Day 5, July 1 Family Values – Jeremy Dixon continues his daily chronicle…
After the usual greetings of the day and the approval of the minutes, the assembly heard from John Rybolt, who announced the completion of the history of the Congregation and a commemorative volume that will be given to each province. Joe Geders then led a demonstration of using the electronic voting devices to show the delegates how they could use them to elect the Superior General and his council, if they so desired.
Joe Agostino then presented a report on the Vincentian Family Office, which was created by the Superior General in 2015 to promote communication and collaboration among the many branches of the Vincentian Family. He noted as well their work to help the Vincentian Family assist in the refugee crisis by sharing information and resources and shared a video with members of the global Vincentian Family speaking about their passion for collaborating to serve the poor and work for systemic change and justice. Table discussions followed, reflecting on working more effectively with the Vincentian Family.
Aidan Rooney, the international coordinator of .famvin and superior of the international mission in El Alto, Bolivia, discussed the updated Famvin website and its presence on the Internet and social media. Their mandate is to expand its reach throughout the world and providing easy access to Vincentian formation materials in multiple languages. He asked the assembly to provide access to their news and formation resources, such as presentations and retreats, which can be posted online.
Giuseppe Turati spoke about the work of the Commission for the Promotion of Systemic Change. The commission has members from the major branches of the Vincentian Family and desires to promote systemic change and seek new mindsets to develop ways to change the lives of the poor, as well as provide formation and create national and regional structures for systemic change. The commission has also published a Manual for Systemic Change.
Joe Agostino then spoke about the Vincentian Family Haiti Initiative and the Vincentian Family Collaboration Commission. Many projects have been started in Haiti and have been successful in providing educational and economic opportunities. He then talked about the Vincentian Family Collaboration Commission and their collaboration with and promotion of the Vincentian Family throughout the world.
After lunch, the assembly welcomed Tomaz Mavric to make a presentation about the Vice-Province of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, which ministers in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, and how they collaborate with the Vincentian Family and have had confreres from many different provinces. The assembly then started to watch a video about their history and ministry. Working with many branches of the Vincentian Family, the confreres work with the homeless, those with addictions and orphans. A table discussion was then held regarding collaboration in ministry.
Moving on, Fr. Greg introduced the theme for our jubilee year, “Welcome the Stranger,” saying that all branches of the Vincentian Family will look to see how we welcome strangers: immigrants, refugees, and others. He asked, “What are we doing to welcome the stranger?” The visitors at the tables then spoke about how their provinces were planning to live out this jubilee year.
A straw ballot was taken to indicate three names for Superior General in order of preference to begin the election process which will be continued on Tuesday.
Claudio Santangelo from Rome presented a new missionary initiative in North Africa, a potential mission to the Muslim world, augmenting our presence there. This international mission would accompany the Daughters of Charity and focus particularly on Tunisia, Morocco and the western edge of Mauritania — the peripheries of the peripheries.
Lastly, Fr. Greg proposed another anniversary initiative which would be a pilot program to train Vincentians in Africa to be missionaries in Western Europe and the United States. Those provinces would sponsor additional seminarians, who would study philosophy in their native country before studying theology in the new country. Then questions were asked from the floor.
Thus the long day of presentations and discussions ended with evening prayer, asking the intercession of the Blessed Mother on our deliberations.
Jeremy Dixon, cm