Karl Michael Hila, Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s (SSVP) National Council of the Philippines director for youth development was one of the 1,000 Vincentian youth from all the continents of the world who gathered for the three-day meeting which focused on giving service to the poor. (See his Facebook page)
Hila attended the gathering as a representative of Asia together with another youth from Singapore.
In 2011, Hila also attended the same international gathering of young Vincentians in Madrid, Spain.
He said that only several years ago attending an international meeting like this was only a dream for him.
To be able to participate a second time brought him tremendous joy, long lasting memories, several friends from all over the world, great learning’s and deepening of rootedness in the Vincentian Spirituality, he said.
“To be able to attend it another time and as a member of the International Youth Commission of SSVP is beyond a dream for me, I never wished for it because it never crossed my mind that I will be qualified and deserving. But God’s love is freely given, not because of us but in spite of us,” Hila said.
He was able to attend several catechesis and workshops such as Vincentian vocation, new forms of poverty, forms and service initiatives to the poor, and charity as strength for evangelization.
“Indeed, it was a joyful gathering, a big happy family reunion, with Christ present at each moment, journeying with us, transforming us. Jesus Christ, whose face we have discovered in the poor, the meek, the one who mourns, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, the one who hungers and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the persecuted… the Beatitudes. It was one of my important discoveries, the Beatitudes not being a code of conduct, but in fact a revelation of the face of Jesus! Jesus, sending us to follow Him, sending us to be messengers of peace, revealing to the world the joy of living with Him and in Him,” Hila furthered.
Themed “Vincentians: Missionaries of Charity. Let us go to the Poor!” the gathering had catechesis and workshops for participants, divided into three languages: Portuguese, English and Spanish.
English speakers for the catechesis were Dr. Michael Thio, SSVP international president, who discussed the ‘new forms of poverty’, while Fr. Gregory Gay, superior general of the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity talked about the Vincentian Missionary Spirit, and Yamine Cajuste, international president of the Vincentian Marian Youth shared about charity as a force for Evangelization.
Workshops on the other hand focused on the topics of Vincentian Holiness, Vincentian vocation, forms and service initiatives to the poor and Vincentian leadership.
The next international meeting of Vincentian youth will be held in Krakow, Poland on 2016 days before the celebration of the 31st World Youth Day. (Jandel Posion)