“To set the world on fire..”
This is how Vincent described the vocation of members of the Congregation of the Mission:
So, our vocation is to go, not just to one parish, not just to one diocese, but 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.
Vincent de Paul – May 30, 1659 (SV XII, 215)
On August 16, 2017, four men opened themselves to being set on fire to serve those who are poor and on the peripheries.
Walner Diaz, Cong Viet Le, and James Muller, all from the Eastern Province, together with Scott Jakubowski from the Province of the West, officially became members of the Congregation of the Mission. They also entered into what is known as the Internal Seminary or Novitiate year. This is a program geared to fan into flame the spirit of those who have been attracted to the vision of St. Vincent.
Walner Diaz, 30 hails from San Simon, Morazan El Salvador, his home. He likes to: play guitar and work out. “I believe God has given me a profound desire to serve the poor in the Vincentian spirit.”
Cong Viet Le, 33 is from Greensboro, NC. He likes to: read, play and watch soccer, and prepare Vietnamese food for his brother seminarians! “I want to be priest, and to serve among the poor in the Vincentian way.”
James Muller, 25 comes from Stewartstown, PA. He likes to play soccer, work out, hang out with friends He also says “I feel that God is leading me down a path that will help me grow more deeply as a person.”
Scott Jakubowski comes to the Internal Seminary via the Province of the West. “I was happy with my career, but I could tell something was missing, I knew I needed to make a change.I gave up excellent pay, benefits and a career I loved (at NASA), but I knew that this was where God was calling me,” Scott says.
We welcome them to the Congregation of the Mission and this next phase in their formation.
In the words of our official documents, the Internal Seminary is a time:
• To begin to live in a wholehearted manner the life of a Vincentian Missionary;
• To experience in Jesus Christ the reason and the impetus for one’s firm and unwavering dedication to the Mission;
• To acquire a solid spiritual foundation that enables the individual to live the Vincentian vocation in a consistent and joyful manner;
• To understand and to affirm the demands of the vows and the five virtues;
• To make a decision to continue the formation process with the intention of committing oneself to the following of Jesus Christ, the evangelizer of the poor … and doing this for the whole of one’s life and as a member of the Congregation of the Mission.
Our official documents go on to speak of the characteristics and mission of the Congregation:
“St. Vincent did not wish the Congregation or its members to be “religious” (in the canonical sense), or bound by the obligations of monastic life, not even by the obligation to recite the Divine Office in common.
For St. Vincent, the spirituality of the Congregation, and life in community – as well as the pronouncing of the vows – were intended to serve the mission: “following Christ evangelizing the poor.”
Our internal seminary, therefore, provides seminarians with opportunities to experience and reflect upon the interplay of Christ-centeredness, prayer, life together, and dedicated service. They begin to live wholeheartedly the Vincentian way of being ‘contemplatives in action.'”
Bl. John Henry Newman seems to capture the spirit of the Internal Seminary in the words of one of his hymns:
“And love light up our mortal frame,
Till others catch the living flame.”
In a sense, this is also true of all of us.