VMY members of the United States of America have participated in various activities this past year. From raising funds as well as collecting food and clothing for the needy, leading masses and prayer services, praying a decade of the rosary with their school, attending the Right For Life Day, to cooking and serving the poor are only a few ways the members have put their faith into action. This past spring, eighty VMY members and leaders attended the VMY Rally. With games, ice-breakers, time for reflection, a skit on the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Catherine, to meeting other VMY members from other schools, it was a very fruitful event. In addition, from July 13-17, thirty-five adult and youth leaders across the United States attended the first Vincentian Youth Leadership Program. They delved into Vincentian spirituality, prayer, service, community, apostolic reflection and ultimately, how they can Lead Like Vincent, the theme of the program. Youth leaders will implement a specific service or formation activity during the 2016-2017 year with the mentoring and support of the adult leader. The Youth Leaders left with enthusiasm and the Vincentian spirit!
The following are activities the Groups in the United States have done:
VMY members from Mother Seton School visited residents at Saint Catherine Nursing Center and assisted in sorting items for the thrift shop at Seton Center. They helped organize the food pantry, and collected items from patrons at Thurmont Food Pantry. In addition, members learned about the Founders and the vocation of a Daughter of Charity at their monthly meetings.
The VMY members at St. Anthony’s Parish in Anchorage Alaska, put together packets of ingredients for bean soup to raise money for Beans Café, a local meals kitchen that serves the homeless and hungry. They also participated in a weekend retreat that focused on gathering funds to help complete Thanksgiving Blessing Baskets. Members also partook in a 24-hour food fast to raise funds for the CRS Rice Bowl, that serves the poor around the world. Lastly, they made dinner for those living in Clare House (an emergency shelter for women and children.
The VMY members, as well as teens and young adults in the community, participated in their yearly mission trip, Operation Overhaul. In addition to serving the needy, it was an almost week-long opportunity to pray, reflect, and build their faith in small and large groups. Members participated in the Faith Float retreat, attended their monthly mass, and served the poor at the Gieson Family Christmas Dinner. Sr. Lisa Laguna DC, the National Sister Advisor, also presented the Miraculous Medal to the group during their Operation Overhaul reunion.
Members at St. Vincent de Paul in Phoenix, Arizona participated in morning masses with breakfast fellowships. They are a formation-based group with the focus on the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Vincentian Founders and their role as Vincentians. The VMY members took an active role for their May Crowning.
The schools in California participated in Founders Festival to honor our founders, St. Vincent de Paul, St. Louise de Marillac, and St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, as well as to celebrate being Vincentians. Two neighboring Daughter of Charity schools joined together for this one-day event and celebrated through prayer, service, and fellowship. Some service activities included: making sandwiches for the homeless, care packages for soldiers, blessing bags for homeless, and collecting books for the Children's Hospital. VMY Members partook in the choir and the mass.
The four Los Angeles, VMY groups: Mother of Sorrows School, St. Vincent School and Parish, and Our Lady of Talpa School had many formation and service activities this past year. The following are various activities the group(s) had done: led school masses and prayer services; participated in retreats throughout the year; prayed a decade of the Rosary before school ends everyday; fundraised money for St. Vincent Meals on Wheels or Teleton USA; collected money, food, toiletries and socks for the homeless/families in need; attended a pro-life walk in downtown LA; created an altar for the Dia de Los Muertos; volunteered at St. Francis Center and fed the poor on Skid Row. The members at St. Vincent School and Parish also contributed with their namesake Feast Day by providing information of VMY, face painting and games, as well as participated greatly in Las Posadas.
The Los Angeles VMY groups participated in the 2016 VMY Rally, a day of fellowship, formation and most of all fun. The eighty members and leaders enjoyed a skit of the apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to St. Catherine Laboure, as well as had an opportunity to break out in small and large groups to discuss their role as Vincentians. From playing a game about the Vincentian Family to making their Promises, it was a very fruitful event.
The two schools in Northern California, St. Patrick School and Our Lady of the Visitacion had many formation and service activities this past year. The following are various activities the group(s) had done: planned masses for feast days, prepared Miraculous Medals for the students; helped out for Founders’ Day activities; made Easter baskets for children whose parents were suffering with life-threatening diseases; made blessing bags for the homeless; learned about the Year of Mercy; visited the Catholic Worker; attended the Right for Life Day; performed skits about the Corporal Works of Mercy; learned about Pope Francis and listened to Sr. Lisa and Sr. Christena’s experience when the Pope visited Philadelphia.
The Vincentian Youth Leadership Program occurred in Montebello, California at the DePaul Evangelical Center from July 13-17. A total of 35 Adult and Youth Leaders from across the United Stated attended this program to deepen the formation on Vincentian spirituality, prayer, service, community and apostolic reflection. Youth leaders are expected to share their knowledge gained with their peers following the completion of the program, as well as, implement a specific service or formation activity during the 2016-2017 year with the mentoring and support of the adult leader. The Youth Leaders left with enthusiasm to be Vincentian Leaders!