It was Friday, July 29, and we left Zaragoza early, after celebrating the Eucharist, to arrive relaxed at the Shrine of Our Lady of Miracles (Baños de Molgas-Ourense). There the Meeting of young European Vincentian Missionaries was taking place. About ninety missionaries from the Near East, Poland, Slovakia, Italy, France, Portugal and Spain gathered from July 29 to August 2. We were joined by the Superior General, Fr. Tomaž Mavrič CM, on the second day.

In his welcome greeting, Fr. Tomaž, pointed out to us the importance of these meetings of young missionaries in Europe. For this reason, he urged us to celebrate them periodically and to have them as a priority in our agenda together with the work of the Vocation Ministry.

The moments of reflection were combined with those of the Way of St. James, cultural visits and prayer.

Óscar Muñoz, CM spoke to us about devotion to Mary (July 30); Fatima and Lourdes, belonging to the Juventruth movement, showed the reality of their spirituality and their way of living their faith in the Church rich in charisms (July 31). Pedro Guimarães, CM, presented the way to express the beauty of our charism in the world and in the Church of today (August 2) where he made it clear that “We will be true missionaries if we speak of Jesus in the style of St. Vincent de Paul”.

The stages of the Compostela route were between the towns of Cea and the Cistercian Monastery of Oseira (July 31), and the towns of O Pedrouzo and Santiago de Compostela (August 1).

Each day we celebrated the liturgy led, at each moment, by one of the participating provinces: lutes, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and Eucharist.

On August 1, we joined the Vincentian Marian Youth Meeting at the Collegiate Church of St. Mary of Sar. Tomaž (presiding the celebration); and St. Louise de Marillac, Sr. Françoise Petit, HC, were present. During the homily, the Superior General told us: “Dream big, dear young people, as Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac did. But do it with great humility”.

For the closing Eucharist, at the Colegio de los Remedios of the Daughters of Charity in Santiago de Compostela, we were accompanied by Bishop Francisco José Prieto, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Santiago de Compostela. He emphasized the importance of the Compostela pilgrimage linked to the path of Christian life, which is nothing other than giving ourselves to the service of others, just as Jesus of Nazareth did.

We thank the Province of St. Vincent de Paul-Spain for the wonderful welcome we received. They have done a commendable job in the organization. All this has given rise to a pleasant coexistence among all the participants.

Undoubtedly, it is necessary for us young European missionaries to meet in order to establish a relationship beyond our provinces and ministries, to feel part of an international Congregation and to know that the footsteps of Christ, Evangelizer of the poor, are being followed in many places, in the style of St. Vincent de Paul.

José Luis Cañavate Martínez, CM.
Province of Zaragoza (Spain).