On Friday, February 10, Fr. Joe Agostino, CM, the coordinator of the international Vincentian Family Office, met with the members of the National Council of the Vincentian Family in Panama.
Mr. Carlos Centeno, national council president, explained that currently there are 7 branches of the Vincentian Family at work in Panama: the Congregation of the Mission (of 2 Provinces), the Daughters of Charity, AIC, SSVP, JMV, AMM, and MISEVI. Approximately 500 people comprise the Vincentian Family in Panama. In addition, there are many Vincentians working in the country who are not members of any particular branch, especially in Vincentian parishes and and other ministries of the Family here.
The current National Council structure is new. It began to take shape as regional councils were formed and strengthened in their collaborative efforts. The current national body is in its second year of existence. It is comprised of regional presidents as well as the spiritual advisors of the national branches of the Family. They are in the process of refining their statutes, as they grow in their understanding of their role.
When asked to describe their greatest strengths, the Council spoke enthusiastically of their creativity, their willingness to collaborate, even at the cost of personal sacrifice, their availability to one another, their desire to learn, their communication with each other, and the joy of their celebrations. They also recognized the challenges they face, especially in achieving a better integration of the regions into a national reality as well as the urgency for many of the branches to reach out to the young.
Fr. Joe then gave the Council an overview of the international structure of the Vincentian Family, the work of the Office, and the 4 major plans for this Jubilee Year. This afforded us the opportunity to explain the scope of the events which will be happening in the Family, and especially the upcoming October Symposium with Pope Francis in Rome.
We then focused our attention on World Youth Day, which is scheduled to take place in Panama in January 2019. Mr. Yancarlos Carrasco, international president of the Vincentian Marian Youth, spoke to the Council about many of the details involved in the coordination of these days, especially in the pre-event for the youth of the Vincentian Family. The Council is just beginning to organize its strategy for managing this important moment in the life of our Vincentian Family.
More images at Vincentian Family Office Facebook.