Walking for peace in Belém
The people of the Parish of São Raimundo Nonato, a work of our Province of Fortaleza located in the capital city of Belém in Pará State in Brazil, have been facing high levels of violence in their neighborhoods for some time. The parishioners organized, and decided to respond to the situation. Hundreds of them left their homes on a Saturday, dressed in white, and carrying banners and posters, participated in a walk for peace on the city streets. The event, held by the Vincentian missionaries of the Parish of São Raimundo Nonato, began at 8 a.m. with a celebration for peace at a public plaza in the Umarizal neighborhood. Then the crowd headed into the neighborhood streets, where the event continued with a number of attractions. The walk called for an end to violence, denounced human trafficking, and expressed dissatisfaction with the lack of security in the city.
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Are you interested in learning about young confreres who are rebuilding a province that was suppressed for decades by a Soviet-backed regime? Or a school constructed by confreres in the Democratic Republic of the Congo that serves over 1,000 impoverished students?
Check out the June 2014 VSO Bulletin:
June 2014 Bulletin (English)
Bulletin de Juin 2014 (Français)
Boletín de Juni0 2014 (Español)
Students of the Rural School Family program in Mozambique
A mission parish of our Vice-Province of Mozambique, St. Jerome in Magude, has for some time provided professional training for rural people. The training has included carpentry, agriculture, and pottery making. One of the newest and most promising programs is called the Rural School Family. The program teaches basic agriculture and animal husbandry to youth, and employs experience-based learning. Students alternate between spending 15 days in a class setting, and then 15 days at home where they put into practice the knowledge they receive. Students share the knowledge with their families to increase the productivity of their gardens and farms.
Involvement and support of families is key to the success of the program, since the students return home every two weeks to “learn from doing” in their own fields, side by side with their parents. Students and their families jointly learn better land uses, such as improved methods of sowing and care of livestock. Village leaders are also involved in the program, which helps promote the improved farming techniques throughout the broader community. A motivating theme of the program is “my family, my village,” where participants, instead of just being passive students, are also active agents in the development of their village.
The Barrio Secretary addresses students
The photos show a group of students visiting the leader of their local community, the Barrio Secretary. The Vice-Province of Mozambique is a beneficiary of the Patrimony Fund Project (Vincentian Endowment Challenge).
The local organization of Vincentian Lay Missionaries (MISEVI) in Slovakia is still in its infancy, but has already played a major role. In early November 2013, MISEVI Slovakia hosted a European–wide meeting of MISEVI in Nitra. This younger branch of the Vincentian Family gathers together young people who volunteer to serve the poor in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul. The opportunity to do so attracted several young Slovaks seeking to work as lay missionaries.
Some 80 participants from 9 countries in Europe and the Middle East attended the meeting in Slovakia. Joining them was the Superior General, Fr. Gregory Gay, CM, who arrived with Frs. Stanislav P. Zontak, CM (Slovakia), Juventino P. Castillero, CM (Panama) and Eli P. Chaves, CM (Brazil) from the Curia. Also present were Fr. Jozef Noga, CM, Superior of the Province of Slovakia, and other CM’s and Daughters of Charity. The official welcome was given to the international consultant of MISEVI, Fr. David P. Fernández, CM, and members of the international team of MISEVI of Spain.
The motto, “Come, see, get involved,” characterized each day. According to the testimonies of the participants for this inaugural meeting of MISEVI in Slovakia, it was a time of sharing experiences, encouraging each other, and connecting to MISEVI lay missioners worldwide.
Both MISEVI and the Province of Slovakia are beneficiaries of the Patrimony Fund Project (Vincentian Endowment Challenge).
The Province of Nigeria — a beneficiary of the Vincentian Endowment Challenge (Patrimony Fund Project)–founded and operates St. Joseph’s Primary and De Paul Secondary Schools in Oraifite in southeastern Nigeria. The schools integrate the instruction of deaf and hearing-impaired students with students having full hearing in the same (inclusive) classrooms.
St. Vincent De Paul Society and students
One of the highlights of the month of February at the schools was the visit by the members of National Council of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul. The entourage included Bro. Lazarus Akuh of the national office, the metropolitan president, Bro John Obi, and central council president, Bro Jerome Madueke. The visit brought joy to the hearing impaired children as you can see in the picture. The visitors were simply amazed at the magnitude of work being done by the Vincentian Fathers at the school. It became an opportunity for them to reiterate their commitment to collaborate closely with the province in providing basic education to the deaf children.
Students break dancing
Another exciting moment here was on March 1st, 2014. It was the day of the biennial inter-house sports competition in the school. The excitement of the children was absolutely incredible. They looked amazing in the various colors of their houses. There were seven competing houses/colors viz: the white house, yellow house, blue house, purple house, green house, red house, and pink house. The sporting activities were: football, table tennis, volleyball, match past, relay races, sack race, and egg race. The high points of the competition were the break dance performance by the deaf students that entertained the crowd, and the handing over of the trophy to the winner: the pink house. The invited guests and parents went home satisfied and fulfilled such that the drizzling rain could not deter the watching crowd.
Imagine one day working in a crowded city barrio, and being asked the next day to move far away to the Amazon River basin, where you can only reach some of the people you serve by boat? That’s the reality for missionaries of the Province of Fortaleza who bring the love, justice and hope of the Gospel to the poor in many very different places in northeastern Brazil. The March 2014 Bulletin of the VSO ( http://cmglobal.org/vso-en/files/2007/01/VSO-Bulletin-March-2014-English.pdf) highlights the works of the Province of Fortaleza, which is a beneficiary of the Vincentian Endowment Challenge (Patrimony Fund Project).
This short video also presents a good picture of the members of the Province of Fortaleza and the people they serve:
The Vincent Harbor project in Odessa in the Ukraine
The Congregation of the Mission is making progress on the Vincentian Endowment Challenge (Patrimony Fund Project)! We now only have $1,650,000 remaining to raise of the $5 million challenge grant. But we still need lots of help–especially with contacts for potential donors who are connected to our community and work.
Check out the December 2013 VSO Bulletin to learn about the Vice-Province of SS. Cyril and Methodius, one of the beneficiaries of the Vincentian Endowment Challenge: http://cmglobal.org/vso-en/files/2007/01/VSO-Bulletin-December-2013-English.pdf. The Vice-Province has a terrific new work serving the poor in the Ukraine: the Vincentian Harbor project.
Here’s a short video about the Vice Province of SS. Cyril and Methodius:
Dear Confreres and Friends,
Welcome to the website of the Vincentian Solidarity Office (VSO)!
The VSO continues its efforts to match a challenge grant to construct a Patrimony (endowment) Fund for several provinces of the Congregation of the Mission. The finanical resources of these provinces do not adequately support their call to evangelize and serve the poor. The Patrimony Fund Project will promote equality and solidarity within our Congregation and extend the charism of our founder, St. Vincent de Paul. We are calling our effort to match the challenge grant, the “Vincentian Endowment Challenge.”
The VSO asks confreres to help with the Vincentian Endowment Challenge by thinking of potential donors to the Patrimony Fund Project among their families, friends, and the people they serve. It would be most helpful if you forwarded contact information for these potential donors to the VSO (please see the Contact page in this website). We also encourage confreres to remember the Patrimony Fund Project in their wills.
Learn more about the Vincentian Endowment Challenge and Patrimony Fund Project at: www.cmglobal.org/patrimony-en.
Thank you for your interest in the VSO.
Father Miles Heinen, C.M.