Father Jim Walther, provincial of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary's U.S. Province. Courtesy photo
BOSTON -- For two centuries, the Oblates of the Virgin Mary have been a spiritual force in the Catholic world, exercising a love for Mary and a commitment to prayer and the sacraments. Now celebrating their 200th anniversary, and their 40th anniversary of first establishing a presence in Boston, provincial of the Oblates of the Virgin Mary U.S. Province Father Jim Walther said the Oblates are maintaining a wide presence both locally and around the globe.
Named provincial in August 2015, Father Walther moved to Boston in January 2016 to assume his position. After spending 16 years ministering in a small community in Illinois, moving back to the "big city of Boston" is an adjustment.
"I came here originally back in 1983 as a seminarian," he said, April 19, and "now I'm back as the boss."
"It's really surreal in a lot of different ways," he added.
In the Boston area, the Oblates maintain St. Clement Eucharistic Shrine in the Back Bay, as well as the St. Francis Chapel, nestled inside of the Prudential Center. One of only four "worker chapels" in the archdiocese, Father Walther said that in the busyness of the Prudential Center, "it's nice to have that little oasis, so to speak, right there in that downtown area."
St. Clement's is the "motherhouse" of the Oblates in Boston, said Father Walther, adding that he believes it is the only Eucharistic Shrine in the Archdiocese of Boston.