“What a great joy! This was the resounding yell during the first-ever Philippine Young Vincentians’ Encounter held in February 2011 in Manila, Philippines. Dubbed as “Coming Together to Celebrate the Vincentian Spirit” the gathering united over sixty (60) post-novitiate formands and their formators of seven congregations with Vincentian ties. These were the Congregation of the Mission, Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Brothers of Charity, Handmaids of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, Sisters of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy, Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and the Brothers of Charity of Our Lady Mother of Mercy.
In her opening remarks Sr. Ma. Teresa Mueda, DC, Visitatrix of the Daughters of Charity, Philippine Province pointed out four important reasons for celebration:
- the creativity of this first attempt to draw out these several religious families’ unique ways of belonging to the Vincentian family;
- a reflection on the existing diversity will enable us to have a genuine appreciation for differences and instill openness to enrichment and limitless possibilities;
- our common legacy: beneath the unique character of each congregation is a shared Vincentian heritage that binds, inspires, and moves each one to give oneself fully to the charism;
- the responsibility bestowed upon each member for each respective congregation’s expression of the charism and the shared legacy.
As an initial step to attain the over-all objective of enhancing collaboration among the young members and formators of the Vincentian Family towards a more united and responsive service of the poor, each participating branch prepared creative presentations of their specific historical origins, and particular ministries and services being carried out in the Philippines. Each congregation’s presentation was followed by a question-and-answer forum that increased each one’s knowledge of the other branches.
Among the dominant outcomes of the sharing were:
1) The prevailing feeling is JOY! Each one expressed happiness at the discovery of having “extended Vincentian family”, especially those “family members” who are very new in the Philippines, and whose numbers are yet few.
2) Each one hopes that this encounter is not going to be the last, as each member looks forward to future encounters that would intensify collaboration for better service of the poor.
3) Among possible upcoming activities proposed were: exposure to the other family members’ apostolate, formators’ gatherings, formation sessions / talks / conferences that would help deepen and enhance our common Vincentian spirituality; and common liturgical celebrations to celebrate our Vincentian legacy.
4) Each Young Vincentian also expressed the desire to do pastoral work together as one Vincentian Family!
5) The Formators saw the need of collaborating with St. Vincent’s School of Theology for formation certificate courses on Vincentian Spirituality for the Young Vincentians.
This initial exploration of family togetherness was marked by a potluck meal and snacks that everyone enjoyed. Concluding the day was the Eucharistic celebration presided by Fr. Tino Martin, CM. As much will yet unfold from this fresh start, this group of Young Vincentians together with their formators carry in their hearts the inspiration that “God has placed each one of us in the state where He finds us best to be, and He has called and assembled us as ONE Vincentian Family to serve the poor He has entrusted to our care in this manner. We rejoice in this UNITY in the Vincentian spirit and charism!”
Tags: VMY, Youth