First hand report from Lisa Bright  coordinator of Vincentian Family representatives at World Youth Day.

FAMVIN Australia has held a Vincentian Family Celebration (FAMVIN WYD) from Wednesday 9th July to Sunday 13th July 2008.

The FAMVIN WYD is made up of representatives from the Congregation of the Mission, The Daughters of Charity and the St Vincent de Paul Society. More than 300 vincentian family members from 33 countries are attending this amazing event to share their Vincentian stories at St Stanislaus College in Bathurst in Australia.

All participants come from Australia, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, China, Ecuador, Ethiopia, Fiji, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Lebanon, Myanmar, New Zealand, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Singapore, Solomon Islands, South Africa, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga, United States, Vanuatu, Vietnam and Zimbabwe.
On the first day, there was an impressive opening ceremony with an aboriginal dance group and 33 candles carried by representatives of each country to light up a FAMVIN candle announcing the International Vincentian Family Celebration had started.

There are also four presentations about The Vincent Story (Fr Richard Benson CM), The Louise Story (Sr Catherine Salani DC), The Frederic & Rosalie Story (Dr Andy Marks, SSVP) and The Catherine Laboure Story (Ana Maria Escano, JMV) during this time where we take the time to learn about the stories of these key people in our history and how they make an impact on our lives today. There are many opportunities for group sharing and lots of time for people to share their own stories and journeys in their Vincentian life.

Every day morning, there is Morning Prayer with beautiful music and Mass in the afternoon.

There are many more fun social programs for the participants such as FAMVIN Justice Pilgrimage, a traditional Australian Bush Dance, social outings to visit Australian wildlife and experience Australian traditions, a Reconciliation Service and International Festival.

On Sunday, 13th July, there will be a Closing Mass with the Principal Celebrant, Fr Gregory Gay, Superior General for the Congregation of the Mission followed by a Festival organised with the local Diocese to welcome another 1000 pilgrims to the site before the massive journey to Sydney for the World Youth Day Celebrations.

This is an opportunity for Vincentians from around the world to come together to celebrate being part of the Vincentian Family. What an amazing experience this is!

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