Have ever heard or experienced the truth of that statement?

Many today are feeling that way. 

We are seeing the replay of decades of hostility in the region of Jesus’ birth!

Fast forward to when our early ancestors came to what is now called the United States. They dreamed of religious freedom and starting anew. Today we see new versions of the conflicts they were fleeing.

Obviously, we are always called to take stock… in religious language…examine our consciences.

A corporate case study

Twenty-five years ago, the Congregation of the Mission engaged in what amounted to a corporate examination of conscience.

I was a delegate in Rome at the 1998 General Assembly of the Congregation of the Mission.

Meeting every six years, these assemblies are most authoritative, above even the Superior General.

I sometimes reread its final document as an examination of conscience. I suspect most branches of the Vincentian Family have documents they could use for corporate examination.

The theme then wasCollaboration with the Vincentian Family.”

It’s convictions…

“The vitality of the Vincentian charism does not belong exclusively to the Congregation of the Mission.”

“Solicitude for the poor, in the following of Christ, belongs to the very heart of the Gospel and is a sign of Christian authenticity and of belonging to the community of Jesus’ disciples.”

“We recognize, as members of the Congregation of the Mission, the need for a change of heart if we are to collaborate generously with other members of the Vincentian Family and so recognize the gifts and talents of others in promoting the reign of God.

Its Commitments

“For these reasons, we commit ourselves to create the conditions for collaboration with members of the Vincentian Family by:

  • listening to one another
  • getting to know one another
  • sharing experiences of working with the poor
  • praying and reflecting together;
  • set up structures to coordinate what is already taking place, or will take place at local provincial, interprovincial and international levels, so that the different levels complement one another and subsidiarity is respected.

Does the above sound like “synodality” or ”walking together?’

“Each province or group of provinces will make every effort to incorporate into its initial and ongoing formation programs elements which reflect our relationship with the worldwide Vincentian Family.

The following holds specific challenges for me

“Today the mass media continue to develop. A major issue is whether the poor will be able to participate in information technology so as to break out of the cycle of poverty and sit at the table with others, making their voice heard; and whether the Congregation of the Mission will use these new means in the service of mission.

“The Internet is a powerful vehicle which can unite people. When used well it can foster human relationships and solidarity.

As such it can be used for

  • formation,
  • collaboration,
  • advocacy on behalf of those who have no voice, and for
  • evangelization.


The Congregation of the Mission, through its members and structures, commits itself to:

  • take initiatives in fostering access by the poor themselves to the mass media so that they may participate in the benefits of communications technology;
  • establish a worldwide communication network and actively foster its use, providing economic and technological assistance where necessary;
  • seek actively the involvement of the wider Vincentian Family in accomplishing these objectives, and especially encourage the mutual distribution of publications through the Internet.

Food for thought

I think every branch has similar documents! I have seen some.

Could your official documents serve as an examination of conscience from time to time?