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3. Vincentian cooperation in the administration of goods …

In the society and in the streets, there is this implicit or explicit idea that the Church and its religious congregations and institutions are more concerned about maintaining and managing theirs assets than about caring really and effectively for the marginalized.  People think that the Church is not in helpful solidarity with the depressed sectors of the society, with those evicted from their homes, with the children, the unemployed youth, the long-term jobless, with those who feel hopeless. True, they recognize the commendable work that they see Caritas, Manos Unidas and other church institutions are obviously doing.

We know, first hand, the enormous economic effort of the various branches of the Vincentian Family make on behalf of the poor. We also celebrate with joy the growing number of volunteers within the Family. However, we must still ask: Is this enough?  Have we reached our peak at a time when our society is in an extreme depression? And to rub salt into the wounds, is there an adequate proportion between the goods we set aside for social advancement and the economic and human resources we allot for what is specifically our task, namely, evangelization? We cannot ignore this disturbing question. Some committed lay people — people close to our fields of evangelization — are also asking themselves this question.

We are all aware of the two-fold challenge before us.  On the one hand, we have to give to the growing number of sick and retired priests and sisters the care they deserve. On the other hand, we have to find both human and financial resources to address the investments that an adequate and operational approach to missionary pastoral action would require in countries that asks for our presence. All the help we can give are turning out to be insufficient, in these times of global adverse weather conditions, in a changing society threatened constantly by humanitarian disasters… As we understand it, missionary pastoral action encompasses not only religious services, but also general evangelization, education, social ministry, permanent contact with the poor… Still, a few drops of water in the sea make its volume increase, although our eyes may not notice it…

Hence, with regard to this so distressing subject, the only attitude to leave room for is that of our encouraging one another to take seriously these needs.  Concern for these needs is very much part of the very essence of our Vincentian vocation.

Again, the leading figures of Vincent and Louise, spreading themselves everywhere to meet the impossible problems of their time, push us to reach the desired goal.


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