The Missionary Oblate Partnership held its 7th Annual De Mazenod Conference February 9-11, 2018, at the Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio.

This year’s conference brought the Partnership together with the U.S. Province’s administrative team to reflect and comment on three major areas of concern for the Province as it moves forward – sustainability, ministry and vocations.

At the conference, several keynote speakers presented prior to the discussion, including Brad Myers, former senior program officer at the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, now a private consultant in the field of philanthropy, and Fr. Louis Studer, OMI, the U.S. Oblate Provincial.

There were also presentations on specific conference topics delivered by Province Treasurer Fr. James Chambers, OMI, (who spoke about sustainability), Vicar-Provincial/Office of Mission & Ministry Fr. James Brobst, OMI (ministry) and Vocations Director Fr. Richard Hall, OMI (vocations).

After two days of presentations and group discussions, partners and administrators formed a working group that will narrow the themes and specific suggestions from the meeting, then match each with the Oblates, their resources, and convictions.

Oblate Partnership members named to this group include Sermet Agolli, Bob Klosterman, Frank Gittinger, Shari Biediger, Artie Pingolt, Ed Murray, HOMI, Fr. Studer, OMI, Fr. Chambers, OMI, and Fr. Brobst, OMI.

Pingolt reflected on the history of the Partnership and noted that it began as a group of well-meaning and well-to-do individuals who appreciated the Oblates and wanted to support them.

“I think we’re a much more diverse group than that now,” he said. “Nevertheless, we’ll be continuing to deploy our resources in ways that advances the Province and the charism.

“For example, this year we’ve launched the Partnership Mission Fund that responds to requests from foreign Oblates. In this first year, that new fund has made grants to Oblate ministries in Chad, Tijuana, India, Paraguay, Peru, Haiti, and here in the U.S.”

Pingolt added that the Partnership will likely continue as the “go-to” resource when needed. “When the Province wanted to build the School of Theology in Zambia, the Partnership funded nearly three-quarters of it. The Partnership also provided nearly 60 percent of the funds for the new residences at the Oblate Scholasticate in San Antonio.”

Attending the conference were Jasmine Azima, Shari and Charlie Biediger, Mary and Greg Blasko, Dianne and Ed Murray, Muriel and Bob Klosterman, Theresa Sandok, OSM, Vivian Vance, Paul Vance, Gee Gee and John Whitehurst, Bonnie and Frank Gittinger, Bill Morell, OMI, Frank Santucci, OMI, Seamus Finn, OMI, Lou Studer, OMI, Jim Brobst, OMI, Jim Chambers, OMI, Art Flores, OMI, Janet Payne, Joanna Perkins, Leo Perez, OMI, David Kalert, OMI, Michael Whitehurst, Mike Koroscik, Lauretta and Sermet Agolli, and Artie Pingolt.

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