The OMI Pastoral Center is comprised of the Good Shepherd Hmong Center and the Yves Bertrais Multipurpose House.
- For the past years, the Oblate Community in Lomsak, Petchabun has been renting a house. The owner of the house is a Catholic family. With his permission, we were allowed to stay in his property. We were given the assurance by the old man that as long as he is alive we can stay at his place. But with his old age also comes sickness. Because of this, the community has to start looking for a place; otherwise, we might find ourselves nowhere to stay, hence, the reason to build a house. We shall call this house Yves Bertrais Multipurpose House.
The occupants of the building will be the following:
- Oblate member/s that will directly be responsible of the Good Shepherd Hmong Center.
- Oblate members who travel as far as 50-160 kms from Lomsak on weekends to do their ministry in the different parishes and mission stations. They come to this place to have the oblate community life where they could celebrate the Eucharist together, have common prayer, meal and meetings on some days within the week. This becomes a place where they could grow in their communal and spiritual life.
- Priests and religious guests (like those who are from the Radio Veritas Asia, Vietnam and USA) who come to visit the Hmong Center for some work related matters.
- Lay people who come for training as leaders, catechists, etc.
- Daily Mass attendees: OMI personnel and Hmong Staff/ parishioners who come for training.
- Venue of Loei District regular monthly recollection.
- Fr. Yves Bertrais, OMI, a French Missionary, started in 1996 an important ministry of the Oblates in Asia for the Hmong people. It was named Good Shepherd Hmong Center.
The Oblates in Thailand and Laos committed to continue the ministry. This legacy is of great value since these Hmong people are in danger of losing their own identity as they embrace the different cultures surrounding them in order to survive. Our ministry among them has the goal of preserving their very rich culture and tradition. With the system of writing established by the late Fr. Yves, he was able to put into writing the oral traditions, practices and beliefs that they have. It was one of his dreams that the Good Shepherd Hmong Center becomes the “center” whereby Hmong literature such as beliefs and traditions are being preserved. Hmong people around the world are now benefiting from the center’s works.
The Diocese of Nakhorn Sawan has recently entrusted to the Oblates the ministry to the Hmong people. It is by the grace of God that we have the Good Shepherd Hmong Center with us.
Currently, the Center works hand in hand with the Radio Veritas Asia (RVA) in the Philippines in transmitting the Good News of the Lord through Shortwave Radio to Hmong people in communist countries like China, Laos, and Vietnam. Hmong People in Thailand, on the other hand, benefits from the FM transmission we do in one village that could reach around 70,000 Hmong in the neighboring communities. All the Radio contents transmitted through Shortwave Radio are being produced at the Good Shepherd Hmong Center in Lomsak.
The Center also publishes two issues of Hmong Magazine a year. Furthermore, the staff also teach Hmong Language in the villages.
The Hmong Center used to rent a space in an old building. In December of 2015, the center was notified that the building will be renovated in no time. So the Center was transferred to Phetchabun which is around 50 kms distance from Lomsak. The Diocese of Nakhorn Sawan offered a small space within the Our Lady of Lourdes Parish.
This temporary shelter could not provide us with the best working condition because of the limited space available. Books and other important materials of the ministry are being kept in different places. Our stay at the parish compound is temporary until the construction of the Good Shepherd Hmong Center is finished.
The important features of Good Shepherd Hmong Center will be as follows:
- spacious workplace/conference room
- a studio where audio files are produced
- sleeping quarters of the staff
- Library (to keep the compiled Hmong literature and traditions, bible, magazines, etc.)
- dining room and kitchen
- 2 hospitality rooms for individuals/groups who need shelter as they come down from the hills to do transactions in the city (such as attending seminars, communications in the nearby schools, check up in the hospital, etc.)
Our ministry to Hmong people has become part and parcel of our ministry. As a congregation, we find ways to continue this very important legacy left to us by our confrere. This is our response to the challenge of our founder St. Eugene de Mazenod to “love the poorest of the poor and the most abandoned.”
The project related to our Hmong Ministry may spend a large sum of money but we do believe that with the grace and blessing of the Lord as well as with the generosity of people who believe and support this ministry everything is going to be a reality. May our dear Lord continue to bless their hearts and the particular intentions they have for the church, for their family and their work.