The voice of God resounds in the heart of everyone, moving our lives and transforming our history. Each one in his own way and according to God’s will. The restlessness and the movement of searching to respond to this call are part of the journey of each one of us.
From the small town of Itaúna, in the centre-west of the state of Minas Gerais, in Brazil, I am Carlos Francis Diniz, 19 years old. Since I was very young, I have felt a great interest in consuming myself and my history in the service of God, at his altars and for those who need it most.
With this great longing, I found in my mother, Maria Alice do Nascimento, all the support I needed to make it a reality. I began my vocational journey by serving in some Eucharistic celebrations. After a while, I served almost every weekend in my community. Not content with serving in the liturgy, I joined the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) at the invitation of a friend. All this happened in a real and intense way in 2012, thus shaping the next steps of my story. Feeling complete and satisfied during these years of service at the altar, a beautiful phrase came to my mind in my reflections: “From the Altar of God to the Altar of the Poor”. These words have accompanied my life to this day.
As my life passed through these movements, the desire was born in me to give myself entirely to the mission. But to a mission dedicated to the most humble and seeking a true experience with the poor, passed on to all of us by Jesus. Time went by and I met two very important people for my vocation, to whom I am extremely grateful: Tainara de Jesús and David Alves (both from the Youth Commission of the metropolitan region to which I belonged). When I told them of my desire for consecration, they immediately told me to start a vocational journey with the Congregation of the Mission. I came into contact with the vocation promoter, who at that time was Father Denilson Mattias, CM. I participated in vocational meetings in Belo Horizonte in 2021 and entered the Pre-Seminary I in 2022. Today I am in Pre-Seminary II (first year of philosophy), with God’s grace.
What strikes me most about the Congregation of the Mission and its missionaries is their assistance to the poor. Through the seriousness of the vocation of the consecrated, through their dedication to the sacraments and to the care of God’s people and, above all, through their creativity in social projects that defend the dignity of the most marginalised in society, I see meaning in the Vincentian missionary life. I see all this as a kind of “fullness of the consecration of a Vincentian missionary”, that is, something that brings meaning and beauty to missionary work.
I believe that what motivated me before, and motivates me to this day, to give myself day after day in the Congregation of the Mission, is the dedication of a woman who gave and gives me a lot of support, my mother. It was thanks to her that I persevered in the SSVP and acquired, over time, this love for the Kingdom of God. At the beginning it was difficult, because I was very young and not always very willing to attend the meetings, which I sometimes considered “boring”. However, with a lot of persistence, I was (and still am) formed in this perspective of helping those in need.
From this I conclude that “Everything is Grace! I ask God to send good missionaries to the Church, especially to the Congregation of the Mission, and that, from their personal encounter with Christ, they may become more and more configured to Him. Finally, I ask you to pray a Hail Mary for me and for my fellow students. Prayer is strength for vocation.