More than 200 people gathered from all over the United States. More than 70 priests and brothers, 2 Vincentian Bishops, representatives of the Daughters of Charity and many other branches of the Vincentian Family. And, oh yes, international representatives from Europe, South America, Africa and Asia.
Here in Germantown, we marked the arrival in the United States of these 13 brave men 200 years ago.
The President of St. John’s University, one of the largest Catholic Universities in the US and his wife, the first lay Chair of the Board from Niagara, as well as folks who serve on Provincial Committees, and Administrators from the Central Association of the Miraculous Medal all attended.
Parishioners from Charlotte, Southampton, Emmitsburg, and St. Vincent’s in Germantown. Our seminarians from Theology, Internal Seminary, and Philosophy were also with us
Bishop David O’Connell returning to his roots in the seminary here caputre the spirit of the day in his homily.
When sending forth his first missionaries, St. Vincent de Paul said “our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but to all over the world, and to do what? To set people’s hearts on fire, to do what the Son of God did. He came to set the world on fire in order to inflame it with his love.”200 years ago, that number was 13.But their fidelity was great, profound, inspiring, deeper, larger, more consequential than they ever imagined.They set America “on fire” with Christ ‘s love; and the flame is still burning,
- burning for the poor and abandoned
- burning for those in formation for priestly ministry;
- burning for those in countless churches longing to hear God’s Word;
- burning in their confessionals, for those aching for God’s mercy;
- burning for those in schools and universities seeking knowledge and wisdom;
- burning in hospitals and prisons;
- burning for and with the Daughters of Charity and the wider Vincentian family;
- burning at home and in mission lands;
- burning for justice and peace and inclusion and wholeness and Christ’s love.
This has always been and remains our charism and our mission; our place and our role in the Church; our sermon in the pulpit and on the city’s streets.