The Year of Oblate Vocations – The Inspiration of the Cross
Oblate crosses serve as both an inspiration and a challenge for the Oblates who own them and these crosses have the potential to continue to inspire and challenge others, even after their owners have entered eternal life. As a direct symbol and reminder of the mission of Christ to the world, Oblate crosses were never intended to be left to gather dust. These powerful religious pieces were always intended to draw people towards the mission and to encourage and challenge people to continue the mission of Christ.
In this Year of Oblate Vocations, a great initiative has started in two Oblate communities on either end of the country to each other. Amidst the sunshine of Queensland, the school community of Iona College have invited the boys and their families to host the Oblate crosses in their homes for a week at a time. The crosses of the late Fr John Hannah OMI and Fr Michael Clarke OMI accompany the boys home each week and invite their families to reflect upon the significance of the mission cross and pray for vocations.
On the other end of the continent, in the lush, green La Trobe Valley, the parishes of Moe and Newborough have started a similar venture. Each week a different family from the parishes or one of the school communities is presented with the cross of the late Fr John Dunlea OMI at the Sunday Eucharist. They take the cross and accompanying prayers home for the week. The parishioners have taken to the idea and even now invite other parishioners, neighbours and family to join them in their home for this time of prayer and a cup of tea to follow. The parishioners pray for the Oblate Year of Vocations, but also for Synod on Youth, Faith and Vocational Discernment and the 2020 Plenary Council, which is already underway here in Australia. When the cross is taken by a school community, it is the task of the ‘Mini Oblates’ group to take the cross to a different class each day to lead the prayers there.
In both communities, we hope that the Oblate cross will inspire people with the knowledge of the immense love God has for them, just as it did for Eugene that one Good Friday. The cross is a challenging symbol for many, but for Christians it is the sign of unconditional love and doorway for our own redemption by Christ to a life hereafter. Let us pray alongside these families and communities that the cross of Christ may inspire us to love more openly and more deeply. We continue to pray that this Year of Oblate Vocations may inspire young men to discern the call that comes from Christ to take up our own crosses and follow him as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.
Special thanks goes to Fr Michael Twigg OMI, Rector of Iona College, Mr Wayne Wilden, Dean of Faith and Mission at Iona College and Fr Harry Dyer OMI, Parish Priest of Moe & Newborough.