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 Four: Summary of our Asia Pacific Visit
As inadequate as generalizations are, there is one which powerfully captures our Family in Asia: we are young, vibrant, filled with energy, and generally freed from the baggage which can accompany failed efforts at collaboration. Many places we visited said proudly “we are just giving birth to the Vincentian Family” and they were doing so with their eyes fixed on their sisters and brothers who are most in need.
Their service is marked by a creative use of very limited resources. Though everyone wished they had more financial capital to do the work they wished to do, they had captured a fundamental principle that is often lost – people, including the poor themselves – are our greatest resource. The Vincentian Family in the Asia Pacific has gone to the peripheries of their societies, heroically responding to what many would consider overwhelming need. They are responding to every imaginable challenge, and doing so with love, zeal, and compassion.
There was a fire among the lay members of the Family – a deep desire to grow in their knowledge of Vincent, his spirituality, and what it means for them to be part of the Vincentian Family Movement. Formation was probably the greatest expressed need – both for laity and for those in consecrated life. This need must be addressed if we hope to grow as a Family here.
But this will be quite challenging. The greatest concern is linguistic. Just as daunting is geography. But my hope is that, especially with the assistance of the Vincentian Family in the Philippines, we will be able to develop a long-term strategy for addressing this need.
Finances or the lack thereof remains the elephant in the room. Hopefully, as national councils stabilize and develop, common strategies for advancement will be explored.
This will enable national entities to more effectively leverage for funds that may be available for their work.
We established a “Vincentian Family Asia Pacific” page on Facebook, in the hope of beginning to help the Family know each other throughout the region. Further strategies for communication and collaboration are being explored. Let us continue to pray for and support the efforts of our Vincentian Family in this region, and throughout the world.
Fr. Joe Agostino, CM