ASIA-OCEANIA REGIONAL CONFERENCE (AORC) MEETING HELD IN THE PHILIPPINES
by: Larry de Guia, OMI
AORC Annual Meeting at the Oblate Missionary Center,
Fairview, Quezon City, March 13-18, 2017
The Treasurers, Provincial and Delegation Superiors of Asia-Oceania converged at the Oblate Missionary Center, Quezon City for a 6-day meeting to deliberate on the Oblate mission in their respective units and plan their collective response to the call of the 36th Oblate General Chapter that was held last 14 September to 6 October, 2016 in Rome.
The first day, 13 March, 2017, was opened with a Liturgy led by the O.M.I. Scholastics. Seven (7) candles were lit by AORC representatives to symbolize the gifts of the Holy Spirit. Fr. Marc Dessureault, OMI, Treasurer General presented “Mission and Finance: The Reflection of the 36th Chapter” emanating from the Word of God, OMI Constitution and Rules, and Oblate Values.
He illustrated the challenges in this regard as: living the Oblate vow of poverty and holding all things in common, transparency in the realm of finance, managing finances especially for first formation which often accounts for 80 to 90% of the budget, and contracts in the dioceses. The Oblates are therefore called to change their mindsets to be able to say among themselves, “Your community is my community; your mission is my mission.” It would mean “changing the individual mindset regarding responsibility for finances and property to a community mindset; changing our community mindset to the unit mindset; changing the unit mindset to the regional mindset; and changing the regional mindset to the mindset of the Congregation.” In so doing, it would help the Oblates to embrace a spirit of sharing and recognize the call for each unit to generate funds locally in order to improve a relative financial sustainability.
Among the strategies mentioned by Fr. Marc were: having an effective financial committee not just as a thought, but as something which has to be done; employment of professionals; the need for an Oblate personnel to take responsibility; the serious living out of the vow of poverty that must start in first formation and also, having the sense of belonging on the part of the formandi towards finances.
The Report of the General Councilor for AORC, Fr. Peter Stoll, OMI, was delivered on the third day, 15 March, 2017 that covered Chapter Acts, Appointments and Calendar Items. After the General Chapter, the January-February Plenary Session Meeting was spent carefully studying how the next six (6) years will be dedicated to follow up on the various Chapter directions and recommendations; how this will be prioritized and dwell on responsibilities distributed to the various members of the Superior General and his Council, members of the General Administration and the major superiors of the Congregation.
The calendar for the General Council Plenary sessions 2016-2022 includes the following:
April 2017 - Letter prepared by the Superior General and Council to every Unit regarding their plans on restructuring/remodelling.
April/May Plenary Session - Revision of questionnaires reflecting the new demands of the 2016 General Chapter to be sent out to the Units and to be returned to Rome at the end of 2017.
Discussion on General Committee on Mission and Commission on Youth.
2017 Regional Meetings - Initial discussion about lay associates by the General Councilors to be included in the agenda of the regional meetings.
The Unit leaders will be asked to update the directory of names and contact details of lay associations and Oblates in-charge of lay association.
December 8, 2017 to January 25, 2019 - 2018 Oblate Vocational Year (Year for Oblate Vocation in response to the 2016 General Chapter to coincide with the Vatican’s Synod of Bishops on Youth Ministry and Vocations Ministry. Official announcement will be made on May 21, 2017, Feast of the Founder. Fr. Antoni Bochm, OMI has been appointed as the liaison for Oblate Vocations.)
July 10-31, 2018 - Ongoing Formation for Novice Masters in Aix-en-Provence.
July 1-13, 2019 - Interchapter Session in Obra, Poland.
March 25-29, 2019 - Joint Session of the Central Government and AORC in Indonesia.
The academic Kusenberger Chair of Oblate Studies at the Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio was inaugurated in Rome during the January session. Frank Santucci, OMI, is the first professor of the Kusenberger Chair. He shared his plans for present and future programs in Oblate Studies for the benefit of all the Congregation. The programs will be available online.
The following members of the Internal Committee on Oblate Mission were designated as the liaison/point person to other Committees, Services or aspects of mission:
•Alberto HUAMAN: Commission for Oblate Mission with Youth
•Peter STOLL: Lay Associates/Oblate Associations
•Guillaume MUTHUNDA: OMI-JPIC General Service
•Ramon Maria BERNABE: General Committee on Oblate Brothers
The Superior General in Council has appointed Fr. Guillaume Muthunda, OMI, General Councilor for Africa-Madagascar, as Interim Director of the OMI-JPIC General Service pending a review and re-organization of the Service. The Superior General in Council has appointed Fr. Antonio Ponce (US Province) for a second term of 3 years to the JPIC Committee, representing the Canada-US region and Fr. Ali Nnaemeka Cornelius (Cameroun) working presently in Notre Dame du Cap Province, is appointed as substitute.
Provincial and Delegation Superiors and Treasurers/Bursars of Sri Lanka, Jaffna, India, Bangladesh, Hongkong-China, Korea, Japan, Turkmenistan, Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam, Australia and the Philippines actively engaged in the AORC discussions and resolutions. Due to visa delays, Fr. Simon Vadakoot, Bursar of Indian Province, Fr. Derrick and Fr. Besharat, Superior and Bursar of the Pakistan Delegation, respectively, were not able to attend the meeting. Bro. Noel Garcia, OMI, Representative-Asia-Oceania Region Brothers together with Fr. Francis Zabala, OMI served as moderators while Fr. Rodel Lopez, OMI provided computer technology support. Sc. Peter Anthony Sotomil, OMI competently worked in the secretariat. Our two (2) Vietnamese Scholastics provided the translation for their Superior and Bursar. The AORC representatives thank Fr. Richard Weixelman, OMI, OMC Director and staff for the hospitable stay at the Oblate Missionary Center.