Day 13, July 9: Sweet Home Chicago

After prayer, the assembly began as usual with the prayer for the assembly and the approval of the minutes. The Synthesis and Redaction Committee then presented the first draft of the final document. While waiting for copies of the document to arrive, the members of the committee — Frederic Pellefigue, Lennoxie Lusabe and Gabriel Naranjo Salazar — related its contents and theme. The title comes from the title of the assembly: 400 years of fidelity to the charism and the New Evangelization. Interculturalization, internationality, collaboration, solidarity and mercy are themes running through the document. Some questions and comments were made by several delegates before taking a break.

After the break, some copies of the draft arrived. Fr. Tomaz announced that the assembly would suspend discussion of the document until the members of the assembly could read and reflect on the document.

We then heard from a panel about various outreach ministries. Ramzi Jreige from the Province of the Orient in Lebanon showed a video and spoke about various ministries that he and his province have done to build up the faith, including charismatic preaching, reconciliation, small faith groups and catechesis. Then, Mr. Israel Perlata Perez presented on MISEVI in Spain (Vincentian Lay Missionaries), a member of the Vincentian Family made of up of lay women and men who take part in missions, both in their own country and abroad. He spoke about the shared mission with both the Congregation and the Daughters of Charity, then shared a video with reflections from the missionaries themselves about the joys and challenges of our shared mission to serve the poor. Lastly, Guillermo Campuzano, the CM NGO representative at the United Nations, spoke about how our presence at the UN helps to offer a global context for Vincentian efforts to be faithful to our charism. The “diakonia of truth, justice and peace” and the conversion spoke about in Laudato Si are the focus of this mission.

After some comments from some members of the assembly, the meeting ended and went to celebrate mass with Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago. On behalf of the community, Fr. Tomaz welcomed the Archbishop to our assembly and asked for his prayers. During his homily, Archbishop Cupich spoke about how the Vincentian charism is one that goes beyond the Congregation, how we participate in the mission of the church. He related a personal story of how his father got involved with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in his parish, leading to a transformation of his life as he served the elderly poor. After mass, the assembly took their group photo. Nothing more was scheduled for the day.