As most of you are aware, the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate are celebrating the bi-centennial (200 years) of their foundation. On January 25, 1816 the founder with his three companions moved into what used to be a Carmelite monastery in Aix-en-Provence. These Men felt compelled to minister to the poor and those least touched by the Church. The post French Revolution Church was in crisis and to a large extent the poor were not being attended to.
Easter and more specifically Good Friday were key moments in the life of Eugene de Mazenod. He had returned from exile and was struggling to find his purpose in life. In 1807 while attending the Good Friday Service he had an encounter with Jesus on the cross. He became profoundly aware that he was loved and that his sins were being forgiven.
This experience changed everything in his life. He entered the Seminary and was ordained a priest. It was clear that his mission was to the poor. He began working in the prison and with the youth. At the foundation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate their mission and ministry was in preaching, particularly among the poor.
The impetus for the Oblate mission and ministry came from the founder’s Easter Experience. He experienced the mercy of God, the forgiveness of his sins and yes, he experienced the unfathomable love of God for him. He too became aware of his own love of God.
Canadian Martyrs Parish has been an Oblate parish from its inception and it is my privilege to join you in celebrating the gift of our salvation, the passion, death and resurrection. At Easter we bring together all of our experiences of the love of God for us. With gratitude we embrace our salvation. Indeed, there is no greater act of mercy than this. On Holy Thursday we celebrate the institution of the priesthood. We also celebrate the Last Supper, the gift of the Eucharist. On Good Friday we journey with Jesus in his passion and death. At Easter Vigil we embrace the Resurrection of Jesus.
It is our hope and prayer that each of us will experience once again the incredible merciful love of Jesus. May this be a transformative experience of becoming an Easter people. To one and all a very Blessed Easter.
James Fiori, OMI, Pastor
Jane Staples, Associate
Kaye Boone, Administrator