What Is the Vincentian Family’s Best kept Secret?

Best kept secrets

Who can forget the “treasure map” of  Robert Louis Stenson’s Treasure Island? There are certainly lots of best-kept secrets. They range from the secret ingredient in Coco-Cola to how to fold the Hapsburg Napkin pictured below. And who can forget the “treasure map” of Treasure Island?

The “Hapsburg Napkin” – Do you know how to fold this?

The way napkins are folded at Austrian state events is a closely guarded secret that only two people know who pass it on to someone else before they die.

Closer to home… for many years we have referred to the Church’s Social Teaching as its best-kept secret.

Sssh! The Vincentian Family is not without its best-kept secrets.

Many people were surprised that the Eastern Province Miraculous Medal Facebook page has 3 million followers.

Here is another major secret.

Rather than read about it in words just look at the following treasure map. Click on the picture to open the map to this treasure trove of readily accessible insights about what makes Vincentians tick.

A picture worth a thousand links

Just click on the graphic to access this treasure map! (Please be sure to bookmark it or you may not be able to find it again!)

Click on the graphic to be taken into the cave of treasures!

Vincentian Impact In Brooklyn Officially Recognized

The President of the Borough of Brooklyn New York officially recognized and thanked the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers of the Eastern Province for impacting the communities of the Borough of Brooklyn.

Whereas, on behalf of all Brooklynites, I salute the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers of the Eastern Province for serving a myriad of ministries along the eastern United States coast, from Maine to Panama, for 170 years; I applaud the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers of the Eastern Province for impacting our communities through education in New York City, as well as for their work with immigrants and the care of the poor and marginalized of society, including their many charitable ministries in the name of  St. Vincent de Paul, especially in Brooklyn; I commend the Vincentian Fathers and Brothers of the Eastern Province for making a positive impact on the lives of others; and I thank everyone for all that you have done to touch and improve the lives of many, helping to move out communities forward as One Brooklyn.

The official citation took place on the occasion of the Vincentian community receiving the Paul O’Dwyer Award. The award was presented by Brian O’Dwyer, son of the late Paul O’Dwyer. Brian O’Dwyer will be serving as Grand Marshall of the 2019 St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The award, given to people who have exemplified outstanding service, faith, and integrity in New York. The celebration ceremony was hosted in Borough Hall by the Irish-American Heritage Committee and the Office of the Brooklyn Borough President.

Fr. Joseph Foley, CM, who hails from County Sligo, Ireland accepted the award in the names of Fr. Stephen Grozio, CM the current Provincial.. He’s a great promoter of Irish Culture—with an affinity for Irish literature and traditional Irish music. Fr. Foley has also acted as the United Nations Representative for the international community of Vincentians.

Fr. Foley exhibiting his classic Irish wit

Learn more about one of the major ministries celebrated in this award.

Following the spirit of their founder, St. Vincent de Paul, the Vincentians are engaged in many forms of ministry to the poor, marginalized, and abandoned throughout the state of New York—and well beyond its borders. From serving diverse communities of faith—Latin American, Vietnamese, and even the indigenous Ngäbe in the Panamanian forest—to championing the needs of the underserved, the Vincentians of the Eastern Province have been sharing the good news of Christ, living amongst and serving the poor, for more than 170 years.


What’s in a Name?

In a reflection that first appeared on FamVin, Fr. Pat Griffin of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission, reflects on the importance of our names. He takes it a bit further in asking a question about our respect for the names of those we serve.

Recently, I participated in a day of reflection. The speaker spoke about the meaning and expressions of love.  She told about a class of children who were asked to describe how they knew that they were loved.  One of the children said that she could tell that she was loved by the way that the other said her name.  If I remember nothing else from the day, I will remember that story.  I know its truth.  I feel the way in which it pulls me deeper into myself even as it demands that I look outwards towards others.

There were seven children in my family—five boys and two girls.  Growing up, those not familiar with my family would frequently confuse our names.  I could be Michael, Johnny, Timmy or Danny as well as Patrick—thankfully, I was rarely Eileen or Kathleen.  I confess to some annoyance when someone got my name wrong. I liked it when people remembered me as me.  I recall how my name was spoken in many different tones and in various circumstances, but I remember best of all the way in which someone who truly knew me uttered it with love.  This other wanted my attention and urged me to draw closer.

Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” has a number of memorable lines.  One that stays with me flows from the lips of Juliet as she describes her love, Romeo. Though they are from warring families, Juliet proclaims: “What’s in a name. A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.”  Though I understand the meaning of the statement in context, I also want to argue with it. A name is a precious and personal possession.  It describes the other as a unique being and invites a reflection on all that makes the other an individual.

In the Old Testament, God reveals the Holy Name YHWH to the people Israel.  This title describes and calls upon the Almighty.  Out of reverence, the Jewish people did not say this name aloud.  In the New Testament, the community comes to recognize the name of Jesus as sacred.  Remember Paul’s Phillipian Hymn:

Because of this, God greatly exalted him

and bestowed on him the name

that is above every name,

that at the name of Jesus

every knee should bend,

of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

and every tongue confess that

Jesus Christ is Lord,

to the glory of God the Father.  (Phil 2:9-11)

Clearly a name is important as we address our God as well as our brothers and sisters.  When we speak the name of another, we can express our love, respect and reverence for that child of God or we can have a host of less worthy intent.  That realization draws me to be more attentive to the way in which I use people’s names—how I address them and how I speak about them.  I would like people to know my love for them by the care with which I use their name.

When I bring these thoughts into our Vincentian world, one idea stands out:  we need to know the poor by name.  The marginalized among us cannot simply be the featureless other, but a human being whom God created in the divine image and likeness.  Our Maker has associated the divine self with them in a particular way. When I name the poor, I reflect that awareness and love.