The Vincentian Solidarity Office (VSO) is a program of service of the General Curia of the Congregation of the Mission. It was established by the Superior General and the General Council in 2002, and opened for service on January 1, 2003. Its main goal is to assist the Congregation of the Mission with obtaining funds for its evangelization and service of the poor. The VSO bulletin is published four times a year and brings latest reports on developments of the projects sponsored by the Office.
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VSO Bulletin – March 2015
The Vincentian Marian Youth: A Beneficiary of the Patrimony Fund Project
The Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY) is a worldwide association directed by our Superior General. Yasmine Cajuste serves as VMY International President, and works as the education coordinator of the Vincentian Family Initiative in Haiti. The VMY is a beneficiary of the Patrimony Fund Project. At our request, Yasmine shared these reflections on the VMY:
In July 2015, the VMY will celebrate its 4th General Assembly in Salamanca (Spain). After 12 years of service to VMY International, I will pass on the torch to a new Council with new dreams and projects. I am happy to do so because this story that started in July 1830, will continue to offer youth a meaningful and joyful way to live Christian faith as they evangelize and are evangelized by those most in need.
Two sets of words summarize the purpose of VMY: “To Jesus with Mary” and “To Live, to Contemplate, and to Serve”. In this amazing journey of Christian living, each young person is given the opportunity to envision his/her life as part of God’s project, as a call to mission and as a testimony of Christ’s presence in our hearts and in our midst. Life becomes an exciting project with God, under the maternal guidance of Mary and in favor of our brothers and sisters. With approximately 100,000 members working in 65 countries and a great network of collaborators within the Vincentian Family, VMY offers many other young people like me, the grace of belonging to a larger family and a long chain of service that embraces the world. If most of our membership is composed of teenagers, VMY welcomes children and young adults as well, according to the needs and reality of the specific countries.
I discovered VMY quite late, compared to other members. I was 17, and about to finish high school. I came thinking of a trial period of three months – and never left. VMY has greatly shaped my personality, my faith, my commitment to others and to life. From Haiti to Madrid, and visiting many countries in the world, I came to appreciate the multiple faces of the same Association, in the respect of different cultures. I have met very committed young people, passionate of Saint Vincent de Paul and eager to reach their full potential. I understand better what it implies, for an Association and for a Vincentian, to embrace the beauty of the Gospel and to live it in today’s reality. Despite its 185 years of history, VMY remains an exciting adventure for young people today. I have no doubt that the Association will continue to strive and to attract them. In a few months, during our General Assembly, we will dream new dreams and spend the next years making them true. With God’s grace and with all the support it will receive, VMY will continue to offer to the youth a community, a transformative experience with Christ, and amazing opportunities to grow through service.
Vehicles in Italaque and Mocomoco
Two of the parishes operated by the confreres serving in our International Mission of Bolivia, the Parroquia San Miguelin in Italaque, and the Parroquia San Pedro in Mocomoco, lacked dependable motor vehicles. The situation severely impeded evangelization efforts.
Both parishes are located in rural, mountainous areas with poor roads that turn treacherous during rainy seasons. The Parroquia San Miguelin serves 3,000 people in 30 communities. Some of the communities are located hours apart by vehicle. The Parroquia San Pedro in Mocomoco has 53 communities with 4,000 inhabitants. Many of these communities are also remote and difficult to reach. Our confreres working in the parishes must transport pastoral and other services out to the communities, since their residents are poor and lack means of transportation.
The Bolivian Mission requested the help of the VSO in obtaining a new vehicle for both parishes. The VSO matched grants from Adveniat and contributions from donors with monies from the Vincentian Solidarity Fund, enabling the mission to purchase a four-wheel drive Toyota land cruiser for each parish.
Protecting a School in Tabarre
Not long after the devastating earthquake hit Haiti, our confrere Fr. Raphael Verlux, C.M. constructed an “earthquake proof” school in the city of Tabarre, located 8 kilometers outside Port au Prince. St. Vincent de Paul School serves over 450 poor children in grades Kindergarten through 8th.
After the school opened, the City of Tabarre decided to construct a canal to channel flood water into a river. The city located part of the canal at the edge of the property of St. Vincent de Paul School, only a few feet from the back of four of the school’s buildings. The canal lacked adequate reinforcement. It quickly deteriorated with heavy rains, and began to wash the ground out from underneath the school buildings. The buildings were in danger of being lost. Appeals to the city officials responsible for the canal fell on deaf ears; the school had to act on its own to save its buildings.
Fr. Raphael requested the assistance of the VSO to secure funds to construct a retaining wall to hold back the flood waters. The VSO obtained a large contribution from a donor in the United States, which it matched with monies from the Vincentian Solidarity Fund, to finance the wall. The wall was built with reinforced concrete and stone, and is 165 meters in length and 6 meters in height. The wall is designed to protect the school for 100 years.
Vincentian Solidarity Office
500 East Chelten Avenue Philadelphia, PA 19144
How to contact us:
Fr. Miles Heinen, C.M., Executive Director: Telephone: (215) 713-2432
Scott Fina, Ph.D., Associate Director: Telephone: (215) 713-2433
Fax: (215) 843-9361
Our websites: www.cmglobal.org/vso www.cmglobal.org/patrimony-en/
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