Wednesday, January 31, 2024
The word Oblate is a term that many find difficult to understand when they first meet the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Missionaries? Of course, we know what that means... to work in the foreign missions. And this missionary identity of the oblates accompanies them wherever they serve. Because to be a missionary is first of all about the orientation of one’s heart, to dare to sacrifice everything for the Kingdom of Heaven, to choose paths on which no one has yet walked. The word "oblate" comes from Latin and means one who is "offered." In our charism, this is expressed, among other things, in the fact that the Oblates of the Immaculate give of themselves to reach, above all, those who are furthest away from the community of faith, from the Church.
See for yourself who we are and what we do in the Assumption Province of Missionary Oblates in Canada.
“Under the protection of the most Holy and Immaculate Virgin Mary are formed holy priests who strive to walk in the footsteps of the divine Shepherd …” - wrote St. Eugene de Mazenod in 1853.
One of the Oblates, is Fr. Pawel Ratajczak OMI, to whom I had the opportunity to ask a few questions about his ministry.
Father, I have heard that you are working as a teacher at a College. Could you tell us how this happened?
Fr. Paweł: Fr. Alfred Grzempa, OMI, who was the provincial of Assumption Province at that time, asked me to be pastor of St. Hedwig’s parish and a professor at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College. The College agreed to such an arrangement, and I’ve been teaching here since the Fall of 2018.
What does such work, ministry at the College look like?
I’m now teaching my 6th course at the College. I’ve taught courses on States of Life, the Trinity, and Christology. Work at the College involves regular lecturing, the marking of assignment and exams, and being available for the students.
How does it connect with the Oblate charism?
Work at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College connects with the Oblate charism because it deeply involves young people. Additionally, these are young people who are figuring out their vocation, their “state” in life, and so being able to teach them makes a great impact on their lives.
Being a professor, are you also a pastor to the students? I mean involvement as a priest, a pastoral minister.
Most of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom College students attend St. Hedwig’s Church, so I interact with them both as the pastor of the parish they attend during studies, and as the “pastor” of their class, the courses that I teach.
Could you share the light and shadows of this ministry? Is there anything in this ministry that brings you joy, motivates you, and is there anything that causes difficulties?
It is frustrating at times to deal with the organizational aspects of being a landlord to the College. On the other hand, it is a joy to see students grow, develop, and mature, in their years at the College.
Thank you for sharing with us about your ministry. God bless you!
(TJ/photos Fr. Paweły&sainthedwigchurch.com)