The South-Tyrol Council in Northern Italy has been serving for 142 years and has 77 Conferences. The President International visited the area from December 1 to 3.
The President International, Renato Lima, along with Laszlo Könczöl, the International Territorial Vice-President for Europe 1; Alfons ten Velde, the Director of Strategic Planning; and Hans-Ueli Gubser, the Group 2 Coordinator for Europe 1, began their visit on the evening of 1 December to the South Tyrol Central Council which is chaired by the fellow member Josef Haspinger.
The international delegation arrived late on the evening of 1 December from Milan, where the meeting of the International Bureau had taken place.
On 2 December, Renato Lima met with the conference directors and chairpersons at a meeting of the South Tyrol Central Council. Also in attendance were the Austrian SSVP represented by their national president, Irmgard Groier, as well as the Italian SSVP, represented by their national president, Antonio Gianfico.
The international president then met with the media (RAI Television, the Dolomiten newspaper and Grüne Welle Radio).
As usual, the President International, along with several Vincentians, went to visit the Bishop of the Diocese of Bolzano – Bressanone, Bozen – Brixen, His Excellency Bishop Ivo Muser. The conversation was very friendly and enjoyable. Bishop Muser pointed out two qualities of Vincentian service, “discretion and presence in helping the poor”. The President International concluded this busy day by visiting two Bolzano Vincentian projects: a charity grocery store and a charity closet. During these two visits, Renato Lima was able to speak with some of the people assisted, several of whom were migrants and refugees who came to Europe for a better life.
On the morning of 3 December, the president international visited one of the projects of the Central Council of Merano (near Bolzano), which has 9 Conferences. He was able to see for himself the visits conducted by the Saint Antoine Conference to a residence for the elderly. He discussed with the fellow members of this Conference the importance of helping people spiritually, and was especially interested in the great work done by this group of Vincentians who offer their time and faith to others. Alex Huber, director of the residential complex consisting of 178 beds and 35 apartments for the elderly – the Pitsch Foundation – gave high praise for the work done by our fellow Vincentians and emphasised how important is to provide seniors with the things they lack the most, someone who will listen and companionship.
In the afternoon, the president international and a Vincentian delegation ended the trip by visiting Arno Kompatscher, the governor of South Tyrol. During this visit, Renato Lima emphasised the need for collaboration between the public sector and charity groups, and the need to work together to help the most needy people. The governor has committed himself to help the South Tyrol SSVP come up with common actions to assist the most vulnerable people, particularly when laws are being passed that could infringe on their most basic rights.
The work carried out by the South Tyrol Vincentians is impressive, as well as their involvement, and their assistance to others. That is why they have gained the respect of civil society and the church, with whom they work extensively for the good of our brothers and sisters in need.
“I want to congratulate our fellow Vincentian, Central Council President, Joseph Haspinger, the conference president, and all fellow Vincentians of the South Tyrol region for the great charity with which they carry out their work with the poor, not only with those in the region, but also with others outside of the region. As a matter of fact, this council is of great support to the Council General, through donations made for the development of large missions such as, for example, the Society in Bolivia. “May God sustain them as they are, full of humility and charity!”, said our dear President, Renato Lima.