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

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  1. Peg Hanafin says:

    Heartening in its simplicity as a way to th Lord. Thank you.

  2. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    I want to celebrate those Friends of St. Eugene, on who they are and the life that comes from them. They are our kin, and there is a very real bond between us which is Eugene de Mazenod and his spirit, his charism and way of being. I have no doubt that we are all members of the same family, perhaps not looking quite the same on the outside but our hearts – our hearts give us away.

    And I find myself once again thanking God, for God’s spirit has moved within us, has thrived within us, bringing us to life, to this very specific way of living. Could there ever be a greater gift than to recognize what we have been given is what our hearts have yearned for from the beginning. It is the Holy Spirit, that has brought each of us to where we are, sharing in this family which St. Eugene and his Oblates first began and which has grown to include all of us.

    I look forward to the day when we shall all meet together – perhaps not in this life – but what a celebration it will be to meet and be with those whose prayers have supported me/us, and those who my prayers have supported.

    This ‘getting to know you’ dear Friends of St. Eugene is gift – pure gift. “He has sent me to bring the Good News to the poor […]. The Good News is proclaimed to the poor” (Luke 4:18; Matthew 11:5). This is how we all are evangelized.

  3. Jack Lau, OMI says:

    Well it is August first, happy birthday Eugene! It is also the day the novices in the U.S. Novitiate take vows. They are entering the Mazenodian Family through vows and realize that our lives ares one of collaboration with those of one heart and soul.

  4. kirk says:

    Thank you Frank for the kind affirmation of the Friends of St. Eugene. Thank you Peg, Eleanor and Jack for your appreciative and moving comments. Yes, I understand the novice in India, Raj is also taking his first religious vows today on the birthday of St. Eugene! May the spirit of St. Eugene continue to fire us up for the work of the building up of the Kingdom of God here on earth especially as our world is experiencing so much of conflict, violence and dysfunctionalism on a day-to-day basis. God bless. Kirk

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