This past weekend, I was in New Jersey to attend the Sunday Night NY Jets game at the Meadowlands (sometime in the past I must have done something really bad to have been burdened with the unique torture of being a committed NY Jets football fan). While there I attended Mass at St. Joseph’s Parish is East Rutherford, NJ. Waiting for Mass to begin, I was looking over the parish bulletin.
I was struck by their Mission Statement, prominently displayed on the cover page. It read: “A community of communities where each person can encounter Christ and lead others to him. Our vision is what you do for the least one, you do for Me.” What a beautiful expression of faith, friendship, and service.
It certainly occurred to me that it was a statement that could apply to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. We are truly a community of communities; diverse in our backgrounds, cultures, ethnicities, ages, genders, and races, yet united in our faith and our commitment to serve the least of our brothers and sisters in Christ. We lead people to Christ not by our words, but by our actions. To paraphrase St. Francis, we “Preach the Gospel at all times through our service, and when necessary, we use words.”
I am truly honored and blessed to be able to serve you over the next six years as your National President. It is my hope and my prayer that I will have the opportunity to meet you all in visits to you or at National and Regional meetings. I want and need to hear from you about what you think and what you need from me, our new Board of Directors, and our tremendous National staff to support your efforts to live out our three essential elements of spirituality, service, and friendship.
To that end, and as I discussed in my inaugural remarks at the National Assembly in September (you can view the video here), I am asking us, as a Society, to embark on a two-year period of conversation, discernment, and prayer to look at our future and adapt to the changing world we are in. Our Rule calls us to periodically do just that. We will model our discussion on a synodality process. Synodality is a Greek word that comes from ‘journey’ and ‘together.’ We will journey together is a conversation and discernment that will guide us as we build a bridge to the future so that our community of communities can and will continue to encounter Christ through our service and help lead others to him through our example.
You will hear a lot more about this exciting journey in the months to come.
Peace and God bless,