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The Congregation of the Mission’s Ministry to Form the Clergy

by | Jan 17, 2021 | Congregation of the Mission, Formation

Continuing our focus on the Congregation of the Mission, who celebrate their Foundation Day on January 25– the date of St. Vincent de Paul’s legendary sermon at Folleville

The specific purpose of the Congregation, as indicated in its official name, is to preach missions to the poor, especially to the poor living in the rural areas who at the time of Vincent, were abandoned by the Church. Vincent soon realized that the fruit of the popular missions would quickly vanish unless there were good priests who would continue that work. Therefore, Vincent engaged in seminary work, first, through the retreats for the ordinands, then with the Tuesday conferences and ministry in diocesan seminaries. When Vincent died in 1660, the community that Vincent had envisioned had become a reality.

Source: cmglobal.org

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St. Vincent loved to talk about the formation of the diocesan clergy, particularly in the later years of his life. “At the beginning,” he told the confreres on December 6, 1658, “the Company was occupied only with itself and the poor, but in the fullness of time, God called us to contribute to the making of good priests, to give good pastors to parishes, and to show them what they must know and practice.”… So fundamental is the formation of the diocesan clergy in St. Vincent’s mind that he makes it a part of the purpose of the Congregation when he writes the Common Rules. Our Constitutions of 1984 carefully follow St. Vincent in this regard, while expanding formation work to include the laity: “The purpose of the Congregation of the Mission is to follow Christ evangelizing the poor. This purpose is achieved when, faithful to St. Vincent, the members individually and collectively:… 3 – help the clergy and laity in their formation and lead them to a fuller participation in the evangelization of the poor.”

– Source: Fr. Robert P. Maloney, C.M. (1997) “Our Ministry to Help Form the Diocesan Clergy: Yesterday and Today,” Vincentiana: Vol. 41 : No. 1, Article 4.

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