Pope Francis Visits with the Oblates in Chile
In the city of Iquique Chile, the Missonary Oblates are responsible for a small shrine dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. On January 18, their small shrine became the focal point of the entire Catholic world.
Pope Francis chose to make a stop at the shrine and to visit with the Oblates during his trip to Chile and Peru. After receiving a tour of the shrine from the Oblates, he spent some time in prayer there and blessed a few sick people. Pope Francis then had lunch with the Oblates at their St. Eugene De Mazenod Retreat House next door where he also rested before traveling to the airport for his flight to Peru.
“Many people have asked me why our small sanctuary,” said Fr. Sergio Serrano, O.M.I., administrator of the shrine. “All I can say is that his visit was truly a gift from God.”
The Missionary Oblates are celebrating their 70th Anniversary in ministry in Chile. They arrived in 1948 to pr imarily serve the spiritual needs of nearly 35,000 miners working in Iquique. Today, most of the mines are closed, and much of the Oblates’ work involves parish ministries in economically depressed parts of the country.