The following is a shortened version of the letter from Rev. Tomaž Mavrič, CM, Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission and leader of our Vincentian Family. Links to the compete letter in multiple languages are found later in this edition of the E-Gazette.
To the members of the Vincentian Family throughout the world:
Dear sisters and brothers,
May the grace and peace of Jesus be always with us!
We are fast-approaching the Feast of Saint Vincent that officially falls on 27 September, but, given the reality of a country, the celebration may be held on some other day to allow the greatest number of persons to attend.
We are seeing the return to in-person gatherings, which bring us joy and encouragement, since we are able again to witness as family, as persons of faith, participating in the Eucharist and other celebrations that a year ago were still hampered by the pandemic. This is an additional reason for us to put all our efforts and talents into making this observance of the feast of Saint Vincent de Paul a memorable one after these past few years of very limited gatherings or their prohibition.
In fact, the whole month of September is called a Vincentian month. Depending on the structure and program of the Vincentian Family in a given country, different events, gatherings, and initiatives may be offered throughout the month. These might include days of recollection for youth who are discerning a vocation to the consecrated life, as well as formation and charity initiatives to deepen our Vincentian spirituality and charism. We also invite others, who may not know Saint Vincent de Paul and the other Saints, Blessed, and Servants of God of the Vincentian Family, to get to know our Vincentian spirituality and charism through our words and deeds.
The title of this year’s letter for the Feast of Saint Vincent de Paul is, “From a Vincentian Family Structure toward a Vincentian Family Movement” and “Vincentian Centers of Spirituality and Formation around the world.”
Not so long ago, the international leaders of the different Vincentian Congregations of Consecrated Life and Lay Associations began to gather every year to build closer relationships and collaboration, as belonging to the same spiritual and charismatic group, even though each one retained its own specificity and uniqueness. This group began to be called “the Vincentian Family” and was symbolized by a tree with many branches. The central part of the tree with is roots is our common Vincentian spirituality and charism, and each branch represents an individual Congregation or Association. That is why we often use the word branches, having in mind the beautiful symbol of a tree.
The structured groups of Women’s and Men’s Congregations, and Lay Associations presently number 165. In addition, many other people, attracted and inspired by the person of Saint Vincent de Paul and the other Saints, Blesseds, and Servants of God of the Vincentian Family, do not belong officially to any of its branches. They are drawn to the Vincentian spirituality and charism through books, articles, the internet, radio, television, and social media. They would like to further their knowledge of the Vincentian way of thinking, speaking, and living, thus becoming active participants in the spirit of Saint Vincent de Paul, having the right to be called “Vincentians.” Already, a large number of persons who do not belong specifically to any group, because of their way of living out their lives, serving, thinking, speaking, and acting, embody the Vincentian spirit and charism. Here I see the further development of the Vincentian Family and this wonderful Vincentian Tree into what is becoming a so-called “Vincentian Family Movement.”
I would like to encourage all the international, national, and regional leaders of the structured branches of this beautiful tree called the Vincentian Family to invite as many members as possible of the Confraternities and the collaborators who do not belong to any specific group to participate in the different events that will be organized in the various countries throughout the month of September.
May Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Saint Vincent de Paul and all the Saints, Blesseds, and Servants of God of the Vincentian Family, intercede before Jesus for us all!
Your brother in Saint Vincent,
Tomaž Mavrič, CM
Please send us pictures and videos of the various celebrations you organized throughout the Vincentian month of September, or short articles about them, to these two email addresses, and we will try to share the information through different means of communication.
Javier Fernández Chento: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hugo Marcelo Vera, CM: email@example.com