New Needs, New Means: OMI Lacombe Canada Responds


New Needs, New Means: OMI Lacombe Canada Responds

Oblates and Associates are responding across the country, creating new means to meet new needs of the time.  Here are a few stories about what’s taking place across the Province.  Throughout these weeks, we hope our sharing helps us to maintain connection, bridge the distances, and inspire us.  We are in this together with the Spirit to guide the way.

This week we have stories from Taché, Saskatchewan and BC Districts and the Kenya Mission.

To submit your stories, please email Fr. Richard Beaudette at

Mark your calendars – LET’S PRAY TOGETHER!!!

Throughout his lifetime, St. Eugene strove to stay in touch with his sons – the collection of his letters to the Oblates scattered around the world is staggering in its volume.  He also highly encouraged all the Oblates to be united in prayer, through Oraison.  As members of the Mazenodian family, we are encouraged to remain united through various means.  We have discovered during this time of pandemic that it is even more vital for us to connect, to encourage one another, to share life (if even only online, through email or on the phone) and to share faith. While we are limited in the ways we can gather physically, we can still gather in spirit and prayer, and these days we can even have visual contact through the internet.

To celebrate the Feast of St. Eugene on May 21, you are invited to gather for a half hour of prayer beginning at 4:00 pm Eastern (Ottawa) Time.  If you would like to join us, via Zoom, with other members of our family please use the link: .  A reminder email will also be sent out on May 21.

Taché District – St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish, Winnipeg

As he walks from Gertrude Residence to St. Kateri Tekakwitha Aboriginal Catholic Parish in Winnipeg, MB, Fr. Arokia Vijay Deivanayagam, OMI makes time to share what’s been happening in his life since the onset of COVID 19.  Pastor of St. Kateri parish just under a year now, he’s walking to the parish and plans to get to the hospital later in the day to visit the sick.  He mentions he’s visited the hospital a few times to give ‘last rites’ and offer the sacrament of anointing for the sick.  With the parish, he connects the community to online masses and maintains his connection to parishioners by making phone calls.  “Our crowd is not computer literate” he says, “so it’s been hard to reach people spiritually.  We phone people to let them know what’s happening and we do post pictures on Facebook.  Mostly, it’s conversations over the phone that holds us together.”  Fr. Vijay, as he’s known, lives in community at Gertrude Residence with Fr. Dominique Kerbrat, OMI and Br. Thomas Novak, OMI.  Check out the parish Facebook page at

Sasktachewan District – Corrine Pambrun – Oblate Associate

“The show must go on!” If you know Oblate Associate Corrine Pambrun, you know of her irrepressible nature. That, combined with her commitment to the Oblate family, has kept her busy, ‘keeping on, keeping on.” From her office at Queen’s House, where social distancing allows her and a few others to continue working, she juggles the multiple roles involved in being a Co-Administrator for the Saskatchewan District.  Working with the community itself and its leadership, as well as Queen’s House, MAMI, and Trinity Manor, there is never a lack of work. “Bills still need to be paid, reports written and filed,” she notes.  Queen’s House ‘Spring Fling’ generated lots of mail and there are always virtual meetings to schedule and attend.

The necessary Covid-19 adjustments have been challenging but even amidst the hardships, Corrine notes the blessings.  Painful staff cuts had to be made but government support has been available.  Meetings and gatherings have been cancelled but are replaced by frequent ZOOM calls.  The necessary work continues, and people can see each other’s faces.  Visits to the Oblates at Trinity Manor are prohibited but Corrine and Rita McKaig, Co-Administrator, conscientiously make frequent phone calls and send emails.  Corrine also mentions, with gratitude, the great support given by the Core Team in Ottawa.  Their frequent presence through ZOOM conference calls, “gives us strength,” she says.  “It let’s us know we are in this together.”

If it is all about connection for Corrine, and it is, she is finding the blessings in her personal life as well.  She and her husband Blain have embraced the social distancing guidelines but work at staying connected to their family, their parish and their community.  The new extended ‘family bubble’ directive has allowed them recently to embrace their new grandson, born only five weeks before the lockdown began.  Participating in an on-line rosary offered by her parish connected Corrine to 600 other people, many of whom she figured she knew.  She and Blain support local restaurants with a weekly take-out order, not a hardship at all, she finds!  And once again, it is gratitude that she expresses, “We are so blessed.”

Perseverance is an Oblate value, but it is perhaps a subtle one that does not advertise itself loudly. Corrine keeps on, keeping on in the face of new circumstances in order to meet the new needs of the community at this time.  In her persevering and fidelity, she lives the charism.

BC District – Fr. Jim Dukowski, OMI

“We are all in the same storm,” Fr. Jim Dukowski comments, “but we are not all in the same boat.” Referencing the oft-quoted statement, “We are all in the same boat,” relating to Covid-19 and its effects, Jim offers a gentle correction.  As he self-isolates with his Oblate community at The Crescent in Vancouver B.C. in relative comfort, his close contact with the Oblate community in Peru and his friends there tells him a very different story.  The reality is that some people’s ‘boats’ are better than others, he notes, and often significantly so.

Living at the Crescent, Jim is fully aware of the advantages he enjoys: being safe in his own home with his community; having a beautiful park right outside the front door; the availability of a chapel; and even a swimming pool [should the weather ever warm up.]  Jim also recognizes so much of what we in Canada often take for granted: free access to an excellent health care system; the privilege of being able to social distance; and even the unlimited availability of clean water.  “Really,” he asks, almost rhetorically, “what better place could there be?”

But he knows the situation is not the same for others.  Jim has been back in Canada for three years only after eighteen years of missionary work in Peru so his ties to the people there are close.  These days, he is hearing firsthand of the struggles they are facing, including the sad news that two pastoral agents he knows died of Covid and many others are suffering.  A majority don’t have access to medicine, health care, or clean water, and they are unable to self isolate or social distance. “If they don’t work, they don’t eat,” Jim points out.

Jim carries that reality and the suffering people close in his heart.  Through regular phone calls and emails, he offers his prayerful support.  His awareness of their plight leads him to a deeper appreciation for and gratitude to the Crescent community.  Gathering for prayer, shared meals and, he notes with a smile, the twin pillars of the holy hour of Eucharist and the happy hour of social gathering, they have become even more like a family.

It is the same storm and we are not all in the same boat.  But the Oblate commitment to community remains strong and brings us into solidarity with those near and far as we hold them all in our hearts.

Kenya Mission by Fr. Gideon Rimberia, OMI

The Psalmist in Psalms 24:4 assures us and the faithful that in the valley of the shadow of death the Lord is with us and we shouldn’t be afraid.  In the midst of COVID-19 pandemic, the Psalmist still continues to call every sheperd/pastor to realize that we have a duty and it’s our obligation to give the faithful hope and reassurance as they go through this transition period and the reality of its impact.


Adding my Voice: Advocacy for a Better World

Even working from home during the pandemic, we can advocate for a more just and greener future!

In October 2019, at the Vatican during the Synod on the Amazon, Pope Francis referred to the region as “the lungs of the world.” He expressed concern for the preservation of the rainforest as well as the Indigenous peoples whose cultures and ways of life are under attack there.

The month-long meeting was titled, “New Paths for the Church, and for an Integral Ecology.” In the Synod’s Final Document, we read:

“For Christians, interest and concern for the promotion and respect of human rights, both individual and collective, is not optional. Human beings are created in the image and likeness of God the Creator, and their dignity is inviolable. That is why the defence and promotion of human rights is not merely a political duty or a social task, but also and above all a requirement of faith.”

Unfortunately, environmental destruction in Brazil’s portion of the Amazon continues to climb – from an 11 year high in 2019, deforestation in the first four months of 2020 was up 55%.  Some 1,202 square kilometres have been cut or burned this year according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research (using satellite data to measure this.)

The Christian community can demand that the government of Brazil enforce the legal means already available to it to end the uncontrolled destruction of the Amazon rainforest and threats to Indigenous communities from extractive industries and massive agro-industrial developments. Please write to:

His Excellency Denis Fontes de Souza Pinto
Ambassador of Brazil to Canada
460 Wilbrod St.
Ottawa, ON
K1N 6M8

Lifting Our Spirit

In these uncertain times, we need to care not only for our physical health, but for our emotional and spiritual health as well.  We all need something to lift our spirits!  Each week, we will be presenting you with something you might find inspirational, comforting, thoughtful or even, perhaps, amusing!

Lean on me!!!

Resources for Resiliency in Times of Crisis

St. Luke’s Institute in the United States is a sister organization to Southdown Institute and the Carter Centre for Leadership near Toronto.  St. Luke’s has a wide variety of online resources, some of which they’ve made available free of charge.  See available online resources at St. Luke’s website,


Fr. Richard Beaudette –
Isabelle Gigault –
Lucie Leduc –
Joe Gunn –
Sandra Prather –