Action on behalf of justice, peace and the integrity of creation is an integral part of evangelization.
Responding to the call of the Spirit, some Oblates identify themselves with the poor, sharing their life and commitment to justice; others are present where decisions affecting the future of the poor are being made.
CC&RR, Rule 9a
Oblate, Gilberto Pinon, Assistant General, said in an interview: “Today, we reap the benefits of those that planted the seeds long ago. The example left to us by our ancestors moves us to go to new places to make heard the voice of the poor. Fr. Gregorio Iriarte gave us an example, dedicating his time to the study of poor countries’ foreign debt, and Bro. Gilberto Pauwels continues the work in Bolivia in national forums, encouraging governments to raise their consciousness, to approve legislation to protect the environment in contrast to the multinational corporations that follow harmful practices.
In the United Nations in New York, and in international forums, like the World Bank and the International Labour Organization, we also have an Oblate presence that makes the voice of the poor heard, demanding fair treatment from governments and multinationals. Frs. Seamus Finn and Daniel Le Blanc collaborate with other religious, making sure that “the powerful” of the world hear “the voice” of “those without a voice”. http://www.omiworld.org/en/content/omi-interviews/761/gilberto-pi-n-omi/
Many Oblates around the world courageously teach us much about this part of our founding vision today – in extreme cases, some have endured prison and some even losing their lives in the process. As I am focusing on the Oblate unit of which I am a member, I chose to look at our Oblates whose full-time mission in JPIC related. In our website we have the example of how one man is spending his life “responding to the call of the Spirit” on behalf of the poor:
Daniel LeBlanc, OMI, Associate, International JPIC Office and Oblate UN Representative – New York
Daniel has been a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate since 1971. Daniel is Canadian, but worked in Peru from 1978 until his appointment to the Oblates’ General Administration JPIC Office in April 2007. He represents the Oblate Congregation, recognized as an NGO at the United Nations, where he follows the work of the Commissions on Social Development, including the sub-committee on the eradication of poverty, Sustainable Development, the Forum on Indigenous Peoples, Financing for Development and Migration. In this work, he collaborates closely with VIVAT International.
During his thirty years in Peru, Daniel served as pastor of several parishes in the Diocese of Carabayllo (Lima) and in the high jungle. He worked on a variety of justice issues from assisting victims of terrorism to investigating mass graves and helping to bring perpetrators to justice. He also studied law at the Pontificia Universidad Católica del Perú (PUCP). For many years, he was a member, as well as Chair, of the Latin American OMI Commission of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC).
“The church must be reminded that it is not the master or the servant of the state, but rather the conscience of the state. It must be the guide and the critic of the state, and never its tool. If the church does not recapture its prophetic zeal, it will become an irrelevant social club without moral or spiritual authority.” Martin Luther King, Jr.