The Thanksgiving Celebration for the First Profession of The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.)

 

On May 21st, 1861 Eugene de Mazenod, Bishop of Marseille Diocese and The Founder of The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (O.M.I.), returned home to his God after a long illness. In his earthly journey, he founded, built up and fortified a great asset of the Church, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate where “the specialists for difficult missions” grew, bringing the Good News to every corner of the world. He was canonized by Saint Pope John Paul the Second on December 3rd, 1995. The Church chose the date May 21st as his feast day. This is also a special occasion for nearly 4000 Oblates throughout the world to celebrate Thanksgiving towards God for what He has given to our Founder and the Congregation as well. This is also our opportunity to “look back with gratitude and to embrace the future with hope.”

As annual convention, Oblates of Vietnam Mission solemnly celebrated the feast day of our Founder and welcomed new members to the big Oblate family. On May 20th 2017, five novices professed their first vows in the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate Congregation:

  1. Bartholomew Nguyễn Công Muôn
  2. Joachim Nguyễn Thành Dược
  3. Peter Trần Văn Bình
  4. Francis Xavier Trần Lý Huỳnh
  5. Thomas Nguyễn Tiến Thành.

The Eucharistic Celebration began at 9.00 AM on May 20th, 2017 at the Lai Thieu Church. The presider and receiver of vows was Father Roland Jacques, O.M.I, vice-provincial of the French province, particularly for the Vietnam-Mission. Present at the Mass were father Emmanuel Trần Quang Khương, O.M.I., Superior of Vietnam Mission, priests, religious men and women, relatives, benefactors and many Lai Thieu parishioners.

In the greeting, Father Anthony Hà Văn Minh, the pastor of the parish and the leader of Phu Cuong region, on behalf of the community of parishioners, expressed gratitude towards the Congregation. He said, “Thanks be to God and our gratitude be to the O.M.I. for the Congregation has chosen this land of Lai Thieu for residing and developing. For a long time the Oblates have been an active partner of the parish in celebrating the mass and sacraments, catechizing, visiting the poor, giving Holy Communion for the sick, and joining other ministries. The most important thing is the Congregation’s presence. Its presence in Lai Thieu parish is a sign that God lavishes His favour on our parish. I would like to extend my congratulations that your congregation has new members following the Founder. We wish the Congregation would keep evanzelizing in many places the joy of Risen Christ and religious life. It is because “happy are the places where religious are.””

After the Holy Gospel, Father Joseph Đinh Kim Chí, novice master, called novices to profess the vows. Afterwards, Father Emmanuel Trần Quang Khương shared a small talk on “listening.” Eugene de Mazenod, after a long time bearing exile in Italy, went back to France and looked for a life “towards happiness without God” in noble entertainment. But he eventually listened to God’s call on a Good Friday under a crucifix. After listening to God’s calling, the young 25-year-old man immediately responded and implemented God’s will. He gave up secular life and committed himself to God as a priest. After his ordination, he continued following God’s voice, observing the urgent need of the poor, founding “the Missionaries of Provence” which was, 10 years afterwards, approved as the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate by Pope Leo XII, to evanzelize the poor. Today the five novices, after a period of time spent for discerning and praying, would profess their first vows in the O.M.I. congregation to live out “the loving virtue” more perfectly. God led them into this present path, may God help them to devote themselves wholeheartedly and never hesitate nor fluctuate.

After the homily, five novices holding their lighted candles professed their vows in front of the superior, representative of God, and God’s people gathering in the assembly, that they are to be faithful to Chasity, Poverty, Obedience, and Perseverance in the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Father Roland Jacques, OMI, on behalf of God, received their vows. He then granted new Oblates the Oblate cross and the constitution and rules. The Oblates have no identifying sign rather than the distinguishing sign of mission that is Jesus’ image on the cross. The Oblate cross should be their guidance, constantly reminding them of virtues such as humility, perseverance, charity, simplicity, and other qualities. As such, they practice holy and great missions.

The professing rite ended within a big applause by the whole community attending the celebration. And then, those in perpetual vows approached and embraced the newly professed Oblates to welcome them to the brotherhood life of “charity, charity, and charity” due to the Founder’s teachings.

The Celebration continued with prayer of the faithful, offering, and communion.

Following the concluding rite, a representative of new members expressed their gratitude, and asked to keep them in our daily prayers, and to support them on this religious path. Eventually, five new Oblates, in front of the Mother Mary statue, consecrated their vocational life to Mother Mary, joining with the holy chanting of the Salve Regina hymn.

Written in Vietnamese by Scholastic Fx. Minh Hiếu, O.M.I.

Translated into English by Scholastic Dao Duc Minh, O.M.I.

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