Two years ago, when famvin.org was a project of the Congregation of the Mission, a trio of Vincentian priests – John Maher, C.M., Joseph Agostino, C.M., and famvin.org’s founder John Freund, C.M. – consulted with many others and produced a plan approved by the Congregation to greatly expand the scope of this significant Vincentian Family resource.
At that time it was a loosely structured project in five languages plus Vinformation. In reality it operated as an independent volunteer project funded by the Congregation of the Mission and the CMs and Daughters of Charity of the USA. Fr. Freund was the managing editor, fundraiser, and creative mind behind it all. Beth Nicol, Monica, Marge Clifford, D.C., and Charles Plock, C.M. worked with Fr. Freund behind the scenes. With them, Toma Zielinski labored to strengthen famvin.org, while maintaining a site in Polish. Vincentian Fathers Giuseppe Turati, Chuno Chavez, and Claude Lautissier worked in their precious free moments to produce famvin.org in their respective languages. But there was a plan afoot. They needed a planner. By way of Fr. Greg Gay – then Superior General of the CMs – they asked me to take it on. After some negotiation about my time and the structure of the plan, I accepted his invitation to guide this process for two years.
Meanwhile, the Congregation took the decision to place famvin.org and the new plan within the ambit of the Vincentian Family Executive Committee. Ah, but since my childhood, I could always catch a hard-breaking curveball!
Two years have passed, and the plan is about 80% complete, with the other 20% in process. Now the “.famvin Digital Network” includes a fully collaborative six-language famvin.org platform, a two-language vinformation.org platform, and a six-language vincentians.com web integrated within the network at the initiative of Javier F. Chento, who joined the team during this time. All of these sites have a variety of social media related to them. Liz and Matt Astridge, Émile Ghali, C.M., Thiago Tibúrcio, and Valerio Di Trapani, C.M. joined the team in these years. Many others contribute as web authors, translators and social media administrators.
While advancing its own strategic plan, .famvin has mounted the web site of the Vincentian Family Office, an online international Vincentian Family Press Center, a six-language 400th Anniversary symposium site, the Famvin Homeless Alliance site in three languages, and has assisted in the complete overhaul of the international sites of the AIC and the AMM – both in three languages. There were far too many consultations to mention here. Only an intense spirit of collaboration could have achieved this. I thank everyone who has contributed to these efforts. Without committed collaborators, this would have been impossible for a full-time missionary on the Bolivian Altiplano (me). You made it fun!
What more? And why am I recounting this? It’s because I want everyone to know how powerful collaboration is. I want webmasters of the Vincentian Family to leave their “silos” – either imposed by overwork and lack of appreciation or understanding of the work you do, or chosen because of an unwarranted sense of competition or perhaps to hide a feeling of “I-don’t-really-know-enough-to-do-this-well.” That was my feeling at the outset. I certainly didn’t know how to do all this, but a collaborative network of committed coworkers who have become friends brought their gifts together. They taught me. I taught them. A new vision emerged. So…
I ask all webmasters and communication directors to enter this incredibly productive, powerful and personally enriching world. I asked Javier Chento to coordinate this “dance” because I know that with his collaborative leadership the system can only become better. Take down the false “firewalls” that frustrate communication and only make for an incomplete effort. Talk to one another (constantly) and share your ideas openly. Leave your information “silos” and plan together. The Vincentian Family is hungry for formation and news about its members. We will serve the Family so much better if we serve together! God bless you. May we meet in the cloud!
Aidan R. Rooney, C.M., is finishing his time as superior of the Bolivian Altiplano Mission of the Congregation of the Mission where he has lived and served since 2009. He will continue assisting .famvin and other Vincentian Family digital presences as a volunteer and will return to serve at Niagara University, where he previously served from 1984-1994. He hopes to dine regularly with Liz and Matt (editors of famvin.org in English) and their children, Millie, Luke and the blessing-yet-to-come. You can contact him by email (in the photo).