February 7, 2016
Blessed Rosalie Rendu
To the Presidents, Advisors and Members of
the National Councils of the VMY
Our theme for this year is the following: Let us open our heart to mercy! With these words we enter into harmony with the jubilee Year of Mercy that was promulgated by Pope Francis and which began on December 8th, 2015. This represents a twofold commitment for us, as members of the Church and as members of the Vincentian Family. We are called to be merciful as our Father in heaven is merciful. Therefore, to open our hearts to the work of mercy means that we reaffirm our commitment as sons and daughters of the merciful Father.
The new International Council of the VMY met together during the days of January 7-10. At that time we reflected on themes of particular interest to members of our Association. I highlight below some of the more significant decisions.
Five Year Plan
Guided by the Final Document that was developed during the IV General Assembly (2015 – Salamanca) the International Council of the VMY developed a plan that outlines the path that Association will travel along during the next five years. The following areas of our life together were taken into consideration as we developed this plan: spiritual life, formation, the apostolate, the Vincentian Family, financial matters, lifestyle.
The International Team offers suggestions that it hopes will be further developed and adapted to you situation. We ask the members of the National Councils to carefully read this plan and to then direct its efforts toward the fulfillment of these common objectives. (http://www.secretariadojmv.org/en/about-us/five-year-plan-of-vmy-international)
Spiritual Retreat (Lent 2016)
The Pope has requested the members of the Church to reflect on the meaning of the corporal and spiritual works of mercy (Misericordiae Vultus, #15). In light of this request the Pontifical Council, “Cor Unum”, asks the members of the Church to make a one-day retreat during the season of Lent and to reflect on the words: the charity of Christ urges us! The material for this retreat (which is specifically addressed to members of charitable organizations) will be published on the Vatican website and we will also publish that same information on our website. We trust that every group will respond to this call of the Church.
Vincentian Youth Gathering and World Youth Day
From July 23-27, 2016 the Vincentian Youth Encounter will take place in Krakow-Piekary. This event provides the various youth movements of the Vincentian Family with an opportunity to come together for a time of celebration and a time of formation. After this event and continuing to July 31st, we will join with young people from every part of the world and will celebrate World Youth Day. We encourage all the young men and women from our branch of the Vincentian Family (those who have registered for this event) to participate in an active manner in these two celebrations … events that will enable all of us to grow as Christians and that will join us together with other members of the Church and of the Vincentian Family.
Year of Vincentian Collaboration
In May 2016, more specifically on the feast of Pentecost, the Year of Vincentian Collaboration will come to a close. Nevertheless, we must maintain our enthusiasm in this area and continue to seek for new ways to collaborate with the other branches of the Vincentian Family. As members of the VMY we must remain open to the various proposals for collaboration … proposals made by distinct branches. Let us continue to work together in order to accomplish the shared mission of the Vincentian Family. The Year of Collaboration will come to a conclusion, but we understand that true collaboration has just begun.
Despite the great effort of many countries and despite all the money that was deposited in our account during the time of the Self-Financing Campaign, our Association has not yet achieved its objective of financial autonomy. Therefore, the International Council will propose distinct manners of raising funds in order to achieve this goal … at the same time we express our support to the struggle of the local groups who also want to attain financial autonomy.
Formation and Accompaniment
Taking advantage of this Year of Collaboration and our participation in the Vincentian Family, the VMY requests the distinct branches and members of the Vincentian Family to draw closer to us and to make us participants in your activities. We believe that the International Vincentian Family has a vital role to play in the on-going formation of the VMY.
We also want to express our sincere gratitude to the distinct lay and religious advisors who are very significant members of our family … you have helped us to evangelize which in turn has enabled us to be evangelized. We believe that the ministry of the advisor is a priority in the life of the VMY and we will make every effort to provide you with the material and documents that you need to continue your ministry.
We remind the members of the National Councils to share with us (on our web page) your various formation initiatives. The internet is a very useful tool that joins us together as members of an international organization. If you wish to share any material, you can do so through the volunteer assigned to your language group or directly through the link (share) that appears on our web page. (http://www.secretariadojmv.org/en/formation/share-2)
The International Team
The new and recently formed International Team is committed to this new mission and relies on your prayers in order to develop and fulfill its responsibilities. This team is at your disposition and each member of the team wants to communicate with you through email (either the International Council or the volunteers assigned to your language group).
We thank you in advance for Reading this document and for following up on the matters outlined in this letter. We believe that as we walk with Jesus and Mary and Vincent, we will make great strides and will also be able to open our hearts to mercy.
To Jesus with Mary
Yancarlos de Jesús Carrasco de los Santos
International President of the VMY