President General’s Packed Schedule in Paris
A week full of visits, celebrations and very fruitful contacts
After attending the ordinary CGI’s Board meeting, held on July 10th, fellow member Renato Lima de Oliveira, 16th President General, had a packed institutional schedule in Paris, the beautiful capital of our Society. From July 11th to 19th, he visited several churches, met with ecclesiastical officials, and made several institutional contacts.
First of all, the President General attended Holy Mass at St Vincent de Paul Chapel, concelebrated by Fr Andrés Motto, Spiritual Advisor to the Council General International (CGI). Then, Fr Roberto Gómez, superior of the Mother House of the Congregation of the Mission, invited all the French Vincentian Fathers to a luncheon with whom President General engaged in a pleasant and fraternal conversation.
Mgr Matthieu Rougé, bishop of Nanterre (in Paris’ metropolitan area), visited the CGI’s headquarters, as well as Ozanam Historical Place and other areas, and was very pleased with the growth of the SSVP around the world. President General handed him the Ozanam medal, books on Ozanam’s correspondence and other institutional CGI reports.
During the visit to the Church of Saint-Séverin, Fr Vincent Thiallier explained that Saint Vincent de Paul baptized a child in that church, showing the President General a relic of the saint of charity. Fr Vincent kindly explained about the stained glass windows in a chapel of the parish, depicting part of St. Vincent de Paul’s life.
President General also visited the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Montmartre, where he was welcomed by the rector, Fr Stéphane Esclef, who told him about the history of that parish dating back to 1875, emphasizing the support given by SSVP members at that time to raise the money needed for its construction.
At the new international headquarters, Renato Lima met with the Secretary General, sister Marie-Françoise Salesiani-Payet. It was a fruitful meeting where they discussed the CGI’s schedule for the coming months, particularly focusing on 2021’s plenary session to be held in Madrid (Spain) and December’s Board meeting to be held in Lyon (France). Moreover, several staff members struck up a conversation with the President General during his stay in the City of Light.
Another key moment was the Holy Mass at the church of St Stephen on the Mount (Saint-Etienne-du-Mont), at the heart of the Latin quarter, where the first SSVP Conference was established in 1833 by the seven founders. The Saint-Etienne-du-Mont Conference exists to this day; their members meet on a regular basis providing a fraternal hosting service to homeless people.
In addition to the aforementioned events, fellow member Renato Lima also visited the French association of the Order of Malta (a cooperation agreement will be signed soon with this entity); the Motherhouse of the Congregation of the Religious of Saint Vincent de Paul (RSV), where he was welcomed by Brother Jean-Marc Miele; and the Parish of Saint Rosalie in Palermo, nearby the Council General, where he was welcomed by Fr Lionel Dumoulin. Along with Fr Motto, Renato Lima visited places where Saint Vincent de Paul had lived, such as the ancient region of Saint Lazarus and the Church of Saint-Laurent.