Continuing his official visits to places throughout the world where the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is present, our fellow member Renato Lima de Oliveira, 16th President General, visited the following countries, from 10 to 16 November 2019: Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines. A brief summary follows of all the events which took place.
In Hong Kong (China), the President General visited Father Dominic Ming (spiritual adviser to the Central Council), Father Lawrence Lee (Chancellor of the diocese) and Bishop Javier Corona (Vatican mission). He also visited the “Christ the Worker” conference, the Ozanam Centre, and the Saint Vincent de Paul nursery, which cares for 112 needy children. Renato Lima also enjoyed a fellowship meal with the members of the Central Council, at which he gave a presentation about the work of Council General, and delivered a relic of Ozanam. Maurice Yeung (Vice-president of Council General) accompanied Renato Lima on these visits. In Hong Kong, the SSVP has 35 Conferences and 600 members.
In Indonesia, the President General visited the city of Surabaya, one of the largest in the country, and where the National Council has its office. The visit began in the house of the Congregation of the Mission, whose Visitator is Father Manuel Prasetyo. Shortly afterwards, the President General visited three Conferences, speaking with the volunteers and some of the people they help: the “Saint Catherine Labouré” conference (formed of young people from St. Louis College), the “Saint Louise de Marillac” conference (in the Parish of St Mary of Love and Peace) and the “Saint Benoît Labre” conference (in Christ the King parish).
Before ending his trip to Indonesia, there was a fellowship meal with Vincentians from across the whole country, followed by a presentation by the President General about the work of Council General, when he delivered a relic of Ozanam. Our President also visited the head office of the National Council in Surabaya. The SSVP in Indonesia has 400 conferences with 4,000 members.
The President General’s final stop was in the Philippines. The first visit was in the Quezón region, to see the “Vincentian Foundations” (a social housing project), maintained by the local Vincentian Family. He next went to the house of the Congregation of the Mission, whose Visitator is Father Gregg Beñaga. He also visited the Sanctuary of Saint Vincent de Paul and the Vincentian Seminary, both maintained by the Congregation. In the Pasig region, Renato Lima attended a meeting, followed by a fellowship meal, of the Pasig Zone Council, with 8 Conferences (one of them formed of hearing-impaired Vincentians), and visited the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, where the “Black Christ” image is displayed, one of the most traditional Catholic devotions in the Philippines.
While in the Philippines, President Renato also visited the National Council office (where he gave a talk, some new Vincentian leaders took up their office, and he delivered a relic of Ozanam), and the Adamson University (run by the Congregation of the Mission), as well as giving a presentation for the Vincentian Family in the Philippines. The SSVP in the Philippines has 7,500 Vincentians in over 550 Conferences. In Indonesia and the Philippines, Renato Lima was accompanied by his fellow member Thomas Tan, Territorial Vice-President for Asia 2.
“I was very positively impressed by the progress made by the SSVP in Hong Kong, Indonesia and the Philippines. The SSVP leaders in these three regions must be congratulated for the various activities undertaken and for their coordination of the work of Conferences and Councils. I am very happy to see there are many young people in this part of the world, and that the SSVP has some good projects. The Vincentian Family is very strong, and their collaboration is most helpful to us. I would like to thank these three countries, which welcomed me with open arms. I will never forget it,” said our President General.
Since Renato Lima took over as President General in September 2016, he has already visited some 40 countries on all five continents. In Asia, the President General has previously visited India, Sri Lanka and Malaysia. In January 2020, God willing, he plans to travel to Lebanon.
“It is very important that the President General is in touch with the grassroots in order to convey the message of peace, unity, love and hope which the Council General preaches to all nations. Although it was a brief visit, the countries were very pleased to see him, because it is an honour to receive the President General. We are very grateful to the three Councils which organised our programme”, emphasised Thomas Tan.