By Fr. Bonga Majola, OMI
“Our Congregation is truly inspired by God and contains within it not only the seeds of grace, but has become a great tree, bearing abundant fruit to this day.”
– Fr. Louis Lougen OMI
On Monday August 15, 2022, the community of the General House together with some visitors, gathered around the statue of the Oblate Madonna in the Chapel of the General house to celebrate the solemnity of the Assumption and to mark the 200th anniversary of the special experience of St. Eugene de Mazenod as he prayed before the statue of the Oblate Madonna in the Chapel of the Mission church in Aix-en-Provence.
During the solemn celebration of the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, in his homily, the Superior General Fr. Louis LOUGEN reminded the Oblates that the feast of the Assumption “is a missionary feast, celebrating God’s plan of salvation. We announce this Gospel.”
Fr. Louis highlighted the fact that, “The Assumption sends us on mission to proclaim these joyful tidings to the world.”
He further went on reminding the entire Oblate family that “Mary’s Assumption inspires us with great hope that the promises of the Lord are already being realized and will prevail. We cooperate in the Mission of God by working so that signs of this justice may already become visible in our world.”
The Letter St. Eugene wrote to Fr. Tempier exactly 200 years ago on that same evening of his most special experience of Mary’s intercession, was read during Mass. Commenting on Eugene’s experience Fr. Louis noted that,
“Eugene struggled to find the words to communicate the inexpressible. Through the presence of the Assunta, Eugene became convinced that his Society was truly inspired by God and that it contained within it seeds of grace.”
In moments of doubt and anxiety about the future of his religious family, “This experience gave him an inner certitude that his missionary group was a worthy initiative and would achieve immeasurable good for the Church.”
The Superior General highlighted the fact that the 40 year old Founder of a 6 years old missionary group “was fraught with concern over his missionary group due to many challenges. His blessed experience on August 15 did not solve all his problems or eliminate his concerns and struggles. But, at this time, Mary’s exceptional presence gave him the strength he needed to move forward to secure the future of his Society of missionaries.”
In a very convincing and inspiring tone the Superior General shared his personal conviction, saying, “I agree with the Founder, …our Congregation is truly inspired by God and contains within it not only the seeds of grace, but has become a great tree, bearing abundant fruit to this day. Our Congregation is indeed worthy and has achieved immeasurable good for the Church and continues to do so. Our mission is sublime and our Rule of life has helped us as a guide to salvation and holiness.”
In a special way, Fr. Louis encouraged the Oblates and reminded them that,
“We have the responsibility to prune this great tree with wisdom and discernment so that it continues to evangelize with vitality.“
Reflecting on the upcoming Chapter, Fr. Louis reiterated the 37th General Chapter, “invites us to become pilgrims, committed to journey into conversion with creative fidelity to our charism.”
Concluding his simple yet profound homily Fr. Louis said, “May the smile of Mary upon us enable us to believe in and work for the sublime mission of our Congregation so that it continues to be a vital force in the Church for the Mission of God.”
Through the eyes an OMI friend who participated at the ceremony
Very few words can describe the amazing presence and holy experience at the OMI General house August 15 celebrations. The chapel transformed from the very first word sung to welcome a beautiful lady, Mary. Like a true gentleman courting a lady, the OMI priests ushered-in the presence of our Lady. Their focus, love and respect for Mary is like none other.
The hymns, readings, homily and floral arrangements reflected their reverence to Mary – simple, gentle and elegant. The Oblates, amplified their love and devotion to Mary as their Founder did 200 years ago. And let’s not forget the bountiful feast celebration lunch thereafter, simply yet generous…. like Mary.
We are grateful to have shared in this celebration and thank you for allowing us to see Mary through your eyes.
Mrs. Cindy Arrons.
(The Arrons family, Arnold, Cindy and Lila are friends of the Oblates from South Africa, they are currently in Italy for their holiday)