Oblates Celebrate the Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Feast of the Immaculate Conception

Originally Published on OMIWORLD.ORG

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The Immaculate Conception holds a special place in the hearts of Oblates, who find unity in their devotion to Mary and her virtues. These days, Social media is abuzz with images of Oblate communities from diverse corners of the globe who have come together to commemorate this significant feast day.

A devotion which marked the Founder’s spiritual life

Eugene de Mazenod founded our Congregation to preach the Gospel to the poor, but he saw this goal enhanced by preaching devotion to Mary, a devotion which marked his own spiritual life. In 1826, after we received the name “Oblates of Mary Immaculate”, he wrote to Father Tempier:
“May we really understand who and what we are! I hope the Lord will grant us this grace with the help and protection of our holy Mother, Mary Immaculate. In our Congregation we must have great devotion to her. Does it not seem to you a mark of predestination, to bear the name of Oblate of Mary, that is to say, consecrated to God under the patronage of Mary, whose name the Congregation bears like a family name it has in common with the most holy and immaculate Mother of God?”

Mary Immaculate is patroness of our Congregation

The Founder gave the first missionaries to Canada their obedience in 1841 with the words:
“May the Blessed Virgin conceived without stain be your guide and patroness, devotion to whom, you must bear in mind, is a special duty of our vocation to propagate in every place.” And in his last will and testament he took consolation in the “filial devotion of my whole life and… the desire I have always had to make her known and loved, and to spread her devotion everywhere through the ministry of those whom the Church has given me as children, who have had the same desire as myself.” “Mary Immaculate is patroness of our Congregation… We shall always look on her as our mother… Wherever our ministry takes us, we will strive to instill genuine devotion to the Immaculate Virgin who prefigures God’s final victory over all evil.” (C. 10)

Oblates celebrate the Immaculate Conception

The early Novitiate and Scholasticate directories asked that Mary’s feasts be prepared in recollection and penance and be celebrated joyfully. The major feasts, such as that of the Immaculate Conception, were preceded by a fast day. After the declaration of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception in 1854, Oblates began preparing for this feast with a novena. The tradition has continued to our days; across continents and cultures, Oblates celebrate the Immaculate Conception through a rich tapestry of religious observances, communal gatherings, and personal reflections. The diversity of these celebrations reflects the unique contexts in which Oblate communities find themselves while maintaining a shared commitment to the principles embodied by Mary.

Mary’s discreet presence

In his December 8th Letter, the Superior General, Fr. Chicho writes, “In these days I have meditated on the discreet presence of Mary in the Acts of the Apostles. Luke’s silence about Mary’s presence during the Passion of Jesus and the appearances of the Risen Lord is striking. In the Acts of the Apostles, Mary appears again when the community is gathered in prayer and hope. Mary, the Mother of Jesus, is also the Mother of the new community on whom the Spirit will shower gifts on the day of Pentecost. This mystery seems to be desired by Jesus himself from the cross in the Gospel of John (Jn 19:26)”

May Mary Immaculate, Patroness of our Congregation, continue to intercede for us!

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