Interview with Fr. Victor Patricio-Silva, OMI, Vocation Director, U.S. Oblate Province
Over the weekend of January 20-22, the Missionary Oblates welcomed six men, all from Texas to San Antonio to “Come and See” some Oblate Ministries and learn about missionary life. U.S. Vocations Director, Fr. Victor Patricio-Silva, the Vocations team, and some Oblate Scholastics were on hand to provide information and participate in activities designed to inform and support the young men as they discern what God is calling them to do with their lives.
The visitors ranged in age from 18 to 32, one is a high school senior, two of the others are in college, and rest have already graduated or have entered professional life. They are at various stages of their discernment, two of the men have attended previous “Come and See” weekends, and are back for a second look.
“Come and See” weekends consist of presentations about the Oblates and religious life, visits to Oblate ministries, and opportunities for the visitors to talk with Oblates and men in formation about their vocation stories. They can also talk to Oblates about what it’s like to be a missionary in the field. To provide all this expertise, Fr. Victor recruited an impressive lineup of Oblates and scholastics to provide various perspectives.
There were four presentations prepared for the discerners: one on the history of the Oblates and the Founder by Sch. Bro. Solomon Gaja, a member of the Cameroon-Nigeria Province, then three presentations, each focusing on one of the three pillars of Oblate spirituality: Fr. Steven Montez talked about “The Oblates and Prayer,” “The Oblates and Ministry or Mission” was reflected upon by Fr. Jarek Pachoki, and Fr. Victor Patricio-Silva discussed “The Oblates and Community Life.” Lively Q & A sessions followed each presentation.
The picturesque Riverwalk in downtown San Antonio provided a perfect backdrop to pair up discerners with scholastics for sharing vocation stories, life in Oblate formation, and anything else the visitors wanted to discuss. Afterwards the group stopped at the historic St. Mary’s Church, which is located on the Riverwalk, where Pastor, Fr. John Gordon, and Fr. Ed Hauf welcomed them for dinner. Afterwards Fr. Hauf told the group about St. Mary’s history and present ministries.
In addition to St. Mary’s, the discerners had the opportunity to visit several other Oblate ministries in San Antonio including: San Juan de los Lagos Parish, Holy Family Parish which is a joint ministry of the U.S. and Zambian Oblates, Oblate School of Theology and the Oblate Retreat Center on the campus of OST.
By the end of the whirlwind weekend, the discerners had visited several Oblate ministries, talked with men in formation and heard the stories of actual missionaries. Yet even this intense experience provides just a hint of the incredible variety of ministry done by nearly 4,000 Oblates in 70 countries.
Another “Come and See” weekend is already planned for October at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL. Anyone wishing information should call Fr. Victor toll-free at 1-800-358-4394, or CLICK HERE visit the Oblate Vocations page at omiusa.org.