Parish Life With a Missionary Spirit

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate minister in more than 30 parishes throughout the United States, stretching from Massachusetts to California. Nearly all of these parishes are multicultural.

While each parish is unique, all Missionary Oblate parishes share a common goal, to reach out to people who are seeking spiritual and physical healing. Here are a few examples of Missionary Oblate parishes in the United States that benefit from the generosity of co-missionaries like you.

New Orleans Parishes

The Missionary Oblates run two very historic parishes near the French Quarter: Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish and St. Augustine Parish.Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish, which includes the International Shrine of St. Jude, is the oldest church building in New Orleans, dating back to 1826. It was built as a mortuary chapel for victims of the Yellow Fever. In 1918, the Missionary Oblates arrived in New Orleans and took responsibility for the Mortuary Church. The name was changed to Our Lady of Guadalupe to provide a place of worship for Spanish-speaking Catholics.

Guadalupe parishioners have a strong devotion to St. Jude, patron saint of desperate cases, and created the International Shrine of St. Jude at the parish. Thousands of people have found strength during times of difficulty praying at the shrine, including Grammy Award-winning singer Aaron Neville, who credits the Missionary Oblates there for turning his life around after years of substance abuse.

The Missionary Oblates at Guadalupe do not focus their ministry on the tourists at the nearby French Quarter. Instead, they focus on the poor living in the area. The St. Jude Community Center provides food, shelter and other services to the residents of New Orleans most in need.

About a mile from Guadalupe parish is St. Augustine Parish. Beginning in the 1840s, it was the most integrated congregation in the country. Free black people began buying pews for themselves and slaves. By the time white people began buying pews, they were forced to sit in the back of church.

After Hurricane Katrina devasted New Orleans in 2005, the archdiocese looked at closing the parish, creating an outcry in the community. The Missionary Oblates eventually agreed to become caretakers of the parish. Today there are about 300 families in the parish, and numerous tourists come on Sunday to experience the “Jazz Mass” with its unique New Orleans sound.

Tekakwitha Indian Mission

The Missionary Oblates have ministered on the White Earth Reservation in northern Minnesota since 1990. It is the poorest reservation in the state. The Missionary Oblates spend most of their time providing for the spiritual needs of area residents at six rural churches. They celebrate Mass, administer the sacraments, provide counseling, and visit the elderly who are often very isolated on the reservation.

An important part of the Missionary Oblates work is to help the Native American people retain their traditions and heritage. The Missionary Oblates incorporate Native American traditions into their liturgies, pastoral care and religious education.

Hmong Community

For more than 40 years, the Missionary Oblates in St. Paul, Minnesota, have been working with the Hmong community to meet their special needs and to help them preserve their culture. The Hmong are primarily from Laos, and most became refugees when they supported the United States during the Vietnam War. Many Hmong refugees settled in St. Paul, where the Missionary Oblates founded the Hmong American National Catholic Association to develop prayer books, hymnals and other worship materials for Hmong Catholics.

Over the years, the Missionary Oblates have baptized more than 500 people of Hmong heritage into the Church. Today, the Missionary Oblates continue to serve the Hmong at St. Patrick’s Parish in St. Paul.

“Through Christ, the Oblates clean our souls every Sunday,” said Sio Lo, a parishioner at St. Patrick’s. “Through Christ, they teach us the blessings of Heaven and the true purpose of life. Through Christ, the Oblates lead us closer to God, and for that we cannot thank them enough.”

Ministering at Cathedrals

While cathedrals may not be traditional parishes, the Missionary Oblates who minister there do so with their typical preference to serve the poor and abandoned. At the Immaculate Conception Cathedral in Brownsville, Texas, the Missionary Oblates continue a tradition of serving the poor that goes back more than 170 years. They recently converted their former school into a center for pregnant women and new mothers to help them care for their babies. Parishioners also have a ministry to the homeless where they provide food along with prayer and friendship to people living on the streets.

At the Cathedral of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Juneau, Alaska, Fr. Pat Casey, OMI, is Pastor. He oversees local efforts by the parish to provide assistance to impoverished families, seniors, adults with disabilities and people who need in-home care or end-of-life care.

Father Ray Lebrun, OMI, is the Spiritual Director of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. He provides spiritual direction to pilgrims and assists the poor who come to the National Shrine seeking assistance.

The Cowboy Priest of South Texas

When people tell Fr. Roy Snipes, OMI, that his parish has gone to the dogs, he agrees with them. His numerous fourlegged friends are a vital part of Fr. Roy’s ministry at Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Mission, Texas. His furry friends allow Fr. Roy to reach out to children and animal lovers who might otherwise consider liturgies to be too rigid and formal.

“My dogs go with me everywhere. They go to church, funerals… they help break the ice,” said Fr. Roy. “Dogs help us to be a little warmer, friendlier, freer and more hospitable. It has been a large part of my ministry.” Dogs are not the only animals Fr. Roy uses in his ministry. There are also two donkeys and a llama. The animals are allowed to come and go as they please but several attend Mass regularly. “They are Catholic, but not necessarily fanatics,” jokes Fr. Roy.

Always Close to the Poor

A trademark of Missionary Oblate parishes in the United States is their work among the poor, not only among parishioners but throughout the community.

In California, Missionary Oblate parishes in Oakland, Los Angeles and San Diego have outreach ministries to the homeless and destitute. In Texas, Missionary Oblates help immigrants adjust to life in the United States. And near East St. Louis, Illinois, the Missionary Oblates recently became the administrators of two parishes that are bringing hope to one of the country’s most violent areas.

These parish ministries fulfill the simple motto of the Missionary Oblates: “He has sent me to evangelize the poor.”

The Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate want to make you aware of some very good news, for both you and us. The rates for a charitable gift annuity through the Oblate Annuity Trust have recently increased!
For the Missionary Oblates, the charitable gift allows us to maintain and expand our ministries for our brothers and sisters around the world most in need. For the co-missionary, you receive a higher rate of return, which will increase your retirement income. The rate is based on your age at the time the charitable gift annuity is established. You will receive a one-time charitable deduction for the year the gift is made. As you increase your retirement income, you will also strengthen the Oblates’ many missionary endeavors, creating a lasting legacy in your memory.
To learn more about the recent changes to the Oblate Gift Annuity program, contact either your gift advisor or Kim Weilmuenster at the Office of Charitable and Planned Giving at 800-233-6264, or

Legal Title: Oblate Missionary Society, Inc.
Tax ID: 26-0634043

From the desk of Fr. David P. Uribe, OMI

Dear Friend in Christ,
When I decided I wanted to become a priest, I had to choose what type of priest I wanted to become. Should I join a diocese or become part of a congregation of priests like the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate?

I joined the Oblates because of the examples of Missionary Oblates in my parents’ hometown. They devoted themselves to building parish communities in poor areas connected to the missionary work done there and abroad. I wanted to continue the legacy in building strong, faithful communities for the Lord.

Reading through this newsletter I was struck by how much our Oblate parishes are truly “missionary parishes.” We choose to serve in parishes that often get overlooked, from the inner cities to isolated prairie towns.

One challenge that most missionary parishes experience is that they are not financially self-sustainable. So, we must rely on the generous co-missionaries like you to fill the gap to keep these unique parishes open and thriving.

May God bless you for your missionary spirit and may we continue to work together to serve the faithful in these missionary parishes.

In Jesus Christ and Mary Immaculate,

Fr. David P. Uribe, OMI
Oblate Chaplain Director

Make a Difference in Tijuana

At the end of 2023, Fr. Jesse Esqueda, OMI, Superior of the Missionary Oblates’ mission in Tijuana, Mexico, shared his goals for 2024. The list was extensive, and included the expansion of programs for adults, senior citizens, children and college students. There were also goals to renovate current churches and chapels.
Through the blessings of numerous co-missionaries, many of these goals have already received the necessary funding for work to begin. But a few items remain, including a new roof at the parish church, college scholarships for young adults and classrooms at a neighborhood chapel.

If you would like to help Fr. Jesse complete all his current goals, please prayerfully consider donating to this special ministry that is transforming lives every day in Tijuana. You can reach out to your gift advisor or contact the Office of Charitable and Planned Giving at 1-800-233-6264 for more information.

Rest In Eternal Peace

The Missionary Oblates are grateful to our friends who have remembered us through a bequest or charitable gift annuity. Please join us in prayer for these benefactors who have been called to their eternal rest with the Lord.

Michael Beavin
Joann Braun
Marguerite Brennan
Joseph Bursel
Beatrice Corcoran
Mary Jo Corrigan
Florence DeDecker
Charles W. Dobson
Dorothy B. Dohn
Kathleen B. Graff
Francis E. Haley
William Harmeyer
Pauline Kostura
Julia Lenertz
Phyllis Levesque
Graceann Luehr
Araceli V. Magpantay
Mary Meagher, OP
Nicholas M. Mohr

Sonia Muskus
Margaret M. Napora
Dolores Niesen
Jess G. Ortiz
Olympia Pazdrey
Frances Pommer
Margaret Purvinis
Patricia Riek
Mary Ann Schultz
Mary and Melvin
Dorothy Shannon
Olga Sibenaller
Conchita L. Sigua
Andrew Varsanyi
Mary Ann Wolfe
Edward M. Zelli
Richard Zwilling