Walking in the Vatican tradition of calling new Bishops to Rome for orientation to their tasks and responsibilities (sometimes referred to as the “Baby Bishops School”), the Superior General called the last 22 recently appointed Provincial leaders to Rome for orientation to their ministry of service.
Convoked by the Superior General, the new Visitors gathered together at the House of the Daughters of Charity in Rome. The meeting of the new Visitors (January 9-January 17) includes twenty-two members of the Congregation who were appointed to their position during the past two years: confreres from the Provinces of Central America, Australia, Austria-Germany, Curitiba, Fortaleza, China, Ecuador, the Philippines, Northern Indian, Southern India, Indonesia, Mexico, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Saint Justin de Jacobis, Saint Vincent de Paul (Spain), Hungry, Eastern United States, New England (the United States), Vietnam, the Vice-Province of Costa Rica and the Vince-Province of Saint Cyril and Methodius.
1. Deepen one’s knowledge of the Practical Guide for the Visitor so that one can provide quality service in the mission that is entrusted to each one of the Visitors in the Congregation.
2. Deepen one’s understanding of the Practical Guide so that one can offer suggestions to the Commission that will revise and enrich this document.
3. Reflect together on the concept of “animation” … a service that the Visitor is called to engage in with the missionaries and with the local communities.
4. Provide the Visitors with opportunity to meet with the Superior General and the members of the General Council as well as other members of the Curia.
5. Make visible the communion of the whole Congregation which, in the diversity of the provinces, forms one single body.
6. Share the dynamism of the Vincentian charism which is revealed in the great variety of different cultural situations where the Congregation is present and ministers.
This meeting began with celebration of the Eucharist that was presided by Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM (Superior General). Then the Visitors introduced themselves and gave a brief history of their province (number of members, places where they are ministering, number of men who are in formation, etc.). The moderators of the meeting, Fr. Zeracristos Josief (Assistant General) and Fr. Javier Álvrez (Vicar-General) introduced the document, A Practical Guide for the Visitor, focusing on the practical aspects of this document. It is hoped that the Visitors will find in this document lines of actions that will assist them in their governance of their province. As highlighted in the guide itself, one will not find in that document specific answers to each and every question, but rather one will discover general practical principles that can guide and support the various actions that the Visitor is asked to do.
Father Miles Heinen (Assistant General) guided the Visitors as they reflected on their mission, on an integral witness in living one’s life in accord with human, spiritual and Vincentian values. This was followed by a presentation that was given by Fr. Mathew Kallammakal (Assistant General) on the international missions.
On the second day, Father Nicola Albanesi (Visitor of Italy) spoke about two important themes: the principles of governance and the assistance that is available to the Visitors. There were many questions and the sharing that followed this presentation clarified many of the concerns of the Visitors. The work during this morning of the second day was concluded with a presentation of the Priorities of the Congregation of the Mission during the next six years (this presentation was given by the superior general and was based on the Final Document of the 2016 General Assembly).
In the afternoon the presentations were focused on some juridical aspects of the ministry of the Visitor. Father Alberto Vernaschi (a member of the Province of Italy) spoke about the rights, obligations and special faculties of the visitor. Then, the Procurator, the Postulator-general of the Congregation, Fr. Giuseppe Guerra, explained his ministry with the Holy See and the services that he is able to provide to the Visitors.
On the third day the participants continued to reflect on other parts of the Practical Guide, namely, the Visitor as a man of discernment in three areas: the ministries of the province, the candidates to be admitted to vows and sacred orders, those individuals who are to be dismissed from the Congregation. This discernment should be done with the members of the provincial council as well with the members of the formation team. This theme was presented by Mathew Kallammakal (assistant general).
During the afternoon of the third day, the vicar-general, Fr. Javier Álvarez presented the theme, “the Visitor, Vocational Promotion, Initial and On-going Formation in light of the Ratio Formationis and the Final Document of the 2016 General Assembly”.
As the gathering moved forward a fraternal environment was created in which cultural and language barriers were overcome.Jorge Luis Rodriguez, CM Office of Communication
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM Eastern Province, USA