As priests and brothers, we have complementary responsibilities in evangelizing.
CC&RR, Constitution 7
I dream that in a future general chapter this article of our Rule of Life will be amended to “As members of the Mazenodian Family, we have complementary responsibilities in evangelizing as priests and brothers and laity.” It would be a more realistic reflection of the situation that is actually being lived in many parts of the world. An example of this missionary complementarity is seen in the Anglo Irish Oblate province groups known as “Friends of Saint Eugene.” I quote from their website (http://oblates.ie/ministries/friends-of-st-eugene-ministries/):
“Friends of St. Eugene are people who wish to find out more about the life of St. Eugene and his gift to the church and how they can live out his vision in their own lives. They support each other through Friendship, Prayer and Service to make a difference in their local area.
What do the Friends of St Eugene do?
Friends of St. Eugene usually meet monthly.
The Friends of St. Eugene learn about the life and mission of St. Eugene and how they can continue this mission today in their own homes, parishes and work places.
Based on their Oblate commitments, Friends of St. Eugene usually undertake a project during Advent and Lent to help poor and marginalised people either locally or abroad.
The story so far….
Since the canonisation of St. Eugene, founder of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, many people are seeking to know more about St. Eugene and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and share in the Oblate gift to the Church.
In Britain and Ireland, the Oblates are responding by encouraging the formation of Friends groups to help people answer their baptismal call by focusing on the dignity and sacredness of each person, especially those on the margins of Church and society. The Friends usually have a link with local vowed Oblates.
Nine Friends of St Eugene groups have been established in the UK since 2010, with an emphasis on Friendship, Prayer and Service. Currently, there are 80 members in the Friends of St Eugene groups, who represent a cross-section of social, economic and ethnic backgrounds, and who actively live the spirituality of St Eugene. Peoples’ social conscience has been awakened and acted upon both at home and overseas. Examples of this include:
– Providing Sunday lunch for lonely people
– Volunteering for food banks
– Fundraising for African orphanages
– Supporting prisoners of conscience
“One of the marvelous things about community is that it enables us to welcome and help people in a way we couldn’t as individuals. When we pool our strength and share the work and responsibility, we can welcome many people, even those in deep distress, and perhaps help them find self-confidence and inner healing.” Jean Vanier