July 18, 2016
Dear Friends of the VMY,
Let us open our hearts to Mercy!
Today, on July 18th, with our hearts open to mercy, we recall the day on which our Blessed Mother appeared to Saint Catherine Laboure for the first time and entrusted to her the mission of establishing an Association whose members would place themselves at the service of the Kingdom of God.
Each day we give new life and meaning to the Blessed Mother’s request because in reality each member of the Association is the result of that expressed request … a request that Catherine, in silence, made possible. Today, our Association is grateful to our Mother for this gift that we have received from her hands, a gift that has been given to us in the form of grace. This concept of “giving new life and meaning” means that all of us work together with our hearts open to mercy. Furthermore, it means that, like Mary, our hearts are filled with joy and we are willing to reach out to our sisters and brothers in order to serve them.
Beginning today, the feast of the first apparition, and continuing until November when we will celebrate the second apparition, the International Secretariat will gather together audio tapes and video tapes from each council, group, community etc., as they lift up their voices and greet our Blessed Mother praying the Hail, Mary! This action will unite us together in a “virtual manner” as we pray the rosary in distinct languages.
At the beginning of this month the Vincentian priests and brothers gathered together in their XLII General Assembly, during which time they elected Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM, superior general, the twenty-fifth successor of Saint Vincent de Paul and the Director General of our Association. Let us accompany Father with our prayer and let us ask our Blessed Mother to guide his steps as he engages in this new ministry. At the same time we are grateful for the twelve years of service of Father Gregory Gay, CM as he ministered on behalf of the Vincentian Family and accompanied, in an unconditional manner, the VMY.
As young Marian Vincentians we are called to live in the midst of the present day reality and to be a bridge of God’s mercy to other people, especially those who need Mary’s assistance. At this time when we celebrate the 400th anniversary of the establishment of our charism, I encourage each and every member of the VMY to give life to that charism … and to do that by extending a welcome “the strangers” in your midst. Our charism is most relevant and today more than ever before there is an urgency for us to make that charism come alive in the midst of our society.
In 2017 our theme will be, Let us give life to the Vincentian charism! Those words commit us to engage in activities that make our charism come alive … the charism that has been passed on to us from Saint Vincent de Paul. As members of this Association we engage in the apostolate and we proclaim the gospel with our eyes focused on Jesus who calls us to go out to the less fortunate members of society.
The joy of the gospel is our mission. Just as the Church was born from Jesus’ side in order to go forth and make disciples of all people, so all the VMY was born from Mary’s womb in order to evangelize in accord with its charism, spirituality and unique style. We are convinced that all of us are called to take part in this new missionary “going forth” (Evangelii Gaudium, #20).
We are members of an Association that participates in the life and the activities of the universal church … a church that is committed to “going forth” and to proclaiming the gospel by word and by action and by living the gospel in a joyful manner. Let us open our hearts to mercy and thus, let us give life to our charism. That is our calling and that is also what the world asks of us.
Happy 186th anniversary!!!
To Jesus with Mary,
Yancarlos de Jesús Carrasco de los Santos
International President of the VMY