Blessings from the Canonization of St. Eugene de Mazenod

Group participants from Indonesia with Indonesian Cardinal, Julius Kardinal Darmaatmadja. Left: Fr. Niko, OMI

The canonization of Saint Eugene de Mazenod, Founding Father of the Congregation Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, brings great joy to the Oblates and the Mazenodian Family. Many Oblates and Mazenodian Families took time to attend this great historical event. OMI Province of Indonesia also joined in this event. Two groups went to Rome to attend in person the Holy Mass for the Canonization of Saint Eugene de Mazenod led by Pope John Paul II at the Basilica of Saint Peter in Vatican on December 3, 1995. One of the participants from Indonesia was Father Nikolaus Ola Paokuma, OMI (Father Niko) who is currently being stationed in Cilacap.  He recalls the historical events that brought him great blessings.

"Attending directly the Mass of the Canonization of St. Eugene de Mazenod at Vatican was the fondest memory of my life. Good memories mean a lot of good experiences that I had. First of all, it was the first time for me to go abroad. We departed from Soekarno-Hatta Airport right on my birthday, 18 November. The group consisted of three: the late Fr. Heribertus Boedhy Prihatna, OMI, Fr. Gregorius Basir Karimanto, OMI, and myself. We took the French route, arriving in Paris and continued to Marseille to have a pilgrimage on the footsteps of our Founding Father.

“It was also my first time feeling the cold of Europe and its snow. From Marseille, the three of us flew to Rome to join another Indonesian group led by the late Fr. John O'Doherty, OMI. The Holy Mass for the Canonization of Saint Eugene de Mazenod took place at the Basilica of St. Peter, celebrated by Pope John Paul II. We also took the time to visit several chapels that have been visited by Saint Eugene de Mazenod while he handled and awaited the approbation of the Congregation from the Holy Father.

“I truly felt great joy to meet Oblates and laity served by Oblates from around the world. Actually, behind my joy I also had anxiety and fear. I had a history of chronic heartburn, dating back to 1993. I was worried and afraid that my heartburn would recur while I was on the holy pilgrimage. So before leaving Indonesia, I had prepared the only intention for me to take on this pilgrimage: I wanted to recover from my chronic heartburn.

"Every candle that I lit in the pilgrimage of the footsteps of the Founding Father's life, I always asked for one thing, my intention, to recover from heartburn and asked for my general healthiness. Especially when we had a Conselebration Mass with Oblates from Africa at the Founder's tomb in Marseille. I earnestly prayed for that intention. Likewise, while I was at OMI's mother house in Aix-en-Provence, I prayed specifically for the Founding Father to touch and heal me from the chronic heartburn I suffer from.

"Finally, the intention that I brought from Indonesia, namely recovery from acute heartburn came true. All the prayers and hopes that I sent to God through the intercession of St. Eugene really bore a sweet fruit. To this day I have never had heartburn anymore. Thanks be to God!

"I hope my experience and testimony can really strengthen us all on the holiness of Saint Eugene de Mazenod. St. Eugene, pray for us. Praise be to Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate. Amen."

(Written by: Fr. Nikolaus Ola Paokuma, OMI, currently stationed in Cilacap, Central Java)

Eugene de Mazenod

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