The superior of the mission was the one responsible for the smooth-running of all the activities and to ensure that they achieved their objectives. He could be regarded as a type of master-of-ceremonies, and used the time of the announcements as an important way to ensure this.

In the Ceremonial for Missions, Eugene gave an indication of the contact and human feeling he tried to convey through the avis:

The avis must be lively and interesting. It would not be advisable to give them always by way of reproach. It is even good, according to the days, to make them a little bit cheerful. But one must be very careful not to fall into buffoonery or trivial jokes: this is difficult, if the one who gives them is not skilled in good-humoured banter nor have a good knowledge of what is proper. In that case, it is infinitely better to keep the tone serious; but one should never scold, even when it is necessary to make some reprimands.

Cérémonial pour les Missions, Missions OMI, vol 78, n.276

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  1. Eleanor Rabnett, Oblate Associate says:

    Eugene was very good at what he did. I wonder if I were to meet him at a workshop or a seminar, or even a retreat as to how I would feel about him. Perhaps a love-hate thing. There is much about him that touches me, my heart, where I live today, and there is sometimes much that I do not especially like about him, recognizing something perhaps that I am familiar with in myself? Always there seems to be some kind of understanding and acceptance, so even though I might not like something he said or did I do not so much react as repond to it.

    I read his message on how to do the ‘avis’ part, what to say and how to say it. He knew instinctively what would ‘work and what wouldn’t’. And I thought about how I used to teach speakers in how to ‘touch your audience and get them to identify with you’. I was very good at that sort of thing – not bragging, just owning. I think of the words I spoke as I was in the Czech Republic and what I wrote when I was in France. I said what I had to and the written pages reflected what was going on around me.

    I have something to say, and I do know who to say it. I feel like I am claiming something vital and alive here (this has been my experience in the past couple of days). In the midst of my struggle and pain with the coming holidays and Christmas there is a part of me that is growing stronger even as I walk through the fire. I am beginning to understand the ownership and truth in Paul and Eugene, in Bro. Keiran and Catherine de Hueck Doherty, in Tom and Frank, in Anne and Erin. God is forging something within even as I walk and stumble in darkness and hurt. Those very qualities that I have noticed in others seem to be beginnings within myself.

    I thank God for all that is going on. In the long run the hurts and struggles that I seem to be facing will be just pebbles along the way say rather than the boulders I seem to be tripping over as I continue on. It might seem a bit uphill right now, but as I look up there is a growing light in the darkness, and there is a voice that continues to call me to come. Knowing and yet not sure what I am moving towards, I find myself again weeping and thanking God for such steadfast love. Today it is enough, today I am enough. Today those I am loving in all the small hidden ways that we do, they shall help carry me over the boulders on my journey.

    Not at all what Frank has written about above, but that is where his posting has brought me, again I am grateful.

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