Inspiring Letter of Pope Francis to Families (12/26/21)

In this “Amoris Laetitia Family” Year, I am writing to express my deep affection and closeness to you at this very special time. Families have always been in my thoughts and prayers, but especially so during the pandemic, which has severely tested everyone, especially the most vulnerable among us. The present situation has made me want to accompany with humility, affection, and openness each individual, married couple and family in all those situations in which you find yourselves. Click Here to learn more

Migrant Ministry to Hmong in the USA: Fr. Umberto Nespolo, OMI

From 1977 to mid 1980 there were about 12,000 Hmong immigrants living in Fresno CA. Beside Hmong Animism, Catholicism was the primary faith among the Hmong hence the works of the Missionaries in Laos (Oblates and MEP Missions Étrangères de Paris).
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Madeleine Delbrel and Oblate Father Jean Guegen (2016)

Father Jean Gueguen, OMI, died yesterday, May 24, in the 96 year of his life. For 20 years, he was at Pontmain. In the beginning he was named vice-postulator for the cause of beatification of Madeleine Delbrel, in 1993 by Bishop Francois Fretelliere. Click here to learn more

Cardinal van Balthazar and Others on Madeleine Delbrel (2011)

Madeleine Delbrêl, the French laywoman who at the age of seventeen penned a remarkably lucid atheist manifesto entitled “God is dead . . . Long live death!”1 knew the pitiless suffering of the world of unbelief. In 1960, shortly before her death, she would describe what she held to be the most “profound misfortune” that can befall a man: “The inner support that holds all things in being crumbles from within . . . and all things are swallowed up in nothingness.”2 Click Here to learn more

Latest from America magazine on Madeleine Debrel, thanks to LauraRose Paradis (4/24/20)

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Delbrel and French Oblates (5/28/19)

On Jan. 26, 2018, Pope Francis declared Madeleine Delbrel venerable, setting this woman who has been called the Dorothy Day of France, on the first step to canonization. Click Here to learn more

Pope Francis regarding the need for expanding the relationship of the clergy to the laity, in his Letter to Priests for the Feast of St. John Vianney, Aug. 4, 2019: “Our people have a ‘nose’ for things. They sniff out, discover, new paths to make; they have the sensus fidei (the sens of the faithful, citing Vatican II’s Constitution on the Church, 12). What could be more beautiful than this? Jesus Himself is the model of this evangelizing option that leads us to the heart of our people.”

Brother Pat McGee, OMI and I were able to attend, on Jan. 5, the fantastic exhibit “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation,” which ran at the Minneapolis, MN Institute of Art from Oct. 15, 2016 – Jan. 16, 2017. Not only were Luther’s insights dependent on the invention by layman Johannes Gutenberg of the printing press, but at the end of the exhibit were a display of small hourglasses. The docent told us with a smile that the sermons by the first reformers could be very long. So a layperson was authorized to watch the hourglass and when the promised time was over, to declare the sermon by the clergy ended.

Lisa Hunke Recommendation (this lay youth minister’s reflection for Advent applies to any season of the year). Thank you, Lisa, for forwarding it Click here to learn more

2018 Servant of God Madeleine Delbrel’s writings

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Spiritual Reading for Family-Laity

There are two classics about the Family and Laity written by clergy, and one written by an English layman. St. Francis de Sales’ Introduction to the Devout Life is required reading by any lay person wanting to progress in the spiritual life. Fr. Eugene Boylan (1904-64)’s This Tremendous Lover has been issued in several editions; the original hardcover has an excellent reading list.

Donald Nicholl (1923-97),, an Englishman who was a close friend of Mother Teresa, taught in the US for many years, and wrote Holiness in 1981, second edition 1987. Fr. Richard McBrien praised it highly.

Trail-breaking Vatican Document regarding the importance of the Laity

In 2014, Pope Francis approved the text of the International Theological Commission “Sensus Fidei in the Life of the Church.” In many ways it is revolutionary. But rather than breaking totally new ground, it recovers the importance of the laity in proposing what we believe. No longer are church leaders to consider the laity as simply praying, obeying and paying. In the early church, and in different historical periods, the consent and leadership of the laity was critical in passing on the teachings of Jesus.

The text is 53 pages, with about 3 more of footnotes. If you find it hard reading at the beginning, I recommend going to #’s 44-74, or 85. One might begin with the conclusion: #127. Click Here to learn more

Laity and Oblate Spirituality

Third Year of the Oblate Triennium:
Mission, Vow of Obedience and Evangelii Gaudium
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What about the Single Vocation

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  1. Our thanks to Lisa Hunke for forwarding JEff Cavins’ article “A Road Map for New Evangelization”. The Pastoral Letter from Bishop Paul Loverde, which they highly recommend and include, means a great deal to Oblates of Mary. Bishop Loverde spent a great deal of time as a youngster at Holy Angels Parish, Buffalo, NY, conducted by the Oblates. And he invited me to celebrate at First Mass in the chapel of the North American College, Rome, Italy, with and my parents and himself, on Dec. 26, 1964.

Lisa Hunke also recommends New Evangelization Ministries. Click Here

During the unprecedented time of world peace and relative prosperity following the end of World War II in 1945, it has become evident and urgent that Mission (Evangelization), Ecumenism, and Dialogue need to be rethought with the Family and Laity as both the main subjects and objects. Pope Francis is pushing this, culminating in his analysis of the two synods on the Family, when he writes: “The family lives its spirituality precisely by being at one and the same time a domestic church and a vital cell for transforming the world” (Amoris Laetitia, #324; see also 200, 201)

One of our young Polish Oblate missiologists stated this during the Oblate Charism Convocation of August 2015, when he wrote about “a field of mission in accompanying families, which are training sites for becoming gift, schools of deeper humanity” Click here for 3 pp. document.

Besides Lisa Hunke’s items on Catechists and Faith Formation teachers (Click here for the first), we will also present the accomplishments of catechists in Third World countries.

There have been some significant developments in our understanding of “sensus fidei” — how does the understanding of the faithful laity affect the entire Church? With Pope Francis pushing hard against clericalism, this is especially important. More on this in future updates.