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Advent Reflection – First Sunday December 1st, 2019
What Shall I Wear at Christmas?
Romans 13:11-14 – First Sunday of Advent (A)
Each year, during the weeks leading up to the holiday season, advertising strips off traditional Christian songs in order to set the stage for a commercial process. Let us listen for a moment to these jingles on the radio, not to enjoy but to see how they don dressed up and cheerful tunes, making the original words of faith disappear as they are switched with commercial refrains and choruses. This all as an attempt to hypnotize us and make us believe that to be generous and to love is to consume, to buy material goods and to offer them to those who are dear to us. Far be it from me to suggest that we should all stop, but I ask: Is this what “Christmas Magic” really means? I this what we have reduced it to?
We are entering the Advent season, which has nothing to do with the stressful coming and going of our bodies and finances, which is the race for Christmas presents. Advent is, in fact, a liturgical time that predisposes us to celebrate joyfully the coming of the Son of God in our world. For us Christians, it is a question of not remaining passive in front of this dark display of an outrageous materialism that has been imposed on humanity. Thus, the apostle Paul urges us to take concrete action, that akin to waking from sleep (Rom 13.11; Eph 5:14), in order to live in the open and free ourselves from our alienating behaviors (Rom 13:13). He exhorts us to “clothe yourselves in the Lord Jesus. “ (Rom 13:14; Gal 3:27; Eph 4:24) Wearing Christ as in the wearing of a garment, bringing the Good News and bearing the Spirit’s fruits (Gal 5.22 to 23), this is for me the true meaning of Christmas!
Biblical Specialist and Historian of World Religions
Originally published in French from Échos de la Parole – Office de cathéchèse du Québec.
Translated by Bro. Joey Methé OMI.
Republished with permission from the author.
Catholic University Students Meet for Evening Prayers in French at Oblate Administrative Offices November 6th, 2019
In anticipation of All Saints’ Day, students from Catholic University (Dept. of Modern Languages) met for evening prayers in French at the Oblate Administrative offices across the street from the school.
There were twelve participants at the prayer event, organized by Br.Joey Methé, OMI. The students later publicly extended a warm thank you to Frère Joey for hosting the prayer group, posting about the event on social media and the school’s website.
There are tentative plans for OMI JPIC to host more of these events in the future.
Taking a Stand: ICCR Hosts Annual Event on Protecting Human Rights Defenders November 6th, 2019
On Tuesday, October 29, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) hosted its annual event, “Taking a Stand: Corporate Action to Protect Human Rights Defenders” in New York City. The event focused on protecting human rights defenders from the threats they face. Moderator, Chris Jochnick, led an exciting discussion with Ines Osman of MENA Rights Group; Nicole Karlebach of Oath: A Verizon Company; and Bennett Freeman of the Institute for Human Rights and Business.
Later on conference participants, including ICCR Board Chair, Fr. Séamus Finn, OMI, celebrated the event’s success at a reception.
Br. Joey Methé, OMI Professes 2nd Vows October 22nd, 2019
On Thursday, October 17, 2019, Br. Joey Methé, OMI renewed his 2nd vows to the Congregation in the presence of U.S Oblates and his Provincial, Fr. Luc Tardif, OMI of Notre-Dame-du-Cap Province in Quebec, Canada. The renewal of vows was done during a prayer service presided over by Fr. Tom Coughlin and Provincial Tardif offered these words with the assembly: It is with joyful hearts to see you renewing your vows for another year and to commit yourself to live your life as an Oblate authentically and always open to helping others. We are lucky to have you and we bless you as you continue your journey with us.
The OMI JPIC office shares in the joy of Br. Joey’s recommitment for another year and pray God’s grace and blessings on him.
PROFILE: Br. Joey Methé, OMI
Br. Joey Methé, OMI, is a creative professional who has always been passionate about social solidarity and ecological justice. He began his activist work when he was elected President of l’Association des étudiantes et étudiants francophones (AEF) at Laurentian University in Sudbury (Canada), advocating for the linguistic rights of francophone students and fighting for unhindered access to post-secondary education. He then went on to work for the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa for over 9 years as the Communications Director. After years of leadership in the student movement in Canada, he became a religious brother with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on August 1st, 2018. This was his way to answer Jesus’ call to be in solidarity with those who are forgotten, abandoned and oppressed.
Br. Joey is from Notre-Dame-du-Cap Oblate Province in Canada and is currently studying Theology at the University of St Paul, Ottawa.
He was the 2019 summer intern at the JPIC USA office and has now become a part of the office staff. As an oblate brother in formation, he hopes to learn from the expertise of the JPIC staff, continue his work studying and analyzing the mining/extractives industry, and offer his creative media production skills to the OMI justice, peace and integrity of creation ministry.
2019 World Mission Sunday is October 20 October 18th, 2019
“We entrust the Church’s mission to Mary our Mother. In union with her Son, from the moment of the Incarnation the Blessed Virgin set out on her pilgrim way. She was fully involved in the mission of Jesus, a mission that became her own at the foot of the Cross: the mission of cooperating, as Mother of the Church, in bringing new sons and daughters of God to birth in the Spirit and in faith.”
(Message of Pope Francis for World Mission Day, October 2019)
World Mission Sunday (October 20) is a worldwide day for Catholics to reflect on the baptismal call to mission. World Mission Sunday this year falls within a special Extraordinary Missionary Month. We are called through our baptism to be part of the Church’s missionary efforts, through prayer, self-sacrifice and support of missionary vocations through material aid.
Mission Sunday collection provides vital support and sustains developing Catholic missions around the world especially for dioceses and mission centers in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe, and the Pacific Islands. The theme for 2019 World Mission Sunday is Baptized and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.
In a world where so much divides us, World Mission Sunday rejoices in our unity as missionaries by our Baptism. And it provides an opportunity to support the life-giving presence of the Church among the poor and marginalized in more than 1,111 mission dioceses.
Community Water for Livingstone Diocese, Zambia
Livingstone diocese is at the southern tip of Zambia. It shares borders with Zimbabwe, Botswana Namibia, and Angola. Livingstone diocese does not usually receive adequate rainfall due to its location near two deserts: Namib and Kalahari.
The community has long been facing a water shortage. It has always been a challenge to get running water for bathing, cooking and other needs because the water is pushed through worn out pipes. Sometimes there is no water at all for days. As a result, using buckets residents resort to fetching water from outside the house for cooking and hygiene needs. Also relying on the current water supply are a youth center and girls’ secondary school.
Our goal is to drill a borehole and set up a strong water system which can hold a 5000 liter-tank. The diocesan residence is between the diocesan youth center and St Mary’s Secondary School. Once there is steady water flow at the residence, both the youth center and St Mary’s Secondary School will benefit in the event they
run out of water as is frequently the case. The youth center has about 250 students and St Mary’s Secondary School has 700 girl students.
The current community water shortage greatly affects the students. Instead of concentrating on learning they worry about drawing water for sanitary needs.
A borehole will eliminate all these problems and reduce the incidence of water-borne illnesses.
There are many ways we can respond to this call:
Continue to pray for Missions and please give generously on World Mission Sunday. If you would like to help the Livingstone diocese improve their water system please make your donation through this link and make it out to: Catholic Diocese of Livingstone, Zambia https://www.omiusa.org/index.php/oblate-ministries/support-our-mission/
The work of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in bringing the Gospel to the poorest of the poor is an answer to this call of the Mission and Spirit. Missionary Oblates are dedicated to bringing the good news to the poor in over 60 countries through life in community and in collaboration with men and women of all faiths.
Oblate presence at the Special Synod for Amazon 2019 October 10th, 2019
When Pope Francis announced on October 15, 2017 a new Special Synod for the Pan-Amazon Region, the whole process of listening and dialogue with the Amazonian peoples of nine countries (Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname and French Guyana) found a push that could only come from those who know these cries and concerns, these proposals and challenges. The Latin American Pope with this Pan-Amazonian Synod invites us to dialogue, to discern, to listen, to ask God in order to find new ways for the Church and for an integral ecology.
The Holy Father has called them to participate as Synod Fathers from October 6 to 27 in Rome, where this important ecclesial event will take place, bringing together more than 250 people. They include bishops, missionaries, lay people, experts and special guests, who for three weeks will have the task of discerning with Pope Francis how to put into practice Evangelium gaudium and Laudate sí.
We transmit this great joy to all belonging to the Mazenodian family that two of our brothers will be participants of the Synod to share their lived testimonies with the Amazonian peoples.
Bishop Jan KOT, Bishop of the Diocese of Zé Doca, a territory of the Brazilian Amazon is one of those bishops who represent the Pan-Amazonian Region. Fr. Roberto CARRASCO, of the General Delegation of Peru, has also been elected as a Synod Father from the list of delegates of the Union of Superiors General.
Bishop Kot is an Oblate missionary from Poland. He was the vicar parish priest in Siedlce, Poland, before he arrived in Brazil in 1994. He then served as parish priest, first in Jussarval and then in Vitória di Santo Antão, Archdiocese of Olinda and Recife. He was also the parish priest of the Parish of the Sacred Heart of Mary in Alegre do Fidalgo, in the diocese of San Raimundo Nonato. Since 2014, he has been serving as the Bishop of the Diocese of Zé Doca, right in the Amazonian region of Brazil.
Fr. Roberto Carrasco is completing a degree in Social Communications at the Salesian Pontifical University in Rome. He worked for four years in the Mission of Aucayacu, Diocese of Huánuco, as director of Radio Amistad. He then moved to the Mission of Santa Clotilde, Napo River, where for seven years he served as the parish vicar. In the Apostolic Vicariate of St. Joseph of the Amazon he served as coordinator of the Indigenous Pastoral as well. He is currently leading a joint initiative called “Amazonia: Casa Común” a space where various religious congregations, Church organizations and civil society organizations interact digitally in their work with the Amazonian peoples. They have prepared more than one hundred activities that will be carried out with the purpose of accompanying the Synod this October 2019.
Both Fr. Roberto Carrasco and Msgr. Jan Kot, with the spirit and charism of St. Eugene De Mazenod are present for the development of the Pan-Amazonian Synod, living and sharing that collegiality which is nothing but “walking together” for a Church that also has an Amazonian face to it.