As priests and brothers, we have complementary responsibilities in evangelizing.
CC&RR, Constitution 7
Passionate as a cooperator of Jesus the Savior, Eugene brought together the first Oblate priests in 1816 to make this ideal a reality for themselves and for the most abandoned. Nearly three years later the group realized that God was calling them to become religious. This meant that our Oblate identity was now first of all as consecrated religious – which made it possible for men who chose not to be priests to be missionaries.
The reasons for not wishing to be priests were many. One was that in those days in the rural south of France, only 29% of men were literate, while in the cities the literacy rate was 64%. Becoming a society of religious missionaries (as opposed to priestly missionaries) the door was opened for many men who already had a profession or trade but did not did not feel called to do further studies in order to become priests. Each would bring his talents and abilities to the service of the mission in a complementary way. The history of the ministry of the Oblate Brothers throughout the world makes for inspiring reading.
Times have changed in 200 years – and today God continues to call all Oblates to be vowed religious missionaries – and to express this religious brotherhood as Brothers or priests. We have complementary roles and responsibilities in evangelizing.
Our Rule of life portrays this picture:
Oblate Brothers share in the common priesthood of Christ. They are called to cooperate in their own way in reconciling all things in him (cf. Col 1: 20). Through their religious consecration, they offer a particular witness to a life inspired by the Gospel.
Brothers participate in the missionary work of building up the Church everywhere, especially in those areas where the Word is first being proclaimed. Missioned by the Church, their technical, professional or pastoral service, as well as the witness of their life, constitute their ministry of evangelization.
CC&RR, Rule 7a
See the article “Brothers” in the Dictionary of Oblate Values: http://www.omiworld.org/en/dictionary/dictionary-of-oblate-values_vol-1_b/1030/brothers/
“A community is like a ship; everyone ought to be prepared to take the helm.” Henrik Ibsen