It was an affair of the heart!
I recently had the privilege of having a Skype session with Rigoberto Treo. He shared with me a lay Vincentian’s experience of the Vincentian charism during the Symposium in Rome.
“I was excited when I learned I would be going to Rome with Fr. Gregory Gay and two others from the our parish. I had high expectations but I never dreamed how much I would be impacted. The Vincentian charism means so much more to me that I ever imagined.”
As we connected via video it became very clear to me that what he said above reflected a profound experience.
Rigoberto is currently responsible for communications in the parish. He was at the Vincentian youth gathering in Brazil prior to WYD and The Vincentian youth gathering in Poland as well.
“I was invited to be Master of Ceremonies for the celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe and eventually in other activities. Fr. Vincent invited me to work here in a radio project. I liked it and here I’ve been ever since. I now work as a volunteer, doing the weekly bulletin, advocacy action for immigrants.
“I love the Vincentian Spirit in our community. You can imagine how thrilled I was to be invited to attend the Symposium.”
The heart of Vincent
He described many highlights. But it was clear that he was most affected by his exposure to the heart of Vincent.
He was present when the relic of the heart of Vincent arrived at the house of the Daughters of Charity at Via Ezio, Casa Maria Immaculate. The clear awe and reverence of the Daughters of Charity set the stage for what was to come over the next few days.
Along with so many other people he singled out his reactions to the two processions of the relic of the heart of Vincent.
“I never thought I would see the relic of St. Vincent carried through St. Peter’s Square and watch the Pope venerate it. And the procession into the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. I will never forget the sound of a pulsing heart filling the Basilica.”
As powerful as these experiences were there was an even more powerful personal moment.
“I never expected to meet three Superiors General. The most powerful moment came in the encounter with the present Superior General, Fr. Thomas Mavric. When we met and spoke of the heart of Vincent, he touched his hand to my heart. Something happened that I will never be able to put into words.”
Also in the category of the other experiences that he finds hard to put into words – the joy on the faces of the 600 plus Vincentian priests who concelebrated Eucharist at the closing of the Symposium. This experience said so much about the Vincentian Charism.
At a more intellectual but still very significant level, he appreciated the presentations by Fr. Dennis Holtschneider and Stuardo Marroquin, Guatemalan from the Province of Central America.
One more thing!
Never did he dream that on Monday morning after the Symposium he would have lunch in the Pope’s dining room at Santa Marta.
When I asked him what he hoped would happen he was quick to answer. “We must look for ways to keep the flame alive for the 500th Anniversary!”
He looks forward to publishing the talks that were given throughout the Symposium. On November 27th, Feast of the Miraculous Medal, there will be special Eucharistic Celebration followed by a collage of pictures taken during the Symposium, testimonies given by those of the Parish who participated in the pilgrimage (Haydee Garcia and Maria del Rosario Lopez, Rigo Trejo and Fr. Gregory Gay, CM) and a community sharing.
As we spoke I could see it truly was … and is… an affair of the heart.