Argentina 3Final Vows of Brother Alfredo Valdez, CM Province of Argentina (Argentina-Paraguay-Uruguay)

 On Sunday, March 6th, 2016, in Saint Vincent de Paul Seminary located in the city of Asunción, Paraguay, a young seminarist of the Congregation of the Mission committed himself to service on behalf of the poor as he took his final vows.  The Eucharist was celebrated in a very lively and festive environment as many members of the Vincentian Family gathered together for this event (Daughters of Charity, Vincentian Sisters of Zagreb, Vincentian Marian Youth, Vincent de Paul Society, priests from the Congregation of the Mission and other seminarists).

Alfredo is a native of Paraguay and in February 2007 entered the Seminary at Asunción where he studied philosophy.  In 2011 he was accepted into the Congregation when he began his stage of formation at the Internal Seminary in Lima, Peru.  He returned to Paraguay in 2012 where he continued his formation at the theologate.  At the seminary he has been involved in various ministries and most recently has collaborated in the ministry of vocational promotion while ministering with the members of the VMY.

At this time Alfredo is in the process of moving to the local community of Escobar (Buenos Aires, Argentina) where he will become involved in pastoral ministry and will also continue to minister with the VMY (he will have the role of sub-director).

In his homily Father Gustavo González, CM (Visitor) stated: the taking of vows does not mean that one has arrived at the goal … it does not mean that one is able to sit back and relax and rest on one’s laurels.  The people of Israel experienced the mercy of God when they were enslaved in Egypt … this merciful God led them through the desert and in the biblical passage that we have just heard, they arrived in the Promised Land.  In this new place they no longer received manna but began to eat the products that they planted, that is, they began to eat the fruit of their labor.  One must engage in hard work, must engage in work on a daily basis in order to bring to reality that which Alfredo expresses today as he takes vows.  We must be careful so that we do not hear the words of reproach that were addressed to the eldest son in today’s gospel: you ought to rejoice.  These are harsh words because in reality the father is telling his son: you ought to be alive but you are dead.  Alfredo you are alive today because you are Church, you are the Congregation of the Mission, you pray, you receive communion, you confess your faults, you engage in pastoral ministry.  You are alive … you are a sign of life … you are an instrument of the Lord’s goodness and mercy.  Today we rejoice with you as you dedicate yourself to evangelization and to service on behalf of those who are poor.  Indeed, the very heart of our vocation and our vows is the commitment to evangelize the poor, and thus a commitment to continue the mission of Christ who was poor and chaste and obedient. 

At the conclusion of the Eucharist the Vincentian Family, in an atmosphere of joy and celebration, shared a meal.

Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM