Last week, a delegation of Vincentians met with other Catholics from across the country for the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry’s (NCCHM) in Washington DC for the 6th National Catholic Congress Raíces y Alas. This year’s theme, Prophetic Voices: Being Bridges for a New Era, focused on pastoral responses and initiatives to the ministerial priorities of family, Hispanic youth, social justice, and pastoral formation.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was a proud sponsor of the event, the first time the NCCHM had gathered in person in two years. With about 400 Catholics in attendance, the event was so highly anticipated that registration had to close early, and not all those interested in attending could be accommodated. The National Council blessed to send a delegation of 11 Vincentians, plus CEO Dave Barringer, to represent the Society and also grow and learn at the event.
Their time in Washington DC was busy, including joining with other Catholics from their home states for a day of advocacy visiting lawmakers at the Capitol.
Vincentians were present for a special Mass at the National Basilica, where they were able to visit the Frédéric Ozanam mosaic. Vincentian Rosie Silva exclaimed, “Mass at the Basilica was magnificent! The procession of all religious leaders joining us was humbling to witness.”
There was also time for sharing with other attendees about the Society’s essential elements of spirituality, friendship, and service. National Secretary Guadalupe Sosa shared remarks about the Society in a special address. “As I talked to participants at Raices y Alas, many of them knew about our Society and commented on the great work we do in our communities. When speaking to Raices’s participants and when I speak to others around the country, there is no doubt our Society is highly regarded and respected,” she noted.
Our delegates were also able to explore our nation’s capital, and brought Frédéric Ozanam with them for the journey!
Says Pam Matambanadzo, Chair of the National Multicultural & Diversity Committee, “The whole congress was extremely energizing — I generally do not get the opportunity to meet and interact with young Vincentians as much as I did at Raices y Alas. It was extremely rewarding. My greatest takeaway from the congress was that we need to do better at listening to another, especially the younger generation. We should not be afraid that they will replace us, but rather create a space where we can learn from each other: Raices y Alas — we are the roots and they are our wings.”
Thank you to our delegates for their wonderful work as representatives of the Society, and for sharing your experiences and blessings with the rest of our Vincentian family!