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MAMI History

Assumption – Canada

By MAMI History

Fr. John Mazur, OMI

Way back in 1947 when we were members of St. Mary’s province, the Polish Oblates working in the east organized themselves to establish a House of Studies at 103 Avenue Road in Toronto. Lay people in all our parishes contributed to this undertaking; they were encouraged to support this Oblate work in their prayers as well as financially. In the west, there already was a juniorate at St. Thomas College in North Battleford, Saskatchewan. The students in Toronto received their high school education at St. Michael’s College high school, which was run by the Basilian Fathers (CSB).

In 1957, the house of studies was transferred to a new building in Islington. Here our students attended Michael Power High School, as well run by the Basilian Fathers (CSB). Some of our young Oblates also taught at this high school. These teachers through until 1975 included Father Jerry Talarski, Ed Klimuszko, Richard Wolak, John Mazur and Rudolph Nowakowski.

In 1978, Father Smith founded the Assumption Mission Centre for our newly established province which was to work effectively and become a tool for our MAMI office. Father John Mazur and Father Peter Gioppato were named as directors. This would enable us to send receipts for donations received for missionary work. At this time, the people contributing to the building of some of our churches; Sts. Peter & Paul in Welland, Holy Angels Church in Toronto, St. Maximilian church in Mississauga, St. Eugene de Mazenod in Brampton, renewal of Holy Ghost church in Winnipeg, There was also the Queen of Apostles Renewal Centre in Mississauga and somewhat the Copernicus Lodge in Toronto. So there were a lot of donations from many people for a long time.

During this entire period, our community was sending support money to the needs of the Polish province in Poland and France. Missionaries from Poland came to Canada to preach Lenten retreats in our parishes; and later the missionaries from Ukraine came to preached Advent retreats also. It happened that we invited missionaries from Madagascar and from the Cameroun’s to preach these parish retreats and missions. Hence our mission office was able to send financial support to these missionaries as well. More recently we have been able to give this support to the Polish mission in the Russia.

In very recent years, the province reorganized the MAMI anew. It is formally known as Oblate World Missions, Missionary Association of Mary Immaculate. The Assumption Mission Centre continues to be a tool for the operational aspect of our mission. Father Jan Wądołowski who served several years in the Madagascar mission was put in charge in 2013. He has been very active in enlivening the mission spirit among our parishioners. In 2015 Father Adam Filas who spent seven years working in native ministry in the North and West of Canada was appointed to carry on the direction of this mission office.


By MAMI History

MAMI was established by Fr. Michael O’Ryan OMI who was the Australian Oblate Provincial from 1953 to 1956. He appointed the late Fr. Patrick McCarthy OMI to be the first Director of MAMI Fr. Patrick McCarthy OMI visited the parishes, appealing for membership and Fr. Michael O’Ryan OMI received permission from Archbishop Prendiville in WA, Bishop Ryan in Sale and Archbishop Danial Mannix of Melbourne to establish MAMI in their dioceses. Fr. McCarthy introduced Life Membership certificates and subscriptions and within three or four years, recruited around 400 Life Members. Fr. Michael Clarke OMI organized viewings of films about the missions at Provincial House in Camberwell, Melbourne, and started the quarterly Magazine, Immaculate, which was sent to all MAMI members.

In 1958, Fr. James Carroll OMI was appointed Director of MAMI He was very successful in promoting the monthly magazine, Immaculate, which reached a circulation of 20,000 in the early 60s and was in circulation for a total of 12 years. Fr. James Carroll was in turn followed by Fr. Tom Brady OMI who was succeeded by Fr. Robert McGregor OMI in 1968. Fr. Robert McGregor combined his work as Parish Priest of Sefton with the Directorship of MAMI and continued his annual raffles and fundraising functions. Fr. Robert McGregor’s efforts proved instrumental in funding the building of St. Mary’s Seminary, opened in Melbourne in 1963.

Fr. William Cagney OMI negotiated our first Australian foreign mission in 1970 and Indonesia was the country chosen. In November 1971, Fr. John Hannah OMI (Provincial) carried out this decision by sending four Australian Oblates to Indonesia – Frs. Kevin Casey, Pat Moroney, David Shelton and Pat Slattery. He realized that opening a mission in a third world country required an enormous amount of spiritual and financial support and that MAMI would be an integral source of this. Fr John Hannah OMI (Provincial) appointed Fr. Denis McCarthy OMI as MAMI Director in January 1971 a position he would hold for the next 35 years. The founding of our Indonesian Mission gave MAMI a real boost. Life Membership, Annual Membership and Register of the Dead certificates were commissioned and membership flourished.

Fr. Denis McCarthy OMI continued the great foundations laid by former MAMI Directors by promoting and increasing the membership through raising funds from annual donations and subscriptions. Rather than depend on raffles and promoters as a fundraising means, he concentrated on appealing in parishes for an increase in memberships. He made appeals in Oblate parishes every two years and also made appeals in over 200 diocesan parishes where the parish priests were supportive of helping our Oblate missions. Fr. Denis McCarthy established the current MAMI News Bulletin that was published six times a year for 17 years and quarterly during the last 18 years. During this time membership of MAMI reached 16,500 families by the mid 80s. Of course the work of MAMI is not achieved by Oblates alone but with the dedicated help of secretaries, Mrs. Lorna Goddall who was with MAMI for 27 years and now Mrs. Sandra Dwyer.
Fr. McCarthy retired from the Directorship and was succeeded by Fr. James FitzPatrick OMI in 2005. Fr. James FitzPatrick OMI approached his new role with great enthusiasm and energy. One of his main contributions was updating the format of the MAMI News Bulletin.

Fr. Harry Dyer OMI succeeded Fr. James FitzPatrick OMI being appointed MAMI Director while also Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception parish, Sunshine, Victoria. Mr. David Maiden was recruited in the role of Mission Coordinator to assist Fr. Harry Dyer. Fr. Harry continued as Director of MAMI after being appointed Provincial of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate in 2007. Under this new Mission Team leadership the focus of the Newsletter changed to highlight the various missionary roles of the Oblates and the Oblate Family in the Australian Province and the China Mission. To this day, MAMI has a very solid core of members, whose generosity has been a vital support for our Oblate missions in Java, China Mission and St. Mary’s Seminary, Mulgrave.

In 2008 Fr. Harry Dyer OMI, Provincial, undertook a restructuring of the Provincial administration. This resulted in the new ‘Office of Mission’ being established which would incorporate MAMI, Oblate Family, Oblate Youth, Rosies, Partners in Mission. In January 2009 Fr Harry Dyer OMI (Provincial) appointed Fr. Christian Fini OMI as the Director of the Office of Mission. Mr. David Maiden retired to undertake a new overseas role.

MAMI will continue to be a vibrant part of our Oblate life here in Australia as more and more people connect with our Oblate Family through the Association.
We encourage you to consider joining MAMI as we endeavor to support the missionary works of the Oblates both in Australia and worldwide.