Date of publication: 04/07/2023

4th July. Vincentian Youth Day: Smiling at Life

Council General International

Since 2017 the SSVP Vincentian Youth has a very special date in its calendar, the 4th of July, on which the International Day of the SSVP Vincentian Youth is celebrated.

This date has a very important symbolism, as it is the liturgical feast of Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati, also considered since 2017 by the SSVP International Youth Committee as the patron saint of SSVP Vincentian Youth.

As every year, a theme has been chosen on which the young people will reflect and put into practice during the coming months. This year 2023 the proposed theme is “Vincentian Youth smiling at Life”.

Brother Willian Alves explains some of the points that guided the choice of this year’s theme.

It is based on the biblical passage “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full”. (Jn 10.10).

Welcoming, defending and promoting life have become actions inherent to the Christian faith. Understanding the inviolability of life from its beginning to its natural end, promoting dignity and denouncing any injustice that becomes a threat to life, is the commitment of every Catholic Christian and should also be promoted by the Vincentian Youth.

We constantly see life threatened, and our role as Vincentian Youth is to defend and promote it, for this is also a form of charity and love of neighbour.

In many countries the lives of young people are also constantly put to the test by violence, lack of employment opportunities, lack of good food, lack of public policies that are able to remove young people from violent environments are also ways in which we see that life is not being protected.

Unfortunately, we also see many young people who are looking for the easy way to take their own lives, who are giving up on living, on dreaming, on being young. This should also concern us in our Vincentian environment. Finding effective ways to support these young people who, for social and psychological reasons, need support, presence, affection, someone to be with them on their way, encouraging them to live.

Smiling at life is a concrete gesture of saying yes to life and no to abortion, yes to the life of young people, especially the most socially vulnerable. No to the violence that kills and takes opportunities away from young people. Yes to the defence of life in its natural decline. Yes to actions and public policies that dignify the lives of all people.

Smiling to life must be translated into a concrete action of the SSVP that can collaborate to the dignification of the life of those who are helped by the Conferences.

Smiling to life should be an act of celebration and celebration for the presence of young people in the SSVP, as well as the implementation of actions that enable their incorporation into our Vincentian ranks.

This year’s theme is also inspired by the speeches and interviews that President General Renato Lima has given during his term of office. “The smile of every Vincentian is fundamental. I believe that a sad Vincentian is not a Vincentian. When we arrive at the house of the needy, the first thing we give is our smile. I think that is charity. Charity is not just offering a package of food, clothes or shoes. For me everything is charity, especially a smile. If the world smiled more, it would certainly be better. As I always say, the role of the Vincentians is to make people happy, and that starts with a smile,” said brother Renato Lima.

We wish you all a Happy International SSVP Vincentian Youth Day and may our patron saint of youth, Pier Giorgio Frassati, intercede with God for our dreams and projects and help us always to defend life and to smile for it.

Councils are encouraged to promote a Special Youth Collection in the Vincentian Conferences this July. All the money collected should be used for actions with the SSVP youth (training, reception, development of concrete activities, etc.). It is recommended that countries with larger budgets can support other countries or give the amount to the Council General International so that it can support countries that need more help.