In “A True Vincentian Vocation: Being a Family of Faith and Service” John Maher, C.M., Vocation Director, reflects on the SJU celebration of the feast of St. Vincent and the recent letter of the Superior General, Fr. Tomas Mavric calling for fostering a culture of vocations

In celebrating the 400th anniversary of St. Vincent de Paul’s inspiration to follow Christ more deeply as an evangelizer and servant of the poor, it is a good time to reflect on how our Vincentian Family lives his charism of faith and service today. Being a disciple of Jesus in the way of St. Vincent cannot be a passing interest or occasional occupation, but a vocation, a call requiring a full, free response in what he called “Creative love unto infinity.” (CCD: vol.11, 102)

Fr. Tomas Mavric, Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission, has written and spoken throughout this year to remind Vincentian priests and brothers, Daughters of Charity, and laity of the branches of the Vincentian Family of the special vocation we all share as followers of Jesus in the way of St. Vincent. In his January 25 letter that began the observance of the 400th anniversary of the foundation of our Vincentian charism, Fr. Mavric wrote, “I invite every member of the Vincentian family to take one very concrete step…to bring one new candidate into the branches of the Vincentian Family.” To accomplish this goal, Fr. Mavric suggested a three-fold pathway: “prayer, personal contact, and accompaniment.” (Circular, January 25, 2017)

On Sunday September 24, 2017 at St. John’s University, members of the Vincentian Family gathered to pray, reflect, dine, and celebrate the foundation of our 400th anniversary. It began with a packed 5:30 pm Sunday Mass for the student community at SJU. There were confreres, Daughters of Charity, Ladies of Charity, members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, and our college seminarians from the MM House. In addition, students serving in the campus-based

Society of St. Vincent DePaul, the Ozanam and Catholic scholars, faculty fellows from the Vincentian Center for Church and Society also attended the Mass and dinner afterward.

The theme for the event was based on Sunday’s Gospel: “You, too go into my vineyard.”(Mt. 20:1-16) Vincentian Family members were challenged to see our charism as not being 400 years old, but rather as 400 years young. The Mass and dinner brought together many different members of the St. John’s University community and Vincentian Family to worship, pray, and share a meal together. All were given Vincentian-based tee shirts, mugs, cups, prayer cards, and a copy of Fr. Robert Maloney’s book “Turn Everything to Love.” It was a fine example of what Fr. Mavric called for in his latest circular: “to keep building a culture of vocations…as a vivid sign of the inseparable love toward the charism we have inherited.” (Circular September 20, 2017)

This special event, which began with a full St. Thomas More Church and continued with dinner at Marillac Commons for 120 members of the Vincentian Family, was co-sponsored by the Office of Vocation Ministry and St. John’s Office of Campus Ministry. Special thanks are due to Victoria Santangelo, Jim Walters, Br. Mike Sheerin, Sr. Patricia Evanick, and Tom Donoghue of Campus Ministry for their generous assistance in helping make this event such a special day for members of the Vincentian family and the St. John’s University community.