Fr. Gregory Semeniuk, Director of the Vincentian Solidairty Office, writes of collaboration with the Province of Ecuador.
The province of Ecuador numbers 30 confreres, two of whom have recently died of illness. Nine men are in formation of which, one will be ordained deacon in the summer. The V.S.O. has collaborated
with the Province of Ecuador over the past several years in projects that have helped restore aging infrastructure of the Vincentian seminary in Quito or build for new pastoral needs. Fr. Guido Molina, C.M., the acting provincial, served as my host. He was most attentive in showing me the present projects that the V.S.O. is helping to fund with help from our funding partners. The confreres were very proud of the work that has been done at our works in Quito. For example, the seminary rector, Fr. Juan Roberto Quiñones, showed me the painting of the interior and exterior of the seminary, the rebuilt terrace, the sun panels that heat the water, and the new lighting in the seminary chapel.
The other project of interest is the construction of the Centro Vicenciano de Formación. It stands adjacent to the seminary, and is used by the parish of Medalla Milagrosa, located the area of Pio Doce in Quito. The construction of the formation center was begun under the former pastor Fr. Marco Bayas, C.M. He continues as the confrere responsible for the project. With the aid of our funding partners, the VSO helped to finance the $125,500.00 USD addition of the second floor to the Centro Vicenciano de Formación. The parishioners worked very hard to contribute $48,000.00 USD of local funds. This was no small task, given that they had recently completed a capital campaign to remodel the parish church at a cost of $130,000.00 USD.
The Centro Vicenciano de Formación serves many groups: 400 children in catechesis, a large charismatic group, Legion of Mary, St. Vincent de Paul Society, the Association of the Miraculous Medal, and the Vincentian Marian Youth. The construction project is near its final phase with an expected completion date of June 15, 2017. However, the third floor stands in a crude state with just its interior supports and the exterior walls. The newly completed roof protects the building from the elements, especially, the abundant rain. The V.S.O. expects to collaborate as well in the completion of the third floor. Once fully completed, the project will boast an extra 9 spacious meeting rooms, in addition to the current first floor offices and meeting room.
On Wednesday, May 10th, our confreres, seminarians, and parishioners dedicated the nearly completed new second floor of the Centro Vicenciano de Formación. The leaders of the parish groups were well represented at the Mass of Thanksgiving and Dedication. Our seminarians, dressed in crisp albs, served as acolytes. Fr. Julio Palacios, C.M., the pastor, invited me to preside at the Mass. Fr. Marco Bayas, C.M. preached. He acknowledged the dedication of the parishioners and God’s providential guidance over the project. He spoke of the difficulties,
such as, the legal issues of the parish grounds, the impact of the earthquake of 2016, and the effects of the recent rains. He stated that the work represented God’s care for the Vincentian pastoral work at the parish. At the end of his homily, Fr. Marco called forward some of leaders. He acknowledged the work of the V.S.O. in
the success of the project, thanking by name, the staff of the V.S.O., namely, Fr. Miles Heinen, C.M. as the former executive director, Scott Fina, Ph.D. and María José Pacheco. Then Fr. Marco handed the V.S.O. a large plaque as a recognition of its valuable role in the project.
At the end of the Mass, but prior to the final blessing, Fr. Julio Palacios, C.M. carried in procession the Blessed Sacrament to the completed second floor of the center. The priest concelebrants and people followed and gathered in a circle for the blessing of the space. The mood was joyful as the holy water sprinkled over the building and faithful. But there was more. The project was running short on funds of $12,500.00 USD. Earlier in the day, Scott Fina assured me in an email that the V.S.O. would cover the shortfall in the funding. I thought what better time than now to make the announcement of the promised help. The people reacted to the news with immediate applause and gratitude.
In closing, the success of the projects in Ecuador extends beyond the staff of the V.S.O. It belongs to Fr. Tomaž Marvič, C.M., Superior General, our provinces, confreres, benefactors, and funding partners around the world. The joy of our confreres and the people represents the presence of the Holy Spirit-the confirmation of God’s work. Your support of the V.S.O. continues to make a difference.