Date of publication: 30/10/2020

Members from around the world speak to President General

Council General International

The progress being made with Ozanam’s canonisation and the importance of the Vincentian charism in a world hit by the pandemic were the main topics of the Talk Show.

On 18 October 2020, on Facebook Ozanam TV, President General, Renato Lima de Oliveira, joined members from all over the world in a live Q&A session.

For the first time, the Talk Show benefited from simultaneous interpretation in two of the SSVP’s official languages, Spanish and English, so that many members could follow this lively event in their own language.

Delving into the content of the Talk Show, we can see that the questions put to the President General fall into three main areas: 

  • The structure, management and administration of the SSVP.
  • Vincentian values and service to the poor.
  • The legacy of our founders, and Ozanam’s canonisation.

The SSVP’s structure, management and role 

President General answered the question about the role of the Council General International saying that, “it is like a lighthouse, marking out the SSVP’s main goals and lines of action”.  National Councils and the various intermediate levels within the SSVP’s structure have to follow this guiding role, so that Conferences and members are supported and strengthened in their service.

There was also discussion about the SSVP’s logo, which has to be agreed by all the SSVP, undertaking to use it globally, for each of the countries in the Confederation. “It is important to have a single logo to identify us all”, said Renato Lima, and the Council General is working towards this.

As regards establishing the SSVP in other countries, President General talked about the opportunity to expand the SSVP in around 20 more countries. The pandemic has slowed down this process, but as an example, Renato Lima listed some specific proposals which are underway, including: Tanzania, Greece, San Marino, Andorra, Kazakhstan and northern European countries (Norway, Sweden, Denmark and Finland).

Vincentian values and service to the poor

There were several questions about the new situation caused by Covid, and the role Vincentians should take on in this new reality. President General answered that “our service and our charism are more necessary than ever”. He remarked that “We have to be mindful of our responsibility and act accordingly. We cannot leave people alone who are suffering in poverty, and we must be imaginative and dynamic in helping those most in need”. 

Many questions addressed the importance of youth to the SSVP. Renato Lima answered that we have to be open to them, both in creating new youth conferences and including young people in conferences already operating. No matter what, he explained, “openness means creativity by all members, an open mind and the ability to accept new ideas, new networks”. 

There was also time to speak about fraternity and family life within the SSVP, where “there must be charity and respect among members”, so that we can help each other and serve our neighbour. This Christian and Vincentian behaviour is the best visiting card, the best statement of our intentions in civil society, which can be summarised as “see how they love each other”. 

The legacy of our founders, and Ozanam’s canonisation process

The great star of the Talk Show was Ozanam and his canonization process, which is making progress and bringing new joys. President General answered many questions on this point, and reported that the moment we see Ozanam raised to the altar is coming closer. 

Renato Lima asked for patience on this matter from all members, since the Congregation for the Causes of Saints has to analyse all the documentation attesting to an alleged second miracle, which has been provided by the President General.

Acknowledging the interest of the audience, President General spoke of the importance of the other SSVP founders and the themed years dedicated to each of them, and also commented on the impact of Sister Rosalie Rendu, and the key figure of Amélie Soulacroix, Ozanam’s wife, whose 200th birth anniversary we are celebrating, and to whom we owe thanks for, among other things, her zeal and commitment to compiling the work and correspondence of her husband.

To conclude, the Talk Show could be summed up in one of the questions posed by one of the members to Renato Lima: How would he like to be remembered during his term as President General? His answer was: “I would like my term of office to be remembered as a presidency which was transparent and close to members, and has endeavoured to rescue the legacy of the seven founders, and relaunch Ozanam’s canonisation process”.

God willing, the next Talk Show with President General will be in late April 2021.

If you couldn’t join in live, watch this Talk Show in one of the following languages:

Talk Show in English:

Talk Show in Spanish:

Talk Show in Portuguese:

Our special thanks to the Ozanam TV team and the interpreters for this event, Vitória Evelin Pereira and Celsita María Graciela Díaz Stete.