I had the distinct honor and privilege to be at a meeting of MISEVI International at the Motherhouse in Paris in early February.  There I met Fr. Emmanuel from Togo, who lives at the Motherhouse and was the translator for our meeting.  I was immediately impressed by his joy. His countenance is filled with the joy that being a person of faith can give.  And he reminded us of the rootedness of MISEVI in Pope Francis’ encyclical Evangelii Gaudium.

“The joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus.”

Thus begins Pope Francis in the encyclical. Fr. Emmanuel encouraged us to remember the words of this encyclical.  As Pope Francis develops the joy of the Gospel, he further says, “The believer is essentially ‘one who remembers.’”

In these days of turmoil, division, and sickness, it is good to remember what we are about as bearers of the Gospel, as mission people sent to proclaim the joy we know.  At the meeting in Paris, we were graced with the zoom presence of leaders of the countries that make up MISEVI and we remember.

We remember each missionary of MISEVI in each of the member countries:  Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominican Republic, Egypt, El Salvador, Ireland, Lebanon, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, United States, and Venezuela.
We remember the joy that our faith provides.
We remember those who have gone before us and have died for the faith.
We remember the one who is directly in front of us who now needs the joy of the Gospel.
We remember the roots of MISEVI in Spain.
We remember Vincent and Louise who called us to see the face of Christ in those we encounter.
We remember refugees who are fleeing countries of violence and famine.
We remember those in our midst who experience homelessness.
We remember those who have taught us so much by living authentically in the midst of their pain.
We remember other members of the Vincentian family who have been responding to those who are living in poverty for centuries.

And in our remembering, we draw upon what we have learned in the past so as to continue to move forward and change for the present and the future.  MISEVI is a young member of the Vincentian Family and is in the midst of this transformation into the future. As we continue to develop the mission of MISEVI, we call to mind – we remember – all who have embraced the Vincentian charism who inspire us to share the joy of our encounters with Christ, our encounters with the presence of God in each person we meet.

The joy of evangelizing always arises from grateful remembrance: it is a grace which we constantly need to implore. (Evangelii Gaudium)

May we implore this grace and be a joyful presence in all of our encounters, as Fr. Emmanuel showed us.

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