La Asociación Internacional de Juventudes Marianas Vicencianas es la renovación de la Asociación de Hijas e Hijos de María Inmaculada que tuvo su origen en las Apariciones de la Virgen María a Santa Catalina Labouré en 1830. En la actualidad la forman 66 países y más de 100.000 miembros repartidos por los cinco continentes.
The International Council of the Vincentian Marian Youth (VMY) will hold their annual meeting in Madrid from February 19-22. The following members of the council are convened by the International President, Yancarlos Carrasco:
Fr. Irving Amaro, CM (General Sub-Director)
Sr. Bernardita Garcia Ortín, DC (International Sister Advisor)
Fr. Tomaz Mavric, CM (VMY General Director and General Superior of the Vincentian Family)
The four volunteers of the International Secrertariat ((André Peixoto, Linette Morales, Marie Claire Balo and Yvette Ramanjakatiana) will also be present.
The Council will reflect about the next steps of the Association and after the meeting, the International President will write a letter that will be sent to the different countries and will be published in our different social media accounts.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Resuming the series of catecheses on the Mass, today we ask ourselves: why go to Sunday Mass?
The Sunday celebration of the Eucharist is at the heart of the Church’s life (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2177). We Christians go to Sunday Mass to encounter the Risen Lord, or better still to allow ourselves to be encountered by him, to hear his Word, to nourish ourselves at his table, and thus to become the Church, that is, his mystical living Body in the world.
From the first hour, Jesus’ disciples understood this; they celebrated the Eucharistic encounter with the Lord on the day of the week that the Hebrews called “the first of the week” and the Romans called “day of the sun”, because on that day Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to the disciples, speaking with them, eating with them, giving them the Holy Spirit (cf. Mt 28:1; Mk 16:9, 14; Lk 24:1, 13; Jn 20:1, 19), as we have heard in the Gospel reading. The great outpouring of the Spirit at Pentecost also happened on a Sunday, the 50th day after Jesus’ Resurrection. For these reasons, Sunday is a holy day for us, sanctified by the Eucharistic celebration, the living presence of the Lord among us and for us. Thus, it is the Mass that makes Sunday Christian. The Christian Sunday revolves around the Mass. For a Christian, what is a Sunday in which the encounter with the Lord is lacking?
There are Christian communities which, unfortunately, cannot enjoy Mass every Sunday; they too, however, on this holy day, are called to reflect in prayer in the name of the Lord, listening to the Word of God and keeping alive the desire for the Eucharist.
Some secularized societies have lost the Christian sense of Sunday illuminated by the Eucharist. This is a shame! In these contexts it is necessary to revive this awareness, to recover the meaning of the celebration, the meaning of the joy, of the parish community, of solidarity, of the rest which restores body and soul (cf. ccc, nn. 2177-2178). Of all these values, the Eucharist is our guide, Sunday after Sunday. For this reason the Second Vatican Council wished to emphasize that Sunday “is the original feast day, and it should be proposed to the piety of the faithful and taught to them so that it may become in fact a day of joy and of freedom from work” (Constitution Sacrosanctum Concilium, 106).
The Sunday abstention from work did not exist in the early centuries: it is a specific contribution of Christianity. According to biblical tradition Jews rest on the Sabbath, while in Roman society a day of the week was not provided for abstention from servile labour. It was the Christian awareness of living as children and not as slaves, inspired by the Eucharist, which has made Sunday — almost universally — the day of rest.
Without Christ we are condemned to be dominated by everyday weariness, with its worries, and by fear of the future. The Sunday encounter with the Lord gives us the strength to experience the present with confidence and courage, and to go forth with hope. For this reason we Christians go to encounter the Lord on Sunday, in the Eucharistic celebration.
Eucharistic communion with Jesus, Risen and ever-Living, anticipates the Sunday without sunset, when there will be no more weariness nor pain, nor sorrow nor tears, but only the joy of living fully and forever with the Lord. Sunday Mass also speaks to us of this blessed repose, teaching us to entrust ourselves during the course of the week to the hands of the Father who is in heaven.
How can we respond to those who say that it is of no use going to Mass, even on Sunday, because the important thing is to live well, to love our neighbour? It is true that the quality of Christian life is measured by the capacity to love, as Jesus said: “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:35); but how can we practice the Gospel without drawing the energy necessary to do so, one Sunday after another, from the inexhaustible source of the Eucharist? We do not go to Mass in order to give something to God, but to receive what we truly need from him. We are reminded of this by the Church’s prayer, which is addressed to God in this way: “although you have no need of our praise, yet our thanksgiving is itself your gift, since our praises add nothing to your greatness but profit us for salvation” (Roman Missal, Common Preface iv).
In conclusion, why do we go to Mass on Sundays? It is not enough to respond that it is a precept of the Church; this helps to preserve its value, but alone does not suffice. We Christians need to participate in Sunday Mass because only with Jesus’ grace, with his living presence within us and among us, can we put his commandment into practice, and thus be his credible witnesses.
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Continuing with the catecheses on the Mass, we can ask ourselves: what essentially is the Mass? The Mass is the memorial of Christ’s Passover. It makes us participants in his victory over sin and death, and gives full meaning to our life.
For this reason, to understand the value of the Mass, we must first understand the biblical significance of “memorial”. It is “not merely the recollection of past events but makes them in a certain way present and real. This is how Israel understands its liberation from Egypt: every time Passover is celebrated, the Exodus events are made present to the memory of believers so that they may conform their lives to them” (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, 1363). Jesus Christ, with his passion, death, resurrection and ascension into heaven brought the Passover to fulfillment. And the Mass is the memorial of his Passover, of his “exodus”, which he carried out for us, so as to lead us out of slavery and introduce us to the promised land of eternal life. It is not merely a remembrance, no. It is more: it is making present what happened 20 centuries ago.
The Eucharist always leads us to the pinnacle of the salvific action of God: the Lord Jesus, making himself Bread broken for us, pours out upon us his mercy and his love, as he did on the Cross, thus renewing our hearts, our existence and our way of relating to him and to our brothers and sisters. The Second Vatican Council said: “As often as the sacrifice of the cross[,] in which Christ our Passover was sacrificed, is celebrated on the altar, the work of our redemption is carried on” (Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, 3).
Every celebration of the Eucharist is a ray of that never setting sun that is the Risen Jesus. Taking part in the Mass, particularly on Sunday, means entering the victory of the Risen One, being illuminated by his light, warmed by his compassion. Through the Eucharistic celebration the Holy Spirit makes us participants in the divine life that is able to transfigure our whole mortal being. In his passage from death to life, from time to eternity, the Lord Jesus also draws us with him to experience the Passover. In the Mass we celebrate Passover. We, during Mass, are with Jesus, who died and is Risen, and he draws us forth to eternal life. In the Mass we unite with him. Rather, Christ lives in us and we live in him: “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ”, Saint Paul states, “who lives in me; and the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20). This is what Paul thought.
Indeed, his Blood frees us from death and from the fear of death. It frees us not only from the dominion of physical death, but from the spiritual death which is evil, sin, which catches us each time we fall victim to our own sin or that of others. Thus our life becomes polluted; it loses beauty; it loses meaning; it withers.
Instead, Christ restores our life; Christ is the fullness of life, and when he faced death he destroyed it forever: “By rising he destroyed death and restored life” (cf. Eucharistic Prayer iv). Christ’s Passover is the definitive victory over death, because he transformed his death in the supreme act of love. He died out of love! And in the Eucharist, he wishes to communicate this, his paschal, victorious love, to us. If we receive him with faith, we too can truly love God and neighbour; we can love as he loved us, by giving our life.
If Christ’s love is within me, I can give myself fully to others, in the interior certainty that even if the other were to wound me I would not die; otherwise I should defend myself. The martyrs gave their own lives in this certainty of Christ’s victory over death. Only if we experience this power of Christ, the power of his love, are we truly free to give ourselves without fear. This is the Mass: to enter this passion, death, resurrection, ascension of Jesus; when we go to Mass it is as if were going to Calvary itself. But consider: whether at the moment of Mass we go to Calvary — let us ponder this with the imagination — and we know that that man there is Jesus. But will we allow ourselves to chat, to take photographs, to put on a little show? No! Because it is Jesus! We certainly pause in silence, in sorrow and also in the joy of being saved. As we enter the church to celebrate Mass, let us think about this: I am going to Calvary, where Jesus gave his life for me. In this way the spectacle disappears; the small talk disappears; the comments and these things that distance us from something so beautiful as the Mass, Jesus’ triumph.
I think that it is clearer now how the Passover is made present and active each time we celebrate the Mass, which is the meaning of memorial. Taking part in the Eucharist enables us to enter the Paschal Mystery of Christ, giving ourselves to pass over with him from death to life, meaning there, on Calvary. The Mass is experiencing Calvary; it is not a spectacle.
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
We are continuing with the catecheses on the Holy Mass. To illustrate the beauty of the Eucharistic celebration, I would like to begin with a very simple aspect: Mass is prayer; rather, it is prayer par excellence, the loftiest, the most sublime, and at the same time the most “concrete”. In fact it is the loving encounter with God through his Word and the Body and Blood of Jesus. It is an encounter with the Lord.
But first we must answer a question. What truly is prayer? It is first of all a dialogue, a personal relationship with God. Man was created as a being in a personal relationship with God who finds his complete fulfillment only in the encounter with his Creator. The path of life leads toward the definitive encounter with the Lord.
The Book of Genesis states that man was created in the image and likeness of God, who is the Father and Son and Holy Spirit, a perfect relationship of love which is unity. From this we can understand that we were all created in order to enter a perfect relationship of love, in the continuous giving and receiving of ourselves so as to be able to find the fulfillment of our being.
When Moses, before the burning bush, receives God’s call, he asks Him His name. And how does God respond? “I am who I am” (Ex 3:14). This expression, in its original sense, expresses presence and favour, and indeed, immediately afterwards God adds: “the Lord, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, of Isaac, and of Jacob” (cf. v. 15). Thus, when Christ calls his disciples, he, too, calls them so that they may be with Him. This indeed is the greatest grace: being able to feel that the Mass, the Eucharist, is the privileged moment to be with Jesus and, through him, with God and with brothers and sisters.
Praying, as every true dialogue, is also knowing how to be in silence — in dialogues there are moments of silence — in silence together with Jesus. When we go to Mass, perhaps we arrive five minutes early and begin to chat with the person next to us. But this is not the moment for small talk; it is the moment of silence to prepare ourselves for the dialogue. It is the moment for recollection within the heart, to prepare ourselves for the encounter with Jesus. Silence is so important! Remember what I said last week: we are not going to a spectacle, we are going to the encounter with the Lord, and silence prepares us and accompanies us. Pausing in silence with Jesus. From this mysterious silence of God springs his Word which resonates in our heart. Jesus himself teaches us how it is truly possible to “be” with the Father and he shows us this with his prayer. The Gospels show us Jesus who withdraws to secluded places to pray; seeing his intimate relationship with God, the disciples feel the desire to be able to take part in it, and they ask him: “Lord, teach us to pray” (Lk 11:1). We heard it in the First Reading, at the beginning of the Audience. Jesus responds that the first thing necessary for prayer is being able to say “Father”. Let us take heed: if I am not able to say “Father” to God, I am not capable of prayer. We must learn to say “Father”, that is, to place ourselves in his presence with filial trust. But to be able to learn, we must humbly recognize that we need to be taught, and to say with simplicity: ‘Lord, teach me to pray’.
This is the first point: to be humble, to recognize ourselves as children, to rest in the Father, to trust in him. To enter the Kingdom of Heaven, it is necessary to become little, like children. In the sense that children know how to trust; they know that someone will take care of them, of what they will eat, of what they will wear and so on (cf. Mt 6:25-32). This is the first perspective: trust and confidence, as a child toward his parents; to know that God remembers you, takes care of you, of you, of me, of everyone.
The second condition, too, is being precisely like children; it is to let ourselves be surprised. A child always asks thousands of questions because he wants to discover the world; and he even marvels at little things because everything is new to him. To enter the Kingdom of Heaven we must let ourselves be astonished. In our relationship with the Lord, in prayer — I ask — do we let ourselves be astonished or do we think that prayer is speaking with God as parrots do? No, it is trusting and opening the heart so as to let ourselves be astonished. Do we allow ourselves to be surprised by God who is always the God of surprises? Because the encounter with the Lord is always a living encounter; it is not a museum encounter. It is a living encounter, and we go to Mass, not to a museum. We go to a living encounter with the Lord.
The Gospel speaks of a certain Nicodemus (Jn 3:1-21), an elderly man, an authority in Israel, who goes to Jesus to get to know him; and the Lord speaks to him of the need to “be born anew” (cf. v. 3). But what does it mean? Can one be “reborn”? Is it possible to return to having the zest, the joy, the wonder of life, even in the face of so much tragedy? This is a fundamental question of our faith, and this is the longing of every true believer: the longing to be reborn, the joy of beginning anew. Do we have this longing? Does each of us have the wish to be born ever anew in order to meet the Lord? Do you have this wish? Indeed, one can easily lose it because, due to so many activities, so many projects to implement, in the end we are short of time and we lose sight of what is fundamental: the inner life of the heart, our spiritual life, our life which is the encounter with the Lord in prayer.
In truth, the Lord surprises us by showing us that he loves us even in our weaknesses. “Jesus Christ ... is the expiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world” (1 Jn 2:2). This gift, the source of true consolation — but the Lord always forgives us — this consoles; it is a true consolation; it is a gift that we are given through the Eucharist, that wedding feast at which the Bridegroom encounters our frailty. Can I say that when I receive communion during Mass, the Lord encounters my frailty? Yes! We can say so because this is true! The Lord encounters our frailty so as to lead us back to our first call: that of being in the image and likeness of God. This is the environment of the Eucharist. This is prayer.
The newly formed Vincentian Marian Youth group in Fiji Islands held their first General Assembly last January 28, 2018. Attended by 39 members and headed by the youth chaplain of the parish, Fr. Jeffrey Richard Werner who is also accompanying them as Advisor, they held their election to choose the leaders of the group in their country for the next three years.
The newly elected officers are the following:
President - Regilyn Koi
Vice President - Nemia Drauna Junior
Secretary - Mariana Waqanibau
Assistant - Taylor Reapi Korobiau
Treasurer - Beniamino Naiveli
Assistant - Ratuyalewah Kayh
Evangelization - Leo Tawake
Assistant - Kelepi Maseikula
Liturgy - Joe Bola Kalouivalu
Assistant - Suluo Draunimasi
Social - Netani Marley Senivesi
Assistant - Ratu Peni Tawake
From the four sectors formed, they already started some initiatives like having regular First Friday mass, helping out the parish, visiting the sick, assisting in a primary school, doing charity works, visiting the elders and bible sharing. They have also particpated in the celebration of the 400 anniversary of the Vincentian Charism in their country.
May we include them in our prayers as they continue to develop their group guided by the Holy Spirit, inspired by the life of Mother Mary.
During the month of October, about thirty young people participated in an apostolic experience in La Paz. It was a very dynamic and fruitful experience.
It is a great joy to be part of this wonderful Association because there I have learned to love, to serve and to share my life with my neighbor … I have come to recognize Jesus in the face of those persons who are poor.
On November 12, the members of the Association in Mozambique visited the Dom Orione Center, a place that provides services to children with special needs. These are children, who as a result of different handicaps, were abandoned by their parents and are rejected by society. There are about 40 children who reside there.
We arrived at the center at about 8:00 in the morning and cleaned the dormitories and helped in bathing the children. We then served them breakfast which, because of their physical state, was not and easy task. It was our love that made the task easier and pleasant.
After breakfast we brought the children to a park where we played together. Soon it became obvious that the children were pleased with our presence in their midst. Later we celebrated the Eucharist with them where we shared the word and offered prayers of thanksgiving for all that was being done for these children. Then, we once again had an opportunity to help the children eat their lunch. Yes, it was sad to have to depart, but since they were tired, we led them to their room and then said good bye to them.
(National President of the VMY in Mozambique)
Dear Brothers and Sisters, Good morning!
Today we begin a new series of catecheses, which will direct our gaze toward the “heart” of the Church, namely, the Eucharist. It is fundamental that we Christians clearly understand the value and significance of the Holy Mass, in order to live ever more fully our relationship with God.
We cannot forget the great number of Christians who, throughout the world, in 2,000 years of history, have died defending the Eucharist; and how many, still today, risk their lives in order to participate in Sunday Mass. In the year 304, during the Diocletianic Persecution, a group of Christians from North Africa was surprised as they were celebrating Mass in a house, and were arrested. In the interrogation, the Roman Proconsul asked them why they had done so, knowing that it was absolutely prohibited. They responded: “Without Sunday we cannot live”, which meant: if we cannot celebrate the Eucharist, we cannot live; our Christian life would die.
Indeed, Jesus said to his disciples: “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day” (Jn 6:53-54).
Those Christians from North Africa were killed because they were celebrating the Eucharist. They gave witness that one can renounce earthly life for the Eucharist, because it gives us eternal life, making us participants in Christ’s victory over death. This witness challenges us all and calls for a response as to what it means for each of us to partake in the Sacrifice of Mass and approach the Lord’s Table. Are we searching for that wellspring that “gushes forth living water” for eternal life?; that makes of our life a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving and makes of us one body in Christ? This is the most profound meaning of the Holy Eucharist, which means “thanksgiving”: thanksgiving to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who engages us and transforms us in his communion of love.
In the forthcoming catecheses I would like to answer some important questions about the Eucharist and Mass, in order to rediscover, or discover, how God’s love shines through this mystery of faith.
The Second Vatican Council was deeply inspired by the desire to lead Christians to understand the greatness of faith and the beauty of the encounter with Christ. For this reason it was necessary first of all to implement, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an appropriate renewal of the Liturgy, because the Church continually lives of it and renews herself thanks to it.
A central theme that the Council Fathers emphasized was the liturgical formation of the faithful, indispensable for a true renewal. It is precisely this renewal as well as the purpose of this series of catecheses that we are beginning today: to grow in our understanding of the great gift that God has given us in the Eucharist.
The Eucharist is a wondrous event in which Jesus Christ, our life, makes himself present. Participating in the Mass “is truly living again the redemptive passion and death of Our Lord. It is a visible manifestation: the Lord makes himself present on the altar to be offered to the Father for the salvation of the world” (Homily at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, 10 February 2014). The Lord is there with us, present. So often do we go there, look at things, talk amongst ourselves while the priest is celebrating the Eucharist ... and we do not celebrate close to Him. But it is the Lord! If today the President of the Republic were to come, or some very important world personage, it is certain that we would all be close to him, that we would want to greet him. But think: when you go to Mass, the Lord is there! And you get distracted. It is the Lord! We have to think about this. “Father, it’s that the Masses are dull” — “But what are you saying, that the Lord is dull?” — “No, no. Not the Mass, the priests” — “Ah, may the priests convert, but it is the Lord who is there!” Do you understand? Do not forget it. “Participating in Mass is living again the redemptive passion and death of Our Lord”.
Now let us try asking ourselves a few simple questions. For example, why do we make the sign of the Cross and perform the Penitential Rite at the beginning of Mass? And here I would like to add another side note. Have you seen how children make the sign of the Cross? You do not know what they are doing, whether it is the sign of the Cross or an outline. They do this [gesturing]. Children must be taught how to make the sign of the Cross properly. This is how the Mass begins; this is how life begins; this is how the day begins. This means that we are redeemed by the Lord’s Cross. Watch the children and teach them how to make the sign of the Cross properly. And those Readings, during Mass, why are they there? Why are there three Readings on Sunday and two on the other days? Why are they read? What do the Readings at Mass mean? Why are they read and what is their purpose? Or, why does the priest presiding at the celebration say at a certain point: “Lift up our hearts”? He does not say: “Lift up your cell phones to take a photo!”. No, that’s bad! I tell you, it makes me sad when I am celebrating here in Saint Peter’s Square or in the Basilica to see many cell phones lifted up, not only by the faithful but also by some priests and even bishops! But please! Mass is not a spectacle: it is going to encounter the Passion and Resurrection of the Lord. This is why the priest says: “Lift up our hearts”. What does this mean? Remember: no cell phones.
It is really important to return to the basics, to rediscover what is essential, through what we touch and see in the celebration of the Sacraments. The question of the Apostle Saint Thomas (cf. Jn 20:25), seeking to see and touch the nail wounds in Jesus’ body, and the desire to be able in some way to “touch” God in order to believe in him. What Saint Thomas asks of the Lord is what we all need: to see him, to touch him so that we may be able to know him. The Sacraments meet this human need. The Sacraments, the Eucharistic celebration in a particular way, are signs of God’s love, the privileged ways for us to encounter him.
Thus, through these catecheses that we are beginning today, I would like to rediscover with you the beauty that is hidden in the Eucharistic celebration and that, once revealed, gives full meaning to each person’s life. May Our Lady accompany us on this new stretch of road. Thank you.
In this year, where we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the Vincentian Charism, VMY Burundi is deepening the understand of this celebration in all groups. To close this jubilee, 16 young people of the Association made their promise and four had their Marian Consecration. as members of the VMY.
I hear the word Collaboration quite often these days. I hear it at work, on TV and in service. Collaboration and cooperation are sometimes used interchangeably, yet they represent fundamentally different ways of contribution. To cooperate is to work together to do something that may not necessarily be part of your beliefs. However, collaboration is more about a common goal that is implanted deep inside those who work to achieve it. The branches of the Vincentian Family share the same history, realities as well as aspirations, objectives and goals.
The signs of collaboration appeared very early with the first building blocks of the Vincentian Family. St. Vincent de Paul and St Louise de Marillac embodied this ideology in a friendship that proved to be of great importance for the Church and for the poor. These two exceptional people with their different personalities set a significant example in humility and sacrifice for the sake of a greater good. Vincent was a country boy, a farm boy, who was loved and wanted by his family while Louise was a city girl, illegitimate, lonely, isolated, not wanted and separated from her family. One might think that these two, so very different in backgrounds, experiences, personalities and ways of operating, could never collaborate to achieve a fruitful outcome, but their journey together changed themselves, France, the Church and Religious life. And for 35 years, they journeyed together, learning to know, esteem and respect each other as they worked intensely establishing missions all over France and beyond. Their collaboration resulted in laying the founding of the Daughters of charity and helping millions throughout different ages.
In 2013, the Vincentian Family Collaborative Action Program (VFCAP) initiated a meeting in Paris with representatives from the different branches from 20 countries. Other meetings followed for the speakers of different languages. The meetings were very fruitful and the members who attended them were the seeds of collaboration between the different branches back in their countries. Every member wrote down an action plan that aimed at raising the awareness of the importance of collaboration between the different branches, and how to put these words into action. Later, the VFCAP advisers visited several countries in order to help the newly formed Vincentian family offices to be on the right track. Currently these countries, along with others, have undertaken a lot of successful projects and have identified a lot of “unaffiliated Vincentians” who live with the Vincentian virtues in their daily lives.
As we are getting to the last quarter of the year of Vincentian charism, as VMY members, we are called to reach out to be enriched with others’ experiences and backgrounds. Let us collaborate to build friendships, skills, attitudes and missions. Let us believe in the power of “WE” which is always more powerful than "I". Our resources as a family are so enormous if put in a common goal even if we had different approaches to realize this goal. Let us then not hesitate to be that Church that goes out to the peripheries, that is, a church that is for the poor and with the poor.
“We should assist the poor in every way and do it both by ourselves and by enlisting the help of others”
VMY International Councilor
Deeply moved by a destiny of five boys, this morning we took a trip to Bosansko Grahovo. VMY Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kap ljubavi ( A Drop of Love) decided again to act together, led by a slogan "All for one and one for all!"
Since today is 'The World's Day of the Poor', we really wished to do something nice for the five boys and their father and make their lives at least a little bit better. The boys live with the father who is working hard and doing his best to provide a normal life, and make up for the loss of a mother who left and abandoned them. People who are helping the family, have told us that these are joyful children and that the father takes good care of them, but they also need supporting hands from all of us. The house where they live in needs reconstruction. All of them reside in one room because the rest of the house is unfinished.
They were really happy about the gifts and everything else we brought for them, grateful for every little thing. The youngest boy is a bit over two years old and the oldest goes to highschool.
We do realize that we cannot alleviate poverty but we can reduce it, just like Mother Teresa once said: "All of us cannot do great things in life, but we can do small thing with great love!" Therefore, at the end of this cold day, we have returned to our homes with an incredible warmth in our hearts because we did a small thing with great love.
Attended by more than 60 members together with their parents and friends, VMY Greece celebrated its 8th anniversary last October 29, 2017 at the Miraculous Medal Center - Athens. With the theme, “Today, I’m Gr-EIGHT-ful”, the celebration kicked off with the traditional praying of the Missionary Rosary - a rosary prayer dedicated to the five continents of the world. After the solemn prayer, a photo slideshow of past events and activities of VMY Greece was shown which provided a nostalgic feeling and drew smiles to everyone’s faces. This was then followed by a string of talent performances coming from the members of the five (5) “MERCY” teams encompassing the group: Mission, HopE, FRiendship, Compassion, and JoY teams. Surprisingly, parents of the VMY Greece members did not allow themselves to be outdone by their children, as they also did a musical number bringing a more joyous atmosphere to the celebration. They all sang their hearts out with the “The Jubilee Song” (popularized by Ms. Jamie Rivera). And as the lyrics of the song provides: “Open your hearts to the Lord and begin to see the mystery, that we are all together as one family…” the parents eventually showed how with their openness to the Lord brought together VMY Greece to become ONE big family.
Highlight of the celebration was the recognition given to three members of VMY Greece who have been a part of the group since its humble beginnings. They were awarded with a specially-designed plaque and a custom-made VMY GREECE medal as a sign of gratitude for their 8 years of service to VMY Greece. It was truly a touching moment as the three awardees upon receiving their awards offered an inspiring speech and shared to their fellow VMY members their experiences and motivation of why they are still active with the group. Meanwhile, the rest of the VMY Greece members as well as the parents also received medals in gratitude for their service and commitment to the organization.
The day eventually ended with a lunch buffet prepared by the parents and a group picture-taking.