Between January 14th and 16th, 2019, at the headquarters of the Vincentian priests in Philadelphia (USA), there was a meeting of the Vincentian Family Executive Committee (VFEC), formed by the main Vincentian branches, such as the Congregation of the Mission, the Daughters of Charity, the International Association of Charities (AIC) and our beloved Society of Saint Vincent de Paul (SSVP).
Renato Lima (16th President General) and Ricardo Tavares (responsible for the Department of the Vincentian Family within the CGI) represented the Council General International (CGI) during these meetings. Father Tomaz Mavric, Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission, presided over the works, and Father Joe Agostino, CM, presided over the dynamic secretariat works.
On each day, there were liturgical celebrations and prayers with different intentions of the Vincentian Family. Included were prayers for the soul of our dear brother Amin A. de Tarrazi, 12th President General, who died a few days earlier on January 8th.
Each branch in attendance made a brief presentation of their achievements for 2018, in addition to presenting their work agenda for 2019. The SSVP highlighted the 180-year anniversary of the Council General, the thematic year of Paul Lamache and the film festival “The Seven Founders”.
Remaining were the approvals of the 2018 report and the budget of the working committees for 2019. Approved, was the promotion of a great meeting with the Vincentian leaders in Rome in January 2020 entitled, “FAMVIN 2020: walking with Vincent”. The Presidents and General Superiors of approximately 150 Vincentian branches of the world are expected at this meeting.
During the three day meeting in Philadelphia, themes that addressed the following aspects were presented and discussed: the homeless, communication, refugees, finances, aging of our branches, new structure for the Vincentian Family, vocations and Vincentian sanctity. An evaluation was made about the positive impacts of the “Finding Vince 400” Film Festival and the elaboration of an annual calendar consisting of all the Servants of God, Venerables, Blessed and Saints who come from the Vincentian Family.
On the last day of the meetings, the Vincentian Family team responsible for the institutional work developed at the United Nations in New York made a rich presentation on what is being done and the issues in focus. In that group, called the “Vincentian Coalition”, the SSVP is present through brother Ed Keane and sister Pattie Hugues.
“For us in the SSVP, belonging to the Vincentian Family is a gift from God. Together we are much stronger and we can do even more for the needy. In close collaboration, we live our charisma and our common heritage, looking to the future with charity and hope. In addition, strengthening the Vincentian Family and actively participating in it is one of the strategic planning points of the Council General International until 2022”, emphasized our President Renato Lima.
During the events in Philadelphia, brothers Renato and Ricardo, accompanied by brother Dom Visco, also attended the meeting of the Conference of Our Lady of Hope, located in the parish of the same name, where they were able to share with the USA Vincentians the actions underway by the Council General. It was a very pleasant night spent with the Vincentians of Philadelphia!
The next VFEC meeting will be in January 2020, in Rome.