From January 14-16, 2019, the international leadership of the Vincentian Family held its annual meeting at its headquarters in Philadelphia (USA).  This year, a new Branch of the Vincentian Family was invited to join the Vincentian Family Executive Committee (VFEC) – the Vincentian Congregation (VC) based in India.

This year, a number of significant issues were addressed.  The challenge of communication, both internal and external to the Vincentian Family, was discussed at great length.  A new Strategic Plan for Communications, presented by Javier Chento, was approved.  One result will be a first-ever meeting of those responsible for communication among various Branches of the Family in Madrid on March 16.

Top row, left to right: Sr. Grace Hertzog, SC (Sisters of Charity Federation-North America), Fr. Tomaž Mavrič CM (Congregation of the Mission), Sr. Barbara Flad, SC (Sisters of Charity Federation: Strasbourg), Fr. Joe Agostino CM (Congregation of the Mission), Sr. M. Teresa Slaby, SC (Sisters of Charity Federation: Strasbourg) and Fr. Sanjai Devis, VC (Vincentian Congregation).
Bottom row, left to right: Ms. Alicia Duhne (International Association of Charities), Br. Lawrence Obiko (Congregation of Brothers of Our Lady, Mother of Mercy), Ms. Dee Mansi (International Association of Charities), Mr. Renato Lima de Oliveira (Society of Saint Vincent de Paul), Sr. Eileen Haynes, SCL (Sisters of Charity Federation-North America) and Mr. Ricardo Tavares (Society of Saint Vincent de Paul).

The effective use of social media for the sake of the Mission remains a primary concern.

Two major initiatives being undertaken by the Family were also studied.  First, we received an update on the work of the VF Homeless Alliance from Mark McGreevy.  The “13 Houses” project is being well received.  This year, on the Feast of St. Vincent, the Family will be asked to reflect on forced displacement – another aspect of the homelessness crisis.

The second initiative concerns the creation of a culture of vocations for the Vincentian Family.  The 5 year strategic plan formulated by the Task Force for this area was approved.  Much more will be said about this in the months ahead.

A listening session was also held between the VFEC and the NGO members of the Vincentian Family at the United Nations in New York.  This provided us an opportunity to better understand the scope of our work at the UN and to discuss how we can better collaborate in the promotion of our mutually shared concern for the eradication of poverty and the promotion of social justice.

Many other topics were discussed over these days.  They will be addressed more specifically soon.  But of greatest significance are the plans which were laid for the upcoming meeting of the international leaders of the Vincentian Family in Rome.  The theme for this gathering is:  “FamVin 2020: the Vincentian Family Moving Forward.”  For the first time in our history as a Vincentian Family a meeting of all the leaders of all the Branches of the Vincentian Family is being called, affording us an opportunity to look together at the future of our shared Vincentian Charism.  We anticipate that over 300 leaders of the Family will come together from January 8-12, 2020.

The next meeting of the VFEC will be in January 2020 after the international leaders meeting.

Joseph Agostino, CM
International Coordinator Vincentian Family Office

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