The visits took place in Haiti, Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico
During the month of March, the 16th President General, brother Renato Lima de Oliveira, had the pleasure of visiting Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has been working with great care in these countries to strengthen the conferences, to energize the social works and to strengthen charity towards our neediest brothers and sisters.
The first stage of the trip began in Puerto Rico, a territory associated with the United States of America. President Renato was accompanied during the trip by the President of the National Council of the United States, brother Ralph Middlecamp, and two other members of the US Board: brother John Berry (national President-elect) and sister Isabel Darcy.
The activities took place in three cities: San Juan, Añasco and Maricao. The highlight of the visit was a formation session, open to all conferences of the island, when brother Renato Lima spoke about the projects and programs of the Council General. The SSVP of Puerto Rico has a National Council with 12 Conferences and 200 members.
The visit to Haiti was restricted to the capital, Port-au-Prince. The National President, brother Hugues Vital, welcomed President Renato at the city’s airport. The SSVP in Haiti has a National Council, five Regional Councils (equivalent to the Central Councils) and 130 Conferences, totaling 1,300 members.
Visits were made to schools supported by the Vincentian Family. Everyone greatly enjoyed a meeting at the Office of the National Council where National Council members and Regional Councils Presidents presented a summary of their activities. The country is one with most needs in the world, ravaged by a political crisis that has generated a deep social and economic crisis. In addition, the sequels of the 2013 earthquake are still being felt to this day. Many young people are feeling desperate, in true crisis situations, and are seeking a better life abroad.
The visit to the Dominican Republic was conducted in Santo Domingo, the capital. The SSVP in that country is formed by a Superior Council, seven Particular Councils (called “Zone Councils”) and 65 Conferences, totaling 800 Vincentians. More than half of them are young members. President Renato was accompanied to this city by the Vice President Deputy, brother Sebastián Gramajo, and the Zone Coordinator, sister Gladys Torralba.
The National President, brother José Francisco Aguasvivas, greeted the President General at the airport. There was a very fruitful working meeting with the national board. But the highlight of the visit was a formation session by the President General. About 70 members coming from all parts of the country, listened to two lectures and participated in a question and answer period.
“It was a great joy for me to be with the SSVP members from each country, to participate with them in events, and to be able to show the importance of the Council General International to them. Our mission is to make the Council General better known and closer to the grassroots,” said President Renato.
The next edition of the digital magazine OZANAM NETWORK, to be published in April 2023, will have an article about the visits, with many photos and more details about the events that took place.