Fr. Joe Agostino, international coordinator of the Vincentian Family Office, has just posted a video on his Facebook page with a interesting reflection on this Pentecost and the Vincentian Family. We invite you all to see it and join our efforts, as a Family, to follow Jesus Christ in the example of Vicent de Paul:
Hello. Welcome to the Vincentian Family’s Office Facebook page – Vincentian Collaboration.
My name is Joseph Agostino. I am a priest of the Congregation of the Mission serving as the international coordinator of the Vincentian Family Office.
Thank all of you for watching!
I would like to begin by sharing with you the Gospel from this Sunday’s Feast of Pentecost (John 20:19-23):
On the evening of that first day of the week,
when the doors were locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews,
Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them,
“Peace be with you.”
When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. The disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord.
Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you.
As the Father has sent me, so I send you.”
And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them,
“Receive the holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain are retained.”
The Gospel of the Lord.
Like the disciples of Jesus’ day, most of us around the world also find ourselves locked behind the doors of our houses. COVID-19 has issued in a new era for the human family.
The very old and the very young, those who suffer from other ailments and even those who are perfectly healthy, are all targets of this silent killer.
And yet we cannot help but see and hear Jesus speak to us, even in our isolation: Peace be with you! He knows our pain and shows us his own wounds in a powerful act of solidarity with our human condition.
He breathes on us his life-giving Spirit and calls us to move from isolation to community, from fear to action, clearly saying, “As I have been sent, so I send you.”
And the question for us as Church, and for the Vincentian Family as a Movement within the Church, is simply this: how do we respond to Jesus’ command? Whether old or young, ill or healthy, rich or currently unemployed, how do I allow that Spirit to move me to Gospel action?
St. Vincent de Paul told his followers: love is inventive to infinity! And this period of COVID calls for our greatest creativity in responding to the staggering needs of the world.
Vincentians all over the globe are putting their lives on the line in heroic service to their brothers and sisters. From South Sudan to the Philippines, from Germany to Peru, from Honduras to the Congo we see creative responses to this crisis carried out by lay and consecrated Vincentians alike.
To assist these projects on a global scale, we have just launched a website that tries to connect prospective donors with projects for their support. We hope that these efforts will enable us to continue to meet the needs of those we serve and continue to be a concrete sign of Jesus’ love for them in the midst of their suffering – Jesus showing his wounds to them as He stands among them through us.
Pope Francis has called the Church to plan in earnest for how we will evangelize in a post-COVID world. Everyone says we will wake up from this pandemic to a new world order. No one knows exactly what shape that will take.
We do suspect that the plight of the poor will be worse than it was before. The economic forecasts are not encouraging in any arena for the foreseeable future.
This is a special challenge to the Vincentian Family. What new forms of poverty will emerge that will demand our attention?
How must our approach to both proclaiming the Good News and direct service change to effectively respond to the demands of tomorrow?
How will all that has been done these past months via social media permanently impact our ongoing relationships with each other?
Pope Francis has powerfully reminded us in Laudato Si that you cannot care for the underprivileged if you do not care for the earth. How our Family can continue to care for the earth is of great concern to all of us.
As we creatively explore our responses to these questions, we know that Jesus still stands in our midst with the gift of His Spirit which brings us both strength and peace.
And the prevailing truth of the words of St. Vincent to the Daughters of Charity continues to echo in our ears:
And that was the beginning of your Company. As it was not then what it is now, there is reason to believe that it is still not now what it will be later on when God brings it to the state on which He has decided.
We know that we do not work alone – we have a wonderful army of collaborators alongside us, people who see Jesus in the face of their brothers and sisters.
These collaborators come from both within and outside of the Vincentian Family. We have been especially blessed by one such group of people, the Gen Verde music ministry of the Focolare Movement. We know them well from our last three international events in Rome!
I am honored that they have agreed to share their talent with us today as we bring this sharing to a close. I give to them the final word!