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Pentecost and Immigration: Ecumenism and Dialogue Essential May 13th, 2016
Written by Fr. Harry Winter, OMI, Coordinator, Ministry of Mission, Unity and Dialogue, USA Province
The celebration of Pentecost reminds many Christians of our disunity, and how the Holy Spirit is reuniting the Christian Churches. We also credit the Holy Spirit for helping us work with people of other Faiths, and People of Good Will, for Justice.
Only if Christians are united, following the lead of the Holy Spirit, can we hope to effectively assist immigrants, especially in the promotion of family life for those whose families have been torn apart. In his Apostolic Letter “The Joy of Love,” Pope Francis begs clergy to work with skilled laity to address the fragmentation of the family today (204). Let us not reinvent the wheel by thinking that vowed Oblates should address the challenge of migrants by ourselves. Our Oblate Associates, our Oblate Partners, our Honorary Oblates all possess resources that we need to bring together. The Holy Spirit is ready to help clergy and laity minister to migrants, each in their own sphere.
Don’t the gifts of the Holy Spirit help us to work with so many others who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior and share the grace of one baptism? Evangelical Protestant groups such as World Vision are eager to work with Catholics. The Eastern Orthodox, led by Patriarchs Bartholomew and Kirill are begging us to cooperate. The Joint Declaration of Pope Francis and Patriarch Kirill, signed in Cuba on Feb. 12, 2016, begs us to work together to lessen the suffering of migrants and refugees in the Middle East (8-13, 17-21).
Strengthened by the grace of the Holy Spirit, let us not be afraid to make coalitions with groups we may not usually work with. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) disagrees with Catholicism on many issues, but every so often, there arises an issue where we find common ground. May Pentecost open our eyes to these allies for assisting migrants.
When our superior general spoke to us from Rome for our convocation (April 26, 2016), he gave two examples, in Turkmenistan, and Western Sahara, where moderate Muslims and Christians are working together. Also many of our Jewish elder brothers and sisters are skilled in working with migrants.
Yes, at first it will require a little more time and energy to seek our allies. But in the long run, we will be much more effective if we work with others rather than attempting to do everything by ourselves. As Oblates celebrate the 200th anniversary of our founding, during this Jubilee Year of Mercy, let us beg the Holy Spirit of unity, of daring, and of courage, to lead us. Only by working with others, can Oblates significantly lessen the suffering of immigrants.
Oblate Shrine hold workshop on Encyclical Laudato Si for Hispanic Community October 22nd, 2015
This week Fr. Chava Gonzalez, OMI of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleviile, IL led a workshop on Pope Francis’ latest encyclical Laudato Si. This workshop is one in a 4-part series and offered in Spanish for participation by the Hispanic community. The series was organized after parishioners expressed strong interest in discussing the encyclical, which focuses on the environment.
Fr Seamus Finn OMI interviewed by Bloomberg TV and New York Times, Discusses Corporate Engagements September 22nd, 2015
The New York Times also interviewed Fr. Seamus Finn OMI about the ongoing corporate engagements with Bank of America. At the core of the discussion is the shareholder action requesting a separate role as Chairman and C.E.O. of the company. Fr. Seamus Finn, OMI is Chief of Faith Consistent Investing – OIP Investment Trust and a Consultant to the JPIC office.
Recently, a Catholic parish of St. Mary of Sorrows in Virginia,United States donated to the local community in Bhomela in Zimbabwe. This generous gift has enabled people of Bhomela to get a borehole for clean water supply and help in development of local farming initiatives during the prolonged dry season. Bhomela community is a mission church for the Zimbabwe Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
“Many children suffer from water-born diseases as well as malnutrition in Bhomela area. This borehole project will go a long way in alleviating these problems and developing ‘self-help’ initiatives in solving local problems,” says Zimbabwe Missionary Oblate, Fr. Charles Rensburg, OMI speaking on behalf of the local community.
“Words cannot begin to describe the community’s joy in having received a ‘life-line’ of water for the whole village. The borehole will be maintained by the local Catholic community whilst at the same time, complete access has been given to the whole village of over 3000 people.”
JPIC attends Congress on the Oblate Charism in Context. July 2nd, 2015
Oblate Director Fr. Antonio Ponce OMI participated in the conference on Oblate Charism in Context in San Antonio, Texas where he presented to the global Oblate audience on the topic, “The charism in North America in the context of JPIC.” Also in attendance were other members of the Oblate JPIC committee; Fr. Jim Brobst OMI presented on “Arts in the Oblate call, ministry and evangelization.”
Other topics presented included topics on young Oblate life missionary, immigration, and ministry among indigenous people, ecumenism, inter-religious dialogue, vocations and urban parish ministry.
The three-day conference June 30 – July 3 took place at the same time in all the Regions of the Oblate Congregation, through internet (video Conferencing application) in eight places namely: San Antonio (USA); Mexico City (Mexico); Rome (Italy); Obra (Poland); Kinshasa (D.R. Congo); Johannesburg (South Africa); Colombo (Sri Lanka); and Manila (Philippines).
The primary objectives of the Congress on the Oblate Charism in Context was to listen on opportunities and challenges to the Oblate charism as it is being lived in different contexts, become more aware of the richness of Oblate life, ministry and explore the sense of belonging to one apostolic Oblate body. It was also an occasion to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Oblate founding.
In addition to the richness of the presentations at the confernce, this online global gathering for Oblates reveal how today’s interactive technology can enhance our Oblate ministry, collaboration, animation and governance. At the JPIC office,we have as a priority make use today’s technology and social media to support our JPIC ministry outreach.
Learn more information about Congress on the Oblate Charism in Context here.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate JPIC office has joined and signed a letter by faith-based organizations and religious communities in supporting a U.S law, which creates more transparency of oil and mining payments to Governments.The letter is addressed to Secretary Kerry at the Department of State.
The faith based organizations and religious communities letter says, “As people of faith, we call on the U.S. Government to renew its moral leadership to help combat corruption, protect human rights, and ensure that citizens can hold companies and their governments accountable for which resource concessions are granted, the money received from those projects and how the profits are spent.”
Read letter here: Faith Ltr. to Sec. Kerry-DoddFrank 1504