April 24, 2017
VMY National Council
“Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it" (Hebrew, 13:2)
With much happiness, we send you our greetings from the VMY International Secretariat in Madrid. We hope that this letter finds you with much enthusiasm, active and full of ideas for the celebration of the 400th year Vincentian Charism in your country.
But what are the Vincentians celebrating for the year 2017? With the theme: "I was a stranger and you invited me in.." (Mt. 25:35), the Vincentian Family all around the world inaugurates a jubilee year, commemorating the birth of the charism of the service to the poor, in its fourth century.
Let us recall a little.. The year 1617 is decisive in the vocation of Saint Vincent de Paul for two events. First on January 25, the Feast of the Conversion of Saint Paul. Saint Vincent preached the "First Sermon of the Mission" en Folleville (France) and in Chatillon, he found himself with poverty and misery that transformed his life. These events marked the origin of the Vincentian Charism. For 400 years, the followers of Saint Vincent, members of the Vincentian Family, have dedicated themselves to serving the less fortunate of the society.
With this objective, the VMY Director General, Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM, tells us "The 400th anniversary of the charism offers as a unique opportunity to celebrate our Vincentian heritage, to thank for all that has been done and to elaborate ideas and plans for the future. It is very important to consider our demographic evolution and the social contexts, the pressing need of the poor and our capacity to respond better to these as one family" (March 8, 2017. Letter of the Father General to the members of the Vincentian Family). As Vincentians, we encourage you to participate in these events:
1. The Pilgrim of the Relic of the heart of Saint Vincent de Paul - started last January 25 en Folleville, France and is expected to visit all countries with a Vincentian presence.
2. An International Symposium- reflects on the updating of the Charism of the Mission and Charity, to be held in Rome (October 12 - 15), which also includes a meeting of the Vincentian Family with Pope Francis.
To this day, we would like to invite you to disseminate all the information and participate in the International Symposium, which will take place from October 12 to 15 in Rome. May many of our members be encouraged to come and experience this experience with other members from all branches of the Vincentian Family around the world. This meeting is a great gift from God, especially since we are celebrating it together with Pope Francis, who will join us on October 14 (Saturday), and also for the presence, during those days, of the relic of the heart of St. Vincent .
On Saturday, October 14 in the afternoon, there will be a session dedicated especially to the young people between 18 and 28 years. It will be an opportunity for our members to become involved in the international dimension of the Vincentian Family. In the evening, we will celebrate a prayer vigil in the Basilica de San Pablo Extramuros, and it would be a pleasure to share with you that the organization of this vigil has been entrusted to the VMY International. We are already working on it! It will be a vigil dedicated to Our Mother. The closing Eucharist will be celebrated on Sunday, October 15 in the same church.
However, we would like to clarify that the VMY International Team is NOT managing nor connected with the registration process, neither with the organization of this event. We are only a helping disseminate the information so you can all be informed. For more details on this event, and to do the registration in case you are interested, the Vincentian Family has created a website that will be updated frequently with all the information and novelties of the Symposium: http://famvin400.info/ and the schedule of activities in this page: http://famvin400.info/blog/2017/03/03/schedule/ It is important to note that you must register before September 1st, but if your country requires a letter of invitation to travel to Italy you must apply before July 1st. Let us remember that one way of putting into practice our Vincentian Charism is to show solidarity with the VMY of another country. If your country wants to financially support a young person so that they can participate in the symposium, write to us as soon as possible.
We hope that all projects and initiatives to celebrate the 400th anniversary of our charism will result in concrete actions in favor of the poorest, and that after meeting in the festive atmosphere of the Symposium, we will have a more clear Vincentian identity and will continue to make the world a more inclusive and human place.
United in prayer,
VMY International Team