On November 4th-8th 2019, an Oblate Gathering of Indonesian Province was held at Mary Immaculate Retreat House – Kaliori, near the OMI’s Provincial House, Central Java. The meeting was attended by 31 Oblate priests (96% presence), started by listening to the brief report from Father Provincial on current condition of the Province. Further, Fr. Radjabana presenting the Province roadmap for 25 years to come, considered various situations of all communities and apostolates in the Province which was being reflected by the whole Province for almost two years. In the light of the Holy Spirit, we went on to reflect and re-evaluate the OMI identity as religious and missionary.
The Indonesian Oblates works in six (6) dioceses. Most of the members work in the parishes, while only a small number of other works for OMI’s ministries such as formation, social foundation, retreat house, health service, and education. Gone through the meeting, all participants realized the importance of making a balance between aspects of religious life and missionary apostolate in every Oblate community. Looking back to the reality, we realized that there are several Oblates who live alone (22.5%), where they seem to strongly emphasize their missionary zeal but then tend to ignore the aspect of community life. The high demand coming from the apostolic works have consumed the most energy of the Oblates. As a province, we were aware on the need to do a communal repentance seriously, where the OMI identities as community of religious and missionary can be lived as ideal as possible.
Able to find where we are right now, we recommit again ourselves to the direction coming from the root of our charism that only through and in the community (religious life), we preach the Gospel to answer the needs of the poor with their new faces (missionary life). To achieve this aim, two (2) absolute criteria must be followed as the direction to get the communal self-renewal achievable:
1. Religious life which is characterized by the presence of 2 or 3 (priest/brother Oblates) who live under one roof to build a community of apostolic missionary. (Const. 11 and 37).
2. Through and in the community, apostolic missionary life must be characterized by service to the poor especially their needs for salvation (General Chapter 2016 Document no. 7.1, 7.2, 7.3).
Those two criteria become a guideline for each community to help Oblates on their communal discernment and some proposal based on apostolic priority. Provincial and his council will certainly use all these charisma for their further consideration in every step on making any strategic decision to help the process of self-renewal (conversion) as a Province come into its practical achievement.
To support that conversion process, the Province reaffirmed the decisions which we have made before that:
- Vocation and Formation are still being the first and main priority of the Province. The good formation process and vocation recruitment will hopefully produce good young Oblates who commit to live the religious community life and missionary OMI aspects. It is very much appreciated that the increasing number of vocation to be Oblate Brothers in Province is an immediate strategic solution to build an ideal community life in terms of number of Oblates in every community.
- Each community is directed to live a good quality of community life as an integral part of the Oblate charism by practicing daily prayer together, eating together, sharing together in the community, and so to make some strategic apostolic decisions together. c Each community will be continuously animated to pursue a relative financial sustainability, considering the spiritual aspects of the financial management itself. And through communal discernment, each community will find and recognize the will of God leading the Oblates to address the needs of the poor in their respective ministries.
by: Fr. Antonius Widiatmoko, OMI