Oblates’ Day Celebration in the Philippines

Leo XII, the Pope who approved the Constitutions and Rules of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate on February 17, 1826 bestowing upon the Congregation the title and the patronage of Mary Immaculate. In his apostolic letter, the Pope gave his approval and decreed for the then-called congregation of the Missionary Oblates of St. Charles: "We hereby with a ready and willing mind, establish it [the Congregation], and wish it to be known by the name of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of the Most Holy Virgin Mary, conceived without sin." (image from Wikipedia)

February 17, 2020 — OMI Philippines marked the 194th anniversary of the Papal approbation of the Constitutions and Rules of the Congregation of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate with joyful and festive celebrations in the different Oblate Districts. The day, known as Oblates' day, celebrates the approval by Pope Leo XII in 1826 of the then young Congregation founded by Father Eugene de Mazenod who with four other secular priests came to live together 10 years before and concerned themselves principally with ministering to the neglected people of France in the aftermath of the French Revolution.

Oblates' Day has traditionally been observed to honor the ministry of the Oblates with their co-workers and stakeholders. It is usually celebrated in the four Notre Dame schools administered by the Oblates of the Philippines (Notre Dame of Greater Manila [NDGM], Notre Dame University Cotabato City [NDU], Notre Dame of Midsayap College [NDMC], and Notre Dame of Jolo College [NDJC]).

The Oblates of Jolo at the Cathedral of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel celebrating Oblates' Day: (L to R) Br. Roberto Angelo Diana, Fr. Raul Veneracion, Fr. Charlie Inzon, Fr. Eduardo Santoyo. [ctto Fr. Ed Santoyo, OMI]
Groundbreaking of the new Senior High School Covered Court of NDJC. The President, Fr. Eduardo Santoyo, OMI (3rd from left) speaheaded the ceremony, while Fr. Provincial (1st from left) and the Vice Governor of Sulu (2nd from left) were also present for the occasion. Br. Bobby Diana, OMI, the current director of NDJC's campus ministry is 5th from left. [ctto Fr. Ed Santoyo, OMI]

This year's celebration saw the groundbreaking of the new Senior High School covered court of Notre Dame of Jolo College (NDJC). The ceremony was spearheaded by NDJC's President, Fr. Eduardo Santoyo, OMI. Fr. Charlie Inzon, OMI, the current Provincial, together with the Vice Governor of Sulu, the Hon. Abdusakur Tan II and some other government officials graced the ceremony with their presence. Other Oblates in Jolo were also at hand to celebrate the occasion.

Br. Emilio Ungsod, OMI listens attentively to the announcements after the Post Communion prayer of the Mass celebrating Oblates' Day. The Oblates of the District of Cotabato marked the day with a Holy Mass at the Archbishop Mongeau Chapel located within the grounds of Notre Dame University in Cotabato City.
Oblates of Cotabato District during the Oblates' Day celebration at Notre Dame University (from L to R, Fr. Danny Sergio, Fr. Rodel Lopez, Br. Emilio Ungsod, Fr. Howard Tatel, Fr. Marciano Andres, Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr, Orlando Cardinal Quevedo, Fr. Francis Zabala, Fr. Heriberto Villas, Fr. Alberto Cahilig) [ctto Fr. Franz Zabala, OMI]

Cotabato District celebrated the day with a Holy Mass offered by Fr. Eliseo Mercado Jr., OMI and concelebrated by the Oblate Fathers of the District. The Mass was attended by the Faculty and the non-teaching staff of Notre Dame University as well as other Oblate friends and co-workers. Sisters from the Oblates of Notre Dame and the Religious from Notre Dame of the Missions also joined in the celebration. The Mass was graced by the presence of His Eminence Orlando Cardinal B. Quevedo, OMI who, although not participating in the Mass as celebrant, was present nevertheless for the occasion. The Oblates had a hearty meal afterwards at the NDU Faculty House with a lively chat with the Cardinal regarding his reminiscence of being a former President of NDU and about the early days of Oblate ministry in the Philippines.

Orlando Cardinal Quevedo in a hearty conversation while having breakfast with the Oblates of the District of Cotabato at the NDU Faculty House.

The Oblates of Kidapawan celebrated Oblates' Day at the gymanasium of Notre Dame of Midsayap College (NDMC). The celebration began with a concelebrated Mass principally offered by the District Superior, Fr. Jay Virador, OMI and was well attended by the members of the NDMC community together with numerous other Oblate friends. The day was joyfully marked with a program honoring the Oblates by calling them to the stage and presenting them with gifts.

Oblates of Kidapawan District celebrating Oblates' Day at Notre Dame of Midsayap College (from L to R, Fr. Rockmoore Saniel, Fr. Romeo Marcellino, Fr. Hilario Asilo, Fr. Ignacio Rellin, Fr. Jonathan Domingo, Fr. Stephen Ondoy, Fr. Jay Virador, Fr. Prudencio Alviar, Fr. Roberto Layson, Fr. Eleno Balboa, Fr. Rogelio Tabuada, Fr. Raul Biasbas, Fr. Elmer Boston, Fr. Ian Dignos, Fr. Jaime Mallo, Fr. Navarro Matas, and Fr. Mark Yoniz Beley) [ctto Fr. Jon Domingo, OMI]
The Notre Dame of Greater Manila students, faculty and staff gathered together at the school's gymnasium to celebrate Oblates' Day. [ctto Fr. Dens Basada, OMI]
Oblate Fathers of Manila District concelebrating Holy Mass for Oblates' Day [ctto Fr. Dens Basada, OMI]

Notre Dame of Greater Manila community also celebrated the day with the celebration of the Mass. Teachers, staff and students of Notre Dame of Greater Manila celebrated the day with the Oblates. Afterwards, the day was cheerfully celebrated with a program. ⊕ (RFL)