Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM, was elected Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission in 2016 and his schedule has been filled not only with visits to the various provinces of the Congregation of the Mission and the Company of the Daughters of Charity but also with events that have enabled him to participate in meetings with the members of the worldwide Vincentian Family. In Sardinia we had the pleasure of his presence (the last two Sunday’s in January) during the time of the Vincentian Seminars. These times of formation were initiated during the 1990’s and continue to reveal the manner in which St. Vincent is esteemed throughout Sardinia. At the same time the participation of so many people in these encounters also manifests the witness to charity that is given by the Daughters, the Missionaries and all the members of the Vincentian Family.
These seminars were organized by the president of the Vincentian Family, Father Bruno Gonella, CM (superior and pastor of the parish of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal [Cagliari]). In order to facilitate the participation of the greatest number of people, one session was held in Cagliari (January 21st) and another in Sassari (January 28th). These sessions began with morning prayer, followed by a presentation given by the Superior General, the celebration of the Eucharist (presided by Fr. Tomaž), a meal, and dialogue with the superior general.
We were pleasantly surprised by the participation of so many members of the various groups and associations … more than one thousand people participated in these formation sessions. The session in Cagliari was held in the chapel of the Daughters of Charity which was filled to overflowing. There was a family spirit and those present were filled with joy to be able to engage in a dialogue with the superior general.
Father Tomaž encouraged the participants to remain faithful to their Vincentian vocation, to remain faithful to the call to care for and serve those men and women who are poor (especially refugees, immigrants and those people who have been abandoned and forgotten). Father also exhorted the Family to create a culture of vocations and therefore, to be active in encouraging and inviting people to become involved in some branch of the Vincentian Family.
Even though these seminars had very definite time limits, nevertheless, Father Tomaž found time to visit a confrere who was recovering from illness, to spend some time at the centers that are administered by the Daughters of Charity and that serve those persons who are poor. Father also spent some time at the houses of the Congregation and the infirmary of the Daughters.
In his dialogues, Father spoke about the importance of cultivating a devotion to the Vincentian saints, blesseds, and Servants, encouraging everyone to become ever more knowledgeable about the lives of these holy men and women. Father spoke specifically about Sister Tambelli, Father Manzella, and Sister Nicoli.
The following words of Father summarize the many ideas and thoughts that he shared with us: When we began these celebrations that revolved around the 400thanniversary of the origin of our charism, we were aware of the fact that Saint Vincent did not want us to focus solely on the past. He wanted us to look toward the future and to create specific projects that would give new life to the Vincentian charism. At the same time Vincent wants us to reach out to those people who may have no knowledge about the good news of Jesus Christ. This can be done by strengthening the bonds of collaboration among all the branches of the Vincentian Family, by working together in common projects, by promoting vocations to the worldwide Vincentian Family and by developing better communication.
By: Fr. Italo Zedde, CM- Province of Italy
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM – Eastern Province, USA