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Oasis Mission Program

St. Joseph Catholic Church

Norman, Oklahoma

 

Mission is the key to ministry. A church that does not go out of itself, sooner or later, sickens from the stale air of closed rooms.  - Pope Francis

 

 

In 2013, Fr. Scott Boeckman began a two-year visioning process to define the future direction of St. Joseph Parish. That process identified three parish priorities: New Evangelization, Hispanic Ministry, and Missionary Outreach.  After a period of evaluation and prayer, Fr. Boeckman and the steering committee developed and initiated the Oasis Mission Program to address the third priority.

 

The Oasis Mission Program

The Archdiocese of Saltillo, Mexico and St. Joseph Parish envisioned an evangelical program to build both parish and individual relationships. Given the large number of members in our parish who have roots in Mexico and other Latin American countries, St. Josephs can offer a multi-cultural/multi-lingual approach that facilitates communication and expands personal connections. Oasis has a “relational” mission approach rather than a “fix-it” project approach. The cultivation of a missionary spirit through seeing the face of Jesus in the people is its focus. Oasis does not go to Saltillo to rescue people but to share the fruit of a relationship with Christ by being there and walking with the people.

 

St. Joseph Missionary Outreach

“The future is built on the foundation of the past” is an adage that describes the evolution of Oasis from concept to program. In the 1990s, a young parishioner began her novitiate with the Hermanas Catequistas Guadalupanas, a religious order from Mexico which had a presence in Oklahoma. This was the seed of a developing relationship between St. Joseph and the Guadalupanas congregation. St. Josephs supported the novitiate and her congregation which in turn supported our parish by organizing and conducting retreats for our youth. This relationship grew when the Hermanas Catequistas Guadalupanas helped organize a novena in preparation for the feast day celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe in  Fr. Eduardo Rodriguez and Fr. Fernando Liñan from the Diocese of Saltillo came to Oklahoma to facilitate retreats and lead novenas. They spoke of the missionary character of their diocese which blended perfectly with St. Joseph’s vision in our priority plan.  From that visit, St. Josephs developed a parish-to-parish relationship with the Archdiocese of Saltillo to foster encounters with Christ through mutual support and service.

 

Location

Saltillo is the capital of the State of Coahuila which borders Texas. A high desert and mountainous region, it has a semi-arid, moderate climate. Its long history of cultural richness dates to 1577 and abounds in colonial architecture, museums and educational institutions. With a population of 800,000 and a thriving economy, Saltillo is a major center of commerce, manufacturing, and communication. There are, however, smaller towns and villages surrounding Saltillo which do not share in or have access to this prosperity. The Oasis Mission Program is working with people in these areas, especially those centered on the city of Arteaga. In line with what Pope Francis has said, Oasis missionaries want to help “enable these real men and women to escape from extreme poverty, … (by allowing) them to be dignified agents of their own destiny.”