Oblates celebrate 200th anniversary of founding
The Oblates of Mary Immaculate will celebrate the 200th anniversary of their founding in France by St. Eugene de Mazenod with a Mass Feb. 28 at 9:30 a.m. at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, 411 North Rampart St. in New Orleans.
Archbishop Gregory Aymond will join Oblate Father William Antone, provincial of the Oblates in the United States, and other Oblate priests in celebrating the Mass.
The Oblates have served in the Archdiocese of New Orleans for nearly 100 years. They came to New Orleans in 1918 to preach missions, and Archbishop John Shaw invited them to remain and offer ministry in the archdiocese. Archbishop Shaw had been familiar with the Oblates during his tenure as Bishop of San Antonio.
St. Eugene founded the Oblates on Jan. 25, 1816, about 17 years after the French Revolution. Recognizing the need of the church to serve the poor and those on the margins of life, he invited four other priests to join him in preaching missions throughout France.
The earliest members took vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. There are nearly 4,000 Oblate priests and brothers serving today in 64 countries around the world.
Their mission is based on Jesus’ words: “He has sent me to preach the Gospel to the poor.”
The Oblates’ first mission work in New Orleans required the services of six priests to staff St. Louis Cathedral and its two mission chapels: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on North Rampart and St. Mary’s Italian on Chartres Street. Many decades later, they staffed Ave Maria Retreat House in Marrero.
Today, the Oblates are stationed at Our Lady of Guadalupe/St. Jude Shrine, St. Augustine Church in Treme and the Center of Jesus the Lord at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church and are chaplains at Tulane University Medical Center.