Diverse Provincial Council Installed in United States

In October, six Missionary Oblate priests were appointed to the new Provincial Council for the Oblates’ United States Province. The council represents a growing diversity of the Oblates. Four of the new members were born outside of the United States.

Father Jose Antonio Ponce, OMI

Father Jose Antonio Ponce, OMI, is originally from Jalisco, Mexico. He lived and worked in Los Angeles before he joined the Oblates. His studies for the priesthood took place in the United States, Canada and Mexico. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2009.

As an Oblate priest, Fr. Ponce has worked in parishes in Mexico, Guatemala and California. In 2013, he joined the Oblates’ Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Office, and assumed the position of Director in 2015. Father Ponce’s most recent ministry was serving as Superior of the Blessed Mario Borzaga Formation Community in San Antonio where he worked with Oblate seminarians.

Father Emmanuel Mulenga, OMI

Father Emmanuel Mulenga, OMI, was born in 1981 in Kabwe, Zambia. Prior to entering Oblate formation, he spent a year working in civic education. He then spent another year working for a marketing firm. Father Mulenga attended the Oblate pre-novitiate program in Lusaka, Zambia. In 2004 he came to the United States to continue his studies. He was ordained in Zambia in 2012.

For his first assignment, Fr. Mulenga served at St. Leopold Parish in Shangombo. He then was assigned to the United States where he currently serves as pastor of St. Augustine Parish in New Orleans, and also ministers as chaplain at Cabrini High School.

Father Ray John Marek, OMI

Born in Texas in 1961, Fr. Marek entered Oblate formation after high school. He studied at Oblate School of Theology (OST) and also holds a Doctor of Ministry Degree in Preaching from Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis.

Father Marek has ministered at parishes in Texas and Louisiana. In San Antonio, he taught at St. Anthony High School, was the Director of the Oblate Renewal Center and was also a professor at OST. He served for six years at Provincial Treasurer. Father Marek currently directs the Lenox House of Prayer in Oakland, California.

Father Salvador “Chava” Gonzalez, OMI

Father Salvador “Chava” Gonzalez, OMI, was born in 1971 in Puente Grande, Mexico. His parents migrated to Oakland, California and he grew up as an active member of a former Oblate Parish. Father Gonzalez entered Oblate formation in Tijuana, Mexico in 1995. His studies took him to Rome including the International Roman Scholasticate. Father Gonzalez was ordained in 2004.

Father Gonzalez’s ministries have included: Nuestra Señora del Carmen Parish in Lowell, Massachusetts; retreat ministry in Willimantic; Connecticut, and King’s House of Retreats in Belleville, Illinois. He is currently the Director of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows where he also directs the retreat ministry now called “King’s House at the Shrine.”

Father Juan Gaspar, OMI

Father Juan Gaspar, OMI, was born in 1977 in Houston. He taught elementary school there before entering the Oblate formation program in 2006. He was ordained in 2013 and his first assignment was at Santa Rosa Parish in San Fernando, California. He then led the Hispanic Ministry at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows.

In 2018, Fr. Gaspar became part of the Oblates’ formation program. He was director of the pre-novitiate program and is now the Superior of the Blessed Mario Borzaga Scholasticate in San Antonio, Texas.

Father Quilin Bouzi, OMI

Father Quilin Bouzi, OMI, was born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti in 1959. He came to New York City in 1987 and studied architecture for four years. He then joined the Oblates’ formation program and was ordained in 2007.

Father Bouzi’s first assignment was as an Associate Pastor at St. William’s Parish in Tewksbury, Massachusetts. He then spent several years working in Miami, including starting a French Mass for Haitian immigrants. Later he spent six years working in Buffalo, New York, both in formation and parish ministries. Father Bouzi is currently the Pastor of St. William’s Parish in Tewksbury, Massachusetts.