Pope John Paul 2 concluded his homily at the canonization ceremony with these words:
Through patient work on himself, he was able to discipline a difficult character and govern his diocese with enlightened wisdom and firm goodness. Bishop de Mazenod led the faithful to welcome Christ in an ever more generous faith in order to live fully their vocation as children of God. His entire action was animated by a conviction which he expressed in these words: “To love the Church is to love Jesus Christ and vice versa.
Brothers and Sisters, Eugene de Mazenod invites us to follow him to present ourselves all together to the Savior who comes, the Child of Bethlehem, the Son of God made man…
Today the Church gives thanks to God for St. Eugene de Mazenod, apostle of his time, who, clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ, spent his life in service to the Gospel of God. We give thanks to God for the great transformation accomplished through the work of this Bishop. His influence is not limited to the time in which he lived, but continues to affect our time as well. Indeed, the good accomplished in virtue of the Holy Spirit does not perish, but lasts in every “hour” of history.
Thanks be to God!
Father Paolo Archiati, our Vicar General writes:
“The connection between St. Eugene, the Oblates, and the liturgical season of Advent does not stop there… Even Pope Francis, meeting the capitulars on 7 October 2016, in the sala clementina, took what was said years ago by his predecessor, inviting the Oblates of today to be “men of Advent” as well. It is an invitation that Pope Francis addressed not only to the members of the 36th General Chapter, but through them, to the whole Congregation, to each Oblate. Having said that St. Eugene was “obedient to the Holy Spirit in reading the signs of the times and assisting the work of God in the history of the Church”, the Pope addressed to us this invitation: “May you also be ‘men of Advent’, capable of grasping the signs of the new times and guiding our brothers and sisters in the ways that God opens in the Church and in the world”. It is a challenging invitation, especially if we consider what he said immediately after: “The Church is living, together with the whole world, an era of great transformations, in the most diverse fields. She needs men who carry in their hearts the same love for Jesus Christ that lived in the heart of the young Eugene de Mazenod, and the same unconditional love for her, which strives to be ever more open. It is important to work for a Church that is for everyone, a Church ready to welcome and accompany! The work to be done to accomplish all of this is vast; and you too have your specific contribution to offer”.
On the first Sunday of Advent in 1995, our Founder was canonized; on the third Sunday of this same liturgical season, in 2011, the martyrs of Spain were beatified, and, in December of last year, again on the third Sunday of Advent, the martyrs of Laos. We could say that Advent is truly “our” favorite liturgical time, because it reminds us that, through our mission, we are called to prepare the coming of the Redeemer in the hearts of those who, even without knowing it, await it.”
Pope Francis was talking to the Oblate religious and priests gathered with him, but everything that he says is applicable to every member of the Mazenodian Family.