Supporting the Oblates of the Sacred Heart
In January 2020, it will be six years since I arrived in Frenchs Forest parish. I enjoy my work here in this community. It can be challenging, but it’s also deeply satisfying. I sincerely thank you for the support and encouragement you have been giving me.
When I joined my order, the Oblates of the Sacred Heart, in Kerala in 1986, I had no idea of what lay ahead for me. I had no idea of the joys or the heartaches, or that one day I’d be working in Australia. In December, I’m pleased to say that the Oblates of the Sacred Heart will be ordaining another four priests for missionary service. Maybe they, too, will one day come to work in Australia, and perhaps even in Frenchs Forest. They would like it here.
My order currently has another 18 Major Seminarians studying Theology and 16 studying Philosophy in various Seminaries in India. There are also another 36 Minor Seminarians in formation. They are all being trained for missionary service in different parts of India, and across the world.
Over the last 15 years, 7 OSH priests have served in Broken Bay Diocese. 5 are still on appointment (here at Frenchs Forest and at Kuring-Gai Chase Parish).
The Society of the Oblates of the Sacred Heart was established in 1921, in Kottayam, Kerala, India. We currently have 84 priests active in pastoral ministry, and we also have many missionary projects in several poor communities. Through our Sacred Heart Social Service Society (SHESSS) we do what we can to address the dreadful living conditions of many poor communities in India. We have, for example, been installing safe drinking water and new sanitation systems. We have also helped to build and maintain homes.
We have established several schools, and this year we opened a new nursery school with 215 students in a rented building in Maharashtra State. We have also bought land in Punjab State where we hope to build a new school.
We provide financial assistance to many children to help with their education and each year we provide hundreds of students with study materials (including uniforms, text books, note books, umbrellas, pens and backpacks). We are also tackling the issue of learning difficulties, by training parents and teachers and offering special classes for the children.
All this work comes at a great cost, for which the Oblates of the Sacred Heart receive no government funding.
I am grateful to our Diocesan Administrator, Fr David Ranson, for allowing Frenchs Forest and Kuring-Gai Chase Parishes to conduct a special fundraising appeal for the Oblates of the Sacred Heart next weekend 14 & 15 September. All monies raised will be used to further the Seminary Formations charitable and pastoral work of the order.
I hope you will consider supporting the work of the Oblates of the Sacred Heart. This is the first opportunity we have been given to do this. Every contribution, however modest, will be more than gratefully received. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask me.
Fr Jose Philip OSH