From the end of August to the end of September 2018, Fr. Joseph Agostino, CM (international coordinator of the Vincentian Family Office) and Pamela Mantuhac (member of the Vincentian Family Office Advisory Committee for this region) visited 15 countries in which the Vincentian Family is serving the poor. Below is a brief overview of an experience that defies words and was more spectacular than pictures.
Part Two: Southeast Asia and the Mainland
Because of a death in my family, Pamela visited three countries alone: Thailand, Cambodia, and Vietnam.
5 branches of the Family serve the people of Thailand: CM, DC, AIC, SSVP, and AMM. The VMY (found in the north) have yet to be integrated into the national council. The coordinating group was established in 2002 and predominantly organizes their annual Feast Day celebrations. There is some effort made by other Branches to support DC ministries for the poor.
There are currently three Branches of the Family serving here: DC, AIC, and SSVP.
Although there is no formal VF coordinating group, the Branches meet once in a while for celebrations (400th anniversary) and a few common projects like the “Cleanliness Drive” in 2017. There exists a good and active membership, many of whom staff DC works in Phnom Penh.
The AIC, CM, DC, SSVP, and VMY are found in Vietnam. The Vietnam Collaborative Vincentian Family (VCVF) was established in 2010 as a fruit of the 350th anniversary celebration of the death of SVP and SLM. The CM and DC have a growing number of young vocations. They could be a hope for vocations in Asia.
Pamela and I met again in the Philippines (to come in the next report) so I was able to personally enjoy the visit to Laos. Four branches serve here: DC, AIC, SSVP, and AMM. There is a good working relationship among some members of the Family, but there is a recognized need for the formation of a coordinating body and more planned collaborative efforts.
The Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul of Suwon, the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, the SSVP, and the DC’s make up the local VF. Their national coordinating council is newly formed and well-organized as they gather for formation, celebration, and a level of collaborative interaction in their works. They have decided to look at the Korean manifestations of homelessness as a possible common project moving forward.
The SSVP are the only Branch of the VF ministering in Hong Kong as of this writing. We had the privilege of being with them to celebrate the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul in the Cathedral with the Ordinary and to attend their annual meeting afterwards. The Society is doing heroic work with very limited resources and maneuverability.
Fr. Joe Agostino, CM