The document will be launched at the 2023 Assembly in Rome
How many times have we heard phrases like these: “My Conference is getting old” or “Young people are not participating in our Conferences as in the past”. To face this problem, which is a reality in many nations, the Council General is preparing a PRACTICAL GUIDE FOR THE REJUVENATION OF VINCENTIAN CONFERENCES. The booklet will be launched at the General Assembly to be held in Rome in June 2023.
The idea of the Guide was announced by the 16th President General International, brother Renato Lima, during his opening speech at the CGI Annual Meeting in 2022 in Paris. At that time, the President said: “Our Conferences, Councils and Special Works have been greatly affected by the changes in humanity in recent years. This requires us to be very creative and innovative to overcome all these challenges. We cannot allow our Conferences to close their doors because many people depend on us. Each Conference that closes its activities is a little bit of the SSVP that dies”.
Due to the improvement of social indicators, the life expectancy of the human being has increased; however, at the same time, we notice a decrease of the participation of young people in the Church and in the institutions formed by volunteers: this combination has been causing a great aging (without renewal) within the Vincentian Conferences and religious congregations.
A committee of experts, under the leadership of brother Júlio César Marques de Lima (ITVP America 3), has initiated internal discussions about this subject and, the writing of a draft document is at an advanced stage. “I accepted the challenging invitation from brother Renato to coordinate the work of the committee, and I believe that the booklet will be very useful for the whole Society. The focus of the document is to propose creative solutions to this issue. We want to help Conference presidents to face this reality”, clarified Júlio César.
The PRACTICAL GUIDE should present the following chapters: 1) Diagnosis of the problem: lack of renewal in the Conferences in many parts of the world; 2) The situation of the Church and the SSVP today; 3) The issue of young people and civil society today (challenges, characteristics, dilemmas); 4) Diagnosis of the issue of aging of humanity and increasing life expectancy; 5) How other entities (religious or not) have faced such a situation; 6) Recommendations to National Councils; 7) Ideas, suggestions and tips to attract youth and young adults.
“The aging of Vincentian Conferences is a worldwide reality, making it a complex and broad issue. The Council General, as a promoter of growth within our Society, needs to offer its contribution on this matter. There are countries that since the 1980s have not presented new requests for aggregation of Conferences, which worry us a lot. At the same time, many Conference presidents, although well-meaning, do not have the technical, managerial, academic or pastoral skills to recruit new members. We need to come up with immediate and effective solutions to address this problem. How to make our Conferences more attractive will be the central objective of this guide,” considered brother Renato Lima, 16th President General.
Contributions and ideas on the subject can be sent to the Committee by e-mail: email@example.com.