Day 10, July 6: Solidarity
The day began with mass celebrated by Fr. Tomaz with the main concelebrants being Michael Talapkanych, the other delegate from the vice-province of Sts. Cyril and Methodius, and Paul Roche of Ireland, the former vice-provincial. In his first words to us as superior general, Fr. Tomaz urged us to be mystics of charity, citing reflections on that theme by our confreres Guiseppe Toscani of Italy and Hugh O’Donnell of the China province.
Meetings by continental group then took place to discuss the qualities needed in the assistants general and to surface some potential candidates. Returning to the full assembly, after the regular business of approving the minutes and reading letters of congratulation for Fr. Tomaz, the assembly heard reports from confreres with ministry in service of the Congregation. We first heard from Miles Heinen of the Vincentian Solidarity Office (VSO) based in Philadelphia. The VSO helps missions and provinces in developing regions apply for grants and raise funds to enhance their ministry. Since 2002, the VSO has raised $12.5 million to support the missions and he thanked the confreres and other donors for their support.
Joe Agostino then presented on the Wise Assets Management ongoing formation program that is available to provinces. The workshops focus on strategic planning, grant writing and wise use of the resources entrusted to us. They have been conducted in Kenya, North India and South India. Also working on this program are Fr. Bob Maloney, former superior general, and Sr. Marge Clifford, DC. He asked the confreres to take advantage of the program and sponsor it in their country.
Shijo Kanjirathamkunnel then spoke on the Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission, which is sponsored by the Union of Superior Generals and Union of International Superior Generals, and animates religious to work for social justice. They have undertaken various responses to pressing social justice issues around the world. After his presentation, some members of the assembly took the floor to thank the presenters for their work and ask some questions.
After lunch, we saw a video of welcome from the Nigerian seminarians and then your chronicler spoke in a video representing young Vincentians in the United States. The assembly then proceeded to discuss further the proposal of the international mission in North Africa, sharing the fruits of the discussions had in the visitor groups. Generally, the assembly appeared to support the idea, although there were questions about implementation. Next, they discussed the proposal of a pilot program of established provinces sponsoring seminarians to minister in the West. Again, the assembly seemed to support it, or at least to form a committee to flesh out the details and limit potential problems. There was a lot of discussion, but no decisions were made.
Lastly, they spoke about the desired qualities and number of the Assistants General. All of the conferences believed that it should remain at five. Qualities included having a pastoral heart, prudent, man of prayer, international vision, discerning, man of integrity, comfortable with intercultural relations and hard working. With that, the assembly concluded for the day to enjoy a dinner cruise graciously donated by DePaul University.