“Indigenous World Youth Day, Awarded Grant (Soloy Panama 2019)

“Indigenous World Youth Day” Awarded Grant: (EMJI – Encuentro Mundial de Juventud Indigina), Soloy Panama 2019

(Slightly revised to reflect original amounts) On February 2, 2018, Adveniat awarded a € 10,000 EURO grant to Fr. Joseph Fitzgerald, C.M. The Vincentian Solidarity Office (VSO), moreover, matched the grant for a total award of $$24,093.82 USD. The grant award was for “Support for the Indigenous World Youth Day 2019 and the formation of youth and the planning 2018.” Fr. Joe is a member of the Eastern Province, ministering to the indigenous Ngäbe people of Panama. He was delegated by the Conference of Latin American Bishops to prepare the first ever, “Indigenous World Youth Day.” The event will take place just prior to the World Youth Day with Pope Francis, Panama, January 2019. The $20,000 will help finance part of the event. The majority of the youth come from poor families.

You can find more information about the event on the webpage, http://emji2019.org/. Although the website is in Spanish, you will be able to access the photographs of the preparations. Those of you who read Spanish can translate for your family and friends the story of this important event in the life of the Church. In his application to the VSO, Fr. Joe wrote that he expects nearly 2,000 youth and volunteers at St. Vincent’s Parish, Soloy, Panama.

In this Easter Season, we read in the Acts of the Apostles about the growth of the early Church (Acts 2:41).  The Holy Spirit inspired the disciples, both men and women, to witness to the Risen Lord. These first missionaries were encouraged to go out even to the ends of the world.  At that time in history, the ends of the world meant the Roman Empire with its extensive borders.  Today, missionaries, like Fr. Joe Fitzgerald, are putting into practice the transformative vision of the Gospel found in those readings.  People like the Ngäbe of Panama and others live on the fringes of society.  They suffer because of poverty, discrimination, and political indifference by government.  In response, the Vincentian ministry of Fr. Joe preserves the indigenous culture and enriches it with the preaching of the Gospel.  Such ministry raises up the youth and their people.  The Vincentian Solidarity Office is therefore proud to support Fr. Joe Fitzgerald and the World Indigenous Youth Day, Panama 2019.

Please remember the Vincentian Solidarity Office and the projects of our Vincentian missionaries in your prayers. Let others know about the VSO so that that they, too, can share our mission of building up the Church by spreading the Gospel and serving the poor.

Adveniat is a Catholic funding organization located in Essen, Germany. Its goal is to assist the Church of Latin America.

by Greg Semeniuk, C.M.


500 East Chelten Avenue Philadelphia,

Pennsylvania 19144 United States of America

+ Rev. Robert R. Vignola, C.M. + Funeral Arrangements

+ Rev. Robert R. Vignola, C.M.

Funeral Arrangements will be as follows:

Viewing (St Catherine’s Assembly Room)

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.

St Vincent’s Seminary 500 E. Chelten Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Funeral (Community Chapel)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
10:30 a.m.

St Vincent’s Seminary
500 E. Chelten Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19144

Interment (Princeton)

Wednesday, May 2, 2018
2:00 p.m.

Princeton Abbey & Cemetery
75 Mapleton Road
Princeton, NJ 08540

Condolences may be sent to:

Christopher Lynch (nephew)
106 Fox Lane
Newark, DE 19711

+ Fr. Robert R. Vignola, C.M. +

Please pray for the repose of the soul of

+ Rev. Robert R. Vignola, C.M. +

who died peacefully early this morning.

Funeral details are pending.

Condolences may be sent to:

Christopher Lynch (nephew)
106 Fox Lane
Newark, DE 19711

Vocation Culture as an Ecosystem – An Ecological Approach

Vocation Culture as an Ecosystem – An Ecological Approach

Recently, someone used the concept of ecosystem to connect the simultaneous celebration of Earth Day and World Day of Prayer for Vocations. Part of me thought “Huh?” Yet, another part me thought what an apt analogy. My mind went immediately Fr. Tomas Mavric and Pope Francis’ frequent calls to develop a culture of vocations. Vocations flourish when all part of the system are interconnected

Within any given area, living and nonliving interact with each other. Together, these things form an ecosystem. Because all of the elements within an ecosystem are interrelated, these systems can be quite complex. All ecosystems must maintain a delicate balance between all of their members in order to thrive. Human interference and extreme natural events can tip this balance and threaten an ecosystem’s health.

I never thought of a culture of vocations in terms of an ecosystem. But St. Paul did long before the words “ecology” and “ecosystems” entered our vocabularies. Recall his concept of the “body of Christ.”1 Corinthians 12:12-31  and how parts are interconnected and at the service of each other. He writes to say that all parts of the system have contributions for the good of the whole.

Bad News and Good News

Compared to 50 years ago, we have 10,000 fewer priests and 140,000 fewer religious brothers and sisters — while the number of Catholics has grown by some 22 million. Within the Vincentian Family, especially in many well-developed countries, we are aware of the”greying” of many branches of the family. When I entered the Eastern Province of Congregation of the Mission over sixty years ago we were upwards of 400. Today we hover around the 100 mark.

Discouraging? Yes. But, there is good news! The Vincentian Family is growing by leaps and bounds.

The staff of the Vincentian Family Office has dedicated much of this year to identifying and connecting the followers of Vincent and Louise around the world. It initially began as the first stage in fostering collaboration among the more than two million people around the world who identify in some degree with the Vincentian Family way of life dedicated to serving the forgotten and the marginalized.

As they return from their travels to each continent they report with amazement the discovery not only the vitality of the family but the existence of new groups that they had no idea existed.

The Difference Between Good and Bad News?

By definition, it is impossible to look at a systemic problem and assess all blame on one part. Yet part of a systemic approach requires an understanding of the various parts.

It has frequently been observed that vocations seem to thrive most in areas of the world where the Church and religious organizations are closely aligned with those who exist on the margins. This frequently the case in less wealthy nations.

“The person who loves their dream of community will destroy community, but the person who loves those around them will create community.”
― Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together

Might this be another dimension of Pope Francis’ dream of the Church as a Church that is of the poor and for the poor in spirit? A Church where all are truly welcome. A Church where Matthew 25 is lived.

Might this be another way of looking at the promotion of a culture of vocations? Do we recognize the mutuality of gifts and needs? “No one is so rich that he or she cannot receive. And no one is so poor that he or she can not give.”


  • Can vocations flourish in deeply polarised abd unequal situations?
  • How can we foster a greater awareness of each person’s gift?
  • Do we ourselves recognize our own interconnectedness with the least among us?




+ Helena Medellin Aguilar + Mother of Fr. Hugo Medellin C.M.

Please remember in your prayers…
+ Helena Medellin Aguilar +
 Beloved mother of Fr. Hugo Medellin, C.M.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of Helena, mother of Fr. Hugo Medellin C.M., who passed away last evening in Mexico. Please also keep her family in your prayers.
Eternal rest, grant unto her, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Prayer Request + Mr. John T. Carney  Uncle of Fr. John Carney, C.M.

Please remember in your prayers…
+ Mr. John T. Carney +
Beloved uncle of Fr. John Carney, C.M.
Please pray for the repose of the soul of John, uncle of Fr. John Carney, C.M., who passed away early this morning in the Bronx. Please also keep the Carney family in your prayers.
Eternal rest, grant unto him, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon him. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.

Impact of the Congregation of the Mission on Buffalo, NY

FamVin offers perspective on the impact of the Eastern Province  of the Congregation of the Mission

This week marks two anniversaries for the Congregation of the Mission: April 16 was the day that Bishop John Timon, CM, first bishop of Buffalo, New York died, and April 17 is the foundation date of the first establishment of the Congregation of the Mission, Bons Enfants, Paris.

There are several parallels between the situation of Bishop Timon and that of St. Vincent at the time of the foundation of the Congregation of the Mission. Both men read the signs of their times and acted accordingly, planting seeds that would uplift people both economically and spiritually.

They both found themselves in a new assignment and location
They saw that many of the poor were not being ministered to
They both evangelized and administered sacraments to large numbers of people
They were both good with finances and “politics” (in a good sense– dialogue and knowing how to get things done in their spheres of influence)

Read more about Bishop Timon here…

Life and Legacy of John Timon, C.M., First Bishop of Buffalo, New York

…and about St. Vincent and the first establishment of the Congregation of the Mission, in the SlideShare presentation below.

[button link=”https://app.box.com/s/q3r66fmvj0okhc37ob90bbh4fn0t4vax” newwindow=”yes”]Download PDF[/button]
[button link=”https://app.box.com/s/mvoqjljjj012m7oqgeson0xaf0p4r93f”]Download PPT[/button]

Solidarity with Pope Francis’ Plea

“Five years ago, the leaders of the humanitarian organizations of the United Nations made an urgent appeal to all those who could put an end to the conflict in Syria and asked them to enact all possible efforts to save the Syrian people.” Enough is enough,” they said, of so much suffering and bloodshed. That was five years ago. Today, the bloodshed continues. And the suffering is further aggravated by the possible international escalation of armed conflict.


From its office at the United Nations, the Vincentian International Network for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation (VIN-JPIC) joins in deep solidarity with the call that Pope Francis sent out today: “While I pray incessantly for peace, and I invite all people of good will to continue doing the same, I appeal again to all political leaders to make justice and peace prevail… nothing can justify the instruments of mass-extermination against the population … I ask that policy makers and the military choose the other path, that of negotiation, the only one that can lead to peace and not to death and destruction.”


We cannot remain indifferent to the excessive suffering to which the Syrian people are being subjected. Syria has become a cruel laboratory of war, the epicenter of the violation of the human rights of a nation, the space that reveals the ineffectiveness of international diplomacy and the conflict of geopolitical interests of the great powers. More than ever, the world needs to hear a public and collective voice that demands an end to these atrocities. This conflict and its consequences affect us all in a world and a society that is always interconnected. Approximately, 13.5 million people need URGENT humanitarian aid inside Syria, this without counting the millions who have fled leaving everything they had behind them. We are talking about millions of human beings whose lives and whose future are in danger.


TODAY we would like to join the voice of the humanitarian organizations of the world that for years have been demanding the immediate resolution to this conflict. We ask those who have the capacity to prevent this suffering and who can, and therefore should, act now. Until there is a diplomatic solution to the conflict, such actions should include:


  • Unrestricted and constant access for humanitarian organizations to provide immediate relief to all those who need it within Syria;
  • Temporary Suspension of the conflict for humanitarian intervention(s), and unconditional and supervised ceasefire to allow the distribution of food and other emergency aid among civilians, to organize vaccination and health campaigns, and to facilitate the return of children to school;
  • Cessation of attacks on civilian infrastructure to maintain the safety of schools, hospitals and water supplies;
  • Freedom of movement for all civilians and immediate cessation of sieges everywhere.


‘Blessed are those who seek peace because they will be called sons of God’ (Mt 5, 9). As people of faith we join today with all the builders of peace in every corner of humanity. This common humanity is, together with our land, our common home, a house for whose care we are all responsible.




March 2018 International Newsletter of the Congregation of the Mission

The International Newsletter of the Congregation of the Mission for Marcy 2018 is now available online.

  • Visit of the Superior General to the Province of Peru
  • The Congregation of the Mission in the Bolivian Mountains
  • Final document of the 2018 FAVILA Gathering
  • Festival and Contest “Finding Vince 400”
  • The Visit of Father Tomaž Mavrič to the Mission in Beni
  • Tanjomoha Residence, Madagascar
  • Communication for Promotion of Vocational Culture
  • The Superior General in Chile and Mision of Punta Arenas
  • General Information


A Vision of Holiness Vincentians Can Relate To

Pope Francis in a newly released document speaks of holiness in a way that followers of Vincent and Louise can relate to. Here are some excerpts that struck me…


My modest goal is to repropose the call to holiness in a practical way for our own time…

The Saints next door

I like to contemplate the holiness present in the patience of God’s people: in those parents who raise their children with immense love, in those men and women who work hard to support their families, in the sick, in elderly religious who never lose their smile. In their daily perseverance, I see the holiness of the Church militant. Very often it is a holiness found in our next-door neighbors, those who, living in our midst, reflect God’s presence. We might call them “the middle class of holiness”…


These witnesses may include our own mothers, grandmothers or other loved ones (cf. 2 Tim 1:5). Their lives may not always have been perfect, yet even amid their faults and failings they kept moving forward and proved pleasing to the Lord…


The important thing is that each believer discerns his or her own path, that they bring out the very best of themselves, the most personal gifts that God has placed in their hearts (cf. 1 Cor 12:7), rather than hopelessly trying to imitate something not meant for them.

For you too


This holiness to which the Lord calls you will grow through small gestures. Here is an example: a woman goes shopping, she meets a neighbor and they begin to speak, and the gossip starts. But she says in her heart: “No, I will not speak badly of anyone”. This is a step forward in holiness. Later, at home, one of her children wants to talk to her about his hopes and dreams, and even though she is tired, she sits down and listens with patience and love. That is another sacrifice that brings holiness. Later she experiences some anxiety, but recalling the love of the Virgin Mary, she takes her rosary and prays with faith. Yet another path of holiness. Later still, she goes out onto the street, encounters a poor person and stops to say a kind word to him. One more step…


Let us not forget that Jesus asked his disciples to pay attention to details.

  • The little detail that wine was running out at a party.
  • The little detail that one sheep was missing.
  • The little detail of noticing the widow who offered her two small coins.
  • The little detail of having spare oil for the lamps, should the bridegroom delay.
  • The little detail of asking the disciples how many loaves of bread they had.
  • The little detail of having a fire burning and a fish cooking as he waited for the disciples at daybreak.

The Great Criterion


In the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew’s Gospel (vv. 31-46), Jesus expands on the Beatitude that calls the merciful blessed. If we seek the holiness pleasing to God’s eyes, this text offers us one clear criterion on which we will be judged. “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me” (vv. 35-36).


I encourage everyone to read the full text.