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Dear Oblates,

Peace to you and I trust you are well. Now we are in Ordinary Time we have some weeks to 'be still' after our Advent and Christmas celebrations and Liturgies. We have the next weeks to think about Ash Wednesday and entering into our Lenten journey. I wonder how it will look this year - how will it look for the world? We know Lent is a penitential season - what can we do for the needs of the world today, how can we make our Lenten journey a significant one as we live in a world that is so different than it was - and is in such a great place of change.

And of course we know that it is not all about giving something up, our favorite 'whatever it might be', although denying ourselves of something we really like can be a test and a challenge for us, and can bring its own rewards. But what we are also called to do is look at the 'other', and ask ourselves what can we do that we would not ordinarily do. Jesus always looked to the other - we must do the same.

How can we help someone who needs that help. How can we be Christ to another? If we really think about it there is a lot we can do. I pray that you will be inspired by our loving and gracious God to reach out and touch someone in need, and make this world a better place.

Our Oblate program is in need of a boost - the reality is that I juggle a lot here as many of you know, so it's hard to keep up on everything. Br Jim, who for years headed up the program, is now somewhat retired in what he does, and that's why I had taken over the program, which was working well until I went to Rome to study. And the rest of that story is history! I came back from Rome, and had to jump right in to doing what I do.

A big part of the issue is dedication to the program and bringing life into the program - if in fact it is to continue.
It always seems to be a very small core group that are active with us, and come on retreat. You might remember that in years passed we had two oblate retreats a year, one in spring and the other in the fall - but numbers were going down in both of them. So I stopped hosting the spring retreat and kept the fall retreat, thinking that oblates would come and fill the guest house in the fall. It doesn't happen.

So now I wonder if I should have the fall retreat. I think last year we had 4 or 6 oblates here. After paying the speaker and with other costs, we were in the red at the end of the weekend. So, it is a predicament. Do any of you have a suggestion(s) that can help.

We need oblates to come and help us - there are so many who were so eager to become oblates, to make the commitment, where are they now? We have very few enquiries about oblation these days. So there is a lot to look at and discern.

However, hope springs Eternal... and Spring is coming - so we look forward to that in the beautiful Pecos Valley - and with all the snow we have had it should be a spectacular show of color this year. And then summer will provide a rich harvest for us.

Let us unite one another in prayer - and pray especially for the needs of our world with all that is happening.

God bless you, and thank you.

Fr. Aidan, OSB