My dear friends in Christ,

We are caught up in an unprecedented event – who would have thought or predicted that something like this could happen during our lifetimes?  The COVID-19 virus has brought life as we know it to a standstill.  It has even stopped the public celebration of Masses in most places around the world.  All around me I sense a feeling of isolation and uncertainty. I want you to know that you are not alone.

When Pope Paul VI took office, it is said that he put his face into his hands and cried, because of the many struggles in the world and within the Church. It was then that he looked at a picture on his desk of the “Storm at Sea” – Jesus in the boat with his disciples.  He said that for a moment he forgot that Jesus was in the boat, that he is still in the boat with his Church and he will see it safely ashore.

In the face of any suffering we need the virtue of hope. Jesus is our Hope and Jesus is in the boat with you and me. With Jesus, we will get through this together.   

Although we are separated from one another at this time, we remain united in prayer. Each morning our Oblate seminarians, priests and brothers at St. Clement’s in Boston gather for prayer and Mass. We invite you to join us online Monday through Friday at 8am EDT,  and Saturday and Sunday at 11am EDT. The Mass is live-streamed on Facebook at these times here, and is available on demand at

For all who had hoped to join us at our Gala on April 25, we are sad to say that it has been cancelled.  We thank you for your support in the past, and look forward to a time when we can all be united in celebration once again. Some have asked how they might still contribute to the support of our seminarians. If you feel so inclined you are welcome to do so at support our seminarians.

 In closing, I want to share some words of hope by our founder, Venerable Bruno Lanteri, one more encouragement to remember that Jesus is in the boat with us.  “Be firmly resolved never to let yourself be troubled by anything in the world. Present yourself humbly and with complete confidence to the Lord in prayer, and he will not fail to have compassion on you.” 

 May God bless and keep you.

Fr. Jim Walther

Provincial of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary


Despite these challenges, we remain strongly committed to the communities we serve and continue to look to God for strength and encouragement. If you find yourself in despair or full of worry about the days and weeks to come, we ask you to remember the teachings of our founder, Ven. Bruno Lanteri, and turn to his Counsels of Hope:

“Be firmly resolved never to let yourself be troubled by anything in the world. Present yourself humbly and with complete confidence to the Lord in prayer, and he will not fail to have compassion on you.”

See Counsels of Hope


Watch The Mass Here

3 comments on “Letter From the Oblates of the Virgin Mary”

  1. 1
    Jane ONeill on March 22, 2020

    Dear Fr. Jim,
    Thank you thank you and bless you! I knew you from st. Mary’s, Alton, many years ago. We now live outside Ocala Fl. Kids and their families still in Alton area. I am in the hospital (again- 5 times last year) but luckily this is the first. I was looking for mass online and came upon OMVUSA.Mass was wonderful and the presider gave a great homily. Kudos to him! Too bad you won’t take me in the seminary! I an now hooked and through these times I will tune in daily. Like your bookstore. Missing going to Ignatian retreats like we did in St. Louis at White House. PJ and I should make our way to Boston. You are in our prayers now daily.

    1. 2
      Chan Nguyen on August 9, 2023

      Hi Jane.
      Be it a long time now since your comment. Maybe you are still lounging for Ignatia spirituality. The Oblates direct athe retreat center for the diocese of Venice, Florida. It’s in Venice, about 3 hours away. It’s called Our Lady of Perpetual Help retreat center. Father’s Mark Yavaronne and Sean are there. Different kinds of retreat options because it was extensively damaged in the storm. Father Paul Nguyen is my son, pastor of Holy Ghost Church in Denver. He was in Alton for about 4 years.

  2. 3
    Heidi Watson on January 25, 2021

    You remain in my thoughts and prayers ever since our Pilgrimage to Jordan, Egypt and Israel in 1996. May God continue to bless and strengthen you in your ministry.

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