no decisions were made in this regard, the level of concern about the necessity to do this was palpable. Hopefully, our engagement in the process itself will move us forward in our planning for restructuring.
Jim and I agreed that this opportunity to be with our Oblate brothers in Canada helped provide a beneficial way in building trust, understanding and cooperation as our planning goes forth in revitalizing our efforts to continue to be the good news of Jesus Christ to the materially and spiritually poor in North America. This Convocation was a significant step in doing that as we face our future together as one united missionary congregation.