An Extraordinary Assembly

by | May 6, 2024 | Formation, Reflections | 1 comment

It all began in Galilee.
We are rooted as Christians in the life of the resurrected Jesus.

It all began in Foleville.
We are rooted in the Vincentian spiritual vision.

It all began in Madrid.
We are rooted in a lay missionary movement.

This is what Fr. Memo Campuzano, CM, shared at the conclusion of the International MISEVI Extraordinary Assembly, as he encouraged us toward the future.  Jesus’ ministry is rooted in the poorest region: Galilee and its towns of Bethlehem and Nazareth.  St. Vincent DePaul realized how critical the year 1617 was for the birth of his mission among those living in the margins.  And the spirit of young missionaries from Vincentian Marian Youth in Spain led to the birth of MISEVI, Vincentian Lay Missionaries.  It is vital to remember our roots.  It is vital to take nourishment from that which grounds us.  It is vital to know from where we came so that we can know where we are going.

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This was the spirit of our Extraordinary Assembly from April 10-13, 2024, at the Pinares Center in Bogota, Colombia.  Some words that come to mind to describe our experience of the assembly:  enlivening, challenging, engaging, hospitable, surprising, interesting, fulfilling, energizing, necessary, healing, messy, faithful, providential, joyful, prayerful, synodal.  Each day began with prayer, a prayer that carried us throughout the day and then was remembered as we celebrated Eucharist at the end of the day.   Each day provided input that allowed for all the participants to then share in small groups what they heard.  Each day brought us closer together, even in the messiness of different perspectives, different ways of understanding, and many different cultures.  And there was lots of celebration, from a welcoming coffee offered by MISEVI Colombia to a cultural integration evening to amazing entertainment from young people performing traditional and modern dances of Colombia.

Fifty people represented thirteen countries at the event. Participants were inspired by Pope Francis with his words of hope, challenged by the theme of “New Wine, New Wineskins,”  encouraged by the presentations from Sr. Aceneth DC, Fr. Edison CM, Fernando Chacon, and Fr. Memo Campuzano CM (about synodal Church, the multiplying effect of mission, and the tasks for the future of MISEVI), and propelled to accomplish the many lines of action indicated by the group that was assembled.

A new International Coordinating Team was elected:  Gina Paredes (President) from the Dominican Republic; Marek Kunštár (Vice-President) from Slovakia; Martha Marin (Secretary) from Colombia;) from Juan Carlos Arroyo Granadillo (Treasurer) from Venezuela; and Roberto Lagos Lima (Representative) from Mexico.

Some of the lines of action to be accomplished are:

  • Be clear and precise about the structure and identity of MISEVI International, most importantly, a renewal of the Statutes.
  • Continue the dialogue with members of the Vincentian Family about the vocational process of being lay missionary disciples.
  • Ensure and strengthen the process of spiritual formation through the support of Spiritual Advisors, prayer and commitment to the Vincentian charism.
  • Establish the new secretariat of MISEVI International as approved by the Assembly.
  • Confirm the identities of the MISEVI National Associations and encourage the expansion of new National Associations through listening as a synodal Church.

St. Vincent DePaul spoke of our youthful hearts,

“I wish you a young heart and a love in its first bloom for Him who loves us unceasingly and as tenderly as if He were just beginning to love us. For all God’s pleasures are ever new and full of variety, although He never changes.”

MISEVI International has strong roots and will continue to grow as a younger member of the Vincentian Family.  We embrace the inspirational words of Pope Francis, which were shared at the Assembly:

A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you. And then there will be another “you,” and another “you,’ and it turns into an “us.” And so, does hope begin when we have an “us?” No, hope began with one “you.”  When there is an “us,” there begins a revolution.”  

May we be the young hearts Vincent spoke of and the “us” Pope Francis challenges us to be.

1 Comment

  1. isabel fesser

    GRACIAS por recordarnoslo