table talkDAY 2: June 28 Table Talk – Summary  of Day 2 by Jeremy Dixon

The delegates all came back for the second day of the assembly. After going through some logistics and the minutes from yesterday, Joe Agostino, the chair of the Preparatory Commission  and international coordinator of the Vincentian Family Office, spoke about the planned work of the General Assembly, noting that much of the work of the assembly would be done in small groups and table discussions.

Table discussions lasted all morning based upon the responses of the provinces on the Vincentian charism, reflecting upon who we are and the challenges to community life and our charism, especially preaching and reconciliation. In addition, the groups discussed to which peripheries we should go and what needs to be strengthened in the community. This was meant to be a first attempt to focus the work of the assembly on finding a path forward. Everyone seemed to be engaged and there was no shouting or heated discussions.

After lunch and a siesta, the assembly finished their table discussions reflecting on future lines of actions and hopes for the next six years. They then heard from Celestino Fernandez from Madrid about Vincentian elements of the New Evangelization. You can read the main points of his presentation in an excellent reflection on the GA website here.

[Ed. Outline and link to actual talk]

He urged the assembly to think about both the Vincentian charism and the Vincentian mission. Our focus is on the diakonia of charity, uniting affective and effective love in our service to the poor. That is how Vincentians evangelize in the world today — we proclaim the God of love and salvation to the spiritually and materially poor. Citing the Constitutions (#12), he urged the Congregation to have a “clear and expressed preference” for the evangelization of the poor, to go to the peripheries to serve Christ in the poor and to share in this mission with the Vincentian Family and the Church.

There was then a discussion at tables and then with the entire assembly about Fr. Celestino’s presentation before adjourning for the day. Tomorrow are presentations by Father General and by Sister Kathleen Appler, the Mother General of the Daughters of Charity.

— Jeremy Dixon, cm