Become an Oblate
The steps involved in joining the Oblates.
Most Missionary Oblates inquired about religious life or priesthood because we felt some sort of attraction to the idea of a serving God as a brother or priest. We felt deeply that we were being invited to a deep relationship with God, the Church and the world…
If you’ve experienced something similar, it’s possible that God is calling you to a vocation as a brother or priest. One of the questions people ask when considering a vocation is, ‘what do you have to do become an Oblate priest or brother. What follows are the basic steps.
Step One: Meet with local Oblate brother or priest
If you are actively thinking about religious life or priesthood, or if you’re simply curious, feel free to contact our Vocation Director, Fr John McFadden, OMI. He will be happy to speak with you.
Initially it is a good idea to meet and talk with a local Oblate brother or priest. He will be able to provide you with information and advice as to how to go about making a decision (the process of discernment). He will also be able to share with you his own vocation story.
If you don’t know an Oblate living near you, then contact Fr John, who will arrange to visit you, or have an Oblate in your area get in touch with you. Fr John is there to help you with your discernment with the hope that the best decision possible will be made both for you and the Oblate community.
When the Apostles first met Jesus and were curious about His mission, Jesus told them to come and see. With this in mind we offer a number of different discernment opportunities throughout the year where you can talk with Oblates and others like yourself who are searching for God’s will in their lives Please feel free to contact Fr. John at any time if you are interested in help with beginning the process of discerning your vocation or have any questions about the process:
Step Two: Apply to the Pre-Novitiate Community
If, after this first step, you feel a growing interest or attraction to the Oblate life, you can apply to the Pre-Novitiate Community. This period is a time of orientation and a chance to try our Oblate way of life to see if it fits. It will give you the chance to meet, work and live with Oblates first-hand, and also an opportunity to undertake some preliminary studies while resident in our Formation House in London.
Step Three: Explore Oblate Life and Spirituality
If, during this time of trying on Oblate life, you decide, through prayer and discussions with the community to further explore life as an Oblate, you apply to enter what is called the Novitiate year. This year is at the heart of the Oblate formation process, focusing on our spirituality, the life and charism of our founder St Eugene de Mazenod, our history and traditions, and the vows we profess.
Novitiate is a time set aside for prayer and personal growth in faith, under the guidance of the Director of Novices and a Spiritual Director or Mentor, whose role is to “walk with you” on your journey towards becoming an Oblate. During this year some feel called to become Oblates – they have a sense of peace and being at home – while others find religious life is not for them and decide to leave. For those who, in dialogue with those on the Novitiate Team, ask to become Oblates and are accepted, the year concludes with the first formal commitment to the Order, the making of First Vows. These temporary vows include the profession of poverty, chastity, obedience and perseverance for one year.
Step Four: Start Studies for Priesthood or Brotherhood
Once you have made this public commitment to live out the vows for a year, you take up your studies for priesthood or brotherhood. Our students normally take their theological and pastoral studies at a Theological Institute in London or at our International Theological Institute in Rome
Every year, in dialogue with the Oblate community, you will be invited to renew your vows for another year. After three years, you may apply to make your Final Vows, which makes you a full member of the Congregation. In addition to studies, you will be (whether for priesthood or brotherhood) given a variety of ministry experiences to develop skills and prepare you for missionary life. For those becoming priests, ordination to Diaconate comes after Final Vows, and is followed by ordination to the Priesthood.
If you seek to live your Oblate life as a Brother, the formation process may vary in terms of the studies you pursue. This can include social work, catechetics, teaching, and the whole array of professions and trades that might be needed in furthering our mission to serve the poor with their many faces.