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Oblate parish celebrates 50 years
02/05/2011 Denmark

In 1956, the Superior General, Fr. Leo DESCHÂTELETS, asked the Oblates of the Central Province of the United States to begin a Catholic mission in Greenland. There had been no official Catholic presence there since the Reformation. But to facilitate their passage into Greenland, the Oblates learned that it would be helpful to establish themselves in Copenhagen, Denmark, since Greenland, at that time, was still governed by that Scandinavian country.

The first superior of the Scandinavian mission was Fr. John TAYLOR who, in 1962, became the Bishop of Stockholm, Sweden. The Oblates moved to Copenhagen in 1958. In 1961, they were ready to found a parish in the suburb of Herlev.

Vor Frue Kirke (Our Lady’s Church) in Herlev celebrated the 50th anniversary of its founding on Jan. 30, 2011, with a pontifical high Mass presided by Bishop Czeslaw Kozon of Copenhagen. Fr. Urban FIGGE, who founded the parish and now lives in the USA, was present to greet the parishioners of Vor Frue Kirke. Also present was the provincial of Poland, Fr. Ryszard SZMYDKI and his predecessor, Fr. Teodor JOCHEM.

The Oblates no longer minister in Greenland, but they continue to serve the Church in the Scandinavian countries of Denmark, Sweden and Norway. In 2007, the General Delegation of Scandinavia took on a new juridical status. The Oblates there, originally from Poland, the United States and Sri Lanka, now belong to the Province of Poland.

When this change in status took place, the Superior General, Fr. Wilhelm STECKLING, wrote: “Scandinavia has a proud mission history of almost 50 years in which the Gospel has been proclaimed in Greenland, Denmark, the Faeroes, Sweden and Norway. This mission is far from over and will continue for many years to come, because the Catholic Church in Scandinavia still needs and welcomes Oblate missionaries.”