June 2011 - Year 11- #82
INTRODUCTION Inspired by the gospel and grounded in Christian spirituality, Saint Vincent de Paul and the other saints and beatified of the Vincentian Family gave witness with their lives of service on behalf of others and proclaimed the Good News of the Kingdom. Inspired by the Holy Spirit they knew how to proclaim the fact that this Kingdom was for the poor (Luke 6:20).
Dear young men and women and advisors, in this edition of the Bulletin we reflect on the theme of service and mission. These words refer to action and are implied when we speak about the Vincentian nature of our Association. In the New Testament, there are many references to the service and the mission of Jesus Christ and the Apostles. Jesus is the best example of a servant (Matthew 20:28). He identifies himself with his mission and this identification is found also in Mary, his Virgin Mother when she said: I am the handmaid of the Lord (Luke 1:38). And you, have you identified yourself with the Father’s plan for your life? Do you give witness of your Christian commitment by you service on behalf of others? Do you identify yourself with the mission that God has entrusted to you?
The world needs people who are committed to the cause of the Kingdom. Now, more than ever before, may we respond to the call that God extends to us. Rooted in Christ may we remain firm in our faith! May we be salt and light in the midst of our world!
« I am the handmaid of the Lord … »
The mission of proclaiming Jesus Christ and then serving Him in the person of our neighbor … these are not extraordinary things or something that is exclusive for certain individuals. Rather these are the responsibility of all Christians. The tools for doing this are found in own willingness to embrace these realities and therefore in our willingness to commit ourselves to being faithful to our baptismal vocation. Other tools are prayer and reflection on the Word of God and such reflection should be based on the desire to do the will of God. Finally, the areas for our action are not some far distant places but rather our own homes, our schools, our place of work and our circle of friends. Therefore, in word and deed let us affectively and effectively love our brothers and sisters who are most poor.
ANGOLA The four groups in this country continue their activities. At the end of December 2010, a National Assenbly was held and new members were elected to coordinate the Association. ALGERIA The Association is collaborating with CARITAS and Doctors Without Boarders. The celebration of a Vincentian Week is being planned for July 10-17, 2011. CAMEROON On May 21st, the groups in Douala gathered for a time of reflection and friendship. During the day there were different presentations, time for sharing, the celebration of the Eucharist, recreational activity in the naval port. Father Clement, the Director of the Association in Cameroon was present for this gathering. EQUATORIAL GUINEA There are active groups in Mickomeseng, Mokom and Bata. Every four months there is a gathering in one of these centers during which time the work that is being done in the center for the elder is evaluated and planned. Other gatherings are dedicated to formation and there is a formation center in Bata. Easter was spend in the parish churches. In March, Joviniano and some other companions visited the International Center of the VMY when they were in Madrid. MOZAMBIQUE The VMY has published a schedule of their activities for 2011 on their blog. Their theme: VMY, rooted in Christ, let us plant seeds of hope. Today is the day! The Daughters of Charity in this country have provided some space in their house for the established of the national headquarters.
KENYA During Lent the young people build a house for a woman who has AIDS. Her husband has begun the construction of the house before he died but no one had been able to complete the constructions. The members of the VMY constructed the walls of the house and today this woman is very happy living in her own house.
The young people have also planted corn and other vegetables which they are cultivating and in this way hope to be able to help those who are poor. May God bless them with a good harvest. NIGERIA June 16-18 in Port Harcourt there was a meeting of all the leaders of the distinct braches of the Vincentian Family.
OCEANIA FIJI ISLANDS
Sister Anna Wiwiek, DC is working with children and young people and has expressed her intention to begin a group of the VMY. For more information visit: http://annafiji.wordpress.com
There are six groups of the VMY in this country (5 groups in the capital, Honiara, on the island of Guadalcanal and one group in the city of Auki on the island of Malaita) and these groups meet on a weekly basis. They visit families, make rosaries and they have taken responsibility for maining the improving the grotto of Our Lady in the Seminary of the Holy Name of Mary. During the month of May the young men and women organized gatherings to pray the “living rosary”.
TO SERVE THE POOR IS TO SERVE GOD Throughout history men and women, through their commitment to their sisters and brothers, have given us different examples of their love for God. In our Vincentian Family we have seen some wonderful examples of this witness. We have experienced this in the person of our beloved Vincent de Paul who told us that we must act first and then later teach. For Vincent the process of evangelization was very important but this process had to be accompanied with concrete actions on behalf of those women and men who were poor. On many occasions Saint Vincent exhorted the Missionaries and the Daughters of Charity to serve the poor spiritually and corporally. On one occasion he strongly admonished the Missionaries with the following words: “So then, if there are any among us who think they are in
the Mission to evangelize poor people but not to alleviate their sufferings, to take care of their spiritual needs but not their temporal ones, I reply that we have to help them and have them assisted in every way, by us and by others … to do that is to preach the Gospel by words and by works” (CCD:XII:77-78). Our family is characterized by service and mission and so when we speak of one of these realities we are implying the other reality. We can say that the mission of the Vincentian Marian Youth consists of the organization and the formation of ourselves and others so that we might be able to serve the poor. During our recent General Assembly that was held in Portugal much was said about this question of mission and service. The final document reveals in a clear manner the intention of the delegates and here we simply recall some of those points: “We will form ourselves and work with present strategies in the form of project so that we might learn how to draw up, carry out and evaluate our plans (Final Document, 3.1) and later we read: We will encourage all the young people of the Association to discover and live the richness of the Vincentian charism by engaging in direct contact with people who are most poor” (Final Document, 3.3). Here we also refer to the theme of twinning among countries which the International Council is promoting (see Final Document, 3.2).
We are members of a family that is commited to those persons who are most poor and this commitment is lived out in the midst of a world that is becoming poorer and poorer with each passing day and as a result of this reality more is being demanded of us. Have you asked yourself what is means for you, as a young person, to be a part of this family? What contribution are you willing to make? What commitment are you willing to make? Let us move out from our comfort zone and then, following the example of Saint Vincent de Paul, let us boldly go forth to encounter those women and men who are most in need.
YVM + WYD MADRID 2011 We urgently need your collaboration to send us the Vincentian Family Questionnaire, before July 15th, His e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks!
The VMY in Italy, even though we are in a delicate phase of transition from the Marian Association to the Vincentian Marian Youth Association, we continue to promote the need to provide for the poor. On the local level there seems to be a growing awareness of the importance of this missionary service. In Campania, for example, the prayer group (Salerno), has been engaged in activities on behalf of those people with disabilities. In Naples, the group has worked with the local parish and helped in the organization of a Christmas dinner to benefit homeless people and people living alone. The activity in Naples became the spark for further initiatives of other groups. Members of one of the groups is collaborating with the Vincentian Volunteers (AIC) and on a weekly basis is involved in the distribution of food and other assistance to families in need. This project is financed by the Vincentian Volunteers. At the same times some young men and women are providing after-school assistance to some chidren who are at great risk. At the end of the year, some young people, with the help of some members of the Vincentian Family, organized a presentation the proceeds of which were used to help a clinic in Albania.
The groups and leaders in Italy are concerned about providing service and care for our brothers and sisters who are most in need.
In Puglia, the group in Palo Alto is involved in an apostolate with the elderly. They are collaborating with the Daughters of Charity and have estatblished relationships with the elderly men and women so that they can engage in an exchange of ideas and experiences. The young people in Sicily have organized missions of evangelization in which they attempt to proclaim the Word of God in their neighborhood. The VMY group in Lentini is continually collaborating with other groups in the parish, groups that are also inspired by the Vincentian charism.
INTERNATIONAL The Director General confirmed the following appointments: Daniel Malmierca (President, Spain), Fr. Rafael Antonio Presidente, CM (Advisor, Guatemala), Fr. Jaime Reyes Mendoza, CM (Advisor, Mexico), Fr. Milton Ryan, CM (Advisor, USA) and Ricardo Sousa Ferreira (President, Portugal). The Preparatory Commission for the Vincentian Youth Gathering and World Youth Day reminds all the priests, deacons and religious who will be participating in World Youth Day to submit your Credential Letters before July 1st so that you can participate in the liturgical celebrations of World Youth Day. www.acreditacionsacerdotesjmj.org Two of our volunteers will conclude their service at the International Secretariat: Katarina Mazurova (Slovakia) and Aregelys Vega (Panama). We thank them for the time that they dedicated to this mission. May God accompany them in their future plans!