Dear Vincentian Friends,
Happy New Year! The month of January is named after the Roman god Janus, who is depicted as having two faces; one looks forward and the other backward. This matches what we often do when we transition from one year to the next. What was your Vincentian experience like last year, and what are you looking forward to this year?
As the year ended, news sources were filled with stories looking back at celebrities who had died, the year’s top news stories, the most-popular music and movies, and a host of other categories of happenings to be remembered. Looking back at 2021 as a Vincentian, I find some highlights in an otherwise difficult year.
During 2021 we moved into and dedicated our new National Council office in St. Louis. We had two “Invitation for Renewal” retreats and a very successful National Assembly in Houston. Our Society has also been blessed with hundreds of new servant leaders who stepped into office to lead our Conferences and Councils this October. We were blessed by their being ready to put their talents to the service of our members and the people we serve. I hope your Councils and Conferences were blessed with a few memorable 2021 highlights that have kept you serving in hope.
Certainly, there were many disappointments and losses in 2021. Events were canceled, and friends were missed. You probably experienced the death of family members and friends, including some fine Vincentians, during the past 12 months. The Society lost some beloved pillars this year; among them were Joe Mueller and Paul Collins. Let’s remember them all in prayer and keep moving forward, building on the strength and fortitude that are our Society’s legacy.
The other face of January looks forward. What will we make of this year ahead? Let’s keep hope alive by trusting in the providence of God. As we embrace our strategic plans or form a few goals for ourselves, I ask you to consider:
- How can we help each other be better friends and Vincentians?
- How can we make our organization function better?
- How can our Society better serve Christ in the person of our neighbor?
- How can the people we serve help us to be better followers of Christ?
These are the questions I that I shared in my inaugural speech four years ago. They are still my focus as I look to another year as your servant leader. Together, we can create that better Society of St Vincent de Paul toward which we all aspire.
Serviens in spe,
SVdP National President