A warm welcome from the MAMI Director
As Director of MAMI, on a daily basis I am learning to appreciate the wonderful support of prayer and financial assistance given by the Oblate Family to our Missions both overseas and at home in Australia.
What is being achieved through the Oblates in their respective missions would not be possible without support from the members of the Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate. The projects you assist with grow out of the experience of Oblates living with people in their need. The project is submitted and reviewed by the Provincial of the area, who then passes the request on to the MAMI office, from where in turn it is reviewed and if seen to be really making a difference to the lives of the people concerned, approved by the Australian Provincial and Council.
A few days ago Fr Charlie Burrows in Java emailed, ‘Where there was once 25,000 hectares of mangrove, this has shrunk to 8,000 and the reclaimed land has become rice fields, by facilitating the sediment flowing via gates/canals into the field in floods. The land has been raised to a height suitable for growing rice.’ The tool kits financed from the Christmas Cards are helping to equip the young trainees in the expanding network of trade schools he is building. The ‘chicken and goats’ programme is helping families at the basic domestic level relieve their poverty.
Assistance has been given to our Sri Lanka Oblates in the establishing of a centre to assist those traumatised by the civil war. We are also assisting with the training of counsellors for this project.
In Vietnam assistance is being provided to help our Oblates equip and run orphanages for abandoned children. The students from our Australian Oblate colleges returning from their immersion experiences in India are touched by the poverty and the happiness of the children in the village schools and missions staffed by the Oblates. The bike programme will make getting to school just so much easier for these young people.
The Partners in Mission, who spend several months at a time assisting poor children to learn English and so improve their employment potential, on returning from China have shared with me just how much the facilities provided by MAMI are appreciated.
I have just spent twelve months as chaplain to the Rosies Oblate Outreach in Queensland. Spiritually it did me a lot of good. Almost a thousand volunteers working through ten communities around the State bring the hand of friendship to the homeless and those on the margins of our society. From 2001–09 as parish priest of Fremantle WA, I was privileged to work with St Patrick’s Community Care Centre founded by Oblate Bro Ignatius Hannick, which houses and helps care for the needy. Both these organisations have their own fundraising programmes but they are important partners in our Oblate mission to those in need.
St Eugene’s challenge was for us ‘to make people more human and through our actions they will discover Christ’. Is this not also the call of Pope Francis?