By Marcin Serwin, OMI
Nine Oblates from the Assumption Province, who accompanied a group of 422 Young pilgrims to the World Youth Day in Lisbon, feel challenged by the faith and the desire for sanctity demonstrated by the Youth during their pilgrimage in Lisbon.
“As Oblates, we have much to learn from these young people and their desire to be saints.”
On July 26, 2023, groups of Oblate Youth Canada departed for Portugal. They came from St. Maximilian Kolbe Parish, St. Eugene de Mazenod Parish, St. Casimir’s Parish, St. Therese Parish in Courtice, St. Hyacinth Parish in Ottawa, St. Therese Parish in Kitchener, St. Gabriel’s Parish in Burlington, Holy Ghost Parish in Winnipeg, Holy Rosary Parish and Our Lady Queen of Poland Parish in Edmonton. In total, 422 young people, 9 Oblates, and 2 pre-novices made their way to WYD Lisbon.
Under the mantel of the Blessed Mother of Fatima
Most of the group spent the first week in the diocese of Leira-Fatima, where, under the mantel of the Blessed Mother of Fatima, they prepared for the main celebrations in Lisbon. During this time, they had the opportunity to take a pilgrimage to Fatima, to learn more about the Portuguese culture, and to receive the witness of over 10,000 young people who were with them from the host diocese.
The joy of encountering Oblate Youth and Fr. General
After this, the whole group of OYC (Oblate Youth Canada) traveled to Lisbon, where on August 1, they had the joy of encountering the Oblate Youth from different parts of the globe. Together, they listened to Fr. General, who encouraged them to be pilgrims of hope and form communities with each other and the entire Oblate family. They enjoyed being challenged to be the extension of the hands of the Superior General in their realities and to witness to the Oblates what it means to live out the Oblate Charism daily.
Meeting the Holy Father, strengthened by his words
The following days were full of the joys and difficulties of being a pilgrim, as the young people walked long distances to meet the Holy Father and be strengthened by his words. He reminded them that God knows each of them by name and that they are important to Him. The culminating point of the World Youth Days was the vigil and Mass with the Holy Father. The most enriching witness to the youth was seeing so many of their peers gather for Mass. Everyone fell silent to adore the blessed sacrament, being led by the Vicar of Christ to the Eucharist and Christ himself.
A Challenge to the Oblates
It was a long 13-day journey that strengthened the youth from Assumption Province and will leave a lasting impression on their hearts. As Oblates, we have much to learn from these young people and their desire to be saints.