The year 2020 begins with high expectations for the International General Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, which has been supporting numerous projects and initiatives to serve better the National Councils.
We will be celebrating, God willing, the “International Thematic Year of Félix Clavé”, launching a contest of literary texts and a visit to the tomb of our beloved founder in Pau, France.
At the initiative of the USA SSVP, a mosaic with the face of Ozanam will be inaugurated at the National Shrine in Washington (USA). This is another of the actions that further supports the canonization process of Ozanam. This year, we will certainly have many good news for the entire international Vincentian community. Let us keep praying!
The Circular Letter of the President General is another highlight, to be published in seven languages on January 31. Countries are asked to give a wide diffusion of the Letter among all Conferences, Councils and social works supported by the SSVP. The founding of the St. Peter and St Paul Conference in the Vatican in January, result of the efficient work of the National Council of Italy, is another important point of this year, a true milestone in the history of the SSVP, thus expanding the presence of our Society to 150 territories.
The President General intends to make, God willing, numerous missionary journeys, including Spain, Brazil, Switzerland, Central America (five countries), Lebanon and France. The General Council will promote, in Nairobi (Kenya), three important events: the second “All Africa” Assembly, the meeting of French-speaking countries and the international plenary meeting of the General Council. The new international headquarters, which is already operating, will be officially inaugurated on September 13, with the blessing of the Cardinal of Paris.
President Renato will also participate in activities involving the Vincentian Family: in January, there will be the international meeting of the Vincentian leaders in Rome; in March, the International Association of Charities (ICA) will hold its general assembly in Bogotá (Colombia); and in May there will be, in Quebec (Canada), the international assembly of Religious of St. Vincent de Paul. The participation in all these activities reinforces the SSVP’s commitment to the institutional strengthening of the Vincentian Family and thus furthers the close cooperation with all branches of this beautiful Family.
There will also be other major events organized by the General Council: the third Encounter of the Territorial vice Presidency of America 3 (South America); Latin American Forum of National Youth Coordinators; “Panasco 9” (for the countries of Asia and Oceania), and an international meeting of the 12 Territorial Youth Delegates, among other technical working meetings. Furthermore, all Territorial Vice-Presidents and Zone Coordinators will be active in their regions, bringing the General Council closer to the grass roots.
Within the “SSVP Plus” Project, new countries will be able to join our “charity network” throughout 2020. In the area of international fraternal aid, the General Council will seek new economic resources to support countries when natural disasters occur and to sponsor social projects.
The entire Board will continue paying special attention to the young in 2020. We will expand the support for our young people, so that they can carry out more and better Vincentian activities. We want to promote more meetings and foster the exchange of the young between countries. We also want to improve the modules of Universal Training and the communication of the General Council. The website will be redesigned, with the aim of making it more attractive and informative.
We would also like to announce that on August 14, we will be opening the celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Amelie Ozanam (1820-1894), the devoted wife of our blessed Antoine Frederic Ozanam. Much of the letters and personal objects concerning Ozanam that we have today were lovingly collected and organized by Amelie.
“All that progress can only be achieved with God’s grace, in addition to the dedicated work of the Paris staff, the collaborative spirit of the board, the competent work of the International Structure and the commitment of the National Councils. The General Council will only be able to achieve the strategic objectives, defined at the beginning of the mandate, with the unconditional support of all these dear collaborators, who help us in the general presidency,” said our fellow member Renato Lima.
We thank God for all these promising prospects!