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The National Council of India Society of St. Vincent de Paul Eucharistic Congress Building - II 5, Convent Street, Colaba Bombay - 400 001. India. 1


CONTENTS Message from President General


Message from Vice-President General


Message from president, National Council of Australia


Address by President, National Council of India


PANASCO-7 Prayer




PANASCO-7 History


PANASCO 7 Sterring Committee & Sub Committees




PANASCO - 7 Daily Programme


PANASCO-6 Resolutions


Homily of Most Rev. Agnelo Gracias


Homily of Most Rev. Peter Machado


Homily of Most. Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao























Message from President General Dear Fellow Vincentians, “Therefore I tell you, all that you ask for in prayer, believe that you will receive it and it shall be yours” (Mark 11G24) I greet you with kind thoughts and prayers participants of PANASCO VII and through the guidance of the Holy Spirit may you be inspired by each by other and the proceedings in the congress that will lead you to be more prayerful and committed Vincentians in fulfilling your vocation and mission in the Vincentian apostolate. As a Catholic lay apostolate organization, the spiritual formation and development of members is absolutely fundamental and necessary to grow in our Vincentian spirituality deepening our Faith in god as true disciples of Christ. Blessed Frederic said "let us go to the poor. We must not only speak but act and firm by our actions the vitality of our Faith”. Charity gives us motivation and supernatural zeal. Christian Charity is our love for Christ, Transformed into loving service given to others - this is one of the core values of our vincentian apostolate and vocation in serving christ in the poor - “The love of Christ impels us” (2Cor 5G14). “May your radiance of Charity be a beaming light in our Faith in action” said St. Vincent. The Society today with presence in 147 countries, 750,000 members, 1.3 million volunteers and serving over 30 million poor is one of the most respected, well-known, flourishing and inspiring apostolate of Charity in the world. We are part of this legacy that you and I will continue to grow and carry on in our vocation in the service of the poor and to bring about systemic change in those we assist and restore the dignity of the human person. I wish all of you for an awe inspiring and joyful PANASCO VII and may you be enriched, motivated and renewed in your Vincentian vocation and mission. As the Lord spoke to us in Holy Scripture “He who is kind to the poor lends to the Lord and He will reward him for what He has done” (Proverbs 19:17) We invoke the intercession of our Blessed Mother Mary, St. Vincent and Blessed Frederic and let’s keep each other in prayer. Yours fraternally in the service of Christ Michael Thio 5


Message from Vice-President General My Dear Vincentian Brothers and Sisters in Christ Greetings from Paris! The excitement of this PANASCO 7 has begun to fade slowly as we return to our respective countries but the wonderful memories of the excellent presentations, open discussions in the workshops and the friendships made have become forever etched into our memories. PANASCO 7 was a great success in every respect; the organization and location for the meeting was excellent, the presentations were both challenging and insightful and the liturgical services were uplifting and inspirational. The hospitality and warmth of the welcome of the Indian National Council could only be equaled by the warmth of the weather! To me the message that I will take away from this PANASCO 7 Congress is that as a Society we should not be satisfied with just providing necessary and very often essential material help. We need to speak out locally, regionally and nationally against social injustice – to give a voice to the voiceless - to ensure that those in need receive what they are entitled to, in justice, rather than charity! Our Christian mission as Vincentians with regard to Social Justice is not a new one. Indeed it can be located in the question posed by the prophet Micah (6.8) in the Old Testament and in the answer that he gives to his own question. “What does the Lord require of you? Only this: to act justly, to love kindness, And to walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8) Our service must always be unselfish. We must not limit our love of God only to the work we do; we must continually pick up the challenge of allowing God to work through us at all times, in all places and in all those we meet - so doing will result in a union with the living God. Is that not our goal?


We must find creative ways of working together and with other caring people. We must be courageous and willing to speak out. We must be committed and willing to persevere. We must be flexible and openminded to collaboration, cooperation and partnerships. And we must be men and women of integrity, or in other words, we must seek and speak the truth for the Poor. We must respond to the Call from the cries of our homeless, our teen mothers, our lonely, our elderly, our prisoners, our unemployed, our children of the urban cities, our children of migrant workers, our unborn children—our children everywhere. So what do we do? What is our response? As Vincentians we must strive to be faithful to our Founders who responded to the Call to serve Christ in the Poor.

Can we, the members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul , renew our commitment to the Gospel Call of serving Jesus in the Poor

Can we, become a committed advocate ready to urge legislators in our country to act justly in all economic and policy decisions?

Can we take responsibility to bring about collaboration, cooperation and partnership with each other and those of similar values, so as to achieve greater results for the Poor?

Can we participate with the Vincentian Family of the world in seeking solutions to world hunger, needed medical care, and education of the world’s children?

• •

Can we refuse to settle for the easy, cautious, and ‘business-as-usual’ approach? Can we have a vision of the future?

Bro. Brian O’Reilly Vice President General November 2010



Message from president, National Council of Australia It is with great joy that I send this fraternal message of congratulations to our fellow Vincentians of the National Council of India on the success of the recent Panasco 7 Congress in Goa. I can say that this congress is marked in the history of the Society as being to he most socially progressive in its vision and commitment to practical action for social justice and solidarity with our sisters and brothers experiencing marginalisation and alienation. The Presentations were characterized by a consistently strong focus on social justice as the heart of the Scriptures, the heart of the Society’s Mission, and the heart of our everyday lives. In doing so, the St. Vincent de Paul Society has made a prophetic statement to the world and even to the Church, which still needs to hear this message of hope in the Kingdom. Our message is simple; we are on the side of the poor. We must never be afraid to respond to new and emerging manifestations of structural poverty and social inequality. We are delighted, for example, to see the commitment made at Panasco 7 to renewed plan of action to minister to our sisters and brothers living with HIV/AIDS, seeking to dispel the stigma that has sadly been attached to this life threatening health condition. We have laid an excellent foundation for action for, and with, the poor of the Asia-Pacific Region. The task that lies ahead is one of translation of our shared vision into practical results for those we serve. This of course, must be firmly based on an attitude of wanting to humbly listen to, and learn from, the poor. This is the only way in which in the words that represented the theme of the Congress, Justice and Peace will Embrace of course, it is counterproductive to take on more than we can realistically achieve. But this is never an excuse for committing ourselves to nothing can realistically achieve. But this is never an excuse for committing ourselves to nothing. If we don’t try, we have already failed. In the teachings of our Blessed Lord recorded in the Sacred Scriptures, how we treat our sisters and brothers who have been pushed to the margins of society is the ultimate criterion for our acceptance or rejection at the Last Judgement. Let these words always be our inspiration and our guide. “Whatever you did to the least of my brothers or sisters you did to me”. (Mt. 25:31-46) Bro. Syd Tutton President National Council of Australia 8


President’s Secretariat Diocesan Youth Centre GUNADALA, VIJAYAWADA - 520 004 Andhra Pradesh : INDIA Mobile: 09393453463 e-mail: My Dear beloved Sisters and Brothers in Christ, We are very much delighted to conduct PANASCO-7 from 13th September to 17th September 2010 in India and we thank God for his wonderful providence. We are confident that this special document on PANASCO7 will reflect all the deliberations at PANASCO-7 meeting. We would like to give our sincere thanks to International Committee Members especially Bro. Jose Ramon Diaz Torremocha, immediate past President General International, Bro. Thio Michael, President General International, Bro. Brain O’Reilly, Vice President General, Bro. John Lee, Territorial Vice President, Asia and Oceania, Bro. Syd Tutton, President, National Council of Australia and Financial Adviser CGI, Bro. John Campbell and Bro. John D’ Souza from Australia, Bro. T. Joseph Pandian, Special Adviser, PANASCO-7, they have helped us in every detail of our programme making several visits to India during the preparation of this event. Spiritual Adviser National Council of India, Steering Committee for PANASCO-7, different committees, Board Members, Managing Committee Members, all the Central Council Presidents in India, volunteers from Goa and Bombay Central Councils have worked continuously for the success of PANASCO-7 with prayers, concerns and good wishes. We feel it great pleasure to thank Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Arch Bishop of Goa and Daman and patriarch of East Indies, Most Rev. Agnelo Gracias, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay, Most Rev. Peter Machado, Bishop of Belgaum, Most Rev. Raul Gonsalve, Arch Bishop Emeritus, Goa & Damon, Most Rev. Anthony Alwin F. Barreto, Bishop of Sindudurg for their thought provoking homilies. Thanks to His Excellency Digambar Kamath, Chief Minister of Goa for his presence on inagural day. We also express our sincere thanks to our speakers for PANASCO-7 Sr. Catherine of Vietnam, Dr. John Falzon of Australia, Rev. Fr. Desmond De Souza, CSSR – India, Rev. Fr. Francis Puthenthayil, C.M. – India, Bro. T. Joseph Pandian, India and Ms. Danusia Kaska from Australia for their wonderful presentation of different topic which will be useful to our society in the world. Our special thanks to the committee headed by Bro. Brain O’Reilly,


Vice President General International for taking much pains in preparing the questions on each topic, the responses and to prepare the recommendations to be implemented in the international level. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in India had difficult times. However we want to have our hearts filled with hope for our future rather than regrets for our past. Vincentians not only in India but also in the world, we have been working in the Church invisibly. This represents the spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul who appreciated the invisible works of the Society and Blessed Frederic Ozanam who said we love by sharing, not by mere talking. If our activities as Vincentians had been focused on material wants for the people so far, from now on we should try our best for their spiritual and meaningful lives to keep their spiritual development during their busy activities. We thank all our delegates for PANASCO-7. Let St. Vincent de Paul and Blessed Frederic Ozanam bless us all in our activities. Yours fraternally,

Bro. V.M.J. BALASWAMY President National Council of India Society of St. Vincent de Paul


PANASCO-7 - PRAYER Father in heaven, we lift up our hearts to you to praise and thank you for the innumerable graces you have continually showered on us your children make us self reliant and socially responsible through the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. We have answered Your call to serve the poor to whom Your Son Jesus had shown preferential care and concern during His Mission on earth, we have listened to His words, “Whatsoever you have done to the least of my brothers you have done to me.” We have followed His footsteps and in doing so, we have felt the deepest joy of meeting You in the new poor. In our journey together as a Vincentian family in Asia and Oceania Regions give us friendship in our hearts, compassion in our words, and simplicity in our intentions and lead us to deeper spirituality to know the most fulfilling way of serving those You have given to us. The discerning process of PANASCO VII Will bring many moments of reflection in the Spirit Regarding our Vincentian vocation. The theme “Justice and Peace will embrace” focuses on Your word. How inadequate we are without Your Inspiration and Guidance. How vague our views and perceptions of the realities that surround us without Your Light and Wisdom. As we prepare for this event, each of us brings our emptiness to You. Come and fill us completely, as you have filled St. Vincent de Paul and Blessed Frederick Ozanam, That through PANASCO VII the poor may see your glory, youth may experience Your power, the sick may receive your healing touch and feel Your Presence in us. We ask all of these through Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. + St. Vincent de Paul * Pray for us + Blessed Frederic Ozanam * Pray for us 11


PANASCO - HISTORY What is PANASCO? PANASCO is a Congress of Vincentians in the Asia and Oceania Regions. Vincentians get together to share with each other their experiences in service of the poor and needy. Through discussions and sharing they expect to acquire improved methods to serve the poor and the needy better. Society of St. Vincent De Paul, National Council of India has the privilege of hosting “PANASCO-VII” (Pan Asian Congress) meeting in Goa from 13th to 17th September 2010. Pan Asian Congress initiated by the Society in Australia to bring together members from “Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Fiji Islands, Hong – Kong (China), India, Indonesia, Japan, Kiribati, Korea, Malaysia, Micronesia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Samoa Island, Singapore, Solomon Islands, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, Tonga Islands, Vanuatu and Vietnam” to share with each other their experiences of various countries in the service of the poor and needy. Through discussions and sharing during sessions, we expect to serve our needy better. PANASCO - Information : PANASCO I

24th Aug. to 1st Sep. 1968 in Sydney, Australia. Theme : “To know one Another Better, Discuss Matters of Mutual Intent, Exchange Ideas and Experiences”


15th to 19th June 1975 in Singapore. Theme : “Renewal and Reconciliation”.


22nd to 26th Feb. 1989 in Sydney, Australia. Theme : “Vincentian Development Through Partnership Towards Self Sufficiency”.


3rd to 6th Nov. 1994 in Manila, Philippines. Theme : “Living The Good News In Solidarity With The Poor”


15th to 19th Aug. 2001 in Chongju, Korea. Theme : “Mission of Love and Service”


20th to 24th Jan. 2006 in Perth, Australia. Theme : “The Vincentian Vocation in a Globalizing World”

PANASCO-VII 13th to 17th August 2010 in Goa, India. Theme : “Justice and Peace Will Embrace


PANASCO 7 STERRING COMMITTEE MEMBERS Sl.No. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11

Name of the Member Bro. V.M.J.Balaswamy Bro. Joseph Pandian Bro. Dominic Pinto Bro. Xavier James Raj Bro. N. Krupanandam Bro. I. Prakasham Sr. Beatrice Baptista Bro. Thomas Charles Bro. K.M. Augustine Bro. Mario Godinho Bro. Elinio Colaco

Designation in NCI President Former President Treasurer Vice- President Secretary Project Officer Co-ordinator, WIR. Website Incharge Co-ordinator, KRCC President, C.C. Goa. Member, C.C. Goa.

Designation in PANASCO-7 Chairman Special adviser Convener Co - convener Member Member Member Member Member Member Head, Sub Committees, Goa

Phone No. 093934 53463 094430 07795 098202 28541 094865 09739 094400 08209 098661 91070 098903 02932 094443 96901 094464 13298 094217 44652 098221 01462

MEMBERS of the sub committees Bro. John Lobo Bro. Jose Maria Miranda Bro. Alan Camaran Sr. Nirmala Coasta Frias Sr. Lily Pereira Bro. Joe Dias Sr. Lovette Faleiro Sr. Beatrice Baptista Bro. A.F.G Mascarenhas Bro. Krupanandam Bro. Angelo Fernandes Bro. Jose Pedro Godinho Bro. I. Prakasham Bro. Thomas Charles Bro. Jacinto Fernandes Sr. Cheryl Colaco Bro. Amancio Fernandes Bro. Capriano Quadros Bro. Ashley Dias Bro. Blasco Rodriques Dr. Francisco Colaco

Reception Committee (Mumbai) Reception Committee (Goa) Reception Committee Liturgy Committee Liturgy Committee Transportation Committee Food Committee Food Committee Photo Exhibition Committee Photo Exhibition Committee Photo Exhibition Committee Souvenir Committee Souvenir Committee Souvenir Committee Entertainment Committee Entertainment Committee Sight Seeing Committee Sight Seeing Committee Volunteer Committee Volunteer Committee Medical Aid Committee 14

098676 18832 098221 02131 088064 70301 098221 82936 098223 62562 098229 78140 098228 67143 098903 02932 098904 12225 09440008209 099236 76225 094238 86927 098661 91070 094443 96901 094223 86695 093710 99925 094230 62186 093705 68515 098221 76131 099222 88738 098231 90318

FACILITY LOCATIONS ACCOMMODATION: Majorda Beach Resort /Nanu Beach Resort/Longuinhos Beach Resort/Hotel Avenue/Hotel Redroof are Positioned around 5 Kms from Kadamba Bus Stand Margao will house overseas and local delegates in single and double rooms. MEALS: Breakfast will be served at the respective Hotels Lunch will be at Majorda Beach Resort and Dinner arranged at various Hotels as per the time table. TRANSPORT: Overseas delegates will arrive at Mumbai International Airport and proceed to domestic Airport for onward journey to Goa. At Goa Airport volunteers will receive and take them to their respective hotels/ Local delegates will be picked up at Margao Railway Station & Kadamba Bus Station at Margao. SESSIONS: All Sessions will be held at San Rafael Conference Hall, Majorda Beach Resort, Margao. INFORMATION HUB: An information centre for participants will be available from 0800 hrs to 1800 hrs daily at Majorda Beach Resort, Margao. REGISTRATION: All delegates are requested to register themselves at the Registration Centre available at the respective hotels.


DAILY PROGRAM DAY 1 – Monday 13th September 2010 God’s word for today : “ Let justice flow like a stream, and righteousness like a river that never goes dry”. - (Amos. 5:24) 0700-0800 hrs

Breakfast at respective hotels.

1200-1330 hrs

Lunch at respective hotels.

1500 hrs

Pickup of all Delegates from the hotels to Holy Spirit Church, Margao-Goa.

1600 hrs

Eucharistic Celebration at Holy Spirit Church, Margao. Main Celebrant and preacher: Most Rev. AGNELO GRACIES, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay.

1800 hrs

Inaugural Ceremony at RAVINDRA BHAVAN, MARGAO (PANASCO -7 Installation of Participating Countries flags at the entrance of MAJORDA BEACH RESORT, MARGAO). Traditional Welcome with Arti and Tilak. Welcome song. Lighting of Traditional Lamp : By Chief Minister of Goa, Archbishop of Bombay, International President General, Vice- President General, Treasurer General & President – National Council of India Welcome Address : Bro. V.M.J. Balaswamy - President - National Council of India. Inaugural Address : Bro. Jose Ramon Diaz Torremocha - International President General. Address : 1. Most Rev. AGNELO GRACIES, Auxiliary Bishop of Bombay. 2. His Excellency Digambar Kamath - Chief Minister of Goa Release of PANASCO-7 Souvenir 3. Bro. Syd Tutton - President National Council of Australia/Financial Advisor CG 4. Release of the Manual (India) - Bro. Jose Ramon Diaz Torremocha - International President General. Felicitation : i) Bro. Brian O’Reilly - Vice President General. Vote of Thanks – Bro. Xavier James Raj – Vice-President, National Council of India.

2000 hrs

Entertainment & Dinner Cultural Programme at Harmonia Club House, Margao followed by Dinner. [Delegates and guests will proceed to Harmonia Club House, Margao.] (After Dinner Buses available to take delegates to their respective Hotels. 16

DAY 2 – Tuesday 14th September 2010 God’s word for today : “Love your neighbour as yourself”. - (Lk. 10:27)


Breakfast at respective Hotels.

0830 hrs

Pickup of delegates from Hotels


Eucharistic Celebration at Holy Spirit Church, Margao. Main celebrant and preacher: Bishop Peter Machado, Bishop of Belgaum.

1000 hrs

Delegates proceed towards Majorda Beach Resort, Margao for sessions.

1030 hrs

Review of Power Point Presentation of Day 1.

1045 hrs

Session 1: Twinnings : A path towards self reliance Speaker : Sr. Catherine of Vietnam Moderator : Bro. Syd Tutton – President National Council of Australia.

1145 hrs

Tea Break

1200 hrs

Group Discussion on Twinnings.

1300 hrs

Lunch at Majorda Beach Resort.

1400 hrs

Session 2 : Social Responsibility – Partnership to Progress. Speaker : Dr. John Falzon of Australia. Moderator : Bro. Brian O’Reilly - Senior Vice-President General.

1515 hrs

Tea Break.

1530 hrs

Group Discussion on Social Responsibility.

1700 hrs

Evening Prayers led by Sr. Nirmala Costa Frias – President Goa Central Council.

1800 hrs

Entertainment and Dinner. [Delegates will proceed for a Boat Cruise and dinner at Panjim.] (After Dinner Buses available to take delegated to their respective hotels)


DAY 3 – Wednesday 15th September 2010 God’s word for today : “ I am the wine you’re the branches, who ever remains in me and I in Him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing”. - (John 15:5)


Breakfast at respective Hotels.

0830 hrs

Pick up of delegates from Hotels.

0900 hrs

Eucharistic Celebration at Holy Spirit Church, Margao. Main celebrant and preacher : Most Rev. RAUL GONSALVE, Archbishop Emeritus, Goa & Daman

1000 hrs

Delegates proceed to Majorda Beach Resort, Margao for sessions.

1030 hrs

Review of Power Point Presentation of Day 2.

1045 hrs

Session 3: New Poor – A trio of challenges (Education, Alienation, and Homelessness). Speaker : Rev. Fr. Desmond De Souza. Moderator : Sr. Nirmala Costa Frias – President Goa C.C.

1145 hrs

Tea Break.

1200 hrs

Group Discussion on New Poor.

1300 hrs

Lunch at Majorda Beach Resort.

1400 hrs

Session 4 : Spirituality – A Force from within. Speaker : Rev. Fr. Francis Puthenthayal C.M. and Coordinator Vincentian Family, India. Moderator : Bro. Xavier James Raj – Vice-President , National Council of India

1515 hrs

Tea Break.

1530 hrs

Group Discussion on Spirituality.

1645 hrs

Evening Prayer led by Sr. Catherine of Vietnam.


DAY 4 – Thursday 16th September 2010 God’s word for today : “Let no one have contempt for your youth, but set an example for those who believe in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity”. (I Thim. 4:12) 0700-0800

Breakfast at respective Hotels.

0830 hrs

Pickup delegates from respective hotels.

0900 hrs

Eucharistic Celebration at Holy Spirit Church, Margao. Main Celebrant and preacher : Bishop Anthony Alwyn F. Barreto, Bishop of Sindhudurg.

1000 hrs

Delegates proceed to Majorda Beach Resort, Margao for sessions.

1030 hrs

Review of Power Point Presentation of Day 3.

1045 hrs

Session 5: Youth And Experience – A Positive Coming together (1+1=3). Speaker : Bro. T. Joseph Pandian- Co-ordinator for Asia-Oceania Group 1. Moderator : Bro. Joseph Soares – Vice-President, Bombay Central Council.

1145 hrs

Tea Break.

1200 hrs

Group Discussion on Youth and Experience.

1245 hrs

Lunch at Majorda Beach Resort.

1330 hrs

Half day Sight Seeing. (AC Buses will leave from Majorda Beach Resort after lunch).

2030 hrs

Off Day Delegate returns to their respective hotels.


DAY 5 – Friday 17th September 2010 God’s word for today : “With Jesus went twelve, as well as certain women, who had been cured of evil spirits and ailments”. - (Lk. 8:12) 0700-0800 hrs

Breakfast at respective Hotels.

0830 hrs

Pick up delegates from the hotels to Majorda Beach Resort, Margao, Goa.

0900 hrs

Review of Power Point Presentation of Day 4.

0915 hrs

Session 6 : HIV/AIDS – Social Responsibility. Speaker : Ms. Danusia Kaska of Australia. Moderator : Bro. Randolph A. Rodricks – Management Consultant.

1030 hrs

Tea Break.

1045 hrs

Group Discussion on HIV / AIDS.

1130 hrs

(A) Summarization of all recommendations at Group Discussions.(B) Deciding upon action plan for implementation of the above and follow up action

1300 hrs

Lunch at Majorda Beach Resort.

1400 hrs

Closing Ceremony.

1500 hrs

Tea Break.

1525 hrs

Delegates proceed to Old Goa Bom Jesus Cathedral for Eucharistic Celebration.

1730 hrs

Eucharistic Celebration at Bom Jesus Cathedral – (Housing the relic of St. Francis Xavier) Main Celebrant and preacher: Most Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao, Archbishop of Goa & Daman and Patriarch of The East Indies.

1830 hrs

Entertainment & Dinner at Hotel Majorda Beach Resort.(after dinner buses will take delegates to their respective Hotels)





DEEPENING OUR SPIRITUALITY To deepen our spirituality, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Pray before and after visiting and for those we work with Have formation and training for lay spiritual advisors and all members Use passages of the Rule for additional spiritual reflections


SERVANT LEADERS To promote and place new emphasis on servant leaders, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Recognise that the greatest leaders are the greatest servants Be humble Empower others and delegate works


FINDING PEOPLE TO TAKE OFFICE To identify and prepare possible office bearers, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN Region: Have a succession plan Trust other’s potential


CONFLICT RESOLUTION To resolve internal conflicts, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Respect other’s point of view Stop and pray if conflict exists



STATUS OF INTERNATIONAL TWINNING To improve International Twinning, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Note that twinning is conducted in most but not all countries Educate others who are unaware of what twinning is about


VIEWS ON THE 2004 INTERNATIONAL TWINNING MANUAL In considering the International Twinning Manual, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Invite CGI to compile an executive summary of the Manual


STRENGTHS AND WEAKNESSES OF INTERNATIONAL TWINNING To build on the strengths and to eliminate the weaknesses in International Twinning, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Note that International Twinning develops strong and constructive partnerships Note that sharing of resources is good Communication needs to be improved between some twins


OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS TO INTERNATIONAL TWINNING To build on the opportunities and to eliminate the threats in International Twinning, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Involve youth in International Twinning Encourage newly self sufficient countries to become involved in twinning Acknowledge that some ‘donor’ countries have dwindling parish numbers Provide more information to their twins on themselves and the activities of their Conferences



THE DISTRIBUTION OF GLOBALISING BENEFITS To improve the distribution of the benefits of globalisation, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region : Lobby governments to regulate multinational corporations in order to minimise the negative impacts of globalisation Condemn corruption in all its forms


UNETHICAL BEHAVIOUR OF MULTINATIONAL CORPORATIONS By way of personally challenging the unethical behaviours of many multinational corporations, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Lobby multinational corporations and if necessary find alternatives for their products and services


GLOBALISATION AND THE LESS WEALTHY NATIONS Considering the views of the less wealthy nations on globalisation, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Note that rich people benefit considerably more than poor people Equip all people for future roles through education and training.


PROFIT OR DUTY OF CARE? Considering the question should multinational corporations pursue without question the profit motive for their shareholders or should they be encouraged to pursue a duty of care, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Encourage multinationals to strike a balance between profits and duty of care. Invite multinational corporations to be our partners to serve the poor Emphasise the duty of care Request social reporting from multinational corporations every year Support ethical multinational corporations



YOUTH IN EACH COUNTRY Considering the question of how youth are involved in each country and how should they be involved, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Create new opportunities for youth to be involved Involve them in special projects Expose youth to works in other countries


ATTRACTING YOUTH – PRESENT SITUATION Considering the question of what is the Society doing to attract youth; what is working and not working, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Note that some countries conduct masses, and other spiritual activities to attract youth Note that some conduct social events Note that some allow young people to run their own meetings


ATTRACTING YOUTH - WHAT NEEDS TO BE DONE Considering why we need to attract youth and what youth brings to the Society, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Affirm that young people bring fresh ideas, enthusiasm, rejuvenation, vitality and hope Note that young people can empathise with the problems of their own age groups.


CHANGING THE SOCIETY TO ATTRACT YOUTH Considering the questions; does the Society need to change to attract youth and if so how, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Note that all should have realistic and reasonable expectations of youth Openly accept and not just tolerate youth and their ideas Mentor youth in their spiritual journey



HUMAN RIGHTS ABUSES IN ASIA/OCEANIA Considering the question of what kind of human rights abuses are now of most concern in Asia/ Oceania, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Note with great concern the plight of refugees Note with great concern the abuse including trafficking of women and children Note with great concern the gap between rich and poor Note with great concern corruption and wage abuse


THE SOCIETY PROMOTING HUMAN RIGHTS Considering what the Society can offer to promote human rights, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Educate Vincentians and the general public with information concerning human rights abuses Promote awareness Lobby governments, whenever possible, on human rights abuses, using the public and media


PASTORAL SERVICE Considering what kind of pastoral service that we can deliver to the victims of human rights abuses, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Recommit themselves to personal and community prayer Visit people; be a friend Establish partnerships with others to deliver pastoral services


GLOBAL LINKING Considering the question of how does the Society in Asia/Oceania create a global link to put the concerns for the human rights problem into practice especially in countries where a catastrophic disaster has occurred, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Use CGI structures and websites Invite CGI to create a commission to address human rights abuses



THE SOCIETY RESPONSE TO HIV/AIDS Considering the question of how the Society has responded to the spread of HIV/AIDS, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Acknowledge that the Society’s response has been inadequate and that we all can do more


ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIOURS Considering the question should the Society be concentrating on changing attitudes and behaviours of people in countries most affected, including the controversial areas of sex education, health education as well as social and gender education, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN Region: Educate ourselves Promote awareness in our communities about HIV/AIDS Do more to assist other countries through twinning


MEDICATIONS AND CARE Considering the questions, should we focus on medication and care for victims of HIV/AIDS, including children orphaned or infected, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Focus on providing medications for children


STIGMATISATION AND DISCRIMINATION Considering the question of what should we do to overcome the stigmatisation and discrimination faced by people with HIV/AIDS, especially woman and children, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Strengthen our spirituality so we can be non judgemental and respect people


SUPPLY OF MEDICATIONS Considering the question, how can we convince governments to supply anti-retroviral medications to all those infected by HIV/AIDS, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Request governments to provide assistance to those who need expensive medicines



THE SOCIETY AND DISPLACED PERSONS IN YOUR COUNTRY Considering the question of how has the Society responded to the problem of displaced persons in your country, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Note that we have assisted through visitation, helping migrants to adapt to their new situation, education and tutoring Note that in some countries displaced persons cannot be assisted because of local laws


DISPLACED PERSONS AND EXPLOITATION Considering how the Society can protect displaced persons from exploitation in employment, housing and medical care, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Should provide a leading example of help for displaced persons Expose exploitation Network with like minded organisations including the church


CHILDREN RIGHTS To ensure that the children of displaced persons have their rights protected, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Provide friendship and companionship Pay school related expenses


THE SOCIETY, GOVERNMENT AND THE DISPLACED PERSON Considering the question of how the Society can convince governments to accept displaced persons in their country, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Speak up and speak out Lead by example Network with other like minded groups

TOPIC EIGHT: NATURAL DISASTERS LESSONS LEARNT FROM RECENT NATURAL DISASTERS; EARTHQUAKES AND TSUNAMI Considering the question of what lessons the Society has learnt responding to the recent natural disasters, it was resolved that Vincentians in this PAN ASIAN region: Note Vincentians helped everyone not just Christians Note that it was a matter of duty and charity Note that it was an opportunity to express solidarity Note that it was a reminder of the fragility of human life and our mortality but there is hope after suffering Note that the International structure mobilised very quickly Note that International Twinning helps us to work as one family 27

Homily of Most Rev. Agnelo Gracias Aux.Bishop – Arch Diocese of Bombay

My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, I welcome you to Goa for the vincentian gathering PANASCO VII. You have gathered here to deliberate for the poor and the needy .The coming together to carry our Lord’s work is the will of God himself. But when we come together we need to remind ourselves of today’s first meeting : When you meet for the meal wait for one another. God tells us this in St.Paul’s letter to Corinthians.We have gathered here not because we have nothing else to do .We have come here from far away countries and from far corners of the country not because we are holidaying here but because we are impelled by God to be here. St.Paul also in his letter warned against factions and divisions. Jesus too warned his apostles about this power hunger. Once his apostles were arguing among themselves who are greater among them. When Jesus asked them what they were discussing they were ashamed. I am sure this drive is not there among you. The theme you have chosen for your meet is “Justice and Peace will embrace”. This is very appropriate to day. We have come a very long way from the practice of day – to –day charity.That practice made the beneficiary a perpetual dependant on the benefactor. But we need to make our beneficiaries self reliant. When we help our poor and needy to be independent we are restoring to them the dignity our Lord has bestowed on each one of us.


What we need today is an urge to establish justice. In this process, we will be questioning most of the systems that inflict pain and suffering among the people. Our Lord in the Gospel of St.Mathew has remarked :”Blessed are those who are persecuted in the name of Justice “. What the Church is facing today is this. The Church has very firmly decided that it would take the side of the oppressed in its flight for justice. That was how the early Church grew. Our first Christian hid themselves in Catacombs.All they did was to pray and share. Jesus wanted his people to do this. This is the way to God.”What profits a man when he wins the whole world but loses his soul”. Material prosperity often leads to spirituality bankruptcy. But poverty too can do this mischief. When people do not have enough to live on, they are forced to seek the Devil’s methods to ensure their existence. So poverty can be prelude to spiritual damnation. So when we are bringing hope back into people’s lives we are in fact bringing them back to our Lord’s ways. Let this be the focus of your deliberations. May the Holy Spirit lead you in this coming together .May our Blessed Virgin Mary bless each one of you. As you sow so you reap. You shall be measured back by the same measure you measure. As we give, we shall receive. I wish PANASCO VII all success. May God bless you all. -Amen


Homily of Most Rev. Peter Machado Bishop of Belgaum

Dear brothers and sisters in our Lord Jesus Christ, I am happy that the Society of Saint Vincent de paul has gathered in Asian Community together here at Goa for PANASCO VII. As we are gathered here I wish to reflect on the presence of Our Lord amongs us. Christ is present amongst us in two ways. He is present amongst us as the Holy Eucharist that we celebrate everyday in our Holy Mass. Our Lord came amongst us to deliver us from our sins and from eternal damnation. He lived as human being, suffered as human being and died like a human being .But He rose again on the third day to show that He has conquered death. But before his death he created Eucharist so that we can always be with us. Christ is present amidst us in another way also. He is present in the form of the poor. “Whatever you do to the least of these , that you do unto me” is His declaration. Christ throughout his life showed that He came for the sick, the poor and the suffering.” Only a sick man needs a physician” was His answer when He was often questioned about His actions. Most of the miracles performed by our Lord were for the sick. When He extended His healing hand it was for everyone, irrespective of any barrier. Even when he was pestered He showed no impatience or anger.


There is a lesson in this for all those who work for the poor, among the weak. Often we complain that we receive no gratitude; our services receive no appreciation; our beneficiaries do not acknowledge our help. Let us look back and read the Gospel. Jesus one healed ten men. How many of them returned to thank him? Just one . Our Gospel tells us that our Lord stopped not for this appreciation. In fact, the crowd that cried for His crucifixion was large. And there must have been in the crowd hundreds who had received our Lord�s help. Even in His last moment on the cross our Lord forgave and prayed for all those who had brought that ignominy on Him. Our first reading tells us that Moses also suffered at the hands of Israelites. On God’s command, Moses liberated the Israelites from slavery in Egypt. He led them through the desert towards the Promised Land. But part way through, the Israelites cursed him. They accused him of taking them to their death. Yet Moses prayed for them.. Through their insults and curses he led them . He could lead them because he was led by the Lord. Let us also learn the patience of Moses and our Lord. Let us work with perseverance. Our service need not be recognized or appreciated here .For our Lord Jesus Himself has warned us that when we receive praise and appreciation on earth then our service have been rewarded .he asked to work silently, unnoticed so that our Heavenly Father would reward us in Heaven. I wish PANASCO VII all success. May God bless the society of Saint Vincent de Paul and its every member. -Amen


Homily of Most. Rev. Filipe Neri Ferrao Arch Bishop of Goa and Daman and Patriarch of East Indies

I am very happy and privileged to be with you at this Eucharistic celebration. When I think of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and its services I am reminded of another great personality too: Admiral Ronnie Pereira. In the 1980s Ronnie Pereira was the Chief of Navy Staff. One morning he was called by the then prime minister of India Mrs. Indira Gandhi in Delhi for a meeting. As Mr. Pereira was on his way for the meeting with the Prime minister, he saw a young man carrying an old sick man on his shoulders and plodding his way through the heavy traffic. Curious, the Chief of Navy Staff stopped his car and enquired the young man. The young man was carrying his old father who was sick to a hospital; he was too poor to afford to hire a vehicle. Moved by the plight, Mr. Pereira took the young man and his sick father into his car. When his assistant reminded him about the appointment with the Prime Minister and cautioned him, he asked him to stay quiet. The sick man was driven to All India Institute of Medical Science; at the register counter Mr. Pereira entered the old man as his relative and instructed the hospital administration to give him the best medical care and returned to his journey. He was late for the Prime Minster’s meeting by half an hour – when the Prime Minister was unhappy about the delay, the Chief explained the situation. The Prime Minister was now happy that the nation’s Chief of Navy Staff was, in spite of his stature, a kind soul. Here was a man who would risk a prime minister’s wrath to help a poor. We have had such people before with us. Nearly five hundred years ago, a rich and young Spanish man, of a noble birth would give up all his royal comforts and brave the seas and harsh climate and come to serve the people of this country: St. Francis Xavier’s who served in Goa, the Pearl Fishery Coast and Malaya and parts of East Indies. In India he worked and lived among the poor and the suffering. He was by their side when they suffered. He shunned the palatial quarters of the Portuguese Viceroy but chose to live in the servant quarters. Such was his dedication and passion.


Later came Blessed Joseph Vaz. He worked in India and in Ceylon. When there was an out break of plague Blessed Joseph Vaz was with the diseased. The plague infected were abandoned by their families in the outskirts of their towns and villages. Blessed Jospeh Vaz and his companions cared for the sick, comforted them; they buried the dead. Thousands fled their places fearing infection. Blessed Joseph Vaz and his companions stayed back. After the rage was over people returned. In spite of their continuous contact with the diseased neither Blessed Joseph Vaz nor his companions were affected – not even one among them. Centuries later came Blessed Mother Teresa who lived and died for the poor. She gave up the security of a convent to reside in the slums of Kolkotta. These great souls have shown us what our choice must be. As we look around we see the pain and suffering of our lives. These cannot be God’s wish. God would never wish such a miserable life for his children. Which father would! These sufferings and miseries are our own making. Our greed and avarice are our own creations.. A few amongst us lead a predatory life, feasting on others’ wants. A few of us have turned luxury into a basic need. So Vincentians need to address both these problems – the problem of poverty and the problem of injustice. Poverty by itself can be addressed through charity. But when poverty is caused by injustice, then it needs to be challenged. We cannot treat a symptom ignoring its cause. Vincentians as members of the catholic church are called upon to take up this challenge. When we think of HIV – AIDS infected people who are looking at one of the most unwanted part of our population. If Jesus is to come down again today, his place would be among them. He lived with the poor and the marginalized; he worked for the down trodden; his care was for the sick and the dead. So I invite you to take up our Lord’s work and bring comfort, solace and hope to the unfortunate HIV – AIDS infected people. I am sure that your deliberations over the past five days have been towards this objective: Your theme “Justice and Peace will embrace” is apt in today’s world. I wish you all success in your work and may our Lord bless and enrich your work. Amen


Day - 2, Session-1, Topic : Twinnings - A path towards Self reliance

Talk delivered at PANASCO - VII, Goa, India. on 14th September, 2010 by Rev. Sr. CATHERINE - VIETNAM

MOST REVEREND ARCHBISHOP, BISHOPS, FATHERS, BROTHERS SISTERS LADIES AND GENTERMEN GATHERED HERE TODAY, I belong to the Congregation of Sisters of Saint Paul of Chartres, the main mission of our order is to improve the Human and Spiritual life of villagers through education, Faith formation and culture, visiting the poor and the sick and organizing Cultural Programes. We carry out our important mission by instructing children, caring for the sick and disabled people, and helping the most unfortunate; those without hope or reason for living. We shall evangelize them by approaching them in simplicity with humble and compassionate hearts because “ The Love of Christ overwhelms” (2 Cr 5, 14). The apostolic life, following St Paul launches us for our mission into the roads of the world and the mission “Ad Gentes”. But we are all apostles, Disciples of Christ called to announce the Good News to all people. Our Christ-centric spirituality is found in the fullness of the Paschal Mystery after the example of our Patron St Paul “I live now not with my own life but the life of Christ who lives in me “(Gl 2, 20). Now I would like to share with you what our Sisters have done in Danang city in Vietnam. Before the end of the Vietnam War in 1975 we worked in public schools, colleges, universities, offices of government, hospitals and orphanages. However, after 1975 these works are no longer available to us. So we had to go back to work in our convent. We were embroiderers, handicraft makers, and farmers; even climbing in the forest to cut bamboo trees in order to make curtains. And day by day with the GRACE OF GOD, we passed our many trials, difficulties, and problems of living until now. There are three main parts to our work at the Congregation - Education in Faith and Culture, Social work and Health Care.


I. EDUCATION IN FAITH and CULTURE. - We teach Catechism to the poor the children, the youth, the students, Catechumens ete... We also teach moral education to students and the poor. - We provide opportunities for developing Spirituality by sharing the Bible with Catechumens, women, men, students and disable people. - We conduct singing practice with the English Choir to enhance the celebration of the Holy Mass every Sunday at the Cathedral in Danang. - We teach English to the children in kindergarten at our school as well as to others who need to learn it. - Furthermore, we find jobs for students after they have completed their studies. II. SOCIAL WORK Taking care of disabled people is one of our specialties. In our provincial house there are three schools for disabled people. One is in the Highland; two are in the central Vietnam. In our school there is a Kindergarten and a disabled school. There are many levels; handicapped, hearing impaired, early intervention and Downs Syndrome. Their ages are from 2 to 25 years old. In each class there are 30 children. Most of them are from broken families who live in villages. Every Saturday we go out to the villages to find disabled people or people who have been deaf and dumb from an early age. These cases can be dealt with more easily. If defected at an early stage. They cannot come to our school, because of their impoverished condition or distance from the school. We teach their parents how to take care of their children at home. We call this “Community Development� We sometimes have volunteer foreign groups who come to our school to teach us the basic methods of how to take care of disabled children; how to treat the dumb to help them communicate, help the deaf to understand what is being said. Each time we have a learning opportunity like that we invite the parents to attend these short courses to learn more about how to look after their children at home. They do not have the ability to come to our school every day. After the disabled people have finished studying we cannot let them go home or back to villages, as there are no employment opportunities for them there. So we have to find jobs for them; like photocopying, hairdressing, being a mechanic, a carpenter, or painting, repairing bikes and motorbikes, doing embroidery, sculpture and handicrafts. We lead them to become self-sufficient and financially independent. Then they can earn their living. We take care of the leprosy ethnic minorities in Highland by giving medicines, clothes, food and washing their wounds every day, every week.


The school although run by us religious sisters, also teachers who work with us, and they are paid a salary thus creating jobs for another section of the society. Our Sisters and I go out to help the poor people, we help the victims of typhoon, we supply food, clothes, blankets, medicines and building new houses for them. We take care of the unwed mothers. We help these young girls to go back to University of working after our help during their pregnancy and childbirth. We also counsel people and settle disputes between husbands and wives, parents and children. There are so many broken homes. We teach them that happiness cannot be found without prayers. Even in old age there is no security against temptation. All over the world there is terrible suffering and hunger for love. So we bring prayer into their families and teach them to pray as they never pray together. “If we pray we will believe. If we believe we will love. If we love we will serve” (Mother Teresa). Prayer is always fruitful. It gives harmony and courage to my religious life. The fruit of prayer is my conversation with GOD. This is the highest level of religious life. The change of my desire into God’s will. With my prayers I do not intend to change God but to receive strength in order to accept His plan for me. As someone has written “Prayer is the time of God’s incarnation in us” III. HEALTH CARE. Each community has a clinic. We work with the volunteer doctors on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays to provide check-ups for the poor patients from the villages who do not have access to nor can afford to go to hospital. After checking, we distribute medicines. For serious cases such as those needing surgery for eyes, hearts or tumors we refer them to expert doctors. We also take care of HIV patients at their home. Every month the Sisters and the volunteer Doctors go out to the villages to check the health of poor patients who do not have the means to travel to the hospital and also visiting the intellectual disabilities in their places. We have a loving home for the Elders who are alone. Most of them are from non-Catholic families. I think that. “Everyone can be great, you only need a heart full of Grace and a soul generated by God’s Love” (Martin Luther). We are called to go to the ends of the earth, to proclaim the GOOD NEWS and serve the poor, the materially and spiritually poor, those who lack hope and a reason to live. Because “The Love of Christ impels us” (2 Cr 5. 14), so I have done these things for God, with God, and in God. It has not been easy to live and practice in my religious life. But “Ideas are the seeds of actions”. Truly, the road to love is never smooth but Christ may become more and more truly the center of my spiritual, fraternal and apostolic life. I joyfully proclaim with determination Christ’s love and Paschal mystery to the end. 36

IV. FUNDING OUR GOOD WORKS I would like to thank GOD for loving and Blessing our Congregation and our works. All of the money for our activities is from the fund and savings of our community. We have to work hard to do our charitable deeds – anywhere, anytime we are living we work. We get some support from relatives of our Sisters - Benefactors – Former students and visitors. Our Mission in life is to help the poorest, the weakest and the disabled people. I have really enjoyed what I have been doing in my religious life. What I like best is living with others, learning how to make them happy. To me, life is bitter–sweet. Truly the path towards the building of peace and love is bitter, but its fruit is sweet. I wish Love and Peace to be a wonderful song to be sung in our hearts. Each important work begins with difficulties, with God’s Love is now in the Eucharist and in The Word of God for nourishing my soul to be strong and full of life. God’s Love is wonderful. Without God’s Love we cannot do anything in our life. Loving like St Francis of Assisi, “Love cures people – both the ones who give it and the ones who receive it. Give what you have to some. It may be better than you dare to think. For it is in giving that we receive”. Love is the secret of inner joy even if it is in the midst of tears. Love is the fulfillment of human maturity through many struggles. Love remains the sense of any kind of holiness. Love is a pilgrimage to eternity. Remember what’s important in the end, nothing we do or say in this lifetime will matter as much as the way we have loved one another. And working in my school, I think that what we do today, right now will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows. There is one sentence that I remember “One kind word can warm three winter months” (Japanese proverb)- Kindness is always rejoices man’s heart. “If anyone says I love God and hates his brother he is a liar. For he who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” Jesus Christ (1 Jn 4, 21). Finally, I would like to thank all of you so much for listening to my sharing and watching. This time is a precious time for me and I am very honor to be here today. And a special thank to ………… for keeping in touch and inviting me to attend this conference. Rest assured all of you will be remembered in our daily prayers. I am very grateful for even now and what you will have done for my works. I wish you and me, when we serve the poorest and the disabled people we remember the Word of God from The Holy Gospel according to Mathew 25, 40 “ WHAT SO EVER YOU DO TO THE LEAST OF MY PEOPLE THAT YOU DO UNTO ME”. If we practice the Work of God in our daily life then JUSTICE AND PEACE WILL EMBRACE. Please sing together the song: I HAVE DECIDED TO FOLLOW JESUS. Once again, MAY GOD BLESS YOU ALL, THANK YOU VERY MUCH


Day - 2, Session-2, Topic : SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - Partnership to Progress Talk delivered at PANASCO - VII, Goa, India. on 14th September, 2010 by Dr. John Falzon, Australia

Change will come from below Thank you, my dear sisters and brothers, for extending the kind invitation to share some ideas with you at this wonderful Asia-Pacific gathering. I have been asked to speak about partnerships for progress. When we hear this phrase we often think first of partnerships between NGOs, or between NGOs and government or business. I am not going to reflect on these partnerships with you today, even though they are useful as means to an end. There is more than enough talk of this among the powerful of the world whose voices are heard and usually heeded. No. Today I am going to reflect with you on the kind of partnership that lies at the heart of the story of the St Vincent de Paul Society. It is based on the simplest of questions and simplest of answers. The question is this: How did God speak to Frederic Ozanam and his young companions? And the answer is one that you already know: God spoke to these relatively privileged young men through the poor. My message is very simple, therefore. Above everything else, we must listen to our sisters and brothers who are downtrodden and poor. We must learn from our sisters and brothers who are downtrodden and poor. We must stand on the side of our sisters and brothers who are downtrodden and poor.


We know that this message is dismissed by the so-called wisdom of the wealthy, industrialized global north as being too simplistic. There are some who go much further and condemn this message as being downright dangerous or subversive. They are partly right. It is very simple but I must voice my certainty to you that far too often we allow complexity to be our excuse for inaction and so we divest ourselves of our real social responsibility. They are right too to say that this message is dangerous. It is dangerous to those of us who believe it. It is dangerous to those of us who practice it. But most of all it is dangerous to those who have a vested, unchristian interest in defending a cruel and unjust status quo. They fear the conscientization of the poor. They fear that the poor will cease to accept their poverty as a matter of fate. They fear that the poor will begin to question and critically analyse the structural causes of their marginalisation. You will remember the magnificent and saintly example of Oscar Romero, Archbishop of San Salvador. None of us can forget that his own life was radicalised by listening to, and learning from, the poor. And none of us can forget that he paid the ultimate price for his revolutionary love of the poor. He was hounded, and eventually killed, by the powers that saw him as being a dangerous threat to an unjust status quo. I would like to share with you one of his beautiful prophetic utterances: “Even when they call us mad, when they call us subversives and communists and all the epithets they put on us, we know we only preach the subversive witness of the Beatitudes, which have turned everything upside down.” This, my sisters and brothers, is why I referred to our brother Oscar’s love as being revolutionary. Revolution literally means turning everything upside down. This is precisely what Christ’s Beatitudes challenge us to do, according to Romero. This is what Ozanam saw. This is what we too are challenged to see. Far from being a call to violence or hate, the Beatitudes are a call to love. But this is not a sentimental love or a patronising love. It is a hard and disturbing love. It is hard and disturbing to hear the Word-made-flesh, the God who pitched his tent among us, telling us: Blessed are you who are poor. Woe to you who are rich. Blessed are you who are hungry. Woe to you who are full. Blessed are you when people hate you, exclude you, revile you. Woe to you when all speak well of you. This is a hard teaching. Over the centuries since these words were uttered we have done triple somersaults to avoid their simple and direct message, their startling, revolutionary challenge to turn everything upside down. The poor, the hungry, the excluded; these are the people of the earth whose choices have been taken


away by unjust structures and histories of oppression. There is only one way forward, according to this teaching, and that is for those who have the choices to take the side of these sisters and brothers; to listen and learn from the poor. The key to improving the lives of the world’s destitute people lies in educating them and listening to them. It is not enough, according to the logic of the Beatitudes, for the powerful to try to impose solutions. I will repeat this for I know how hard it is for us to hear it. We are called to engage in a revolutionary practice of listening, a revolutionary practice of humility, a revolutionary practice of obedience to the wishes and aspirations of the poor, the hungry, the excluded. Obedience is an unfashionable word in the prosperous consumer societies of today’s world where the key value is individualism and the key practice is to do whatever you want. The word “obedience” comes, of course, from the Latin term for listening. I put it to you that Frederic and his companions were obedient to God by listening to the excluded. Humility means sharing the same ground as the people who are broken. Cesar Vallejo, the Peruvian poet, described this brokenness poignantly: “There are people so wretched, they don’t even have a body!” These broken people are the Real Presence of Jesus, the wounded healer, the “liberator wrapped in shackles” who bids us to come follow him by listening to them. This is what we are challenged to do. We are often tempted to think that the most important partnerships are those we might make with powerful governments or powerful businesses. These might be necessary from time to time as means to an end but the most essential, the most non-negotiable, partnership we can engage in is a partnership with the poor. This is the most important partnership we can engage in; a partnership, a solidarity with, a learning from, our marginalized sisters and brothers. I do not mean a patronizing action that puts the poor in the position of grateful, deserving recipient. I mean a commitment to their liberation, a joining in companionship on the journey to God’s kingdom of justice and compassion. As Arthur Rimbaud, the young Belgian poet who experienced so much poverty and exclusion in his own life, put it: “Only with burning patience shall we conquer the splendid city that will give light, justice and dignity to all.”


This best thing also for prosperous nations to do is to listen to the nations of the developing world, the majority world, as well as to the people within their own countries who are condemned to live lives mirroring the conditions of the developing world. As we speak, rather than being listened to, rather than being loved, the downtrodden in the prosperous countries of the world are being trodden on even more, whether you look at the Roma peoples in Europe or the refugees seeking asylum in Australia. We are not witnessing an outpouring of compassion. We are not witnessing an outpouring of justice. The powerful are anything but obedient to the poor. Rather, their futures are determined from above. We witness this especially in regard to the colonised Indigenous Peoples of prosperous countries. They are told from above what is good for them, how they must improve, without any thought for their stories of dispossession and pain, or their dreams of justice, or the power of their courageous love and undaunted hope. The same, as you know, is true of the unequal power relations between the wealthy countries and the Majority World. It is encouraging to see the church often speaking up against these forms of dispossession. The St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia, along with key bishops, has criticized the treatment of refugees as well as the paternalistic control over Aboriginal Australians. Two French bishops in charge of the pastoral care of the people known as Gypsies, Roma or Travellers, Raymond Centene and Claude Schockert, published a statement at the end of July this year warning against “the stigmatisation of Travellers who make ideal scapegoats, when in fact they are the principal victims of the ills of our society.” Another example of how we have failed to listen is in regard to the natural environment. Far from being a fashionable, middle class, urban fad, real concern for the planet is a core issue for the most vulnerable around the globe. If anyone is unsure about this just ask the people of Bangladesh or Kiribati! The quest for profits has supplanted the respect for nature that is so central to the wisdom of the forgotten peoples of the majority world. The world of today has most things upside down. Together we must work to turn them the right way up. The richest 2 percent of adults in the world own more than half the world’s wealth, according to a study released by the Helsinki-based World Institute for Development Economics Research. The richest 1 percent of adults own 40 percent of global assets while the richest 10 percent of adults own 85 percent of the world’s total assets. In contrast, the assets of half of the world’s adult population account for barely 1 percent of global wealth.


In addition to this, according to the International Labour Organisation we learn that women do T! of the world’s work, receive 5% of the world’s income and own 1% of the world’s assets. The World Health Organization’s Commission on the Social Determinants of Health two years ago released its report entitled Closing the Gap in a Generation: Health Equity through Action on the Social Determinants of Health. According to its findings: “Social injustice is killing people on a grand scale.” Sir Michael Marmot, Commission Chair said: “Central to the Commission’s recommendations is creating the conditions for people to be empowered, to have freedom to lead flourishing lives. Nowhere is lack of empowerment more obvious than in the plight of women in many parts of the world. Health suffers as a result.” Similarly, Bishop Agnelo Gracias of Mumbai has recently echoed for us the prophetic words of Frantz Fanon: “What counts today, the question which is looming on the horizon, is a need for a redistribution of wealth. Humanity must reply to this question, or be shaken to pieces by it.” Dear sisters and brothers in Christ, we have a massive battle on our hands; a battle against the causes of social and economic inequality and it is no surprise if we feel like we are outnumbered and outflanked by the powerful structures that dominate our planet. The truth is this: our sling is the sling of David as we fight the monstrous Goliath of global inequality and injustice. In fighting against inequality and injustice we do not wish to fight anyone. On the contrary, we yearn to bring liberation to both the oppressed and the oppressor. As Paulo Freire wrote: “The oppressor cannot find in their power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only the power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both.” For us as Vincentians, we are urged by Frederic to consider the following wisdom: “You must not be content with tiding the poor over the poverty crisis. You must study their condition and the injustices which brought about such poverty, with the aim of long term improvement.” This is why we are urgently required to familiarise ourselves with the reasons for so much unnecessary suffering and degradation across our world. We are in the world to change the world.


When we speak about social justice we go to the heart of what the St Vincent de Paul Society stands for. As we are bidden by the Book of Proverbs (31:8-9): “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, protect the rights of those who are helpless. Speak out and pronounce a sentence of justice, defend the cause of the wretched and the poor.” We are called, as Vincentians, to feed, clothe, house and assist our brothers and sisters who are forced onto the margins of society. We are also called to ask why they are left out and pushed out. As Frederic said: “Charity is the oil being poured on the wounded traveller. But it is the role of justice to prevent the attack.” So how can we join with the poor in meaningful solidarity and companionship to prevent the attack? As Professor Ian Webster, a highly regarded physician who has had a long and generous relationship with the Society, put it so well at one of our recent Congresses in Australia: “Poverty... is an oppression from which we should aim to liberate our people.” The God of the Bible is a God who liberates, a God who takes the side of the poor and oppressed, a God who joins the poor in their struggle for dignity. As Jesus proclaimed, when he read from the scroll of the prophet Isaiah, in the synagogue in Nazareth: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; release for captives, recovery of sight to the blind, liberation for the oppressed.” The Rule tells us that: “The Society helps the poor and disadvantaged speak for themselves. When they cannot, the Society must speak on behalf of those who are ignored.” My sisters and brothers, do we fulfil this requirement of the Rule? Do we create the space and provide the resources and support so that marginalised people can speak for themselves? Failing this, do we even speak up strongly enough on their behalf? Are we a voice of the voiceless? Or to put the question another way: are we obedient enough to the poor; do we listen enough to the poor; do we learn enough from the poor, so as to be able to speak for them and, more powerfully, create the opportunities for them to speak for themselves?


You are no doubt familiar with the wonderful 17th century story of Don Quixote by the Spaniard Miguel de Cervantes. Don Quixote seems sometimes to be an accurate caricature of what we do when we dream like this of a more just and egalitarian world. He is depicted as a deluded dreamer believing himself to be a knight running around, on Rocinante, his skinny horse, trying to be chivalrous while everyone laughs at him. You will also remember from this famous and beautiful story, however, that Don Quixote is not alone. He is, of course, accompanied by the ever-faithful, and ever-practical, Sancho Panza. The Indigenous people of Brazil have a wonderful saying that: “When we dream alone it is only a dream but when we dream together it is the beginning of reality.” We need the idealism of a Don Quixote, the dreamer, as well as the pragmatism of a Sancho Panza. This is the dreaming together, and taking action together, that will be the beginning of a new reality in partnership with the marginalised and despised of the world. This will ensure that we truly fight the Goliath of injustice and inequality, even if we only have the humble sling of David at our disposal. In the words of Pablo Neruda, the Chilean poet: “Rise up with me against the organisation of misery.” I would like to leave you with the powerful words that St Paul wrote, describing Abraham, who believed, against all odds, in the promise that was made to him. “Against all hope he believed in hope.” May we make these words our own. And may we transform them into actions. I believe that the most important stage in the history of humanity is beginning now. It is not too late to turn the globalised polarization of wealth and misery into a globalization of compassion, of social equality, of human solidarity, of holy tenderness. Together then let us listen to, and heed, the wisdom of Lilla Watson, an Australian Aboriginal Activist, who wrote: “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”


Day - 3, Session-3, Topic : NEW POOR – A TRIO OF CHALLENGES: Homelessness, Education, Alienation Talk delivered at PANASCO - VII, Goa, India. on 15th September, 2010 by Rev. Fr. Desmond de Sousa CSSR, India.

“The poor are not to be considered a ‘burden’, but a resource, even from a purely economic point of view.”(Pope Benedict XVI, Charity in Truth, 2009 n.35) Introduction It is a real pleasure and privilege to speak to you Vincentians from all over the world. At the age of 14, I joined the St Vincent de Paul Society in my home parish in Mumbai and was the first President of the junior conference. Of course, my father was the President of the senior conference and later my brother and sister were members. But what I learned from the SVP and from my father, was that the poor are not statistics or theories. Later I did study that too. I learned early in life that the poor are real people made of flesh and blood. The face of the first poor widow and her son that I visited is burned into my imagination till today. My love for the poor and working for them as a top priority or preferential option over my 50 years as a Redemptorist, was born and nurtured in my home and in the SVP. As a young seminarian in the late 1950s, I read and studied the life of Fredric Ozanam. I got interested in Catholic Social Teaching in my seminary days and teach it even till today. I appreciate the contribution Ozanam made to Catholic Social Teaching as a Professor of history who understood that the unjust structures of society are the real cause of poverty and transforming them is the ultimate goal of our vocation as Christians. But since that is a long term process, visiting and feeding the poor was his way of responding to the challenges of the Socialists of his time. So even today, I am haunted by the two models of response to poverty: the Mother Teresa model of feed the poor and leave it to others to fight the unjust structures; and the Archbishop Oscar Romero and Dom Helder Camara model of confronting the unjust structures of society, or dreaming dreams and being ready to pay the price, sometimes even with your life. But certainly trying to live the social teachings will assure you of


alienation and misunderstanding from the very Church that keeps its social teaching as the best kept secret, probably to avoid having to practice it! Let me get to the topic of my reflection today under three headings: (I)The poor according to the Bible: material or spiritual, old or new? (II)The poor today, from a “third world perspective.” (III)The new poor – one challenge with three dimensions: alienation, education, homelessness (I) The poor according to the Bible: material or spiritual, old or new? Perspective is the particular slant, the particular bias, the particular tinted glasses with which one looks at reality. It is dependant on the particular stance one takes in relation to reality. It is crucially important for us Christians to see and understand God’s perspective on rich and poor, wealth and poverty. The bible gives us a paradigm, a faith perspective to view the reality of our world with its scandalous disparities between rich and poor, riches and wealth. The God of the Bible is a God ‘biased’ towards the ‘cry of the poor, the outcast and the oppressed people. When the exploited Hebrew slaves were denied their basic rights for survival, they groaned in their agony and cried out to God for liberation. God responds, “The cry of the sons of Israel has reached me…I know their suffering..I have come down to free them from the power of the Egyptians and to bring them up from that land…to a land flowing with milk and honey.(Ex.3/7 – 9). The Gospel of Mathew makes, “whatever you did to the least of my brothers or sisters you did it to me,” as the ultimate criterion for acceptance or rejection at the Last Judgement.(Mt 25:31-46). The Gospel of Luke gives the clearest indication of the social concerns of Jesus. The attraction of wealth and the security it provides, is so strong that it hinders one becoming a disciple of Jesus. Without God’s help it is hard to overcome it. (Lk 18:25). The account of the rich young man who kept all the commandments from his youth, but could not part with his wealth is the example given in Lk 18: 18-27 (see Mt 19:16-26). This is contrasted with the call of the disciples who leave all to follow Jesus. (Lk 18:28-30). To be generous and not stingy with what one has, is common to the rich Zaccheus in Lk 19:1-10 and the poor widow in Lk21:1-4. They are both true models of Christian discipleship and the way to follow Jesus.


For Paul it is absolutely clear that the collection for the poor is not optional, but integral to preaching the gospel. He is always keen to meet the needs of others, “remembering the words of the Lord: it is more blessed to give than to receive. (Acts 20:33-35) The epistle of James announces, “In the sight of God, our Father, pure and blameless religion lies in helping the orphans and widows in their need and keeping oneself from the world’s corruption” (Jam. 1:9). When we make distinctions between rich and poor, we use a double standard, because God makes no such division. (2: 1-13) So from God’s perspective as presented in the Bible must the poor be only materially poor or can there be only spiritually poor? The answer is not ‘either…or, but both…and.’ As the scripture scholars sum it up: God liberated the desperate slaves of Egypt in order to make them his special people. They had to live as a society of equals, with a radically new way of life: an economics of equality, a politics of justice and compassion and a religion of God’s freedom. God had in mind a family, where God was the head and all were his children, brothers and sisters of one another, with equal rights and duties. They were to depend on God for everything, for land, prosperity, peace and progeny. In this sense they may be called a “poor (anawim) community” both in the material and spiritual sense. Acts 4:32-36 gives us an account of the first Christian experience of creating such a community, where no one claimed any of his possessions as his/her own, but all shared everything they had so that there was no needy person among them. This is the Christian ideal that we must constantly experiment with until the world is transformed by God into God’s Kingdom. So what about the old and new poor today? (II) The poor today from the “third world perspective.” The “third world’ perspective, as articulated by the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT),is not a mere geographic perspective from the geographic region of the ‘South’. It is a theological perspective of a transnational area of people, who see themselves placed in the exploited periphery of the power centres of the global process of modernization in its most contemporary avatar of globalization. It is that transnational swathe of people across the world, who have yet to find a genuine path of effective participation in the global process of human development. The ‘third world theologians see the fundamental struggle in the world today as a spiritual struggle between God and Evil. Evil has two forms or incarnations: an internal or ‘within-us’ form called Satan; and an external or ‘outside-us’ form called Mammon.


Satan can be identified as human selfishness or personal sin that corrupts the image and likeness of god within us. St Paul describes Satan from his own personal experience as the “law of sin” in Rom.7:14-25 or in Galatians 5: 13-26, a “the desires of the flesh” or what theologians would call, a person not under the entire influence of the Holy Spirit. The effects of Satan on our life-styles are plain, “fornication, anger, ambition…etc(v 19-21). But the person who follows the “law of Christ’ or under the influence of the Holy Spirit lives a completely different life-style, “charity, joy, peace, patience ..etc (v 22-23) Wealth is evil (a person under the power of Satan) only when it is accumulated and not shared as in the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Lk 16:19-31)) or the rich fool (Lk 12:13-21). Poverty is evil when it is forced and man-made, because it dehumanizes God’s image and likeness in human persons. It is the external form of evil or Mammon or “the structures of sin.”(Pope JPII, The Church’s Social Concern, 1987) Mammon is identified as a whole cluster of values like money, power, prestige, status that are anti-God and anti-God’s Kingdom. These values underpin the structures of injustice that permit the set-up of our world on the basis of organized greed. In his latest encyclical Charity in Truth (June 29, 2009) Pope Benedict write, “Insignificant matters are considered shocking, yet unprecedented injustices seem to be widely tolerated. While the poor of the world continue knocking on the doors of the rich, the world of affluence runs the risk of no longer hearing those knocks, on account of a conscience that can no longer distinguish what is human.”(n.75) In his encyclical “The Church’s Social Concern” on the 20th anniversary of Pope Paul VI’s encyclical On Human Progress, Pope John Paul II referred to the to the dramatic image of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke’s Gospel Ch 16: “It is likewise essential, as the encyclical Progressio Populorum already asked, to recognize each people’s right ‘to be seated at the table of the common banquet, instead of lying outside the door like Lazarus while the dogs come to lick his sores. Both peoples and individuals must enjoy the fundamental equality.. the equalitywhich is the basis of the right of all to share in the process of full development.”(n.33) Christians especially the more comfortable ones fail to see the connection between the poverty of the majority with the greed, over-consumption and wastefulness of the minority. They do not see the unjust sharing of God’s resources in the world as a sin against God and feel no obligation to do anything about it. It is the prophetic role of the Church to confront these powers of Mammon that thrive on waste, accumulation and the exploitation of others. It is these very structures of injustice that create the old and new poor. In India for instance, ”the collective wealth of the 100 richest Indians is estimated at $276 billion, which is almost 1/4th of the whole country’s Gross Development Product(GDP). Yet 1/3 of Indias live below the 48

poverty line of just Rs 360 per month. Six hundred million Indians or over ½ the population still have no access to electricity. There are frequent power cuts and break-downs even in the cities. 40% of the people are illiterate. 72% of children in the government schools drop-out by ClassVIII and 2.1 million children die before the age of 5 years due to lack of food and medicine. (Wealth-Poverty Paradox, Indian Currents, Jan.25-31, 2010 p.33) But what about the “new poor”? (III)The new poor – one challenge with three dimensions: alienation/poverty, education, homelessness In the developed countries, this sort of massive, abject poverty has by and large been wiped out, so they talk of the new poor. In India , we have many of those new poor as well. But we must be very careful to prevent the possibility of concern for the thousands of “new poor,” to hijack the desperate needs of the millions of “old poor.” Global injustice is the main but not the only cause of alienation and /or poverty The fundamental problem of the world is global injustice, which causes alienation (‘material and spiritual poor’) and/or poverty (‘old and new poor’). Illiteracy and homelessness are only the effects or symptoms. Therefore I say at the beginning of this section, ‘one challenge with three dimensions’. In his encyclical Centesimus Annus (1991), Pope John Paul II had identified “the new poor”: · “In the countries of the West, different forms of poverty are being experienced by groups which live on the margins of society, by the elderly and the sick, by the victims of consumerism, and even more immediately by so many refugees and migrants. In the developing countries tragic crises loom on the horizon unless internationally coordinated measures are taken before it is too late. But then the Pope continues with his analysis: “Love for others, and in the first place love for the poor, is made concrete in the promotion of justice. Justice will never be fully attained unless people see in the poor person, who is asking for help in order to survive, not an annoyance or a burden, but an opportunity for showing kindness and a chance for greater enrichment. Only such an awareness can give the courage to face the risk and the change involved in every authentic attempt to come to the aid of another. It is not merely a matter of ‘giving from one’s


surplus’, but of helping entire peoples which are presently excluded or marginalized to enter into the sphere of economic and human development. · For this to happen it is not enough to draw on the surplus good that our world in fact abundantly produces; it requires above all a change of life-styles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies. Nor is it a matter of eliminating instruments of social organization which have proved useful, but rather of orienting them according to an adequate notion of the common good in relation to the whole human family.” ( Centesimus Annus n.57-59) In his latest encyclical Charity in Truth, Pope Benedict XVI explains the complementary character of alienation and poverty. They are two sides of the same coin. · “One of the deepest forms of poverty a person can experience is isolation (alienation). If we look closely at other kinds of poverty, including material forms, we see that they are born from isolation,…Poverty is often produced by a rejection of God’s love…Man is alienated when he is alone, when he is detached from reality…All of humanity is alienated when too much trust is placed in merely human projects, ideologies and false utopias.” (n.53) Poverty and unemployment On account of the global meltdown from Sept 2008, more and more people lost their jobs. The Pope highlights the direct link between poverty and unemployment and indicates that in many cases poverty results from a violation of dignity of human work Pope Benedict pleads, · “No consideration of the problems…could fail to highlight the direct link between poverty and unemployment. In many cases, poverty results from the violation of the dignity of human work either because work opportunities are limited (through unemployment or underemployment), or because a low value is put on work and the rights that flow from it, especially the right to a just wage and to the personal security of the worker and his or her family.” (n.63) He also warns that the authentic development of people is affected by the link between claims of a “right to excess” within affluent societies, and “the lack of food, drinkable water, basic instruction and elementary health care in areas of the underdeveloped world and in the outskirts of large metropolitan centres” (n.43) The Pope goes on to identify other forms of new poor.


“The new forms of slavery to drugs and the lack of hope into which so many people fall can be explained not only in sociological and psychological terms, but also in essentially spiritual terms. The emptiness in which the soul feels abandoned, despite the availability of countless therapies for body and psyche, leads to suffering.”(n.76) · “One possible negative effect of the process of globalization is the tendency to …encourage forms of ‘religion’ that instead of bringing people together, alienate them from one another and distance them from reality. (n.55) Poverty and homelessness · “An adequate solidarity in the era of globalization requires that human rights be defended…We are witnessing the emergence of an alarming between a series of new ‘rights’ being promoted in advanced societies – the result of new prosperity and new technologies – and other more basic human rights still not being met, especially in situations of underdevelopment. I am thinking here for example about the right to food and drinkable water, to housing and security, to self-determination and independence – which are still far from being guaranteed and realized.”(Pope John Paul II, World Day of Peace2003) · “The environmental crisis and poverty are connected by a complex and dramatic set of causes that can be resolved by the principle of the universal destination of goods, which offers fundamental moral and cultural orientation. The present environmental crisis affects those who are poorest in a particular way, whether they live in those lands subject to erosion and desertification, are involved in armed conflicts or subject to forced immigration, or because they do not have the economic and technological means to protect themselves from other calamities. · Countless numbers of these poor people live in polluted surbubs of large cities, in make-shift residences or in huge complexes of crumbling and unsafe houses (slums, barrios, favelas, bidonvilles). In cases where it is necessary to relocate them, in order not to heap suffering upon suffering, adequate information needs to be given beforehand, with choices of decent housing offered and the people directly involved must be part of the process.(Com.Soc.Doc.Church, n.482) Poverty and illiteracy · “Among the causes that greatly contribute to underdevelopment and poverty, in addition to the impossibility of acceding to the international market, mention must be made of illiteracy, lack of food security, the absence of structures and services, inadequate measures for guaranteeing basic health care, the lack of safe drinking water and sanitation, corruption, instability of institutions and of political life itself. There is a correction


between poverty and, in many countries, the lack of liberty, possibilities for economic initiative and national administration capable of setting up an adequate system of education and information.”(CSDC n.447) To sum up my whole presentation: · According to the Bible the materially poor are also always spiritually poor, but not all spiritually poor are materially poor. The ‘anawim’ or God’s people cannot be only spiritually poor – they must be materially poor. · The millions of ‘old poor’ remain in the developing countries, while thousands of new poor are being added both in the developed and developing countries · To see the whole human family through God’s eyes i.e. the eyes of faith, we must take the ‘third world’ perspective, the stance on the side of the marginalized, the billions who are left out of the benefits of globalization. · The fundamental problem of the world is that the human family is not organized justly, as equals, but unjustly, where the thousands of well off, like the rich man in St Luke’s gospel, enjoy, according of Pope John Paul II, the fruits of “superdevelopment”, while the billions of have-nots, like Lazarus, receive the crumbs of “underdevelopment” that fall from the rich man’s table.( The Church’s Social Concern, 1987) · The unjust structures of society that are humanly created, to produce and maintain this unjust structuring of global society, is an INSULT TO GOD. God, as the Book of Exodus 3:7-9 assures us, hears the cry of the poor, sees their suffering and will certainly respond in His own way and own time. · What about us: It is not a question, according to Pope Paul VI, of “having more” things available, but of “being more” concerned, involved and committed in solidarity with God’s plan for the poor. (Development of Peoples,1967) · If we are not part of God’s solution, then we are part of the problem and God will call our lives to account. · The words of Martin Luther King Jr. haunt me always, “In the unfolding riddle of human life and history, there is such a thing as BEING TOO LATE.”


Day - 3, Session-4, Topic : VINCENTIAN SPIRITUALITY - A FORCE FROM WITHIN Talk delivered at PANASCO - VII, Goa, India. on 15th September, 2010 by Rev. Fr.Francis Puthenthayil C.M. - India.

Let me begin by recounting an enthralling little story which is the creative faculty of some one who lived in the medieval ages. The story unfolds the time when our Lord ascended to heaven and glanced down on the earth. The great sphere, the earth was shrouded in darkness. All appeared tenebrous except for a few sparks of light in the city of Jerusalem. As Our Lord explained that the little points of light were the Apostles, grouped around the Mother of God, and the light which our Lord had kindled would spread through out the entire earth in great flames, illuminating the nations and its people until every being would be glowing with the love of God in their hearts and the entire globe would be enveloped by the light. Angel Gabriel then said to Our Lord – “And what will you do if this plan fails?” There was a moment’s silence and then our Lord replied: “I have no other plan…” If Angel Gabriel were to appear before this gathering today which is representing the Asian Pacific Nations of the globe, having a clear vision regarding the mission of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, and if Angel Gabriel were to put the same question to each one of us: “And what if your plan should fail?”What then would be our answer? It is for each individual to give an apt answer. Each individual can consider themselves as a point of light that speaks of the benevolence in the heart of Christ. Each person here not only speaks of the benevolence of Christ, each one also acts with the charity of Christ, for, throughout the world the society of Saint Vincent de Paul is the representative of Christ. Blessed Frederic Ozanam and some of the founder members of the society may have had fine speculative minds, but their legacy to the society, was not only of theories and of words, also of truth and love in action. Just a few months ago, I was asked by Bro. Xavier James Raj, the National Vice President of our society in India to speak about the Vincentian Spirituality to this august gathering. When I began to reflect on this subject, I experienced my own unworthiness to speak amidst such a gathering. I know there are many eminent speakers in and around our country who can eloquently and vociferously present this topic. The only quality that I may possess is that I belong to this noble Vincentian Family and I am an ardent promoter of the


Vincentian Family especially in India. So I resolved to address this wonderful audience taking into account my own limitations. Today more than ever, our country seems to be facing perplexing circumstances. Hence it is all the more necessary to bring into the fore-front the great Christian figures whose sole vision exalts, spiritualises, frees and dignifies. Great Christian figures whose singular aim is to show that men and women are not mere gears of the state machinery, nor are they simply born to lead a wasteful life and die sooner or later, but are beings created in the forms and images and attributes of God to live happily forever. They are great Christian figures whose example permits us to transcend human trivia, pettiness and errors. Whose example incites us to live fearlessly, without being discouraged and without anxiety, before the difficulties, contradictions and stigmas of this world; thus being able to uplift ourselves like a blazing flame and soar up to the ‘Most High’ with complete security. It is precisely, for all these reasons, it is a necessity to exhibit one of the Christian figures to be resourcefully instrumental in the 350th death anniversary of the pure and the spotless figure of Saint Vincent de Paul. Let us then take advantage, of the occasion of the 350th death anniversary to remember the amazing spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul which has influenced many and continues to motivate many others. This spiritual heritage of St. Vincent de Paul has been shared by many, Frederic Ozanam and many others who along with him chose St. Vincent de Paul as the principal patron of the society. He did not choose St. Vincent de Paul merely to fulfill the requirement to have a saint for his organization, but he was fully convinced to design his members in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. He observed, “A patron saint should not be a mere signboard in the society like Saint Denis or Saint Nicholas on the door of a tavern. A patron saint should be regarded as a type on which we should try to prototype ourselves as he modeled himself on the ‘Divine Type’ – ‘Jesus Christ’. Blessed Frederic Ozanam tried to shape himself which is why he is honored and remembered by us with gratitude. Today, he would surely be asking each one of us to try to be exemplars in the same way. We have a beautiful common prayer for the Vincentian Family which is being recited by us since many years. The prayer has been circulated to all the members by the major superiors/heads of the various branches of the Vincentian Family in India. I hope a good many are reciting the prayer daily. The short prayer reads: “Inflame, O Lord, in our family, the spirit of your servant Vincent, that filled the same spirit, we may love what he loved and practice what he taught.” What was the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul? What did he love and what did he teach? He tried to imbibe the spirit of Christ. He emulated what Jesus Christ loved and taught. He recommended his followers to do likewise. What did Christ love and what did he teach? In order to understand this better let us look into the Gospels. There are four historical accounts of the persons and the tasks of Christ. “The first by Mathew, announcing Jesus as the Redeemer, who was sent to establish the Kingdom of God here on earth, “the 54

second by Mark, declaring him, ‘a prophet,’ mighty in deed and words,”“the third by Luke, who represents Christ specially characterizing as the Savior of the poor and the abandoned. (Luke 4:18; 7:36; 15:18)” and “the fourth by John, who represents Christ as the Son of God, in whom deity and humanity become one. In this connection, I wish to share with you the following four points regarding the VIncentian Spirituality. 1. PASSION FOR MAKING THE KINGDOM PRESENT. It is evident that the Kingdom of God was central in the message of Jesus. The first semblance of Jesus on the scene of history was when he came into Galilee preaching about the Kingdom of God as an obligation laid upon him. “I must preach the good news of the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose (LK 4:43; MK 1:38) Jesus spoke of the Kingdom in three different ways. He spoke of the Kingdom as existing in the past. He said that Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and all the prophets were in the Kingdom (LK 13:28; Mt 8:11). Therefore it is clear that the Kingdom goes far back into history. He spoke of the Kingdom being in the present. “The Kingdom of God he said is in the midst of you” (LK 17:21). The Kingdom of God is present in reality here and now. He spoke of the Kingdom of God to be in the future too, for, he taught men to pray for the emergence of the Kingdom. What is the Kingdom of God? How can the Kingdom of God be in the past, present and in the future all at one time? The definition of Kingdom can be found in Mathew 6:10. In order to understand the text, we should understand the Hebrew Style. The Hebrew tended to say everything twice. He said it in one way, and then in another way which was a replica and an amplification of the first way. Taken in this way we get the perfect definition of the Kingdom of God – The Kingdom of God is a society upon the earth where God’s will is perfectly done as it is in heaven. Here we have the explanation of how the Kingdom can be past, present and future all at the same time. Any man, who at any time in history perfectly performed God’s will was within the Kingdom, any man who perfectly performs God’s will is within the Kingdom; but since the world is very perfectly and universally done, the consummation of the Kingdom is still in the future and is still something for us to long for. St. Vincent de Paul an emulator of Christ committed his life to make known the existence of the Kingdom established by Jesus in the present. By seeking the will go God, he tried to do the same. He realized that his vocation is to make God’s subsistence known to the poor. All his efforts were to make a society here on earth where there would be no unprivileged or under privileged member. Calvet wrote, “Vincent is the one among us who has loved the people the most. He had the feeling of fraternity within him. i.e., he believed not in words, metaphors or philosophical reflections, but completely and viscerally, that the beggar, the poor on the street were his brother or sister.


Louis de Marillac, whose 350th death anniversary is also celebrated this year is admired for dedicating his entire energy in announcing the Kingdom of God. Vincent loved to contemplate Jesus Christ, calling the attention of his contemporaries to recognize that the Kingdom of God was in their midst. “Seek before all else the Kingdom of God…. Seek, seek, this means concern, this means action. Seek God within yourselves, for saint Augustine confesses that while he was looking outside himself, he could not find Him. Seek for him within your souls as His preferred dwelling place ……. Let us grow from the interior, so that Jesus Christ may reign in us ….” But that alone is not enough effort that God origins in us, it is also necessary that we desire to make sure that the Kingdom of God is spread everywhere, that God reigns within all persons, that the world may live in a different manner from the way it lives now, by the power of the spirit of God; finally may this justice be sought and imitated by all with complete holiness. To seek the Kingdom of God means to work unceasingly for the Kingdom of God without looking for comfort or remaining idle. Frederic Ozanaam, in his own time, entered into this current of apostolic life. He too tried to make the Kingdom of God a reality in the present. The key to the Kingdom of God, Frederic realized with deep and profound faith, was to be found in willingly doing the will of God as was made known to him by the commandments of God and the Church, by the duties of his state of life, by the dictates of his conscience, by the grace of Divine Providence through the daily happenings. He did not become the founder of the society of St. Vincent de Paul only to organize visits to the needy, the sick and the imprisoned, but also with an end of going beyond the temporal to the heavenly by expounding faith, love and hope. In short, he sought to constitute a lay instrument capable of propagating the consoling Good News of the salvation of Humanity realized by Jesus Christ. And Ozanam gave the example of not limiting self to helping the needy. He influenced the Christian apostolate of the spoken and written word by means of professorship in the famous Sorbonne University. He had his own creativity in bringing to existence the Kingdom of God in the present which was always in tune with the teachings of the Church. The social doctrines of Ozanam had its foundation, on principles based on fraternal love, justice, collaboration among the distinct social classes, freedom, subsidiary intervention of the State, the defence of the right to property and above all the protection of dignity of the human being created in the image and likeness of God. He understood the social Christian doctrine is not a technique meant to be applied strictly and absolutely by all countries and in all eras; rather it is a the ‘Gospel Ideals’ which are to be fulfilled according to the circumstances of the time and place and in a peaceful revolutionary way, but not with violence and bloodshed neither catastrophic revolutions. His social doctrines prepared the way for Pope Leo XIII’s exposition of the principles of social reform in his Encyclical “Rerum Novorum” ( 1891). It came to notice one day that his door had a small sign which read “Professor Frederick- course of Theology”. After class, he only exclaimed: “Gentlemen, I do not have the honour of being a theologian but on the other 56

hand, I have the great happiness of being a Christian! And by being a Christian, I am disposed to putting my whole soul, my heart, and all my strength to the service of the Kingdom of God.” Before he died (September 8, 1853), his wife asked him what he considered to be the best gift that God had given him. He answered unflinchingly: “The inner peace which enabled him to handle everyone as his brothers and sisters.” According to Saint Paul, “The Kingdom of God is just not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (Rom 14:17) Frederic realized the Kingdom of God within himself and he tried to experience it in the present situation in which he lived. 2. A PROPHET, MIGHTY IN DEED AND WORD The Hebrew word for prophet is ‘nabi’ which can have both a passive and an active meaning i.e. “One who has been called” and “One who calls”. The former meaning focuses on the personal experience of the prophet, while the latter concentrates on the role the prophet plays in the community. So a prophet is the one who is called by God to reveal the mind of God to everyone. He has to communicate from the world of supernatural to the world of human. Often it is for social upheaval, whether economic, political, or religious. The prophet is also called to give hope of “a new heaven and a new earth” (IS 65:17, 66:22), “a new covenant (Jer 31:31) and “a new heart and new spirit” (Eze 36:26:27). Moved by divine inspiration, the prophets pointed to a future where many a hope would be fulfilled despite the obstacles that human infidelity placed in the path of fulfillment. In the New Testament, Jesus was thought to be a prophet (MK 6:15; LK 24:19) and his suffering and death the fulfillment of the prophecy (LK 24:25:27). The early Christians took great pains to show that most of the major prophetic traditions of Israel were brought to completion in Jesus. In the early Church, prophecy performed the function of teaching. It served to establish a firm Christian identity, so that the challenges of a changing world might be met with steadfast commitment maintaining the essence of the religious tradition. St. Vincent was a prophet during the time that he lived. He was the conscience of time. He was called to be the prophet and to respond when the Christian identity was at stake. He was called to address the issues that the Church was challenged with like materialism, anticlericalism and religious indifferences. St. Vincent responded to the prophetic call and remained faithful to his vocation. The fidelity of St. Vincent was not the fruit of a sudden conversion rather it was a gradual process. We may see two phases of his life. In the first phase of life (1608/1610), he looked after himself, but in the events of Folleville and Chattilon (1617), he discovered his vocation of being dedicated to God, in order to serve the neighbour, by responding to the hunger for ‘Word’ and ‘Bread’. Realizing the project of God, he wanted to be faithful to God, to the church and to the poor.


The fidelity to the poor supposes to seek out the most valuable and useful ways to serve them, even though they already existed or had been implemented. This is the genius that makes fidelity creative. St. Vincent was not an ingenious inventor, he was a genius innovator. Many others had attempted a majority of his tasks, but it could not last long. He possessed something that the earlier ones did not have. It is evident in his various attempts to serve the poor. When he arrived at Chattillon, the way he organised the charity was marvelous. He organised a group and there were groups exclusively of women. In the groups he included both the noble sand the common. This was a brave inconceivable act at a time when women were excluded from all aspects of the civil society, the work force, and the politics. Here one has to astound at the bold and creative fidelity of St. Vincent de Paul. Something equally similar happened with the prophetic role of Blessed Frederic Ozanam. His parents brought him up in the catholic faith. His father, a doctor, exercised his profession with notable unselfishness and his mother was concerned in helping the poor abounding in the city. From his parents, he learnt to be faithful to God. When he was 18, he was sent to Paris to study law. He was there (the city of lights) in the year 1831. It was a city of antireligious people. The professors and intellectuals of the university used their opportunity to destroy catholic thoughts. In order not to be carried along by the avalanche of this evilly orchestrated campaign, and to oppose it, he did not count on that city for friends or well wishers. He was just an lyonino 18 year old student with little financial resources who had to live on a poor pension. But he did not possess anything that gave him material status, rather, he possessed the quality most necessary to effect the spiritual fight that was to be undertaken in favour of religion; he possessed that profound religious faith that was a gift from God that gives, to the one if has been granted, an incalculable treasure of love, strength and hope. Jean Broet, from Saint Simon, a socialist confronted Ozanam and his catholic friends, telling them that they were limiting themselves to talk alone, without being concerned in the problems of the labourers. This helped him to realize, how he had to express fidelity to God in practice. Immediately after the incident, he said to his four friends who stayed back; “what can we do? That which Jesus Christ did when he was preaching the Gospel.”“If our efforts in these Historic conferences have not been crowned with success in the way that we anxiously desire and if our university companions pass over to the Saint Simon camp, it will be without any doubt, due to the fact that our apostolate lacks something to invoke the blessings of God. And that something cannot but be ‘Charity’. Let us accomplish charitable work and in that way we will receive the blessings of the poor, which in twin will be the blessing of God. Let us go then, to the poor in order to receive that blessing, in order to convert charity into a means of sanctifying us, so that our conferences might be successful.” He could not tolerate the attack against faith and God. He tried to defend the church and her teachings. He also tried to defend the poor. His various writings and activities for the poor showed his fidelity. His indomitable courage and creative fidelity is to be admired. The social doctrine taught by Ozanam did not incite hatred, 58

nor worker resentment, nor violence, nor class disputes, nor the massacre of the burgesses as Karl Marx did. In no time, he could gather a good community, committed to defend faith and the causes of the poor. Thus for the first time in the world, Ozanam founded a catholic organization who lay apostolate had a universal and permanent existence. Laymen, who had carried out Christian apostolates have existed since the beginning of Christianity. But that kind of secular apostolate was always exercised individually, momentarily and circumstantially, and never organised into a purely lay association. Here lay the originality of Ozanam, who merely ate the age of 20 had put into motion the secular movement of evangelization presently proposed by the Church (Dogmatic Constitution on Church –Lumen Gentium and Decree on Lay Apostolate – Apostolicam Actuositatem of Second Vatican Council). He was a prophet in deed and word. 3. PASSIONATE LOVE FOR THE POOR Jesus had a very special concern for the poor. It is evident in his discourse made at the synagogue of Nazareth. He says – “He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor….” (LK 4:18). This is a quotation taken from the prophet Isaiah of the Old Testament (IS 61:1). Isaiah refers to the Jews in the post exilic period who were literally poor, having lost everything they had. Isaiah gives them a messianic hope. The Messiah will deliver them from their disgraces and misfortunes. When Jesus referred, he was expressing his definite and preferential commitment to the poor. Kerygma of Jesus inevitably accompanied by and associated with diakonia. In other words, evangelization by Jesus is proclamation with service. Kerygma and diakonia are inseparable and interlinked. The service of diakonia without proclamation or kerygma is not complete evangelization. Such activity will be more philanthropic and any social worker can accomplish it using more effective ways than any one of us. St. Vincent de Paul, tried to incarnate this message of Christ in him. To love and serve the poor was in the core of St. Vincent’s heart. He was brave enough to coin both kerygma and diakonia together. He gave equal importance to both spiritual as well as corporeal aspects of the poor. He considered them to be the two sides of the same coin. All through his life he served and taught his disciples to serve the poor spiritually and corporally. St. Vincent has manifested this spirit in many ways and through various agencies. Starting with the Confraternities of Charity in the early years of St. Vincent de Paul’s priestly life (1617), it progressed through the foundation of the Congregation of the Mission (1625), and its culmination can be found at the founding of the Daughters of Charity (1633) in collaboration with St. Louis de Marillac. Everyone was motivated by the love of God as manifested through love for the poor. Vincentian Spirituality is Christocentric. St. Vincent did not propose devotion to himself or to us, he considered Christ to be the center of everything. Smitten by the love for creatures, Jesus came down from heaven and was touched by the misfortunes of the poor. Vincent tells that he had truly found Christ. He heard Christ’s 59

voice in the suffering of humanity and amongst the poor people, in the people starving for bread and for the word. Seeing the poor, he found Christ. He saw Christ in the poor. Therefore he loved the poor as he loved God and he loved the poor the way Christ did. He would call the poor as “our lords and masters.” His great conviction clearly reveals in the mottos he gave for the CM (to be an evangelizer of the poor) and DC is (“Charity of Christ urges us.”) At this juncture, I wish to make a brief reflection on the Vincentian doctrine of effective and affective love. Vincent explains the content of these two loves: Affective love is an overflowing emotion of a person towards his beloved person or a feeling of complacency or tenderness for the one loved as a father has for his child. Effective love consists in doing things which the beloved person commands or desires (conference to missionaries). Affective love enables one to be passionate and is moved by the plight of the other. It is like a child changing to his mother not wanting to be separated and cries if separation occurs. Effective love consists of the concrete practice of charitable works, especially for the poor, tasks that are undertaken with courage, joy, fidelity and love. Vincent maintained that affective love and effective love are two complementary characteristics of love. In order to develop mercy the first step should be the compassionate assimilation of the suffering of another. Effective love accomplished what affective love discovers. Effective love leads to concrete solutions to the evils that afflict the world of the poor. In Vincentian ethics effective love is primary. St. Vincent says, ‘Let us love God, my brethren, but let us love him with all our strength and with the sweat of our brow. For very often many acts of love of God, of complacency, of benevolence and such line inner affections and practices, although very good and very desirable, are yet to be suspected if they do not reach the practice of effective love. There are many who flatter themselves by the warmth of their imagination. The rest contented with the sweet discourses they have with God through prayer. They even speak to him as though they were angels. But should there be the question of working for God, of suffering, of self denial, of instructing the poor, of going out to seek the lost sheep, of loving to be in want, of accepting illness or disgrace, Alas! They are no where to be found as their courage fails them. Even though their might be periods of dryness when the affective matrix of love become clouded, this should be no reason to abandon or put aside effective service and prayer. Beyond this crisis Vincentian morality indicates that affective and effective love should be joined together and are mutually necessary and complementary. St. Vincent who continually recommended that his followers should live this affective and effective love, wanted the conferrers to avoid all harshness while dealing with one another as well as with the people outside the community. In this way St. Vincent becomes the balanced mentor of an ethic full of goodness, tenderness and strength. In addition, as he unites affective love with effective love, he


proposes a pastoral ministry of love which was a break in the rigidity that was so prevalent in the church of his time. Frederic Ozanama was given a penetrating insight into the mystery of Christ and his presence in the person of the poor. The life and work of Frederic was an endorsement of that reflection of St. Vincent de Paul. Even if Frederic held with great distinction a professional chair in the Sorbonne University of Paris, he still took out time to the climb the stairs of high tenements in Paris, to visit and talk and assist the poor families who eked out their existence in them. This he did along with the founding members of the society. Frederic would remind us that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has its roots and is founded in the experience of the eternal Word of God, who visited the people, specially the poor, in person. Hence the society as it has been from the beginning must continue to be more than an agency of relief. The members should not only be the dispensers of food, fuel and clothing to the poor but also be dispensers of love and compassion of Christ which is imbibed in their hearts by the spirit of God. Hence personal contacts, patient hearing, profound acceptance of the individual would be a very effective healing therapy for the wounds left by poverty and injustice in the hearts of so many. While seeking to establish the society more extensively in Italy, he said in a conference in Florence. “Oh, How many times, overwhelmed by some interior pain, worried about my bodily strengthened health full of sadness, I entered the house of a poor man entrusted to my care, and there upon the sight of so many wretched people, more deserving of pity than I, I reproached myself for my discouragement, I felt stronger against pain, I thanked this unfortunate man who had consoled and fortified me through the observation of his own miseries! And how since then, wouldn’t I have loved him more? He was not a politician. He approached the rich, influential people of his times fearlessly for help for his projects for the poor. He tried to sensitize their conscience towards their social obligation. The sufferings of refugees, one parent families, dropouts, victims of violence, hostages and prisoners tore his heart for in their cries of pain. He could hear only the voice of Jesus on this cross. 4. DIVINITY IN HUMAN FLESH The fourth Gospel was written when Gnosticism was rampant. The basic doctrine of it was that matter is essentially evil and spirit is essentially good. They went to the extent of stating that in Jesus both divinity and humanity cannot exist simultaneously. As a counter argument, John represents Christ as the son of God, in whom deity and humanity become one. There is no Gospel which so uncompromisingly stresses upon the real humanity of Jesus. Jesus was angry with those who bought and sold in the Temple courts (2:15); he was physically tired as he sat by the well which was near Sychar in Samaria (4:6); his disciples offered him food as they would offer any hungry man (4:31) the sympathized with those who were starving and with those who were afraid (6:5, 20), he knew grief and wept as any mourner would (11:33,35,38), in his agony on the cross, 61

the cry on his parched lips was, “I thirst” (19:28) John presents Jesus as a figure who knew the weariness of an exhausted body and the wounds of a distressed mind and heart. On the other hand, there is no gospel which gives a view of the deity of Jesus. He stresses upon the preexistence of Jesus. “Before Abraham was”, said Jesus, “I am”. (8:58) He talks of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was made (17:5) John saw in Jesus one who had always been, even before the world began. He stresses upon the omniscience of Jesus. Jesus knew the past record of the women of Samaria (4:16,17); apparently, without anyone telling him, he knew how long the man beside the healing pool had been ill (5:6). Before being asked, he knew the answer to the question he put to Phillip (6:6), he knew that Judas would betray him (6:61-64). Jesus had a special and miraculous knowledge independent of anything which any man might tell him. Jesus had divine independence from all human influence. He was self determined. In every human being there exists a divine element. A person who is able to balance both the divine and human elements can be said to be a saint. In the beginning of Vincent’s life, the human nature was predominant in him. Vincent craved to become a priest. The advance to ordination was rapid. He immediately tried to get a parish and began seeking for an honourable position. He was a man who searched for his own identity. Later certain personal experiences purified him and changed him radically. Probably after 1617 the divine element became predominant in him. Vincent was already convinced that he had to follow the path led by God. He accepted God’s will whole-heartedly. When he discerned the signs of God’s will in some work, he became determined, firm and unstatable. St.Vincent was a man in the true sense, humble but not a defeatist, gentle but not weak, simple and opposed to pointless complexly but not superficial. It was the coupling of both the human and divine elements in him that brought about the link between his love for God and for the poor. Bl.Frederic also knew how to balance the divine and human elements in himself. Frederic’s elder brother, Abbe Alphonsus wrote about his character, “He was indeed a quick tempered child, headstrong and sensitive, but he was compassionate with every form of suffering and of an angelic purity which shrank from the most venial fault.” M. Andre Marie Ampiere later said of him, “he had a breadth of view which enabled him to appreciate differences, even in opponents. His gentle and discreet patience always succeeded in disarming their prejudices. His conduct was a touching imitation of that of our Lord, who never broke the bent twig nor extinguished the smoldering lamp”. CONCLUSION It is admirable on the part of St. Vincent de Paul to have fulfilled the task of bringing Jesus Christ to the poor thereby healing their minds and bodies. It was an art of an genius which Vincent had who was able to find and 62

an explicit formula of action which would achieve the double end of enlightening the minds and hearts of the poor, imbibing in them the glory of Jesus and his message at the same time showing practical concern about their welfare. A Vincentian is one who appears to be walking on a fight rope who on leaning too much on one side may lose his balance. It is necessary for a Vincentian to keep the perfect balance so that he does not become excessively engrossed in social and political action for the poor and that he remembers that neither the rich nor the poor have a lasting city on this earth and that they are seeking for one that is to come. If we too absorb and live the spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul and Frederic Ozanam, we will be able to keep our balance on the tightrope and with the grace of God make Jesus and his message known to the poor and at the same time give them practical assistance, which the good Samaritan gave to the wounded man he found on the road from Jerusalem to Jerictio. In one word, a Vincentian is an illumined sign in the darkness of this world. He is one who has caught the light from Jesus Christ, who is the light of the world and who, by sharing, serving and self emptying, is passing that light on to others. So that they, too, will no longer walk in the darkness and shadow of death but ‘share’ the inheritance of the saints in lights (COL. 1:12) We are heirs of a great legacy……… sons and daughter’s of two great prophets of charity. We take pride in this common heritage. Our bonds are strengthened. With members extending in great numbers around all the continents, we as a part of the Vincentian Family have a great potential within us to make a difference in our time as Vincent and Ozanam did in theirs. A story is told of a young man, the son of a star baseball player. His first season playing was very disappointing. In his second season, he did so badly that he was certain of being dropped out from the team. One day, however, he hit a homerun and there after things began to change for him. He had discovered himself. He started hitting consistently. It was the turning point in his life. Eventually, he went on to the majors. Someone asked him, “what caused the big change?” He said the umpire who had seen his father play told him. “I can see his genes in you. You have your father’s arms.” We have the ‘genes’ of Vincent de Paul and Frederic Ozanam. We have their heart and their spirit. Fidelity to their legacy urges us to forge ahead together… to be prophets of charity in today’s challenging would where the cry of the poor is so penetrating than ever before. In an era where fidelity towards God and towards the poor is minimal, passion for one own self instead of the downtrodden has become the way of the world. To make known the Kingdom of God is at stake. Hence it is only when human frailty supersedes the divine strength within us; we can be called to be true Vincentians. Vincent’s and Ozanam’s dreams impel us to form networks of charity among us and among the Vincentian Family. Networks of Charity attentive to events and to the poor, inventive and audacious in their responses manifest the perennial newness of the Vincentian Spirituality. They create unending hope for the future. 63

Day - 4, Session - 5, Topic : YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE A POSITIVE COMING TOGETHER (1+1=3) Talk delivered at PANASCO - VII, Goa, India. on 16th September, 2010 by Bro. T. Joseph Pandian, India. We know that the Society of St.Vincent de Paul was founded by Young persons and in the beginning, membership was almost totally that of young people. This trend was modified subsequently in the coming generations. The current status of youth in the Society varies from country to country. But there is a general feeling that there is no appreciable number of youth members in the Society now. There is no second opinion that we need more youth, as our Society is youth in its spirit, to step up our functioning as well as to pass on the benefit of Christian living to future generations. When there are specific youth Conferences, young people should be encouraged to join existing adult Conferences. It is better they join in pairs rather than single. Generally youth have a strong desire for greater freedom and originality. To facilitate more youth joining the Society, this desire of the young can be accommodated by relaxing some of the rigid and non-essential procedures. The method of recruiting youth in the Society is quite different. They are not straightaway asked to join the Society of St.Vincent de Paul. Instead, they are presented with a need or suffering that urgently needs human intervention and this initiates interest and involvement in the mind of the youth to join the Society of his own free will. The young founded the Society and they gave its rules and regulations. They decided its works and its spirituality. Therefore the Society owes much to the young people. The Society will always offer its benefits to the young. It helps them to lead a better life. In one of the last letters of life, Frederic Ozanam writes, “I have seen the Society do so much good‌.keep many a young man on the path of virtue, and fire a wonderful zeal in a smaller number.We have a Conference at Quebec, and at Mexico.We have one at Jerusalem.And surely we have a Conference in Heaven.For more than one thousand of us have gone the way to a better life in the twenty years of our existence..You have well-off pupils.What a useful lesson it would be for the strengthening of their effeminate hearts,what a profitable lesson to show them Our Lord,Jesus Christnot merely in the paintings of great masters , nor on altars glittering in gold and light, but to show them Jesus Christ and His wounds in the person of the poor.We have often discussed the weakness, the frivolity, the emptiness of even Christians in the upper classes of france and Italy.I am convinced that they are as they are because one thing is wanting in their education-it is suffering,privation,want.Those lordly young men must be made to know what hunger,thirst,and the poverty of bare garret are.They must meet


the poor,sick children, unhappy children.They must meet them and love them.They heart will be touched by the meeting,or else this generation is lost.’’ The Society has an obligation to the youth. The elders in the Society have to fulfill it by inviting youth into the Society and guiding them. It is their responsibility to dispel the fear from the mind of the youth that the elders are slow, traditional and outmoded. The elders also should realize that the presence of youth in the Society will make them insignificant. Both youth and experience are necessary for a successful Conference. No one can be sacrificed. For a safe journey both accelerator and brakes are necessary. For a successful Conference, both young and experience are equally necessary. Only a combination of young and experience makes it possible for the scope to have various views and enables the Conference to arrive at the right decision. May be, the youth and elders will express opposite views and pull in different directions. Only then there is a possibility for arriving at the right decisions. For a tree to stay stable and serve the people the trunk should grow upwards and the roots will go downwards. The roots, unseen, supply nurishments and the trunk and branches are seen active and serving the people.They grow in opposite directions but support each other and serve the same cause. May be the functioning of the Youth and experience in the Conference is very similar. Perhaps the best example for the effective and positive coming together of the youth and experience in a Conference can be seen in our very first Conference. After prolonged discussions in many a meetings, the members agreed to leave the decision to the wisdom of the elder member, Emmanuel Bailley, regarding the dividing of the first Conference in to two. They willingly accepted his decision.The wisdom of the elder member prevailed and it proved wise. It is also easier for the youth to realize the objectives of the Society, when they are guided by the experienced elder. On the previous evening before formally establishing the first Conference, Frederic said in unambiguous terms that the objective of the Society is to draw ourselves closer to the Lord and we chose to do it by drawing ourselves closer to the Lord’s poor. The experienced elder members can be of greater use and better models for the youth in the Conference to realize this Vincentian spirituality. Following the example of Jesus, the Vincentian ought to make himself a servant. A Vincentian best knows how to be a bearer of joy or a messenger of hope to the poor. Simplicity and humility are the identity of a Vincentian and it finds expression in the life of a Conference. In Conferences, the spirituality is not taught to the new and youth members, rather they are allowed to be able to grow together in spirituality, with the other elder experienced members. Our dear Society, from the very beginning believed that the best way to help the poor is through person to person contact, which affirms the dignity of the poor. Here and in such rich traditions, the youth members have to follow the path taught to them by adults, adding to it the enthusiasm, creativity and energy of the young people. The Society needs new ideas, enthusiasm and strength to meet the modern challenges and at the same time it has to preserve its experience and time proved traditions. The adult members with their vast experience should willingly listen to the youth resposing their faith on the youth and should be ready to share their responsibilities with the youth. Then the Society will always stay young and new.


Day - 5, Session - 6, Topic : HIV / AIDS - SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY Talk delivered at PANASCO - VII, Goa, India. on 17th September, 2010 by MS. Danusia Kaska, Australia. THE GLOBAL EPIDEMIC OF AIDS: FROM A VINCENTIAN PERSPECTIVE

It is my privilege and blessing to be here today to reflect upon this devastating tragedy that is still plaguing millions of people in the world; The Global epidemic of AIDS.

I would like to share with you today my perspective on this terrible disease, which is taking away lives, families, communities and ruining social and economic structures in some parts of the world.

My perspective is from a Vincentian heart, full of compassion and love; there is no room for judgement or discrimination.

I hope that we all can embrace this global problem as true Vincentians and as Christ taught us to do.


My presentation today will be an information session on the global AIDS epidemic; my reasons for this are to: §

explain the issues surrounding this topic,


to help provide an understanding and an appreciation of the affects AIDS continues to have especially in the developing countries,


and to help remove the stigma attached to this word, AIDS, so that we can reach out as true Vincentians to our suffering brothers and sisters.

As well as being an information session, this presentation will hopefully bring alive the face of AIDS, not just as statistics, but as the real people who have succumbed to the ravages of AIDS.

I would like to begin my presentation with my own personal experience & understanding of the AIDS Epidemic as a Vincentian

Then I would like to reflect on scripture in light of the outcast people in Biblical time 66

I will then delve into some of the science behind HIV/AIDS – for example, what is the difference between these two terms.

I will also explain some of the clinical issues associated with HIV/AIDS. Including what Anti Retro Viral medicines are and how they work.

• •

I will provide a brief history of the general consensus on how AIDS probably emerged in Africa.

I will present the latest statistics on the global AIDS epidemic from the UNAIDS 2009 report – which contains the most up to date accurate figures. I will focus on some specific regions of the world in terms of their AIDS epidemics: §

especially PNG as it carries the majority of AIDS sufferers in the Oceanic region:


India as it is our host country for our PANASCO meeting,


as well as Sub-Sahara Africa as it is the region of the world most severely affected.

Finally I would like to begin to address the issues and solutions surrounding this destructive epidemic by reflecting upon our roles & responsibilities as Vincentians.

This will include: sharing about some of the AIDS projects that the Australian and Indian Societies of SVDP have supported,

• •

Informing you of the UNAIDS future framework for the next 2 years. And creating an atmosphere for us here today to reflect upon ways that we can reduce the burden for the people affected with AIDS in our own countries.

The Global AIDS epidemic…from a Vincentian heart

My first encounter with the AIDS devastation was on the banks of the Mekong River in the jungles of N.E Thailand in 2002, where I volunteered for a year with a fellow Vincentian on this AIDS mission.

Here an American Redemptorist priest was grappling with a new type of poverty that had emerged: §

the abandonment of numerous children whose parents had died of AIDS & also adults & children dying of mysterious diseases – which were due to AIDS.

At the time there weren’t any anti-AIDS medication available, so the lifespan of a child with AIDS was very short and we sadly buried these children.

This is where I first became very passionate and interested in the AIDS epidemic. It opened my eyes and heart to the AIDS tragedy.


I witnessed the human destruction, the misery and suffering of AIDS. Not only by those who suffered from the illnesses and died, but the many children who were neglected and despised because their parents had died of AIDS, and the people who became ostracised and shunned by their relatives and community because they had AIDS.

This was to add to the utter poverty that these people were already born into – we were in one of the poorest regions of Asia.

Since then I have been sharing the stories of these children to many people in presentations and articles in various community forums, in order to educate others about this continuing AIDS epidemic.

I have also been drawn to volunteering in the region of the world most severely affected by this epidemic; Sub Sahara Africa.

Lepers in the Old Testment

If we make reference to Biblical scripture about people with diseases, we can look at Leviticus Chapter 13, Verses 45-46, which states.

“The person with such an infectious disease must wear torn clothes, let his hair be unkempt, cover the lower part of his face and cry out, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’ As long as he has the infection he remains unclean. He must live alone; he must live outside the camp”.

This passage is in reference to the lepers in the OT, who were seen as being spiritually unclean because of their skin disease, which made them physically unclean.

Therefore they were outcasts, despised people, and it was believed that they must have committed terrible sins in order to have been punished in such a terrible way by God.

Elisha however, showed compassion and healed the lepers.

Lepers in the New Testment

In Jesus’ time lepers were also despised so they could not participate in prayer, worship God, or make sacrifices in the temple.

Since leprosy shows in the skin, lepers could not hide their illness from the community, so they were shunned and forced to live apart, because other people were afraid that they could catch their disease from them.

However, Jesus welcomes and invites the lepers to be part of His community; He bestows compassion and love on these outcasts.

Jesus cures the lepers from their disease, He heals them so that they may once again re-enter the community. 68

Our Lepers Today – People with AIDS

We can draw significant parallels from the Old & New Testaments with today’s situation of people who have AIDS.

I have seen this with my own eyes: §

I’ve witnessed the ostracising of children whose parents had died of AIDS,


children forced out of villages and ridiculed at school because of their skin lesions


the fear of abandonment and condemnation in the eyes of people being tested for HIV


the women rejected from communities because their husband has infected them with HIV

AIDS is the leprosy of today that outcasts people

The lepers, who were the outcasts in the Biblical times, can be seen as the outcast people who have AIDS in our current time.

This may not be very apparent in Australia & other developed countries as we hear very little about the AIDS epidemic, but still in many part of Africa and the Asia/Pacific region the stigma and shame attached to HIV/AIDS results in people, especially women and children, being shunned and isolated from communities.

Like Jesus we need to have a compassionate heart towards these people.

Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)

HIV is a retrovirus – unlike common viruses, retroviruses carry their genetic material on a single piece of RNA, not DNA,

Therefore this means that HIV cannot replicate on its own but requires a host, such as human immune cells to function and multiply.

• •

Thus, outside the human body HIV is powerless. HIV infects cells of the human immune system, which are vital for the proper functioning of the immune system.

Therefore when the immune system attacks the virus it also attacks its own immune cells that have been infected by HIV.

HIV stands for the ‘human immunodeficiency virus’.


• • •

This is a HIV, whilst it looks pretty; it is the deadly virus that causes AIDS. The flower-type projections are the things that the human body’s immune system sees as being foreign. However, retroviruses continually change the way they appear to the body’s immune system, so it is difficult for the immune system to mount a successful attack on the virus as these flower-like projections keep changing their appearance.

Representation of a human immune cell in blue, which is vital for the functioning of the immune system, it is being swarmed and infected by HIV viruses, in green, under the scanning electron microscope.

After HIV infects the immune cell, the HIV forces the immune cell’s DNA to produce millions of copies of the HIV, until finally the immune cell bursts and is destroyed, which releases millions of new HIVs.

• •

These new HIVs then search for new immune cells to infect and this process is repeated again and again.

Therefore once infected the HIV can reproduce itself millions of times, so that even one drop of blood from a HIV infected person can contain one hundred million HIVs. List of opportunistic secondary infections – Clinical names

• •


pulmonary TB,


recurrent pneumonia,


yeast and fungal infections,


severe skin lesions,


rare forms of cancers,


chronic diahhroea,


chicken pox and shingles,


vision impairment and blindness and many other.


There is also an HIV encephalopathy, which causes dementia,


and a HIV wasting disease.

These conditions and opportunistic secondary infections can be treated easily in healthy people. Clinically, the AIDS definition is based on signs, symptoms, infections, and cancers associated with the deficiency of the immune system that stems from infection with HIV.


The World Health Organisation’s clinical definition for The term AIDS applies to the most advanced stages of HIV infection, §

defined by the occurrence of 20 or more of any of these opportunistic infections or HIV-related cancers.

Anti-Retro-Viral (ARV) medications

Anti-Retro-Viral medications (or ARVs as I’ll call them) are medicines specifically designed to treat HIV infection.

People who are HIV pos can now live longer and healthier lives with ARVs,


however, they do not cure HIV infection


they can prevent and slow down the disease progression to AIDS.

ARVs work by decreasing the infected person’s viral load, which means reducing the number of HIVs in a person’s body. §

• • •

Therefore ARVs slow down the immune system being damaged by HIVs.

ARVs work directly against the virus replicating itself in the body’s immune cells, However as the ARVs cannot eliminate HIV from the body, HIV pos people need to continuously take the drugs. Unfortunately HIV is a very clever virus and is able to mutate to become resistant to these drugs, §

therefore people often have to take 3 or more drugs in combination to make it harder for the virus to adapt and become resistant.

The ARVs also must be taken at the right time and in the right way to ensure that the levels in the body are correct, by missing even one dose could mean that the HIV become resistant to the ARV medicine.

So you can imagine the challenges of this with the small children at the orphanage.


There are also currently 2 courses, possibly 3 courses of ARVs, §

but most people can get access to only the first course,


and once HIV becomes resistant to the first course, some people may be fortunate to get onto the second course,



but once HIV becomes resistant to the second course,


there is little that can be done.


The 3rd course would be generally limited to people in affluent countries.

It is vital that ARVs are taken in combination with: §

HIV treatment,


good nutrition,


safe water,


basic hygiene,


support & counselling


which are not always available in developing countries

Since ARVs have been introduced the global number of AIDS-related deaths with people on ARVs has reduced significantly.

History of HIV/AIDS (1)

• •

So how did AIDS emerge in the first place, you are probably wondering? This question has been hotly debated by scientists for the last 25 years, §

• •

as early as the 1950s, 60s. There are two strains, or types of HIV: §

however, it is generally accepted that HIV probably originated in non-human primates in sub-Saharan Africa, and transferred to humans early in the 20th century,

HIV strain 1 and HIV strain 2.

It is believed that: §

the Simian Immunodeficiency Virus (SIV I’ll call it) found in chimpanzees is the ancestor for the common HIV strain 1


and that the SIV found in sooty mangabeys, an old world monkey, to be the descendant of the rarer HIV strain, type 2.


History of HIV/AIDS (2)

On at least 2 occasions, §

the SIV virus jumped the species barrier and entered the human species, this is called zoonosis.


As seen with the bird flu and swine flu pandemics.


however, it is accepted that this event probably occurred many times because of the numerous HIV subtypes,

The events that took place for SIV to enter the human population were probably involving the hunting and eating of monkeys, §

It is believed that during the killing, skinning or preparation of monkeys for cooking, people cut themselves and the monkey blood, containing the virus, got into their system. §

• •

New World Monkeys are an interesting exception to the transmission of HIV, they have a natural resistance to HIV-1 infection.

Also interesting is that there is no AIDS among the monkeys, §

The virus was then passed onto others in a lethal form.

Monkeys are no longer hunted or killed because of protection as they are near-extinction.


which was common practice in Africa in the last century.

it does not affect them as it does humans.

Usually though, when a virus jumps the species barrier it turns into a more lethal and deadly form in its new host.

Transmission of HIV

HIV is not very infectious, unlike bird or swine flu, or even common flu §

These infections are transmitted through sneezing and coughing.

Infection of HIV occurs by a HIV positive person passing on the virus to a HIV negative person in the following ways: §

Through blood infection, examples are: intravenous drug users, or blood transfusions, (which is not common in developed countries anymore, however, in the 80s my friend’s brother died of AIDS as he was given HIV infected blood in a blood transfusion when little was known at the time and the blood to be transfused was not tested for HIV). 73

Sexual fluids – heterosexual or homosexual sexual activity from an infected person to a non-infected person.

• •

Breast milk – eg: a HIV positive mother breastfeeding her HIV negative baby. Also blood from mother to baby during pregnancy, labour and birth.

Transmission of HIV

Therefore HIV Infection has to do with controversial issues in society, such as sex and drugs, §

and it means therefore, that its growth is seen highest in the poorest countries because poverty often forces people to engage in behaviour that spread HIV infection.

As poverty drives women to resort to sex work in order to get a few coins to feed their children, young girls get sexually assaulted because they don’t have a voice, there is a lack of education on the prevention of HIV, men travel in hope of finding work…these are just a few of the issues.

Latest statistics on the Global AIDS epidemic

• • •

From the UNAIDS Report on the Global AIDS epidemic, December 2009.


the swine flu pandemic


and the global economic crisis

However, at the time the global AIDS epidemic was still having devastating ramifications in poor countries, and yet the only time I heard about it in the media was on World AIDS day!

Most up to date and accurate statistics available. Last year we experienced two global crises:

Global summary of the AIDS epidemic, December 2008

If you have been keeping up with the statistics over the years you may have noticed that the number of HIV infection has dropped: §

from around 40 million in 2006, to 33 m in 2008 §

this trend is not due to a decrease in AIDS globally, but to an improvement in the collection and recording of data, especially from developing countries.


Whilst there has been a slight decrease in some countries with the increased availability of ARVs, the epidemic is still on the increase overall.


Woman now account for about half of the infections, whereas they accounted for a higher percentage in the past.

• •

Note that Sub-Saharan Africa is most affected. It remains the most seriously affected region, with AIDS remaining the leading cause of death there.

People newly infected with HIV in 2008

• •

Note that about 2.7 million people are newly infected each year Although the percentage prevalence of HIV has stabilized, new people becoming infected are adding to those numbers already infected, so that the number of persons living with HIV in today’s day is greater than ever before.

AIDS-related deaths in 2008

• •

About 2 million people die of AIDS each year. Now people are living longer with AIDS because of ARVs – §

This creates another issue as these are people who are potential transmitters of HIV.

Take home figures

Let us reflect for a moment on these figures: §

every day 6,800 people become newly infected with HIV


over 5,700 people die of AIDS each day.

Isn’t this approximately the number of people who died in the terrible events of September 11th in 2001? §

• • •

But I ask you how much media coverage does it continue to get and how much do we hear of the AIDS epidemic?

The AIDS epidemic is still the most serious of global infectious disease challenges to public health. Since 1990 the number of people living with HIV has been on the increase. The prevalence of HIV in adults has also been on the increase since 1990, with adults accounting for the majority of infections.


The number of people newly infected with HIV has been decreasing since the late 90s, this can be due to better education and awareness of prevention, and the fact that statistics are collected more accurately now than before.

The number of deaths due to AIDS has been steadily increasing until recently; this recent decline can be due to people living longer due to ARVs, but also to improved collection of statistics in more recent years.

Estimate of the annual number of babies saved due to HIV therapy, to HIV positive pregnant mothers

The HIV therapy program for HIV positive pregnant mothers has been highly successful in preventing babies being born with HIV, as can be seen here in the graph.

A truly successful program is where the HIV positive mother is supported, and provided clean milk to feed her HIV negative baby, as breast milk transmits HIV.

• •

However, a lack of access to clean water can result in death of the baby. Mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) is when an HIV-infected woman passes the virus to her baby. This can occur during pregnancy, labour and delivery, or breastfeeding. Without treatment, around 15-30% of babies born to HIV positive women will become infected with HIV during pregnancy and delivery. A further 5-20% will become infected through breastfeeding.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-Saharan African has been the most severely affected region by the global AIDS epidemic, with 2/3 of total HIV infections occurring here.

Sub-Saharan Africa

• • •

In some countries up to 30-40% of people are infected.

• •

Why has it had devastating affects to Africa: financially, socially, politically, morally etc?

Why is this the case in Africa? Why have other countries have managed to stabilize the HIV infection rate, and only to be marginally affected by it?

To answer that we have to reflect on its history: since European colonization the African continent has suffered from: §

wars, famine, poverty, corruption, disease outbreaks, lack of health, education, sanitation and resources



however the AIDS epidemic underpins all of these problems


AIDS exacerbates the affects because it kills the youth who should be:


working, producing food, teaching in schools, treating the sick, looking after their young


however they are being killed off


this is ruining whole economies and health/education systems.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Poverty forces: §

women enter the sex trade and


and to stay with unfaithful husbands.


Husbands travel for work and are notoriously unfaithful during this time – whole businesses are set up for their sexual entertainment.

Lack of education: §

Stigma attached: §

so people do not know how to get treated or prevent infection.

people are shunned, ostracized etc, so they are not getting tested.

The epidemics in the rest of the world are primarily concentrated among populations most at risk, such as: §

homosexual males,


injecting drug users,


sex workers and their sexual partners


Asia is home to 60% of the world’s population and it is the second largest region in the world affected by AIDS, after Sub-Sahara Africa in terms of people living with HIV.

• •

Since 2001, there hasn’t been a significant increase in people living with HIV and infection rate. However, since 1990 there was an initial steep increase in infection rate, death and HIV prevalence until about 1999. 77

• • • • •

Except for Thailand, every country in Asia has an adult HIV prevalence of less than 1%. However, as Asia has such a large population, despite the HIV prevalence is low; it translates into a substantial portion of the global HIV burden. Asia’s economy has been affected by the AIDS epidemic, and it is predicted that an additional 6 million households in Asia will be forced into poverty by 2015 unless national responses are significantly strengthened Source taken from the Commission on AIDS in Asia, 2008.


• • •

Third most affected region of the world 59,000 people currently living with HIV in this area The prevalence of HIV continues to rise, however, new infections has started to decline since 2002.

Papua New Guinea

• •

As you can see the majority of people with HIV/AIDS in the Oceanic region are in PNG AIDS has taken a destructive toll on people of PNG; up to 50% of all patients in medical wards in Port Moresby are due to AIDS infections.

Major mode of HIV infection through heterosexual sex – due to poverty women stay with unfaithful husbands & women have very limited rights

Schoolgirls are also predated by older men – being offered money for sex whilst at school to pay for their school tuition.

Australia: Annual newly diagnosed HIV infections in Australia 1999 – 2008.

The number of people newly diagnosed with HIV each year has risen since 1999, but not substantially.

Estimated no. of children under 18 orphaned by AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa

There are over 10 million orphans in Sub-Sahara Africa alone due to the AIDS epidemic and I myself have witnessed many orphanages with hundreds of abandoned babies and children.

Focus on India:

• •

India - Accounts for approximately half of the HIV infections in the whole of Asia. India accounts for approximately half of HIV infections in all of Asia 78

• • • •

90% of HIV prevalence in India is through sexual transmission overall, however, In Northern India, the main infection mode is during injecting drug use In 2007 – Indian women accounted for 39% of HIV infections, and they were being infected by their partners Sex workers In India are at greatest risk of infection & transmission; §

as there is a great shame & stigma towards sex workers they are more vulnerable to infection & developing AIDS

Many SE Asian girls and women are trafficked to India, §

With up to 30% of these girls & women being infected with HIV

SVDP and Marist Brother’s projects in India for AIDS

• •

EFANN – A Project of Central Council of Bombay, Society of St. Vincent de Paul Operation Rainbow – A Marcellin Project of the Marist Brothers in India

St. Vincent de Paul Society project for HIV/AIDS sufferers

EFANN – in 1885 a piece of land was donated to a priest, who later became the Bishop of Bombay, in order to care for leprosy patients.

The Bishop of Bombay handed the project over to the St. Vincent de Paul Society to run, and the Society has been running it for the underprivileged and neglected in society.

Provision and care for the HIV/AIDS patients in the hospice include:


Breakfast in the morning with tea / milk followed with lunch, evening tea with snacks and dinner at night.


Counselling to patients suffering from HIV / AIDS.


Medical Care by a qualified doctor along with committed medical staff.


Conducting awareness programs in the hospital premises at least once every three months with the help of other NGOs.


Processing investigation of the case history of patients in other government / municipal hospitals.

Admission to the HIV / AIDS hospice is by referral from NGOs Municipal Hospitals / Government Institutions or charitable trusts, for HIV infected people. 79

• • •

Today the Leprosy Home and the AIDS Hospice is one of the best run institutions in Mumbai An average 50 in-patients a month are cared by the Society’s project. The Leprosy Home and the AIDS Hospice is managed by the Sisters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul and they are doing an excellent work.

HIV / AIDS Patients Record Year
























There are still many future plans for improvement and refurbishment for the Hospice.

Operation Rainbow

• • • • • •

A work of Marcellin Trust – Marist Brothers India §

6 years in operation


Specific efforts for children affected by HIV/AIDS


Services provided to people living with HIV/AIDS are:

psychological support, health & medical care, meetings, outreach activities, community sensitization, referral linkages, children’s activities, income generation & job offer programs. Promote social solidarity with HIV affected people & their families – protect again discrimination & offer support.


AIDS projects supported by SVDP National Council of Australia

So what is the Society of St. Vincent De Paul in Australia doing about helping our poor sisters and brothers in this devastating AIDS epidemic?

• •

I am proud to say that the Australian Society of SVDP have helped in the following projects or missions: In 2002 the AIDS mission in N.E Thailand, run by the Redemptorist for AIDS children was supported by the Society through funding an AIDS outreach program in the jungles of NE Thailand, and supporting the orphanage with material goods.

In 2004, the National council assisted in funding a Zambian farm which was supported by the Irish SVDP Society, it was a VINPAZ initiative

• •

In 2007 the DREAM program in Kenya, run by the Daughters of Charity was supported. In 2007 and 2008 in the slums of Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa, the National council of Australia supported the AIDS outreach program for the Grannies looking after HIV positive grandchildren, whose parents had died of AIDS.

In 2007 and 2008, the Society of Australia also supported a Zambian blind project for the eduction of Visually impaired people in HIV/AIDS information.

I will now go into a bit of detail with these projects.

AIDS orphanage in Thailand Drug Resources Enhancement against AIDS and Malnutrition (DREAM)

• • • • • • •

The DREAM was created by the Community of Sant’Egidio to fight AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa. The project takes a holistic approach, combining Highly Active Anti- Retroviral Therapy with the treatment of malnutrition, tuberculosis, malaria, and sexually transmitted diseases. It also strongly emphasizes health education at all levels. DREAM was launched in Mozambique in March 2002, following two years of groundwork. However, the idea for the project was born in 1998 when the Sant’Egidio Community—a Christian movement founded in Rome in the late 1960s that has a strong base in Africa—decided to fight the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS. Blessing of DREAM grounds in 2007, turning the SOD during my time of volunteering there. The DREAM in operation, 1000s of HIV positive people seen within the first couple of months, 2008.


AIDS support group

• • •

The Daughter of Charity minister to those affected by AIDS in very rural Kenya

• •

They run outreach programs to those too sick to visit the mission.

The DOC have a clinic for :Voluntary Counselling and Testing for HIV/AIDS An AIDS support group, where hundreds of people come together to praise and worship God and support one another.

They support both adults and children in their projects

AIDS support programs run by Daughters of Charity Soweto Grannies outreach program, South Africa

An enormous problem that the AIDS epidemic has had in South Africa is that it has wiped out an entire generation of parents.

Therefore Grannies or “go gos” as they are affectionately called, are left to care for numerous grandchildren, many which are HIV positive.

These grannies live in the slums of Soweto and only have cardboard houses and very small amount of food to feed themselves, yet they can have up to a dozen grandchildren in their care!

Soweto slums Grannies and HIV positive mothers support groups in Soweto Zambian Blind project for HIV/AIDS education

The project for blind people that was supported by the Australian National Council of SVDP is located in Lusaka, Zambia

• •

The project’s aim is to combat HIV/AIDS through education Currently no information is available on HIV/AIDS to people who are blind in Zambia

Project for the Blind

• •

In order to reduce the infection rate of HIV, the main area to target is education Information on AIDS prevention and treatment should be available to all, not excluding a disadvantaged minority group such as the blind.


Zambian Blind project

So their aim is achieved by making available HIV/AIDS educational material in Braille for VI people in schools, clinics etc

The project is also educating blind people on issues of HIV/AIDS through seminars and supporting blind people to become self-sufficient.

• •

The lady who runs the program, Rose, said to me: if you are not infected with HIV, you are affected Overall I was very impressed with the dedication that Rose and her helpers have to this cause.

Millennium Goal No. 6

The Millennium Goal No 6, which is to halt and reverse the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015, from the UN or Caritas Websites.

We all must be helping to contribute to achieving this Goal against global poverty.

UNAIDS outcome framework 2009 – 2011

I also wanted to share with you with the UNAIDS committee are planning for the future in terms of the AIDS epidemic §

To reduce sexual transmission of HIV


To prevent mothers from dying and babies form becoming infected with HIV


To ensure that people living with HIV receive treatment


To prevent people living with HIV from dying of tuberculosis


To protect drug users from becoming infected with HIV


To remove punitive laws, policies, practices, stigma and discrimination that block effective responses to AIDS


To stop violence against women and girls


To empower young people to protect themselves from HIV


To enhance social protection for people affected by HIV

Our responsibilities as Vincentians

The AIDS epidemic is still our greatest health challenge globally


• • •

Infection rate is highest in the poorest regions of the world Stigma & lack of education on HIV/AIDS make it a social problem Jesus healed and loved the lepers – our lepers today are people with AIDS


My question to you today is: §


How will we, as Vincentians, heal & love our brothers & sisters affected by the AIDS epidemic?

I would like for us to reflect upon this in terms of: §

The AIDS situation in our respective countries,


Our own personal attitudes towards people with AIDS,


Projects or activities for people with AIDS run by the SVDP Society in our respective countries,


Ideas for ministries through the SVDP Society that could be developed for people with AIDS in our respective countries


How we will show love & compassion to those suffering of AIDS

HARVESTING If you give a man a fish, he will eat once; If you teach a man to fish, he will eat for the rest of his life; If you are thinking a year ahead, sow seed; If you are thinking ten years ahead, plant a tree; If you are thinking one hundred years ahead, educate the people; By sowing seed, you will harvest once; By planting a tree, you will harvest tenfold; By educating the people, you will harvest one hundredfold.” 84

Summarized Resolutions of Group Discussions - PANASCO-7 Session - 1 : TWINNING Question 1: What kind of Asia Pacific project could the Society initiate to make a real difference to communities in developing countries? Responses : Education : Strategies : Assist a student programme, scholarships, health, primary / Secondary support, special needs education, literacy training project for migrant workers. Other key responses : a) Communication – Eg. Computers - Training and resource centre b) HIV / AID Support Programme. c) Clean water project to collect and store rain water (Pipes and tanks) – rain water harvesting. d) Income generating programme (self help project) Session - 2 : SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY - PARTNERSHIP TO PROGRESS Question 2 : What have we learned from the poor since the last PANASCO? How can an Asia Pacific project from this Congress be a means not only of providing assistance but also create the space for the poor to be heard? Part – I Responses: • Programmes better managed - positive experiences, learning from others / building relationship, raise awareness, new conference - not dynamic change. • Talk but no action. • No follow up. • communication with twinning countries could be developed. Part – II Responses: • Listen and learn from people. • Walk in another’s shoes, 85

• Work with and not just for the poor. • Meaningful consultation -

Use of surveys to identify the needs.


Research at the national and international levels.

• Net working - Partnership with church / NGO / Vincentian family. • Information and influence government -

provide support analysis.


act as advocates for the poor.


take account of political sensitiveness.

• Self help project -

micro financed


"own the project"

• International Project -

Education and Literacy


Corporate sponsorship




Youth support and formation.

All of this is under pinned by prayer and Christ centered. Session - 3 : THE NEW POOR - TRIO OF CHALLENGES (Education, alienation and homelessness) Question 3: How can we ensure that any Asian / Pacific project we initiate includes the members of the “New Poor” such as people with mental illness or victims of the ‘New Slavery’? Responses: • Formation and training is required on an international basis.


• Communication should be extended to gain a better understanding of assistance and resources available through NGOs. • Internet Cafes would assist in closing communication gap. • The new poor are very hard to find. • International training centre run by Council General. • Development partnerships with other organization eg: Rotary Club, Lions Club, Salvation Army. • Definition of new poor : old people , abandoned children drug addicts, migrants, refugees, destitute widows . • Be prepared to allow change for the future growth of the Society – the Society is bigger than the individual. Session - 4 : SPIRITUALITY - A force from within Question 4: How can our solidarity with the poor be a source of spiritual life? Responses: P – Patient A- Aid we give N- Need of us, (God’s need for us to help the poor) A- Association with the poor S- Spiritual C- Concern O- Oil for a burning heart. • We must listen to the cries of the poor. • Spirituality is compassion, empathy and being prepared to listen; this will enhance our relationship with the poor. • Conference members have a personal ongoing enrichment by association.


Spiritual formation should take high priority.

Inter Cultural immersion is a source of spiritual growth.

The poor are our best teachers.

The poor are our master.

Supporting family values is seen as crucial.

Session - 5 : YOUTH AND EXPERIENCE Question 5: What role could young Vincentians and volunteers have in a practical Asian / Pacafic project that serves the needs of and listens to the poor? Responses: • Communication is essential between youth and experienced members. -

intra youth communication.

• Pyramid structure needs to change. • Flexibility must prevail. • Not just the future but part of today. • Should not discriminate between each other. Equal opportunity for all members. • More time should be allocated for the youth discussion. • Every year the Society should hold youth promotion day. • Sharing International youth projects. Roles at international level. • We need to make our conferences activities and programmes youth friendly. • Both sides of the equation old and young members have a wealth of knowledge and skills to share. • Youth are here now; together we can be a part of the future. •

Promote university level conferences.

Encourage school conference (Mini Vinnees etc).

Develop partnership with NGOs to assist in development programme. 88

Session - 6 : HIV / AIDS - SOCIAL RESPONSIBLITY Question 6: What kind of international project could be initiated to take a leading role in ministering to people affected by HIV / AIDS? Responses: • Education in relation to AIDS. - Counseling on medication, especially family ; focus on women’s groups. • Observe World AIDS Awareness Day (1st December) • Support existing projects ; don’t reinvent the wheel. • PANASCO could set up committee to follow up where support is required. • Identify projects and customize to weak countries needs. • Donour council could visit beneficiaries to understand the work and scope of the needs. • Create centres for testing and support. • Fund mobile clinics to reach marginalsed and remote areas. • Support to provide medication. • Development target programmes over set 5 years/ • Assessment of existing models to see what is most effective. • Service and support of children who are affected by HIV / AIDS. • International Council General to Coordinate an AIDS programme which would involve a secretariat work with those on the ground in the programme.


Education at all levels (literacy)


Net working -

Church / NGO


National & International levels.

• Computer training and resource centre. • Communication – improve! • Water Collection and harvesting.



Establish a PANASCO 7 working group.

Produce PANASCO 7 report for distribution

Consider building a web page for PANASCO 7.

Review all key projects identified.

Prioritise key projects into achievable and realistic actions .

Construct a common approach / strategy for implementation of project.

Approach / strategy must be able to be adapted / customized by countries.

Consider appointing a PANASCO 7 follow up Coordinator.

Report to PANASCO 8 meeting on progress.

EVALUATION ON PANASCO - 7 1. The accommodation would have been arranged in one single hotel instead of three hotels to avoid wastage of transport, time and money. 2. Deligates who stayed in different hotels had a problem of breakfast served. 3. Continental dishes should have been arranged instead of common menu. 4. We failed in organizing an information HUB though we planned it well in advance. 5. Too many speeches should have been restricted to focus more time on group discussions. 6. Lunch break should have been a little longer to include a nap for one hour after lunch as many of the participants reported. 7. Time should have been allotted to each Nation to perform their traditional entertainment events. 8. There was loss of time for the transportation to attend the Masses. This should have been avoided by arranging Masses in the nearest churches / meeting place. Long distance Churches should be preferred only on the opening day and closing day. 9. At least half a day should have been allotted for site seeing. 10. Time should have been given separately for shopping. 11. The number of the participants should have been restricted by the host country. 12. The meetings should stick on to the fixed scheduled. 90

PROPOSING THANKS by Bro. Dominic pinto, Convener, PANASCO-7. Dear Bro. Brian O’Reilly, Bro. Syd Tutton, Bro. V.M.J. Balaswamy and my dear fellow vincentians. It is my privilege to present thanks on behalf of the National Council of India. I would like to begin by thanking the Hon. Chief Minister of Goa Shri. Digambar Kamat for taking the time off to grace the inaugural function of PANASCO-7. His presence and all the publicity received in the newspapers and the television channels has put the spotlight on SSVP and its works. We thank the Bishops, His Lordship Bishop Agnelo Gracias, Bishop Peter Machado, Bishop Raul Gonsalves, Bishop Allwyn Barreto and Archbishop Felipe Neri Ferrao for their appreciative and encouraging homilies which makes the task of us Vincentians a little more easier in our struggle to help the poor. We thank all the Priests who concelebrated Masses on all five days. It was indeed very proud moments to see Priests from different countries walking to the altar with Christ as the Leader thank you once again. We thank Bro. Jose Ramon Diaz-Torremocha, the International President General who took time to attend Panasco-7 unfortunately due to ill health he had to return. I request vincentians to please pray for his speedy recovery. Our thanks goes out to Bro. Brian O’Reilly from Ireland, the Vice-President General for being a part of Panasco-7. He has been instrumental in motivating his territorial team in planning and implementation of Panasco-7 and also for summing up the outcomes. We thank the six speakers Rev. Sr. Catherine of Vietnam who spoke on Twinning-A path towards self reliance, Dr. John Falzon of Australia who dealt on Social Responsibility-Partnership to prayers, Rev. Fr. Desmond de Souza spoke on New Poor- A trio of challenges (Education, Alienation and Homlessness), Rev. Fr. Francis Puthenthayil C.M. who spoke on Spirituality-A Force from within, Mr. T. Joseph Pandian, former National President of India who spoke on ‘Youth and Experience’- A Positive and coming together (1+1=3) and Ms. Danusia Kaska Vice-President of National Council of Australia who presented HIV-AIDS session of Social Responsibility. We thank you all for speaking so effectively on subjects ranging from personal challenges, growth and awareness of changing world situations. You’ll have aroused our thinking and I am sure each one of us will go back with a vision of new challenges to be met. In other words “you have raised the bar to a higher level” for us Vincentians. Thank you for bringing us Vincentains down to earth and putting the SVP mission and challenges back in focus. We thank Bro. Syd, Bro. Brain O’Reilly, Sr. Nirmala Costa Frias, Bro. Xavier James Raj, Bro. Joseph Soares and Bro. Randolph Rodricks for moderating the sessions during these 5 days. We thank Bro. John Lee, Territorial Vice-President, under whose guidance this Panasco-7 was implemented and the 4 Co-ordinators Bro. Joseph Pandian, Bro. Thomas Tan, Bro. Maurice Yeung, Bro. Kevin Tansley for their support and encouragement received. We thank Rev. Fr. Merugumala Chinnappa. His spiritual advice and guidance has been food for the soul and helped steer us on our vincentian way. We have with us the National Council Presidents/Representative of 21 Countries. We also have the Presidents of 76 Central Councils of India attending Panasco-7. Thank you for all your support and Co-operation extended. 91

We thank all the Sterring Committee members who have been working for the past 11/2 year to get Panasco7 going, under the able leadership of our National President Bro. V.M.J. Balaswamy. We would like to thank the Central Council of Goa for all that they have done for Panasco-7, Mr. Elinio Colaco, Head of Sub committees has been instrumental in getting things going “easily” in organising Panasco-7. Dr. Mario Godinho has helped in getting delegates who were ill and sick back on their feet. Sr. Nirmala, Bro. Joe Dias, Bro. Jose Maria Miranda, Bro. Agnelo, Bro. jacinto and many other have been our worthy foot soldiers. Bro. Ashley helped in arranging Police and Security at various locations. We thank you all. We have celebrated Holy Eucharist for 4 days at Holy Spirit Church Margao and today we will be going to Bom Jesus Cathedral. We thank the Parish Priests for all support given to us. All the art work you see here, the layouts were designed by Mr. Malcolm Fonseca, a Graphic and Art Director in Mumbai. He did this at no cost to SVP. Thank you Malcolm. We appreciate your gesture. Sr. Cheryl Colaco and Bro. John D’Cruz. We thank you for the superb and efficient compering for all our events. We thank the Management of all the 5 hotels where the delegates are staying for their Co-operation. We thank Lorenzo Studio – photographer and videographer for covering the 5 day event. We thank the youth of SSVP Goa. When I see youth involved in SSVP work, personally, it gives me great joy, seeing so many youth involved in making this function a success, is really amazing. Thank you youth of Goa and all the other youth present here. I am sure St. Vincent & Blessed Frederic Ozanam must be saying up there “These SSVP youth really rock” to which Blessed Frederic will reply “Isn’t it great they find Charity really cool and the in thing today” We thank all the delegates present here. Many have taken leave from work and studies to attend, because as one youth said yesterday “it ranks high on my priority list” your vincentian sharing and experiences has given us new insights of how you work with the poor and new poor. This will go along way in motivating and encouraging us in our interactions with the poor. Thank you delegates St. Vincent will be proud to you. I have come to the end of my vote of thanks but I have reserved the best for the last or the last for the best. Remember Christ too served the best wine last. The National Council of Australia has been instrumental in more than one way in making Panasco-7 possible and successful in Goa. Members of the National Council of Australia have been working with National Council of India for the past two years. They have made trips to India and deliberated with us during the planning sessions. They have been a major source of encouragement, support-including financial support. They have shared with us their experiences and the National Council of India is grateful to them. I thank Bro. Syd Tutton, Bro. John D’Souza & Bro. John Campbell needs a special applause. Bro. Syd: on behalf of everyone present here in general and the national Council of India in particular, we say a big thank you and your team. This Panasco - 7 has been a very enriching experience and the take aways from the sessions is phenomenal. We would like to express a lot but we can only : Thank you and God bless and we do hope you understand what we mean to say. 92

Panasco VII  


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