To: Presidents of All Superior (National) Councils, Assimilated and Associated Councils.
As Vice President General, it is my duty under Article 3.6 of our International Statutes to formally advise you as members of the Council General that the term of office of our esteemed brother, Renato Lima de OLIVEIRA , the 16th President General , will expire in September 2023 having been extended by one year because of Covid with the approval of IEC and that an election to determine his successor will take place at the General Assembly in Rome on 13 June 2023 with the candidate elected assuming office on the Feast of Blessed Frederic Ozanam, 9 September 2023.
May I remind you that it is your responsibility to inform all Councils, Conferences and members in your Councils circumscription of the forthcoming election and to ensure that they have sufficient knowledge of the election process to enable them to “feel intimately involved in it “(as the Commentary to Article 3.3 of the Statutes puts it).
Article 3.3 highlights the fact that the President General is elected by all the members of the Society (represented by the Presidents of Superior (National), Assimilated and Associated Councils) who exercise this right on their own behalf and on behalf of the members they represent.
I will send you shortly a copy of the “ELECTORAL RULES “, a document which your Council will find helpful in understanding the election process.
In the spirit of Article 3.3, Presidents are asked to encourage an appropriate consultation of all the members of the Society to ensure that they are as closely involved in the election as possible. It is understood that members may not know individual candidates, but they may, for instance, indicate the
qualities they wish the President General to have.
As the Commentary to Article 3.3 makes clear, after bearing the views of members in mind and after a period of prayer to the Holy Spirit for guidance , the Presidents will vote for the person “they consider will best promote the Society’s mission to the poor , the spiritual development of members , the profound unity and organisational effectiveness of the Society” A concern for social justice, good relations with the Church, the Vincentian Family and civil society, ecumenism should also be evident in candidates.
It is recommended that at each Conference meeting between now and the election there will be a prayer offered by members seeking the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the electors on which candidate to support in the election. I attach one example of a suitable prayer which may be used but members are free to use their own prayer or to use the Veni Creator Spiritus as was traditional in the Society. But I would emphasise the importance of praying for guidance that the right choice is made.
Chairman of the Electoral Board
Paris – 15/06/2022