By Artie Pingolt, president, Missionary Oblate Partnership
The 2023 De Mazenod Conference, Vatican II at 60: Was It Worth It? was the most well-attended in the ten years since the Conference was started. Held at the Oblate Renewal Center in San Antonio February 3 & 4, the annual event is sponsored by the Missionary Oblate Partnership, and conference topics are usually chosen by a poll of Partnership members. Over 70 Partners, Oblates, Oblate Associates and other friends attended this year.
Seamus Finn, OMI introduced the topic with his keynote on February 3, entitled The Good, The Challenging, The Not Yet Known. It provided the group a comprehensive overview of the Council, it’s beginnings, it’s topics and how it has been interpreted by Vatican leadership succeeding it in the past 60 years.
The second day, after opening prayer led by Oblate scholastics Henry Zayamoe, OMI and Pablo Henning, OMI, was spent attempting to go into deeper discussion on four areas: 1. Remembering what moved us then and what moves us now, for the future. Speakers for this were David Kalert, OMI and Emmanuel Mulenga, OMI 2. Vatican II’s global impact. Speakers for this were Fr. Juan Molina, President of the Mexican American Catholic College of San Antonio and Arun Rozario, OMI formerly of OMI-Bangladesh. 3. Vatican II , the laity and social justice. Addressing this topic was Patti Radle, member of USP-JPIC committee. And finally, 4. Vatican II and women. The speaker for this final session was Rhodora Beaton, PhD, a systematic theologian at Oblate School of Theology.
Each session included either table discussion followed by group sharing or simple Q&A following the presenter’s remarks.
Observations and questions were very diverse, perhaps reflecting the varied backgrounds of attendees, which included many different religious congregations of men and women, in addition to the Partners and Oblate Associates.
Lou Studer, OMI gave the homily at the closing liturgy. His message was that each of us, despite what seems to be challenges or disappointments, are called to be salt and light for the world and each other and that God provides grace sufficient for both of these.
The liturgy also included presentation of the Partnership’s Blessed Joseph Gerard, OMI Award, given to recipients whose zeal and persistence are reminiscent of Gerard’s mission life. The 2023 honorees were Karen & Greg McCarthy of the Loyola Foundation. Greg McCarthy’s remarks included a discussion of his many connections, via their grant-making, with Oblates in the United States and around the world.
Oblates attending included: Rufus Whitley, OMI; Ron LaFromboise, OMI; Ray Cook, OMI; Antonio Ponce, OMI; Frank Santucci, OMI; David Munoz, OMI; Billy Morell, OMI; Bishop Mike Pfeifer, OMI; Warren Brown, OMI; Thomas Klosterkamp, OMI In addition, three Oblate scholastics from the Borzaga Community joined Zayamoe and Henning for the last session.
Vatican II at 60: Was It worth It? Said in a variety of ways for a variety of reasons, the consensus conclusion was that despite disappointments in some areas, fits and starts in others, numerous good things and hopeful aspirations were and are still made possible by Vatican II.
More images from the De Mazenod 2023 Conference