Postulates of the 39th General Assembly (1998)

passed on by it to the Superior General

After reflecting on the many postulates submitted by provinces and individual confreres, the General Assembly of 1998 decided to pass judgment on only a limited number. It then passed on 22 postulates to the Superior General and his council so that they could examine them with more leisure. The Assembly itself expressed no judgment about these postulates. It stated that the Superior General and his council should have complete liberty in either accepting or rejecting them.

At a tempo forte council meeting, October 12-20, 1998, the Superior General and his council considered each of these postulates and arrived at the judgments stated below.

7.- (P. Congo):

Concerning the inclusion of a Statute on collaboration within all the groups of the Vincentian Family.

It does not seem appropriate to us that the Congregation of the Mission do this.

12.- (P. Bras. Fluminensis):

That the General Assembly ask the Superior General to review the Directory of the Directors of the Daughters of Charity, in such a way that it [the office] does not imply exclusive dedication.

This does not seem appropriate to us because the Directory for Provincial Directors of the Daughters of Charity does not say that the Directors must be full-time.

14.- (P. Bras. Curitibensis):

Our suggestion is that a world organism of the Vincentian Family be formed.

The General Assembly, in its Final Document, asked that structures for coordinating the collaborative actions of the Vincentian Family be established. In response to this, the Superior General and his council have named a Delegate of the Superior General for the Vincentian Family.

16.- (P. Chilensis):

We propose a Union of Superiors General of the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of the Vincentian Family tree, in order to seek common lines of action for a better service of the Church and the poor.

We believe that the existing organisms are sufficient.

17.- (P. Chilensis):

That the General Assembly of 2004 be held in some place in the Third World.

In their evaluations, the members of the General Assembly chose Rome in first place. However, at the appropriate time, the Superior General will make a consultation on this subject.

24.- (P. Peruana):

That the General Curia organize some of its courses on the missions, or other themes, on regional or continental levels and not only on the worldwide level in Europe.

That which the 1998 General Assembly said about ongoing formation in its Final Document seems sufficient to us (III, 3, A, 5).

26.- (P. S.A.F. Occ. Centralis):

That the General Assembly discuss the possibility of establishing a Vincentian Historical Archives.


As it is now, our archival holdings are divided artificially and illogically between material that dates from before the French Revolution and after it. The early material is in Paris and the later material is in Rome. The division has been poorly made since some material in each place contains items that cover both periods. An historical institute or some sort of structure could be developed to take responsibility for a thorough study of the matter. Some initial study has already taken place but the attempt was superficial.

The advantages of such an historical archives include access to study our history and charism. This institute would surely benefit increased cooperation among the various members of the Vincentian Family.

There are difficulties with this which seem insurmountable at this time.

31.- (P. Indiae):

In connection with Superior General's relief fund, most groups felt that, our province can be relieved of the intricacies involved in going through Bishops to get our project sanctioned, if our Generalate thinks of opening a secretariat for the mission and appoint a father to deal with the socio-economic projects sent from the provinces.

This does not seem appropriate to us.

34.- (P. Indonesiae):

Establishing a Vincentian Study Center in Asia is really needed.

This is a question which belongs to the Visitors of Asia or to the Conference of Asian-Pacific Visitors (ASPAC).

35.- (P. Orientis):

Get an international structure of former students of Vincentians started.

It seems more useful to establish such structures on a national level, according to the possibilities and the needs.

36.- (P. Orientis):

Assure an appropriate formation for new superiors, treasurers, and archivists before they take up their new responsibilities.

It is up to the provinces to organize adequate formation.

40.- (P. Orientis):

We wish that collaboration among the provinces of the Congregation of the Mission (sending and exchange of confreres) extend also to the material level, through an organism which the Superior General and his council will supervise. The sharing will take place through an official contract and reasonable rates for the purpose of helping provinces get out of certain deadlocks or difficulties resulting from wars or other catastrophes.

This does not seem appropriate to us.

41.- (P. Philippinarum):

That the Superior General encourage the Vincentian Family to assist the migrant workers.

This pastoral need has already been taken into account, in a certain measure, in the Congregation; the Superior General has also already had the occasion to encourage this ministry.

42.- (P. Philippinarum):

That the Superior General initiate a Regional Coordinating Body to do advocacy work for Social transformation (Justice and Peace, Human Rights and Integrity of Creation).

The 1998 General Assembly already treated this theme (cf. Final Document III 2 c).

43.- (P. Sinica):

The CM has an excellent theoretical Ratio Studiorum. To foster more professionalism in the attitudes, the behavior, and the reactions of the new candidates, we feel that one pastoral year is not appropriate. The practical training has got to be done during the whole formation period.

That the Assembly ask that the Ratio Studiorum demand periods of exercising the different pastoral techniques during the whole time of formation under supervision of qualified people.

The Ratio Formationis Vincentianae for the Major Seminary of the Congregation of the Mission already demands this (cf. I, B, 3 "Apostolic Formation"). See also Statute 40. It is up to the Visitors to implement these orientations.

44.- (P. Sinica):

Confreres who are formed in institutes that do not belong to the CM or are not staffed by CM people get a very good theoretical formation. Oftentimes they are pushed to take university degrees. But that makes them apt for scientific research. We are concerned about their professional attitude, behavior, and reactions in the basic pastoral work they are called for.

That the Assembly ask those who are responsible for the formation to take steps that these confreres exercise regularly every year the different techniques of pastoral behavior with supervision by qualified people.

This issue belongs to the Visitors.

45.- (P. Sinica):

Major seminaries form candidates for basic pastoral functions. Formation is highly specialized and needs a special formation. CM is often invited to contribute formators.

That the Assembly want the CM to create a Vincentian Institute of Formation for the formation of CM and non-CM formators.

The 1998 General Assembly has already given a response to this in its Final Document (III, 3, B, 3).

46.- (P. Austriae):

The General Assembly of the Congregation of the Mission might establish:

That the Superior General and his council be charged to focus reflection favoring the work of the Congregation in the Islamic world, especially in the Near East.

A session on Islam, open to all interested provinces, has been scheduled for August 1999.

51.- (P. Gal. Tolosana):

The Provincial Assembly asks the Superior General to have a study done by confreres involved in different ministries and by dependable canonists, Vincentians or other, on the practical means which would permit married deacons to be united by some official juridical tie to the Congregation.

This theme is presently being studied at the General Curia. A document will be published later.

57.- (P. Ital. Romana):

The C.M. Provincial Assembly of Rome asks that clarification be given with regard to the nature and methods of the Visitations of the Provinces foreseen in Article 51, 2_ of the Statutes.

Specifics on this subject can be found in the Practical Guide for the Visitor, numbers 318 to 324, as well as in two articles by Fr. Italo Zedde (cf. Vincentiana 1996/4-5, p. 420 and 1998/4-5 p. 276).

59.- (P. Poloniae):

The problem of the appointment and the maintenance of the new houses in the East; the question: how has the resolution of the last General Assembly about the commitment of the entire Congregation of the Mission in the East been realized?

The Letter to the Confreres of the 1992 General Assembly says that "our Congregation commits itself in Eastern Europe to at least one missionary project...." (New Evangelization , 6). The General Curia has opened three in the course of the past six years, without counting those which were opened by the provinces of that region.

60.- (P. Poloniae):

To make more dynamic or re-found the Center of Studies in Vincentian Spirituality in Rome (there is the possibility that Vincentians presently studying in Rome could do these studies).

Such a center never existed in Rome. The Assembly reflected on this theme and made a commitment on the subject (III 3 B 3 a). We are in the process of examining various possibilities for the future.

The numbers correspond to those of the document grouping all the postulates sent to the 1998 General Assembly by the provinces and the individual confreres.

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