We begin by pointing out that the National Council of the Vincentian Family Office in Chile (CONAFAVICH) was established in 1999 in response to the call of the then Superior General, Rev. Robert Maloney, CM (Paris, 1995). Since that time, the group has continued to function, meeting several times during the year, and organizing various initiatives.
Historically, the National Council has been composed of the seven branches that are present in this country: the Association of the Miraculous Medal, Health Animators, the Lay Vincentian Association (this group is known as the AIC in other countries), the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, the Vincentian Marian Youth, the Company of the Daughters of Charity and the Congregation of the Mission. This composition is still maintained.
With regard to our activity during 2020: as has occurred in many other parts of the world, COVID-19 has restricted our mobility and consequently, restricted our ability to meet. March 10, in the central house of the Congregation of the Mission, was the last time that the Council met face to face. Later meetings were done virtually. We met (via Google Meet) in May, July, August, and November.
In light of the above-mentioned limitations, we began a campaign known as La Luca Solidaria (“luca” being a 1,000 peso bill in Chile). The objective of this campaign is to support some of the initiatives that are being promoted by the various branches … initiatives that are aiding those persons who have been affected by the pandemic. In this manner we have opened some doors that allow all the members of the Vincentian Family to engage in charitable activity from their homes. This has been important since so many individuals are unable to carry on their usual ministry because of their vulnerability. This campaign has been concretized in three phases (the last of which will focus on the Christmas celebration).
The Council had the challenge of planning the celebration of the Vincentian Month through means of the social media platforms. Thus, three formational sessions were held, and a prayer meeting was celebrated on the feast of the solemnity of Vincent de Paul. The formation sessions took place on September 5, 12, and 26 and these presentations were made by different members of the family (from the national and the international level) who focused on the challenges of the Vincentian Family during this time of pandemic. The prayer meeting was organized by the members of the Vincentian Marian Youth and had a duration of approximately two hours. This time included times of thanksgiving, prayer, witness, reflection and involved participants from the various branches of the Family. Each of these activities saw the participation of about one hundred persons.
The Council evaluated September’s activities in a positive manner (the proposed objectives had been achieved). We highlight the fact that the virtual platforms enabled people from throughout the country to participate in these activities (something that does not happen when these celebrations are held in the nation’s capital and done face to face). This opportunity enabled many members to reflect on what it means to be a member of the Vincentian Family and the role that the members can play in society and in the church. In light of the result of these various virtual encounters, we see an importance in the continued use of this technology which will allow us to achieve common objectives that in turn will enable us to fulfill the purposes that are proper to us as Christians who follow Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac.
We also want to inform you about the internal roles of the National Council:
- Coordinator*: Daniela Quinchamán (National President of the VMY in Chile)
- Secretary*: Antonio Ibacache Ramírez (National Secretary of the VMY in Chile)
- Treasurer: Irma Aedo Aedo (Health Animator)
(*) the Coordinator and the secretary were chosen during the middle of the year, in July and in August, respectively.
We hope that this information will be useful for you and will allow you to know something about the reality of the Vincentian Family in this country. As always, the National Council is available to participate in the various activities sponsored by the International Office. In this month, when we remember in a special manner Our Blessed Mother, we pray that through her intercession we may concretize our challenges in the search for an ever more effective charity that at the same time create a more just world.
National Council of the Vincentian Family in Chile