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On 26 April, 2014, following an invitation from our Provincial, Fr Leo, we set off to be part of the MAMI Pilgrimage to the Holy Land, France and Italy, which was being led by Fr Christian Fini. It proved to be a very rewarding and fulfilling experience.
Holy Land France Italy
VOL.45, NO.3AUGUST 2014
From Bethlehem we visited Ein Karem, the birthplace of John the Baptist and also the site of the visitation of Mary to Elizabeth. The second Joyful Mystery of the Rosary (the Visitation) came alive for us as we walked up to the church dedicated toTheMagnificat.ThenthethirdJoyfulMystery became a reality as we returned to Bethlehem and visited the Church of the Nativity, built over the stable where Jesus was born. Bending low, we entered thechurchthroughtheDoorofHumilityand descended into the grotto of the Holy Manger. A Silver Star in the floor marks the spot where Jesus was born. It was a truly incredible experience!
Next day we left Bethlehem and travelled to see the port city of Caesarea. This was a particularly beautiful place and full of history. It was here that the centurion Cornelius was baptized by St. Peter. Also it was here that St. Paul was tried by the Roman Governor Festus and then sent off to Rome. We then continued on to Nazareth and on the way visited the Nazareth Village, a re-creation of the town and village life of Nazareth as in the days of Jesus. We enjoyed a traditional meal prepared for us and then were shown how things used to be done such as how oil was extracted from the olive crop and how garments were woven from wool. Later in Nazareth township we went into the Basilica of the Annunciation where a traditional cave wasthefocalpointofMarysgreatFiatinresponse to the message of the Angel. We had the privilege of celebrating Mass there.
After Nazareth we moved on to Tiberias, on the shores of Lake Galilee, where we stayed for three nights. This to me was one of the most memorable highlights of the pilgrimage when we set off in a traditional sailing vessel and celebrated Mass floating in the centre of Lake Galilee. To think that we were on the same Lake that Jesus had crossed many times and actually lived beside was really awesome. As an extra treat, after Mass we returned to the shore for a special St. Peters fish lunch.
Our group of 25 people arrived at Amman, in Jordan, on Sunday, 27 April and immediately travelled to the Dead Sea, where we stayed overnight. The Dead Sea is 400 metres below sea level and so is the lowest place on earth. Its water is very salty andforthosewhowentinforadipitwasanunsinkableexperience.Thenextdaywe travelled to Bethany beyond the Jordan, to the place where Jesus was baptized by John. We celebrated Mass at the very spot where Pope Francis was soon to visit. We then crossed the Jordan River border
into the Holy Land of Israel, known as thelandofthefifthGospel,andmoved on to Bethlehem, where we stayed two nights.
At the tomb of St Eugene De Mazenod Frs Asodo (Indonesian Province), Brian and Christian
MAMI Pilgrimage Holy Land France Italy
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Mazenod ReflectionOur Founder tells us how his personla ideal was transformed into our community reality
Directors Update The MAMI Office is in full swing with a flood of August Appeal renewal Envelopes arriving. Sandra Dwyer, who many of you would know even if only speaking to her when you call, is negotiating not only the August appeal but also the recent St John Vianneys appeal as well as a very special delivery from another special mail service (that is a stork); her first grandchild. Congratulations and blessings to Sandra and Len on this wonderful occasion.
Taking advantage of Fr Gerry Conlan OMI presence, who is back home on holidays from Kenya, there will be another MAMI appeal in Dernancourt, SA, which will add to Sandras workload. So please be a little more patient as there will be something like 3000 receipts that will be processed in August.
It has been wonderful to have Fr Gerry in the Province and hearing first hand some of the great projects that we as MAMI are supporting. Fr Gerry was the main speaker at our recent De Mazenod Family Fundraising Mass and Dinner.
As mentioned in last few newsletters, the Oblates are making a special three year journey of personal and communal conversion to our 200th Anniversary. As part of this a poster has been produced to keep this special intention in your prayers. I am sure you know the person in the foreground is St Eugene De Mazenod, the founder of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Do you know who the other Oblate in the background might be? Next time you see the poster in your Oblate community ask an Oblate who it is or otherwise youll have to wait for the next edition of MAMI.
In his letter, Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis makes a number of powerful reflections on money and the global financial system. Moneymustserve,notrule!ThePopeloves everyone, rich and poor alike, but he is obliged in the name of Christ to remind all that the rich must help, respect and promote the poor. I exhort you to generous solidarity
The newly ordained Father de Mazenod described the personal idea with which he had returned to Aix: my whole ambition was to consecrate myself to the service of the poor and of the youth. In total dedication to these poor prisoners whom I helped spiritually and materially, and among these youth who looked on me as their father he brought many to conversion and a deeper knowledge and relationship with Jesus. For three years he lived in a spirit of total self-giving (oblation) to the point of near death from typhus caught from the prisoners. His growing awareness of the spiritual needs of the most abandoned led him to understand that God was calling him to invite others to join him in living his ideal of oblation for the salvation of the most abandoned. Describing this as a strong impulse that comes from outside of me he allowed God to transform his personal ideal into a community reality.
The community was to be formed around a specific vision which requested a future membertoconsiderhisinvitationatthefoot of your crucifix with the desire to listen only to God regarding what the good of his glory and the salvation of souls demand from a priest like yourself. To another priesthisinvitationwas:Thegoodweintend to do must remedy the greatest evils that face us It is a matter of some priests banding together and continually preaching missions in all sectors of this vast diocese and surroundings Oh, dear friend, if you would be one of us! We would begin in your part of the country where religion is practically extinct as in so many other places. Five responded and joined Eugene in forming the first Oblate community.
The new community needed a place in which to live, and so Eugene was able to acquirethemajorpartoftheoldCarmeliteconvent situated at the top of the Cours with a charming church attached, somewhat the worse for wear, to tell the truth, but which we can restore to use. He continued to describe the events and the enthusiasm ofthegroup:Inthemeantimethemissionaries are on my back. They want to begin tomorrow. In vain I tell them we need time to fix the rooms and make the house habitable. They cannot wait that long!
Fourmonthslater,on25January1816,the first Oblate community came into existence-anestablishmentwhichwillsteadily furnish our countryside with fervent missionaries. These will ceaselessly engage in destroying the empire of the demon, at the same time as providing the example of a life worthy of the Church in the community which they will form. Eugene described the firstdaysofcommunitylife:Wehadlostnone of our gaiety; on the contrary, since this way of life was such a striking contrast to the one we had just given up, it often provided us with many a hearty laugh.
Two hundred years later, we, the members of the extended Mazenodian family can make our own Eugenes invitation as he lookedbackonourbeginnings:weneedtotell ourselves that we have received a great grace! We can never properly respond to it other than by an unwavering fidelity, and by a redoubled zeal and devotedness on behalf of the glory of God, the service of the Church and the salvation of souls, especially the most abandoned, as is called for by our vocation.
Fr Frank Santucci OMI
On day 7 we went to Mt. Tabor and drove up the narrow winding road to the majestic summit. Here we could relive the tremendous event of Jesus Transfiguration when he was glorified by God the Father. What a marvellous experience it was to be able to celebrate Mass at this very spot. I amsurealittlemiracleoccurredhere:AfterMass I inadvertently left my glasses behind in the vestry and went off without them. Prayers were said to St. Anthony and sure enough some days later, through the efforts of our guide, the glasses were returned to me.
From Mt. Tabor we went on to Cana where Jesus performed his first miracle on behalf of a young married couple, saving them from embarrassment on their wedding day. Here Fr. Christian held a ceremony for the married couples to enable them to renew their wedding vows. It was a very moving moment for them. Next day saw us going to the site of the famous Sermon on the Mount and we could meditate on Jesus words in the Beatitudes as we celebrated Mass here on the Mount of Beatitudes. Next stop was Samaria, visiting the actual site of Jacobs Well where Jesus ministered to the woman from Samaria. Finally we came to Jerusalem, where we stayed four nights. Words cannot describe the atmosphere we experienced as we relived those last days of Jesus. with memorable visits to The Cenacle (the room of the Last Supper), the Mount of Olives, the Garden of Gethsemane and then to walk in Our Lords footsteps along the V