“We the members of the Vincentian Family who are champions to evangelize the poor must whole heartedly welcome the call of Pope Francis. Certainly the pollution, climate change, the issue of water etc., are getting acute these days. The first one to suffer is the poor ones. Therefore, our Vincentian work at present cannot address only the disastrous consequences that compromise the life of the poor, but also and principally, their causes especially the ecological crisis.” Fr. Francis Puthenthayil CM, Coordinator of Vincentian Family in India
The Tenth Annual Gathering of the Vincentian Family was held at Gopalpur-on-sea from 12 to 13 March 2016. There were 45 participants from 11 branches.
The National Coordinator, Rev. Fr. Francis Puthenthayil CM in his introductory remarks called for solid deliberations during the meeting and to come out with concrete ways of establishing strong collaboration among the branches. Sr. Grace Moolan DC welcomed the Gathering and Sr. Kumari Singh DC, Visitatrice of North Indian Province and also the hosting Superior gave the inaugural address.
The first formal session was presented by Bishop Simon Kaipuram CM on the theme, Collaboration in Vincentian Family: Biblical Perspectives. Bishop Simon emphasised the need to improve the skills in collaborative action and leadership. After the Tea Break, Bishop Simon continued the session.
Interaction followed in which some of the members shared their experiences. Three relevant and interrelated questions were presented for group discussion and five Groups were formed for the same.
Since Rev. Fr. Mathew Onatt CM, the Visitor of South Indian Province was stepping into Sacerdotal Golden Jubilee Year, he was requested to preside over the Holy Mass along with the Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil CM, Bishop Simon CM and Vincentian Fathers present there for the meeting. Bishop Simon preached the homily.
The next session was presented by Br. Prof. Joseph Pandian, the International Territorial Vice-President of SSVP on the theme: Collaboration: A lay perspective. It was a touching, challenging and powerful talk. He asserted with many examples that lay organizations are closer to the poor. Two pertinent questions were thrown open to the participants for further discussion. The day was concluded with group discussion and with presentation of the outcome of the group discussion.
The second day began with the Holy Mass presided over by Bishop Thomas Thiruthalil CM, the Bishop Emeritus of Balasore. He called the participants to be genuine Vincentians. The General Body Meeting began at 9 a.m. , to plan for the development of the Vincentian Family in India. Sr. Sangeetha SCN, the General Councellor was requested to chair the session. In the absence of the National Secretary who was ill, Br. Tomy Varghese of SSVP was asked to present the Report of the previous Annual Gathering. Matters arising out of the report were discussed in detail. The participants pointed out the absence of the National Secretary and Fr. Francis Puthenthayil conveyed the desire of the National Secretary to be relieved from his office. The floor accepted the request and unanimously elected a new secretary in the person of Br. Tomy Varghese of SSVP. And Br. Mathew M C of SSVP was elected as the Joint Secretary.
Rev. Fr. Francis Puthenthayil CM presented the Finance Report and it was approved. It was followed by the presentations of Regional Reports by the Regional Co-ordinators. Of the 9 Regions, 6 regional coordinators presented brief reports onvarious activities took place in their respective regions. After that, the three Commissions’ (Systemic Change, Women Empowerment and National Formation) chairmen – Br. Joseph Pandian, Rev. Sr. Roselyin, and Rev. Fr. Shajan Pudussery – presented their reports on various activities, programs and seminars organized by them.
An evaluation of the VFI was followed. Most of the members expressed their satisfaction of the steady progress of the Vincentian Family in India.
Some of the branches recently associated with the V F gave a brief description of their branches and main activities. Br. S Pious of SSVP proposed the vote of thanks.
National Secretariat – Project Proposal
To have a Secretariat for VFI has been the long cherished aspiration of the Vincentians. In the previous annual gathering the Visitor of the South Indian Province of the CM expressed their interest and willingness to donate land for the building at Belwadi. The General Body studied the following goals and objectives for promoting the VF in India: They are:
1. To coordinate the VF in India
2. To deepen their knowledge about the Vincentian Charism
3. To build up relationship
4. To provide materials of Vincentian Spirituality
5. To provide long and short term courses on Vincentian Spirituality
6. To conduct retreats and training programs for the Vincentian lay associations
7. To monitor the systemic change common projects of VFI etc.
Rev. Fr. Francis Puthenthayil presented to the floor a project prepared by Rev. Fr. George Varekulam CM. It includes a chapel, conference room, library, 30 rooms and other facilities necessary to operate a resource center. Very Rev. Fr. Gregory G. Gay CM agreed to recommend the project to Vincentian Solidairty Fund and Vincentian Family Office.
Certainly half of the fund is to be generated locally. It was proposed that if a Vincentian member can contribute Rs. 100 each and also if possible collect Rs. 100 from a benefactor; the projectcould be realized soon. A joint Bank Account will be opened in Mysore shortly and the details will beintimated to all the members.
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