Personal and spiritual solidarity

How time flies. It was just a few years ago that this column reported on the Missionary Oblate Partnership (www.oblatepartnership.org). Having begun in 2004 with a handful of participants, it is today an organization that comprises over 75 members in the United States and Europe! Congratulations to the U.S. Province of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and to the Partnership’s president, Artie Pingolt, and his staff.

Readers will remember the mission statement of this growing collaboration between the Oblates of Mary Immaculate and the laity:

The Missionary Oblate Partnership is a voluntary association of Oblates of Mary Immaculate and men and women working together to support the Oblate charism of serving the world’s poor. Rooted in the Body of Christ, the Partnership believes that each of us, even though our lives may be miles or worlds apart, are called to be one with each other. Individually and together we are called to be one – with Christ.

The Partnership’s objectives are twofold. First, to facilitate an understanding by Partners of the world’s  poor that stimulates greater personal and spiritual solidarity with these poor as our brothers and sisters. Second, to experience this solidarity as a call to action, which seeks to further this connection between Partners and these ‘least’ through prayerful, emotional and financial support of Oblates and those who share their ideals, in the United States and around the world.

It is our belief that in meeting these two objectives both Partners and those we serve become more deeply identified with the truth most central to our faith: that we are all one in the Body of Christ.”

Through conference calls, reports, meetings and on-site visits, Partners maintain an ongoing understanding of the activities that the Oblates conduct in 68 countries around the world in support of the poor. As one would imagine, it is an association which lends itself to effective and more informed philanthropy.

In addition to benefitting Partners, the Partnership is also an educational resource for the larger Church as is evidenced by the annual De Mazenod (the Order’s founder) Conference where critical issues facing the Church are explored. This year’s conference was a follow up on last year’s session which addressed “Missing in Action, Engaging and Re-engaging Catholics”. Next year’s session will touch on “Practicing the Presence of God: Catholic spirituality for Everyday Living”

Mr. Pingolt and his staff are doing something right. The Partnership continues to attract new members in search of spiritual and personal solidarity.

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