The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate has begun a three-year preparation for the order’s bicentennial anniversary.
“In 2016, we will have the 200th anniversary of our congregation as it was established in France in 1816,” said Father Marian Gil, provincial of the Assumption Province in Canada. The Oblates have about 4,000 members worldwide, about 500 of whom live in Canada.
The events will be scattered over the next three years and will focus on renewal of Oblate life, youth ministry and parish ministry. The Assumption Province focuses its ministry on immigrants.
“In order to have a powerful impact on our personal life as Missionary Oblates and also our ministry, we need a longer period of time in order to see the results of this process, of conversion, the process of renewal, which we strongly believe will inspire vocations to our religious order,” Gil said.
The first event was held Dec. 9 as the Oblates celebrated the feast of the Immaculate Conception.
Toronto Auxiliary Bishop William McGrattan and Oblate Bishop Antoni Krotki, bishop of Churchill-Hudson Bay, were in attendance at the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga, Ont., for the celebration.
Over the next three years, there will be several events leading up to the final celebration on Dec. 18, 2016 at a location to be determined.
Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate will be expected to meet at least once a month to “share their faith and deepen their religious life,” said Gil. There will also be several events for youth, including a pilgrimage to World Youth Day 2016 in Krakow, Poland, and a meeting at the border city Wroclaw.
The Oblates were founded by St. Eugene de Mazenod of France. They first arrived in Canada in 1841 and have two other provinces aside from the Assumption Province: the Lacombe Canada Province and the Notre-Dame du Cap Province.
The Oblates have also founded schools in Canada, including Saint Paul University and the University of Ottawa in the nation’s capital.