This year, the Vincentian Family celebrates the 400th anniversary of the charism of its founder, Saint Vincent de Paul, a charism that currently is lived and celebrated by more than 225 branches around the world. Each of these branches, from their realities, live this year with great joy. In Brazil, specifically in the Brazilian Province of the Congregation of the Mission – PBCM, the same joy is shared. Earlier this year, Fr. Geraldo Mol, CM, invited to a pilgrimage to our shrine, Our Lady Mother of Men, to representatives of the Congregation of the Mission of Brazil, as well as members of the Vincentian Family of Belo Horizonte and Rio de Janeiro, and a Baptist Church pastor with his wife. This took place between March 31 and April 2 of this year, and was a meeting of formation, celebration and strengthening of Charisma. At the opening of the meeting, the host P. Mol made it clear that this was a family gathering, informal, without protocols, so that members as they approached one another discovered, beyond the name, some of their vital stories.

On Friday, March 31, the meeting began with a Mass presided by Fr. Sebastião Carvalho, CM and concelebrated by the Visitor, Fr. Geraldo Mol, CM (PBCM), with Fr. Odair Santos, CM (CMPS) and Fr. Silvio Mitoso, CM (PFCM), besides other priests assistants of the three provinces of the CM in Brazil. After the Mass and breakfast, a lecture entitled “Historical Time: Renewing Action of the Holy Spirit” was addressed by Fr. Grossi Getulio Mota, CM, in which he spoke about the frame of reference where the Charism arose, given in Folleville and Châtillon, France, in 1617, emphasizing the uniqueness of the recipients of the Vincentian mission: the poor. After lunch, the approximately 150 participants were organized into four workshops, namely:

  1. “Social reality: challenges for the emerging Church,” coordinated by Lucimere León, whose objective was to analyze the environment and the importance of social movements as new Vincentian fields;
  2. “Vincentian Family: roads and questions,” coordinated by Márcia Terezinha and Maria Freitas, who took into account today’s history, in light of the structures that the Vincentian Family has (finance, buildings and personnel), questioning those present about how they are working and what challenges lie ahead;
  3. “I was a stranger and you welcomed me,” whose coordinator, Carla Aguilar, helped the participants to reflect on the Vincentian work with foreigners and migrants today.
  4. “In community at the service of the poor,” facilitated by Marisa Domingos, who worked on overcoming interpersonal difficulties in the name of the mission, making those present reflect on the challenges of relationships today.

On Saturday, April 1, after the Eucharist presided by Fr. Silvio and concelebrated by Fr. Odair and other priests present, the second address of the meeting was held, given by the former Assistant General, Fr. Eli Chaves, CM, with the motto “400 years, present and future, challenges and perspectives,” developing his speech based on the video of the Superior General, P. Tomaz Mavric, CM, which deals with the “sandals of Vincent de Paul,” sending an invitation to those present to wear and wear down their sandals following Christ, as our patron saint did, and noted five steps to live Christianity today:

  1. To deepen in the personal encounter with Christ, evangelizer of the poor;
  2. Go out to the outskirts, where the most abandoned poor are, which are sacraments of Christ;
  3. To deepen the missionary charity of Christ as constitutive of the Vincentian vocation;
  4. To develop a transformative and integral action of mission and charity, and
  5. To promote active and fruitful collaboration among the branches and members of the Vincentian Family.

After lunch, the meeting was resumed, coordinated by the PBCM vocation delegate, Fr. Denilson Matias, CM, who presented to the participants a timeline of the Vincentian Family. He explained the 400th anniversary logo, pointing out the origin of the idea of ​​working as a Family, born during the government of the Superior General Fr Robert Maloney, CM and invited those present to introduce their branches to the rest of the group. This was done, in that order, by the representatives of:

  • Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY),
  • Vincentian Lay Missionaries (MISEVI),
  • Society of St. Vincent de Paul Paul (SSVP),
  • Association of the Miraculous Medal (AMM),
  • Association of alumni of the Congregation of the Mission and Friends of Caraça (AEALAC),
  • Sisters of St. Vincent de Paul of Gysegen (ISVPG),
  • Brothers of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy (FMM),
  • Daughters of Charity (DC) and
  • Congregation of the Mission (CM)

The coordinator then pointed out all the National Meetings of the Vincentian Family, from the first held in Belém – PA in 1998 until the fourteenth, to be held in June 2017 in Salvador – Bahia. Father Denilson ended his speech by asking those present about some concrete experience during this 400th anniversary.

On Sunday, April 2nd, the meeting concluded with the Eucharist presided by Fr. Mol, CM, who during Thanksgiving gave thanks to all those who attended the meeting, those who planned it and those who helped to carry it out. Also during the Thanksgiving we had a brief greeting from the Superior General and the Vice of the FMM, and a presentation of the philosophy students of the Congregation of the Mission at an interprovincial level, and their work in the production of craft candles; a special applause was received by Juventud Santo Amaro (JUSA) who responded to the convocation of the Eucharist and to the closing meal.

It is worth noting that the students of the interprovincial seminary, based in Curitiba, took advantage of the stay in Caraga to, besides participating in the program of the meeting, take a tour of the different walks that the place has, enjoying the fauna and flora; learning about the history of CM in Brazil, since the house is the first of the congregation in the country; and praying to the Virgin Mother of Men, especially for the poor and the intentions of the Holy Father, who has granted the Vincentian Family in this jubilee year a plenary indulgence.

Author: Seminarian Cleber Fábio Oliveira Teodósio, CM


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