Oblates of Mary Celebrating 150 Years in Southern Africa

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JOHANNESBURG, South Africa, MAY 12, 2002 (Zenit.org).- The Oblates of Mary Immaculate have been celebrating their 150 years in southern Africa.



The congregation´s General Council decided to hold its meeting with African provincials in Johannesburg from April 29 to May 23.

The first five Oblates arrived in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, in 1852. The early pioneers contributed decisively to the evangelization of what was then the Apostolic Vicariate of Natal.

Four Oblate provinces have been established: in Lesotho, Natal, Transvaal and the Central Province of South Africa, with a total of 360 Oblates, including eight bishops.

These provinces have missions in Zimbabwe and Botswana. Oblates in the region work in youth pastoral care, the organization of spiritual retreats, and formation activities in cooperation with youth groups and lay adults.

The Oblates´ celebrations will include a series of religious ceremonies in Pietermaritzburg and Durban, along with pilgrimages.