St. Eugene was born in France in 1782. He became a priest in 1811. Father Eugene was sensitive to the needs of the poor and he ministered to them. He was always eager to find new ways to reach out to the young. He wanted to bring them to the love and practice of their faith. He believed in the value of parish missions. He realized that missionary priests in a parish could do so much good to reawaken in people dedication to their faith.
Father de Mazenod began a new religious order of priests and lay brothers in 1826. They were missionaries called the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Their particular ministry was to go to people who had never heard of Jesus and his Church. Father de Mazenod and his order were courageous in answering the requests of bishops who needed their help. Bishops of North America eagerly awaited the Oblates. Bishop Ignace Bourget of Montreal was especially eager. He must have been very convincing because the founder sent several of his members. Within ten years, the Oblates had grown rapidly. They reached all of Canada and had begun to minister in the United States, too.
In 1837, Father de Mazenod was consecrated bishop of Marseilles, France. He became known for his loyalty and love for the pope. He was also a gifted organizer and educator. Bishop de Mazen-od remained superior of his order until he died in 1861.
The great work Bishop de Mazenod started continues today through the Oblate missionaries around the world. They staff mission posts, parishes and universities.
Reflection: There is no zeal if love is lacking.
Prayer: Look, O Lord, upon your family, which blessed Eugene de Mazenod engendered by the Word of truth and fed with the Sacrament of life, that your grace, which has made them faithful through his ministry, may through his prayers make them fervent in charity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.