The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, Clergy Formation, the Mass Media, the Foreign Missions, Lay Formation
Directing the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius
The Oblates of the Virgin Mary, always aware of the sign of the times and of the variety of situations found in local churches, feel called by the Spirit to dedicate themselves to the apostolate of the Spiritual Exercises. They share Venerable Lanteri’s enthusiasm for both the ministry of preaching and reconciliation, most especially as expressed in the spiritual dynamics of the Ignatian Exercises. They give these Exercises in retreat houses (either for groups or individuals) or in the form of parish missions, adapting them to the needs of the local community. As far as it is possible, the Congregation opens its houses to priests and lay people who come to do the Exercises, guiding them in their spiritual experience.
Supporting Clergy Formation
Both Venerable Lanteri and the early Oblates felt called to work for the formation of the clergy. Faithful to this tradition, the Congregation today supports the specialization of those Oblates who feel called to work in this apostolate. The Oblates are convinced of the great good they do in the Church by contributing to a better formation of its ordained ministers through teaching, spiritual direction, and other works. The Oblates form themselves before they form others. Then they set out to work in the guided formation of future priests in seminaries, as well as in the ongoing formation of the clergy after priestly ordination, putting themselves at the service of the bishops for this purpose, to help guide appropriate formation programs.
Propagating the Truth through the Mass Media
The Oblates, heirs of the spirit of Lanteri, are sensitive to the great good that can be done by entering into the heart of society and the Church, where a variety of messages are presented, to support and disseminate the heritage of Revelation as taught by the magisterium of the Church. They are men who are committed to knowing in a profound manner the sign of the times and the trends of their culture. They are also committed to identifying the strengths and weaknesses of modern society and are dedicated to supporting the truth with adequate means. Like Lanteri in his cultural context, the Oblates are convinced of the power that the means of social communication have in influencing currents of thought in society. Therefore, they enter the world of communication to spread the doctrine of the Church, using all these means of communication to reach everyone in society with the message of Christ.
Proclaiming the Gospel in the Foreign Missions
The Congregation sees this apostolate as an important part of its apostolic activity, remembering its past in the mission of Burma and, at the same time, being sensitive to the current needs of the Church. It undertakes to contribute with all the means at its disposal to the spread of the faith and to the promotion of missionary activities.
Supporting Lay Formation
Lanteri, when with his “Amicizie” or “Friendship Groups,” carried out an intense pastoral work together with the laity. The Oblates are characterized by a particular esteem for the dignity of the laity and pay particular attention to collaboration with them in apostolic work. This availability is a quality of every Oblate, whatever the specific circumstances of his apostolic activity. In this way, each local Oblate community becomes a center for the engagement of the laity in the area. The association of lay people with the Congregation is also envisaged in this engagement, in order to support its commitments of evangelization.