After electing their new General Superior, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate had a meeting with Pope Francis, who told them that in the midst of a rapidly changing world, humanity needs missionaries filled love and zeal for the Gospel.
“Today, every land is 'mission territory,' every dimension of the
human being is mission territory, awaiting the announcement of the
Gospel,” he said Oct. 6.
“The field of the mission today seems to expand every day” with men
and women in desperate situations, he said. “Therefore there is need of
you, of your missionary courage, your willingness to take to all the
Good News that liberates and consoles.”
Pope Francis met with the Missionary Oblates exactly one week after
they held elections for their next Superior General in Rome, as well as
in honor of the 200th Jubilee of their founding, which is being
celebrated throughout 2016.
On Sept. 30th, the 36th Chapter of the Missionary Oblates of Mary
Immaculate reelected Fr. Louis Lougen as Superior General. Born in
Buffalo, New York in 1952, he was first named to the position of
Superior General in 2010.
Reminding them to smile, Pope Francis told the priests and brothers that they must be joyful witnesses of the Gospel.
Following the example of their founder, French priest St. Eugene de
Mazenod, charity must be the “first rule of life, the premise of all
apostolic actions,” he said. In this way, “zeal for the salvation of
souls is a natural consequence of this fraternal charity.”
Francis said both the Church and the world today are experiencing “an
era of great change,” and that the world “needs men who carry in their
hearts the same love for Jesus Christ that lived in the heart” of their
“It is important to work for a Church that is for everyone, ready to welcome and accompany!” he said.
The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, founded Jan. 25, 1816,
have institutes in the Americas, Australia, the Philippines and China.
As of January, the number of Missionary Oblates is 3,776 worldwide,
including 46 bishops and archbishops, 2,843 priests and 316 brothers.
Pointing to the “happy and providential coincidence” that their
Jubilee happens to fall during the Church's Jubilee of Mercy, Pope
Francis reminded the Oblates to renew their love for the poor and for
spreading the faith.
“It is necessary to seek appropriate, evangelical and courageous
responses to the questions of the men and women of our time,” he said.
“For this you need to look at the past with gratitude, live the
present with enthusiasm and embrace the future with hope, not letting
yourselves be discouraged by the difficulties you encounter in the
mission, but with strong fidelity to your religious and missionary