February 17, 2020 — OMI Philippines marked the 194th anniversary of the Papal approbation of the Constitutions and Rules of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate with joyful and festive celebrations in the different Oblate Districts. The day, known as Oblates' day, celebrates the approval by Pope Leo XII in 1826 of the then young Congregation founded by Father Eugene de Mazenod who with four other secular priests came to live together 10 years before and concerned themselves principally with ministering to the neglected people of France in the aftermath of the French Revolution.
Oblates' Day has traditionally been observed to honor the ministry of the Oblates with their co-workers and stakeholders. It is usually celebrated in the four Notre Dame schools administered by the Oblates of the Philippines (Notre Dame of Greater Manila [NDGM], Notre Dame University Cotabato City [NDU], Notre Dame of Midsayap College [NDMC], and Notre Dame of Jolo College [NDJC]).
This year's celebration saw the groundbreaking of the new Senior High School covered court of Notre Dame of Jolo College (NDJC). The ceremony was spearheaded by NDJC's President, Fr. Eduardo Santoyo, OMI. Fr. Charlie Inzon, OMI, the current Provincial, together with the Vice Governor of Sulu, the Hon. Abdusakur Tan II and some other government officials graced the ceremony with their presence. Other Oblates in Jolo were also at hand to celebrate the occasion.
Cotabato District celebrated the day with a Holy Mass offered by Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr., OMI and concelebrated by the Oblate Fathers of the District. The Mass was attended by the Faculty and the non-teaching staff of Notre Dame University as well as other Oblate friends and co-workers. Sisters from the Oblates of Notre Dame and the Religious from Notre Dame of the Missions also joined in the celebration. The Mass was graced by the presence of His Eminence Orlando Cardinal B. Quevedo, OMI who, although not participating in the Mass as celebrant, was present nevertheless for the occasion. The Oblates had a hearty meal afterwards at the NDU Faculty House with a lively chat with the Cardinal regarding his reminiscence of being a former President of NDU and about the early days of Oblate ministry in the Philippines.
The Oblates of Kidapawan celebrated Oblates' Day at the gymanasium of Notre Dame of Midsayap College (NDMC). The celebration began with a concelebrated Mass principally offered by the District Superior, Fr. Jay Virador, OMI and was well attended by the members of the NDMC community together with numerous other Oblate friends. The day was joyfully marked with a program honoring the Oblates by calling them to the stage and presenting them with gifts.
Notre Dame of Greater Manila community also celebrated the day with the celebration of the Mass. Teachers, staff and students of Notre Dame of Greater Manila celebrated the day with the Oblates. Afterwards, the day was cheerfully celebrated with a program. ⊕ (RFL)