We have moved
* From being disparate organizations operating largely on their own to becoming a “Vincentian Family” that meets often, plan together, does formation programs together, works together, and prays together.
* From being shaped predominately by European ideas and customs to being a truly international Family where the ideas and customs of all regions are honored and where personal and economic resources pour across borders.
* From and attitude of “assistentialism”, characterized by giving to the poor, to awn attitude of solidarity with those in need, working hand in had with them, engaging them in their own human promotion, their struggle for justice, and their best for systemic change.
He continues saying “I want to describe to you, as simply as I can, how I would love to see St. Vincent today. Of course, he lives on mainly in us, the members of his Family.
St. Vincent Today
* I hope that our Vincentian Family in the future will abound with “contemplatives in action”.
* I hope that our worldwide Vincentian Family with around two million active members will continue to grow as collaborators – a united force in the evangelization and integral human promotion of the poor
* I hope that, in addition to practical works of charity, which play such an important role in our tradition, our Family will stand at the side of the poor in their struggle for justice and systemic change.
* Four phrases give a fair summary of St. Vincent’s teaching about justice
* Justice should be accompanied by mercy (CV I, 458)
* There can be no charity if it not accompanied by justice (SV II,54)
* “Duties of justice have precedence over those of charity” (SV VII, 620)
* “In helping them (the Barbary slaves) we are doing justice and not mercy: (SV VII, 98)
* I hope that our family will continue to be inventive in developing systemic change projects.
* I hope that our Vincentian Family in the future will be active in sowing seeds of peace.
Fr. Maloney offered his hopes. How about yours?
What are your hopes for the Vincentian?
Which of these hopes are you especially committed to?
Fr. Robert Maloney’s keynote address “The Vincentian Way…400 Years of Vincentian Charism…The Year of Welcoming the Stranger” will be livestreamed Thursday from the Annual Meetinbg of the Society of st. Vincent de Paul.
From their press release…
This year, those who are unable to attend the SVdP National Assembly in Tampa, will have the opportunity to be a part of the events.
Four events at this year’s National Assembly will be livestreamed for those at home to view. Just click on the link below at the time if the event. Be sure to refresh your browser if the livestream does not start.
Born in Brooklyn, New York and attended St. John’s Preparatory School. Fr. Maloney was ordained in May of 1966 and was Rector of Mary Immaculate Seminary in Pennsylvania from 1970 – 1979. Later he served as Superior at Seminary in Niagara Falls, NY from 1979 – 1983. And became Superior General of Congregation of the Mission, Rome, Italy 1992 – 2004. Author of eight books: The Way of Vincent de Paul, He Hears the Cry of the Poor, Seasons in Spirituality, Go: On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, Turn Everything to Love: A Rule of Life for Lay Members of the Vincentian Family, Faces of Holiness, and ‘Tis a Gift to be Simple, and A New Century Dawns: Hopes for the Vincentian Family. Co-author of Seeds of Hope: Stories of Systemic Change. Many of these books have been translated into various languages, principally Spanish, French, Italian, and Portuguese.
A church characterized by the five virtues of Vincent de Paul might appeal to millennials and “nones”. “Millennials, Vincent and his 5 virtues” is a cross post of a reflection I originally wrote for FamVin.
One need only look around in churches on any given Sunday to see the millennials are missing. A millennial recently wrote that he would very much like to feel positive about the church but can not.
“I desperately want to feel (head-over-heels) about church, but I don’t. Not even a little bit. In fact, like much of my generation, I feel the complete opposite.
According to a Pew Foundation study (and many others like it) church attendance and impressions of the church are the lowest in recent history, and most drastic among millennials described as 22- to 35-year-olds.
Only 2 in 10 Americans under 30 believe attending a church is important or worthwhile (an all-time low).
59 percent of millennials raised in a church have dropped out.
5 percent of millennials have an anti-church stance, believing the church does more harm than good.
Millennials are the least likely age group of anyone to attend church (by far).
Sadly, the phenomenon is reflected in wider studies which report that “nones” constitute the second largest religious category in the United States.
The same study linked above reveals five research-backed reasons why millennials have stopped attending church. They feel that
In his view, Vincent’s five virtues might be translated for today as being
Hard working (Zeal for souls)
He sees these virtues as expressions of the profoundly Christo-centric values of VIncent.
More specifically, he says that In order to serve as Christ the Evangelizer of the poor requires
a simplicity that seeks the truth wherever it is to be found, recognizes the truth when found, witnesses to the truth in word, and lives the truth by actions as they relate to oneself, one’s neighbor, one’s my world and one’s God.
a meekness which is a personal availability in relationships that are authentic, and thus inviting, inclusive, accepting, understanding. equal and loving
a mortification which is self- disciplined and absolutely clear about what one believes, what one value and what are the priorities in one’s life. It must then imposed upon one’s self a self-discipline that will enable one to live these values in a consistent, integrated and effective manner.
a humility that is realistic which means I must always creatively balance the inherent tensions between pessimism and optimism knowing full well what I and other human beings are capable of and not capable of and gratefully relying on God’s grace and providence as the sustaining force of our lives and indeed all salvation history.
a zeal for souls that is hard working. There always. much to be done in the kingdom of God and what remains to be done both personally and corporately is not easily accomplished without laboring with the “strength of our arms and sweat of our brows (St. VIncent).”
I do not think it requires much of a stretch of the imagination to see how a church characterized by the above might appeal to millennials and “nones”. The more I think of it, Vincent was on to something that explains what so many people have come to follow his way of life over the past 400 years.
Interestingly, Fr. Udovic offers an insight into the meaning of the name Congregation of the Mission as “people gathered together for the sake of the mission.”
What do you think of these insights? How well we we live these values?
As the disaster from Harvey unfolds the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is already on the scene in Texas and has structures and skills as first responders and cleaner-uppers over the long haul.
Please keep in mind the following statement from the Society.
This is just one of the many domestic disasters National Disaster Services of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is responding to. With your help and the help of SVdP Conferences and Councils, we will be armed with the needed resources.
One of the most important resources is to ensure the Domestic Disaster Fund is sufficient to help during these times of crisis. These funds will help to support SVdP Domestic Disaster resources needed to respond to disasters across the United States. With the increasing number of disasters, you can help ensure there are adequate resources to assist our neighbors in need.
You can help, and your Conference and Council can help by making a donation to the SVdPUSA Domestic Disaster Fund.
Immediate needs are for support of the local Disaster Rapid Response Teams, Disaster Case Management services, cash gift cards for families, temporary shelter and eventually the House in a Box® Program (90-120 days at a minimum out) the above are the most critical.
“The Manner Is Ordinary” – Fr. Kehoe’s vocation story in his own words
In the fifties a book appeared entitled “The Manner Is Ordinary”. No better title captures my vocation story with one possible exception. The story of my birth has a permanent niche in our family’s folklore. On August 19, 1929 I decided that my time had come to the surprise of my mother. Word of the crisis got to my father at the firehouse. In the chiefs car with bell clanging and lights flashing he took my Mom across the Queensborough Bridge to a hospital somewhere on the East Side of Manhattan. There my mother delivered me in a room off the main lobby. After that my life unfolded in a very ordinary manner.
In Flushing, NY I attended St. Andrew Avellino School taught by Dominican Sisters whose Mother House is in Columbus, OH. Confreres from Groveport served as confessors for these sisters. I became an altar boy under a great pastor, Msgr. Francis J. Oechsler, a close friend of our Father William Hocter, C.M. I learned the Latin letter-perfect and gradually mastered the intricacies of acolyte, thurifer and master of ceremonies of funerals and Solemn High Mass.
In 1943 I entered St. Johns Prep, not my first choice. I wanted to attend a Jesuit high school with my friends. But I did not travel to corner of Lewis and Hart with a heavy heart. I threw myself into many different activities. I tried out for the sports teams, never made them but enjoyed intramural sports. I was on the staff of the Red Owl, the school newspaper for four years.
Here I met the Vincentians. Priesthood had always hovered in the back of my mind as a possibility. During these years that possibility expanded to include the Vincentians who taught me, cheered with me at games and guided me in extracurricular activities. I hesitate to name any for fear of slighting others. Most are now with the Lord. But I must cite Father Joe Dunne, my confessor during my junior and senior years. He guided me in my decision to give it [priesthood as a Vincentian] a try.
September 1947 found me at St. Josephs Seminary, Princeton, NJ to begin my decade-long trek to ordination. I found the priests supportive, my fellow seminarians congenial and the discipline not overbearing. Only once was I told that I was in trouble. I was at MIS [Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, PA] and in temporary vows. But I talked with the professor who spoke the threatening words. He explained to me a behavior in class that nettled him and others. I tried to eliminate it.
In May 1957 I was ordained and sent to Louvain University, Belgium to study church history. In 1961 I returned to teach at MIS where I remained for twenty-nine years. In addition to church history and patrology, I also taught liturgy. Vatican II moved the liturgy to center stage. I became responsible for implementing the liturgical changes at MIS and teaching the historical and theological principles for them. These were years of great personal growth in appreciation of the liturgy that I shall always treasure.
Vatican II rediscovered the homily as part of the liturgy itself. In addition, the council declared that the first task of the priest is to preach the gospel. These insights intensified an interest in preaching I had nursed as a seminarian. I felt a weakness of the program at MIS was homiletics. The community prepared men to teach dogmatic and moral theology, canon law and scripture, church music and philosophy. But it never trained a man to teach homiletics!
I brought the concern to Father Bob Maloney, the rector. I urged him to advise the provincial to send a confrere to study homiletics. He challenged me to get the training. Therefore I entered Temple University to study Rhetoric and communication. I eventually earned a doctorate. Like Louvain, Temple was a great experience, my first contact with American secular education. I found that both my seminary education and faith convictions were more than tolerated; they were respected.
While at MIS I became involved in the Diocese of Allentown. I helped implement Vatican II. I was a secretary of the Liturgical Committee for the Diocese Synod, became a member of the Diocesan Ecumenical Committee and later became chairman of the Diocesan Liturgical Commission. This involved me in the life of the larger church and provided an opportunity to work with many fine diocesan priests.
One of the saddest days in my life came when I stood before the students at MIS to tell them that the seminary would close in June 1990. In fact, I broke down in the midst of reading a prepared statement. Fr. Pat Griffin had to complete the announcement. Our market had disappeared. A seminary cannot run without seminarians and the drying up of the pool of seminarians made the MIS superannuated.
The next eleven years stand in stark contrast to the stability of the previous twenty-nine years. In 1991 I went to Christ the King Seminary, East Aurora, NY. That year the Franciscans handed over the administration to the Diocese of Buffalo. Three Vincentians, Joe Morris, Mike Whalen and I, joined the faculty in the transition. 1991 found me on the faculty at St. Johns University, Jamaica, NY.
September 1993 found me in Tanzania with a fine Indian confrere, Chacko Panathara. We began an intense study of Swahili. I memorized the Eucharistic Prayer and was able to read Swahili well enough to celebrate Mass by December. I will never forget the first time I preached in Swahili. On the feast of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton I prepared a two-paragraph sermon that a native priest corrected. I read it at Mass violating a cardinal rule that I had imposed on seminarians. After that I preached regularly with a wonderful African priest as my tutor.
The anopheles mosquitoes developed a liking for me. I got malaria four times. I should mention that everyone gets malaria in Tanzania. But in my case, the number of attacks caused a concern that I might not have gotten rid of it. I also lost much weight. I must add that I found the loneliness a trial. Bob Maloney visited the mission in August 1994 and decided that I should return to the USA. A proverb in Swahili says, “Better to be a live jackass than a dead lion.” I see the wisdom in that adage.
St. Johns University welcomed me back. I became chaplain in the Law School and did some part time teaching. In addition I served as Director of the Vincentian Mission Appeal that provided the opportunity to visit many parishes. I discovered that many had not had a parish mission for years. This convinced me of the market for parish missions especially in rural areas and small towns and cities – precisely the places when St. Vincent and our first confreres evangelized the poor.
With this in mind I asked to go to St. Lazare, Spring Lake, MI in order to become acquainted with the spiritual needs and challenges of Catholics outside academia, have the opportunity to preach to them and hear confessions regularly. I remained three years and had the unexpected blessings of teaching Adult Bible Study in the local parish and going to the county jail once, sometimes twice a week for ministry.
This year Tom McKenna gave me the green light to begin parish missions. I have contacted many former students who are now pastors. Their response has been gratifying. I have ten missions scheduled between September and December and the calendar for the first half of next year is filling out. I discern in this a sign of Gods blessing.
My motto is, Seventy-two and something new! In June I celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of my vows. I am filled with gratitude for the gift of fidelity. This anniversary emboldens me to become one of those old men [who] dream dreams. My dream is that other confreres will share this same dream for the primordial Vincentian work, preaching missions in rural areas, small town and cities.
Richard Kehoe, C.M.
(From the archives of cmeast.org 2003 – Since 2010 Fr. Kehoe has been living in St. Vincent’s Seminary in Germantown. He is still active in hearing confessions at the Central Shrine of the Miraculous Medal. He also manages the Vincentian Library at St. Vincent’s.)
Sister Annelle FItzpatrick invites us to reflect on Mary and the Quran as opportunities for Christian-Muslim Dialog. As Vincentians, devotion to the Blessed Mother and the Miraculous Medal should be in our blood. What we might not realize until we look more closely at the place of Mary in the Quran is that there is much that Christians and Muslims share in common.
What we have in common could promote a grass roots movement that might get people thinking that Mary indeed might really be the “Queen of Peace”
As anti-Muslim sentiment continues to grow and people are looking for ways to build more bridges and not more bombs – perhaps it is time for us, as Vincentians, to create more forums of dialogue where people of faith can ponder the role that Mary might play in building bridges between the Christian/Muslim divide.
What am I talking about? Few Catholics are aware that Mary is mentioned more times in the Holy Quran than she is in the Holy Bible! Suffice it to say, that the Quran references events in the life of Mary 34 times and she is the only woman who has an entire chapter dedicated to her entitled “Mary, the Mother of Jesus”).
In the Bible, we don’t meet Mary until the moment of the “Annunciation”. in the Quran, we are introduced to Mary, while she is still in the womb of her Mother!
The Quran teaches that Mary’s Mother (“Hanna”) was barren. She prayed for years to have a child. When she found out that she was pregnant she was so filled with gratitude that she (assuming it was a boy) dedicated the child in her womb to Allah for service in the temple!
The Quran tells us that when Mary’s Mother gave birth to a girl both Hannah and Zechariah were very confused and disturbed because women were not allowed in the temple! (It is interesting to note that the Christian Gospel of James known as the “Protevangelion” also makes reference to a time in Mary’s life where she lived in the temple – but that is the subject for another day)!
The attributes given to Mary within the Muslim tradition (i.e. “chosen among all women”, “chaste”, “humble”, “obedient”, etc.) often parallel the laudatory title given to Mary by Catholics.
In Jerusalem, there is a site known as the “Bath of Mary”, a place of devotion where many Muslim women seeking to have a child go to pray. Recently there have also been Marian apparitions witnessed by hundreds of people in a town near Cairo now referenced to as “Our Lady of Zeitoun” (“Our Lady of Light). (These apparitions appeared over a Copitc Church where tradition holds the Holy Family stayed during their flight into Egypt).
Time does not permit further elaboration on the high esteem which Muslims afford the Blessed Mother. But trust me! To any member of the Vincentian family or any parish organizations (Altar Rosary Societies, Miraculous Medal Associations, etc.) looking to re-energize discussion and devotion related to Mary as Queen of Peace, her arms are open, inviting and challenging all to ponder another proposed title for her in today’s troubled world “Our Lady of Encounter”!
(August 15th, 2017)
Sr. Annelle Fitzpatrick bio
Sr. Annelle Fitzpatrick, CSJ, Ph.D. is a Sister of St. Joseph, (Brentwood) She has a doctorate in Sociology & Cultural Anthropology and has taught at St. John’s University for over twenty-five years. She is noted for her strong support of the Vincentian Mission and is passionate about interfaith education, dialogue, and encounter. She is a frequent speaker in national forums on issues related to cultural competency and interfaith dialogue within the educational, parish and healthcare settings. (Contact info: firstname.lastname@example.org)
This second chapter of Fr. Maloney’s book “A New Century Dawns: Hopes for the Vincentian Family,” provides us with a quick overview of some basic facts about the Vincentian Family
Since 1617, about 304 institutes, groups and associations sprang into being. Remarkably, 58 members of the Family have founded other institutes. Over those 400 years, the Vincentian Family nurtured dozens of saints, well over a hundred who have been or soon will be declared Blessed and more than 100 who have been declared Venerable Servants of God.
But most members will never be canonized; yet they have touched and often transformed the lives of countless people living in need.
The followers of Vincent and Louise include Vincentian alumni, staff and workers in Vincentian Family schools, parishes, hospitals and mission territories, most of whom are Catholic, but some of whom are Muslims, Buddhists, and of other religious persuasions.
Yes, it a Family on fire with the love of God and those who have been forgotten and lives on the margins.
How important it is that our Family have spiritual fire within. Fire brings light into the night. It warms us. It is the energizing center of homes. It prepares and gives taste to the food that we eat. In the chemical world, fire purifies and refines metals, like gold. It forges steel, making it strong. It molds pottery so that it becomes beautiful and lasting.
St. Vincent ignited a fire 400 years ago, a fire that he has communicated to us. Like him, we can be confident that the Lord loves us deeply in calling us to serve the poor, that the Lord is sharing his own vocation and his own vision with us. Like Vincent, we can let the spirit of Christ, his filial relationship with the Father and his charity toward the neighbor, dwell in our hearts. We can let the Lord’s love set us on fire. How grateful and joyful we can be that Christ, the Evangelizer and Servant of the Poor, has called us to this wonderful way of life.
Since most are reading this on the Internet it is worth providing and handy compilation of digital resources on the Internet.
Lord, Merciful Father
that instilled in Saint Vincent de Paul
a great concern
for the evangelization of the poor,
infuse your Spirit
in the hearts of His followers. That as we hear the cry of your abandoned children, we may run to their assistance, “like someone who runs to put out a fire.”
Revive within us the flame of the Charism,
That flame which has animated
our missionary life for 40o hundred years.
We ask this in the name of your Son,
Jesus Christ, our Lord,
“the Evangelizer of the Poor.”
This is how Vincent described the vocation of members of the Congregation of the Mission:
So, our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but all over the world; and to do what? To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with His love.
Vincent de Paul – May 30, 1659 (SV XII, 215)
On August 16, 2017, four men opened themselves to being set on fire to serve those who are poor and on the peripheries.
Walner Diaz, Cong Viet Le, and James Muller, all from the Eastern Province, together with Scott Jakubowski from the Province of the West, officially became members of the Congregation of the Mission. They also entered into what is known as the Internal Seminary or Novitiate year. This is a program geared to fan into flame the spirit of those who have been attracted to the vision of St. Vincent.
Walner Diaz, 30 hails from San Simon, Morazan El Salvador, his home. He likes to: play guitar and work out. “I believe God has given me a profound desire to serve the poor in the Vincentian spirit.”
Cong Viet Le, 33 is from Greensboro, NC. He likes to: read, play and watch soccer, and prepare Vietnamese food for his brother seminarians! “I want to be priest, and to serve among the poor in the Vincentian way.”
James Muller, 25 comes from Stewartstown, PA. He likes to play soccer, work out, hang out with friends He also says “I feel that God is leading me down a path that will help me grow more deeply as a person.”
Scott Jakubowski comes to the Internal Seminary via the Province of the West. “I was happy with my career, but I could tell something was missing, I knew I needed to make a change.I gave up excellent pay, benefits and a career I loved (at NASA), but I knew that this was where God was calling me,” Scott says.
We welcome them to the Congregation of the Mission and this next phase in their formation.
In the words of our official documents, the Internal Seminary is a time:
• To begin to live in a wholehearted manner the life of a Vincentian Missionary; • To experience in Jesus Christ the reason and the impetus for one’s firm and unwavering dedication to the Mission; • To acquire a solid spiritual foundation that enables the individual to live the Vincentian vocation in a consistent and joyful manner; • To understand and to affirm the demands of the vows and the five virtues; • To make a decision to continue the formation process with the intention of committing oneself to the following of Jesus Christ, the evangelizer of the poor … and doing this for the whole of one’s life and as a member of the Congregation of the Mission.
Our official documents go on to speak of the characteristics and mission of the Congregation:
“St. Vincent did not wish the Congregation or its members to be “religious” (in the canonical sense), or bound by the obligations of monastic life, not even by the obligation to recite the Divine Office in common.
For St. Vincent, the spirituality of the Congregation, and life in community – as well as the pronouncing of the vows – were intended to serve the mission: “following Christ evangelizing the poor.”
Our internal seminary, therefore, provides seminarians with opportunities to experience and reflect upon the interplay of Christ-centeredness, prayer, life together, and dedicated service. They begin to live wholeheartedly the Vincentian way of being ‘contemplatives in action.'”
Bl. John Henry Newman seems to capture the spirit of the Internal Seminary in the words of one of his hymns:
“And love light up our mortal frame, Till others catch the living flame.”
There is life after 42 years in prison. Jeffry Dean was sentenced as a juvenile 42 years ago when he was 17. Thanks to a Supreme Court decision to rethink life sentences for juvenile his is a life recycled.
Even as a ‘lifer’ he pushed himself to improve himself during in prison. He dedicated his time in prison to helping men re-enter society after being incarcerated. In that process, he became Facilitator for the PEOPLE ADVANCING REINTEGRATION course at Graterford Prison, “We teach them how to have goals.”
Then the miracle occurred and he found himself a free man. Reentry is hard enough even after just a few years. He had spent 2/3 of his life in a prison culture. The world has changed. Fortunately, he has a job with PAR Recycle Works whose byline is “Recycling electronics, Restoring lives.”
Chestnut Hill resident Laura Ford, with close ties to St. Vincent’s Parish in Germantown, has worked in prison ministry and helped develop and run reintegration programs for formerly incarcerated men and women for almost 20 years. She watched Jeffrey for 5 years. But she too was surprised when he asked her one day for a ride upon his release.”I will never forget those words!”
“PAR- Recycle Works believes that one of the best crime deterrents is a job. Participants in this program go from costing society thousands of dollars a year to contributing to society.”
According to a report entitled “The Price of Prisons: What Incarceration Costs Taxpayers” conducted by the Vera Institute of Justice and the Pew Center on the States, the Pennsylvania Department of Correction spends roughly $1.6 billion in prison expenditures annually.
The report stated that Pennsylvania incurs an “average annual cost of $42,339” for each inmate.
Ford, who is the PAR-Recycle treasurer, said it is very hard for ex-offenders to find steady, full-time employment. She said thousands of people return from prison to the community every day.
Watch the video for the moving story of a life recycled.