Under the MISEVI umbrella – Vincentian youth accept missionary challenge
“To think about MISEVI (Vincentian Lay Missionaries) with an Italian face” This was the challenge reported in a recent issue of NUNTIA, the international newsletter the Congregation of the Mission, which shared the news of the establishment of Vincentian Lay Missionaries in Italy. “As laity, the members of MISEVI represent an awakening of the missionary spirit and, as dedicated people, an opportunity to regenerate and to reinforce the Vincentian charism in the Vincentian Family in Italy and in the world.” they are taking up Francis challenge.
THE “MISEVI” UMBRELLA
On 14-15 June, the meeting of the Vincentian Lay Missionaries was held in Quercianella in the region of Livorno, Italy, using the topic “Go to serve without fear,” with representatives from Sardinia, Campania, Tuscany, Lazio, Lombardy, Emilia Romagna, Eritrea, Brazil, and Venezuela.
The meeting began with the greeting of Eli Chaves Dos Santos, Assistant for the Vincentian Family, who, in the name of Father Gregory, presented the hope that this event might be part of the Vincentian way and could be the beginning of the establishment of MISEVI Italy.
The reflections were guided by Zeracristos Yosief, Eli Chaves, and Nicola Albanesi. Each of them delivered his message bearing in mind the audience composed of young and adult laity with missionary experience, together with Daughters of Charity and priests. The aim of the meeting was: To think about MISEVI with an Italian face.
The Vincentian Family is by nature missionary; it has a charism and a spirituality and, especially, a common inheritance: the poor. It is the poor who give a face to the Vincentian Family and, in finding them, we find Jesus Christ. To find them it is necessary to walk and to walk we must go out and, as Pope Francis says, to go out it is necessary to go through the streets of the world in search of the most remote and excluded and this is done by the tenderness of which the Vincentian Family has become a bearer.
The lay Vincentian, who embraces a missionary style, goes in search of being formed by Jesus, who indicates the route to take, but above all of being, which calls for a profound witness to bring to others the love of Jesus in a permanent state of mission. As laity, the members of MISEVI represent an awakening of the missionary spirit and, as dedicated people, an opportunity to regenerate and to reinforce the Vincentian charism in the Vincentian Family in Italy and in the world.
MISEVI is an expression of the wealth of the Holy Spirit in the Church. It is like a great umbrella under which the laity find themselves. They develop Vincentian formation; collaborate among themselves in missionary work, under the umbrella of the Vincentian charism. The service of the Vincentian lay missionaries includes the proclamation of the Word that liberates, that promotes action, prophecy, and creativity against injustice. The missionary must always be in harmony with these three notes.
The boldness for this new missionary impulse does not come automatically, but has to be sought and found in the hearts and minds that are not afraid of abandoning the attitude of self-preservation (it is always done like that), this boldness that leads us to broaden our thinking to understand how much we can exert ourselves.
“If we can do nothing of ourselves, we can do everything with God.” What can the mission do? “The mission can do anything because we have in us the seeds of the omnipotence of Jesus Christ. That’s why no one can excuse himself on the grounds of his powerlessness; we’ll always have greater strength than is needed” (Saint Vincent, CCD, XI, 193).
We must stop being attached to rules, to setting ourselves up as relentless judges.
“I would much rather a broken Church than a sick Church.”
Find the dimension of the Church by going out, as Pope Francis said to us.
Boldness makes us walk paths we do not know, but it leads us to the essence of the human and spiritual history of the Vincentian Family through new languages and ways of serving the poor. We rediscover the mission of the Church by going out.
Under the MISEVI umbrella, Saint Vincent is the model and inspiration of missionary service. With him we must learn to read the reality of the poor in the light of faith and live the experience of meeting Jesus, who came to announce the Good News to the poor, to identify his disfigured face with theirs.
Let us pray that, the way followed by MISEVI, continue with the collaboration of all: south, center, and north Italy. We all are invited to support MISEVI Italy’s formation with courage, humility, joy, and simplicity.
“There are challenges to be overcome. Let us be realistic, but without losing joy, boldness, and dedication full of hope! Let us not destroy missionary strength!” (Pope Francis).
Association: At the Well of Sychar