Meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Vincentian Family in Spain
David Carmona, CM writes…
On Saturday, November 28th, there was an ordinary meeting of the Coordinating Committee of the Vincentian Family in Spain. Even though this meeting is usually held in January, it was decided to schedule this meeting for November in order to allow for the participation of Father Joseph Agostino, CM, International Coordinator of the Vincentian Family Office. This office is located in Philadelphia, Penna. USA.
The meeting began at 11:00am at the headquarters of the Vincentian Family which is located in the Provincial House of the Daughters of Charity of the Province of Saint Vincent. The following persons were present for this meeting: Rosa María Cenalmor (A.I.C. — International Association of Charities), Fr. David Carmona, C.M. (Congregation of the Mission), Sister Juana María Belzunegui, D.C. (Daughters of Charity), María Molina (JMV — Vincentian Marian Youth), Guadalupe de Luis Marañón (A.M.M. – Miraculous Medal Association), Idoia Makazaga (in place of Israel Peralta; president of MISEVI) and Fr. Joseph V. Agostino, C.M. (International Coordinator of the Vincentian Family Office); María Luisa Téllez, president of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, was unable to participate but sent her information in writing to the Committee.
After some initial introductions we placed ourselves in the presence of the Lord and gave thanks to God for having gifted us with this opportunity to meet together. Then, Father David Carmona thanked Father Joseph Agostino for his presence among us and outlined the various ministries that Father has engaged in, thus providing us (who did not know Father Joseph) with some further details about his life and vocation.
We then began to work on the various points of the agenda. Fr. David Carmona provided the group with some information about two courses with regard to Vincentian Collaboration that had been proposed by the Vincentian Missionaries from the Province of Barcelona: the VFCAP program (the International Program of the Vincentian Family for engagement in collaborative action) and the MISEVI-Spain program. All the members of the Vincentian Family were invited to participate in these courses which are scheduled for April 22-23 (first module) and May 13-14 (second module). These courses will be offered in Barcelona (the house of the Congregation of the Mission in Vallvidriera) and the contact person for these events is Father Manuel Boter, CM (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Then a member of each Association presented the nature, organizational structure, number of members and some of the more significant projects that were being developed during this Year of Collaboration. This was done in order to provide Father Agostino with an overview of the Vincentian Family in Spain. Here we highlight some of the more important realities:
- AIC: two soup kitchens in Tenerife for transients; the project Miguel Mallaria;
- Congregation of the Mission: food warehouses in Albacete and Cartagena;
- Vincent de Paul Society: throughout Spain the members offer assistance to those persons who are in vulnerable situations and/or excluded from participation in society;
- JMV: Centro Contigo in Cádiz where undocumented immigrants receive assistance; programs that provide assistance to students in Madrid, Centro Comunión;
- Miraculous Medal: financial support is provided to a hospital (Mozambique) and the members support a program for indigenous children (Guatemala);
- MISEVI: minister in Bolivia, Honduras and Mozambique (provide services in the areas of health care, social justice ministry, etc.).
After this presentation we reviewed the information and were reminded about the celebrations that took place during the past year … we highlighted the fact the we celebrate the feast of Saint Vincent de Paul together as a Vincentian Family.
In some areas of Spain there were formation sessions for all the members of the Vincentian Family (for example, in Valencia).
Sister Juana Maria Belzunegui, the coordinator of FAMVIN-ESPAÑA, reviewed and explained the Statutes of FAMVIN in order to remind everyone about the purpose, the structure, the organization and the functions of this Committee.
In light of these various presentations, Father Joseph Agostino explained his function as the International Coordinator as one of providing support to the National Councils of FAMVIN. He spoke about some of the present challenges of the International Office:  further knowledge about the three hundred worldwide branches of the Vincentian Family;  how to provide better support to the National Councils;  how does our presence influence the struggle against poverty;  how can we today serve the poor in a better manner.
Surprised and grateful for all that had been presented, Father Joseph placed before us some questions in order to help us understand the changes that have occurred in Spain in recent years, changes that have taken place in the organization of the various groups and associations:  how can these changes in FAMVIN be interpreted?  How can we reorganize now (and therefore not wait until all the changes have occurred)?  Is it possible for two members from the Coordinating Committee to participate in the FAMVIN gathering that will take place in Rome, January 22-24, 2016?
He concluded by offering the continued collaboration, support and help of the International Office to the Coordinating Commission of FAMVIN-ESPAÑA.
Sister Juan María Belzunegui, as coordinator, remind the participants about the tasks that were to be accomplished in preparation for the next meeting which would take place in June 2016:  fill out and complete the form that contains all the information about the existing groups of FAMVIN in Spain;  by December 15th, each of the branches should send to the Coordinator (Sister Juana Maria Belzunegui) the name of the person who will participate in the international meeting of FAMVIN (January 22-24, 2016, Rome);  each of the representatives of the FAMVIN branches commits themselves to communicate the information about the courses of Vincentian Collaboration that have been proposed by the Vincentian Missionaries of Barcelona; individuals should be invited and this information should then be passed on to Father Manuel Botet.
With no further matters to discuss and very pleased with this gathering of the Coordinating Committee of FAMVIN and the presence of the International Coordinator, Father Joseph Agostino, we concluded our meeting in 2:00pm.
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM