The first stage towards becoming an Oblate Associate involves learning a little more about the Oblates, their charism, and what Oblate Association is.
This is done with the assistance of District Animators, who are the local contacts, and Oblates and Associates in one’s area.
Interested persons are invited to attend local Oblate and Associate meetings as guests, participating as possible.
They also explore basic informational material on Eugene and the Oblates.
After a period of time, the person and the District Animators meet to discuss the person’s sense of call to association.
On-going questions to consider are: Is the charism, spirituality and mission of the OMI Lacombe Oblates ‘speaking’ to the person? Is there a basic desire for deepening faith practice and service? Is there a willingness and an ability to commit to formation, to attend meetings and participate in a community?
If there is agreement that the person should continue the process of becoming an Oblate Associate, the invitation is for them to begin Stage Two, the intentional process of Formation.
This is a time for a more focused study of St. Eugene de Mazenod, the Oblate charism and OMI Lacombe Canada.
It is also a time for building an on-going connection with the Oblate community and a discernment of one’s mission.
The person continues to attend meetings, and maintain contact with a guide/mentor who will accompany him or her through the formation process.
There is no set time frame for the formation period as it follows local practice and respects the individual’s personal journey.
Elements of formation include:
After the formation period, and when the individual feels ready to do so, s/he undertakes a discernment process with the District Animators where they discuss prayerfully the call to association.
If in this process, it is decided that there is a call to be an Oblate Associate, a formal request is made to the District Leadership Team, and subsequently to the Provincial Leadership Team.
Upon being accepted at both levels of leadership, the person makes a formal Commitment in the presence of the Oblate community.
Commitment is made annually for the first three years and subsequently for three year time periods.