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Your annual report and this meeting today provide a clear window into the world of this organization and its goals and plans. To a newcomer, it gives a transparent, marvelous view. But I have a potent way for you to view and enact your present purpose and future horizons: through the lens of Sacred Scripture. I believe that Vincentians in Partnership is a modern day parable that affirms the promises of God in our midst. To inspire, teach, and challenge his followers, Jesus used parables, stories drawn from ordinary events in daily life. A short and often overlooked parable (which appears in three of four Gospels) that I believe aptly describes Vincentians in Partnership is that of the mustard seed. It says, “Jesus said, “The Kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and put in his own garden. It grew, and became a large tree, and the birds of the sky lodged in its branches.” - Lk.13: 18-19 This parable is not a superficial “from small sprigs do great oak trees grow” story. The mustard seed was a very small seed. Its saplings were frail and could easily die. Yet, once grown, it was firmly rooted and survived earthquakes, droughts and floods. For Jesus, the mustard seed is the Kingdom of God on earth. Vincentians in Partnership began as a mustard seed of hope amidst a leviathan of human misery. By your work in assisting and empowering the poor, you bring the Kingdom of God into their lives; you have become a modern day parable! The “mustard seed” parable symbolizes a greater story: God’s promise to all of us of his abiding love and presence. This was expressed beautifully by the prophet Jeremiah, who pleaded God to help the Jewish people when they thought all was lost. Jeremiah wrote: “For I know the plans the Lord has for you” says the Lord. : They are plans for good and not disaster, to give you a future with hope.” (Jere. 29:11) From the roots of this mustard tree do come the promise of a future filled with hope to many who were once without any hope. And so my challenge to you today is two-fold. First, give yourselves over to this modern day parable called Vincentians in Partnership. While you form various groups and communities, you are part of a wonderful, mysterious, difficult, graced-filled “living parable”. Let this parable that is Vincentians in Partnership take deeper roots in you, so in your little space on this earth you will bear of beams of light in a world filled with contrary lights. In living this parable, you will become the promise of God in person to the many people you serve. Secondly, let the Vincentian charism be the ‘mustard seeds” to guide your work. Learn more about the words and works of Saints Vincent and Louise and Blessed Frederic. Reflect and discuss how these Vincentian values impact your work. In embracing our charism as your core corporate identity, you are connected to the Vincentian Family and share in our heritage of hope. Know that we stand with in solidarity as you embrace the charism we share. In closing, I would like to end as I began, with words from another Englishman, the recently beatified John Henry Newman. An excerpt from his “Prayer to Know the Mission of My Life” expresses the hopes and dreams of all good people. It is a prayer not only for staff and

Fr Gregory Gay talk to Vincentians in Partnership 2011  
Fr Gregory Gay talk to Vincentians in Partnership 2011  

Keynote address at AGM of Vincentians in Partnership