Greetings to everyone and happy second day of this general assembly!
Yesterday evening – Monday 27 – we celebrated a time of silence … a time in which we paused in the soft tenderness of the Lord, allowing us to refresh our mind and heart in order to place ourselves at the service of a New Humankind. Such was the objective of this time which we initiated last night … a time in which prayer prevails, a time when God speaks to us.
Bishop Andrew Bellisario, a Vincentian missionary and the Archbishop of Anchorage-Juneau in Alaska, shared with us some reflections on the theme of this Assembly: revitalize our identity at the beginning of the fifth centenary of the Congregation of the Mission. In light of the biblical text, John 20:16 the Bishop spoke about the manner in which Jesus speaks to our heart. Therefore, we have no reason to give in to fear, rather we must revitalize ourselves. Saint Vincent is our Founder, and he is with us … are we able to understand that reality?
The following morning, Bishgop Belisario gave a second conference entitled: the poor, the charism and the call … three realities that were placed before us for reflection. When speaking about the poor, the Bishop narrated his story and the discovery of Saint Joseph, a discovery that made him more sensitive and more aware of persons who felt helpless. When speaking about the charism, he pointed out that Jesus is able to fill us so that we are able to discover our vocation and clothe ourselves in the Vincentian virtues. Finally, when speaking about the call, he referred to his vocation to the episcopate, a present and rather different reality in which he is continually challenged to open himself to the life of the Church.
This day of prayer and meditation led to two other moments:  the celebration of the Eucharist … and in his homily the bishop shared his experience with fishermen and water. He referred to the gospel passage where Jesus is found on the Sea of Galilee and explains his relationship with his apostles who were expert fishermen. Jesus gave the disciples what they needed to believe in him, even in difficult times. The gift of the Spirit is the best gift and said gift can transform us and convert us into saved individuals.  On the other hand, the bishop reminded us about experiences of worship and reflection with Jesus … how can we deepen this relationship. Saint Paul desired the grace to be strong through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. What would be the fears that would prevent us from living with this same strength of the Holy Spirit?