Justice, Peace & Integrity of Creation

Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate  United States Province

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Introducing the Lavista Learning Garden June 17th, 2020

Oblate Learning Garden in Godfrey, IL


Since its inception in 2001, La Vista Ecological Learning Center has taught that how we eat determines, to a great extent, how we care for creation.  That is why we were aligned with the Community Supported Garden at La Vista for 15 years.  Since that project ended in 2019, we have established La Vista Learning Garden under the umbrella of the Oblate Ecological Initiative.


The Learning Garden will be a model and gathering place for novices and area participants to learn and practice:

  • sustainable gardening skills like creating a garden plan  organic soil preparation and fertilization crop rotation choosing vegetables and their planting times methods for harvesting vegetables growing fruit trees native flower propagation a variety of composting methods
  • raising and caring for chickens
  • backyard beekeeping
  • cooking and nutrition
  • hand-carving kitchen utensils
  • DIY recycled garden decorations


Vernon DePauw is our head gardener and teacher.  He is a nationally known wood carver as well as a backyard gardener, poultryman, and beekeeper. Vernon has been a presenter at the Learning Center for several years. Vernon is faithfully supported by his wife Kathy who is also a volunteer.

[Novices with chicken coop they painted. It was remodeled by Vernon.]

Sister Maxine collaborates with Vernon to plan, organize, advertise and execute programs.

Volunteers – A small group of volunteers contribute their skills.

This project has been made possible with the support, encouragement and help of Seamus Finn, OMI, and OMI Novitiate Leadership: Pat McGee, Frank Kuczera and Humphrey Milimo.

[Novices and Vernon with hives built by Vernon and painted by novices.]

OMI Webinar No 3: “Emerging from the COVID-19 Pandemic: Guidance from Laudato Si” January 21st, 2021

Input talk by – Joe Gunn – Executive Director Centre Oblat – A Voice for Justice

With a video presentation about “Project GRACE” at the Oblate parish of Our Lady of Grace in the Philippines.

Registration link:

Date and Time –  January 23, 2021

OMI JPIC – Most Viewed Stories in 2020 January 19th, 2021

Want to know which stories received the most attention on OMI JPIC’s website and Facebook page in 2020? Click the link for the list and happy reading! in a new tab)

Special Release of Resources for the Week of Christian Unity January 8th, 2021


(Editor’s Note: This news release was sent out today (January 6) by Fr. Jim Brobst alerting the Oblate community (or Mazenodian Family) of resources available for the week of Christian Unity prepared by Fr. Harry Winter, OMI. Fr. Winter’s website, “Mission-Unity-Dialogue” may be accessed HERE)

 January 6, traditional feast of the Epiphany, God’s Revelation to the Nations

For All Members of the Mazenodian Family:

Special thanks to Fr. Harry Winter, OMI, for generously drawing our focus to these resources for the upcoming week of Christian Unity.  He has distilled for us some helpful resources for our own participation in this missionary endeavors, even though pandemic precautions prevent much in the way of ecumenical or interfaith gatherings in crowds.

 Admin Team

Fr. James Brobst, OMI

Please review pp.  73-76 of our Oblate Prayer book, explaining the importance of the annual Church Unity Octave, or Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.  I recommend especially the material for every parish and community published by the Vatican and the World Council of Churches, available from Graymoor: Click here. The theme this year is “Abide in My Love. . . . You Shall Bear Much Fruit”(Jn.15:1-17).

These materials include “Homily Notes, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” which this year is Monday, Jan. 18. There is no doubt this year, with the Black Lives Matter movement, is more important than ever as we continue to overcome the effects of slavery in the USA.

During the Week of Prayer, we pray with more Evangelical Protestants than ever. They are our allies as we approach the Jan. 31 March on Washington and elsewhere to combat the effects of the Roe vs Wade abortion decision. Will President Biden and Vice-President Harris back off from the controversial position of the Democratic Party on abortion?

You may enjoy the mini-course on Christian Unity represented by the attached “Ecumenical Vademecum.”  Although it is addressed to bishops, it is clearly written for every Catholic and indeed every Christian. Do not let the 50 pages overwhelm you.  These are actually the half pages which the Vatican uses for some documents, and the language is less technical than usual.

Pope Francis continues to promote a vital New Evangelization, using elements from Popes John Paul II and Benedict, and including his special emphasis on people on the fringes.  He alerts us to the growing number of drop-out Catholics, and those belonging to no religion.  As a help for each member of the Oblate Family, please consult perhaps monthly the province website Mission-Unity-Dialogue.  You may access it in two ways, either going onto and clicking on Mission-Unity-Dialogue, the fifth item on the right “Looking for Something?” or directly using

Let us profit from this year’s Week of Prayer for Christian Unity.

 The document can also be downloaded at this link: Vademecum-EN.pdf (

Rev. James P. Brobst, OMI

 Vicar Provincial for Mission & Ministry

U.S. Province, Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate

U.S. Provincial Reflects on the New Year and What’s Ahead for 2021 January 8th, 2021

By Will Shaw with Fr. Louis Studer, OMI 

Fr. Louis Studer, OMI

On January 5th U.S. Provincial Fr. Louis Studer, OMI took some time to reflect on the new year and discuss some of the important events taking place in the province in 2021.

COVID in the Province

The men of the U.S. Province have not escaped the devastation of the COVID virus. Fr. Studer reported that a total of 10 Oblates have passed away from complications of Covid during 2020 and into the first week of 2021. Many more Oblates who had COVID infections are now recovering or have recovered.

Oblates are known for being “close to people,” and that closeness makes it especially risky for Oblates as they do ministry. Oblates in Tijuana, San Fernando, CA, New Orleans, LA and San Antonio, TX all contracted the virus after coming into contact with COVID positive individuals in the course of doing their ministry. Fr. Studer discussed the Oblate response to the pandemic:

“We’re called during this emergency to find and develop new and creative ways to do ministry that will enhance the safety of our men and the people to whom we minister,” said Fr. Studer. “I’m impressed that many of our parishes are now streaming masses and reaching out through ZOOM meetings and phone calls. I saw that Fr. Jack Lau gave out communion at Sacred Heart in Oakland to people who drove by in cars, Oblates at the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows offered drive-by blessings on special days. Though we look forward to the time when distribution of the vaccines will allow us to go back to doing things in a more normal fashion, we will continue to utilize technology to enhance our ministries and reach more people.”

Read the full story at


Living Out the OMI Charism: Fr. Ray Cook Participates in Pfizer Vaccine Trial December 30th, 2020

By Fr. Raymond Cook, OMI

As COVID-19 furiously attacked in the early months of the outbreak, the world was experiencing uncertainly, life changes and economic hardships. Rice University was, and still is, a microcosm of the world in which we live. Having our first confirmed case in February in the research lab, one of our Catholic community members contracted the virus and spent over two months recovering. The way in which her body reacted to the virus was severe, but it also was such that she was unable to develop antibodies against the virus even after being COVID free. Today every Rice student, faculty member, staff and visitors receive weekly COVID tests (nasal swabs) and masks are required as ALL times and no one can eat indoors in groups. Their success rate is a model for all universities. As of today, the positivity rate is far below 1% .

In May of 2020 a Rice Alumnus, who works for the Texas Drug and Development Center, put out a call to get volunteers to try the new RNA-based vaccine for Pfizer Phase II/III study. Because it was hitting so close to home, and my call as an Oblate compelled me to live out Constitution 2, I decided to sign up as a volunteer to participate in the double-blind study. Double blind essentially means that neither the participant nor the doctors know of you are receiving the vaccine or the placebo. I am patient 77 in this trial.  In late July I received the call to make an appointment. I discussed it with friends and family and most advised against it because I am asthmatic. But after much time in prayer and guidance from our Lord Jesus, I decided to proceed.

In August I arrived and the appointment lasted four hours as they went through my complete medical history, medications I take, as well as any vitamins or minerals right down to Tart Cherry Extract that I take daily. They had to make sure, they said, if I reacted to the vaccine it was clear what may have caused the reaction. Thirty minutes before I left the clinic, I received the first of 2 doses. I sat there to wait for any severe reactions. Everything seemed fine. They sent me home with emergency contact cards, a COVID test kit (that they would retrieve at any hour of the day or night should I come down with symptoms), a thermometer, a gauge to measure the injection site, and an app to record daily updates. The next day I was scheduled to give blood and was informed that I would be unable to give blood for two years so they could determine how this vaccine affected the bloodstream.  Needless to say, this was all a bit nerve-racking as I entered into an unknown study that will continue until August of 2022.

After the first round there were very little side effects except for some swelling and pain at the injection site. I presumed I may have received the placebo. A few weeks later I received the second injection during a two-hour appointment. A few days later I could hardly move as I was so exhausted – but the next day I was fine. “Maybe” I thought, “I received the real vaccine” but I could have also just been exhausted. Now some time has passed, and we have received the good news that the Pfizer Vaccine has a 95% success rate! I also learned that I will be “unblinded” soon and should I have received the placebo; I will be invited to receive the actual vaccine soon. Still, I will make quarterly visits, they will monitor my blood for 2 years as I am still in the trial phase and will continue to live as if I received a placebo to protect those around me.

Of course, I will continue to pray that the poor in our world will have access to the new vaccines. I also give thanks to God for creating minds that are able to protect the world through science.


Merry Christmas, Joyeux Noël, Feliz Navidad, Feliz Natal, মেরি ক্রিসমাস December 23rd, 2020

(Thanks to Fr. Daniel LeBlanc, OMI for sharing this Christmas message)

2020 has been a challenging year, sad in many ways for hundreds of thousands of people. Many have lost loved ones and many have lost their home and fallen into greater poverty.

We come to the end of 2020 filled with hope and expectation of a better, different, new world. We join in the hope that together we can be part of creation with all living beings a renewed world and environment.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Joyeux Noël et Bonne et Heureuse Année, Feliz Navidad y un Feliz Año Nuevo, Feliz Natal e um Feliz Ano Novo, Buon Natale e un Felice Anno Nuovo, মেরি ক্রিসমাস এবং একটি শুভ নববর্ষ, Selamat natal dan tahun baru, கிருஸ்துமஸ் மற்றும் புத்தாண்டு வாழ்த்துகள், සුභ නත්තලක් සහ සුබ නව වසරක් වේවා, ĝojan Kristnaskon kaj Feliĉan Novan Jaron, क्रिसमस और नया साल मुबारक हो

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