A personal experience of a pilgrimage of the heart.


I spent most of this past weekend in Rome. I was not there physically. But I was there via the digital channels covering the historic Symposium of the Vincentian Family.


Among the more moving scenes in the online coverage two stand out for me. Both instances involved the Reliquary containing a relic of St. Vincent’s heart. Watching it being carried in procession impacted me greatly.


St. Peter’s Square

The first occurred in St. Peter’s Square. Two of our current novices were privileged to be among the four who carried the Reliquary platform through the throng of ten thousand to a resting place next to Pope Francis. I am certain that Scott Jakubowski and Cong Le will never forget the experience.I recall vividly my own reaction watching across thousands of miles. Here was St. Vincent’s heart and spirit literally moving through the world today.


Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.


The second instance was quite powerful in a different way. Some 8,000 members of the Vincentian Family attended the prayer service at Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls. They had just witnessed the entrance procession of flags from most the over 150 countries in which the Vincentian Family ministers. It was a tremendous experience of how widespread is the charism.



SIx young women used their arms to form a symbol of Vincent’s heart. Then the assembly hushed. Suddenly the basilica was filled with the thumping of a beating heart. From the entrance, the Reliquary containing the relic of St. Vincent’s heart was once more being carried forward.  St. Vincent’s beating heart moved through the aisle in preparation for veneration. Again, I was surprised at how much impact it had on me.


Click on the link to view the video of the event in St.Peter’s Square https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L11OcMCC4E


Perhaps it was because I experienced the three days as a retreat. Perhaps it was for reasons that I am not yet conscious of.  I think it simply touched something deep in my own heart and awoke the impulse that I first felt over 60 years ago.


Now my prayer is that all who were present, as well as those who watch the recorded video, will find their hearts touched and respond to the words of our Superior General when he concluded his homily.


Let us seek, together, new and creative ways to come to the assistance of the Poor. Our efforts, struggles, and common dreams cannot stop until Charity is globalized. Our common wish and dream is that more and more people will join the walk toward the Globalization of Charity. May numerous persons begin to follow the Vincentian Charism, joining the different lay associations within the Family, as well as the various women’s and men’s Congregations of Consecrated Life as sisters, brothers, and priests.
Dear young men and women from around the world, if you feel in your heart that Jesus is calling you today, called you during this three-day symposium, to join in our common mission by becoming part of a lay association or becoming a lay missionary, sister, brother, or priest, answer positively, with inner peace and conviction. You will be on the right path, the path that will lead you to the highest point of happiness and meaning in your life.


Click on the link to view the video of Mass https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lKf_zYSN8aQ