September 8, 2023 was a memorable day for the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, especially for the Council General International. CGI leaders and international guests from different countries attended various important and historical activities.
It all took place on the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady and the death of Blessed Antoine-Frederic Ozanam. The outgoing President General, brother Renato Lima de Oliveira, and the incoming President General, brother Juan Manuel Buergo, attended all the activities.
Relics of two new blessed
In the chapel of the Council General, Father Gilles Morin, Provincial of the Religious of St. Vincent de Paul (RSV) in France, led a ceremony to bless the relics of two new Vincentian blessed: Henri Planchat (French) and Isabel Cristina (Brazilian). Father Gilles highlighted three similar characteristics of the two beloved blessed: love for Jesus, love for Mary and love for the poor. The Gospel of the Beatitudes was read and meditated on by all those present.
Afterwards, the participants took part in the inauguration ceremony of the “Presidential Showcase”, which consists of an illuminated glass structure containing souvenirs, plaques, and gifts that Presidents General receive when they travel to countries or take part in international events. Items have been collected since the mandate of the 12th President General, brother Amin Abouhamad de Tarrazi.
The photo of the 16th President General International, brother Renato Lima de Oliveira, was inaugurated in the “Presidential Photo Gallery”, alongside his predecessors, representing the term of office that ran from September 9, 2016 to September 8, 2023. The gallery contains pictures and photos of the seven founders and of all the Presidents General since Bailly de Surcy, and is one of the most visited places at the General Council.
The Ozanam TV team presented the first, still experimental version, of the “online tour” of the international headquarters, highlighting the “Ozanam Historical Space”, which will be available for anyone to visit virtually in 3D on the Council General’s website. Videos were also shown about the most significant events that took place during the last term of office.
As a final activity, the Vincentian delegation went to the Picpus Cemetery to pay tribute to the 2nd President General, brother Jules Gossin. A marble plaque was unveiled there with the following words: “To brother Gossin, our gratitude for your service to the poor”. Father Andrés Motto, Congregation of the Mission (CM), spiritual advisor to the Council General, blessed the commemorative plaque and the tombstone. Everyone prayed and sang.