May the grace and peace of the Holy Spirit be with us forever.
From January 6–13, 2020, Fr. Rafael Pisso, S.T., and I will travel to Rome to attend The Vincentian Family Moving Forward Symposium at the invitation of the Vincentian Family. We will be representing the Cenacle Family as well as our branch in this first ever gathering of all the major superiors of the Vincentian Family worldwide. Both Fr. Rafael and I have been invited to participate by presiding at one of the Liturgies and serving on a panel during the event. We are both excited and honored to attend this event.
Why are we attending? There is no doubt that our ST/Cenacle spirituality is profoundly rooted from its beginnings in the spirituality, and spiritual practices of St. Vincent de Paul. In many ways, Fr. Judge brought them “wholesale” into our prayers and practices. Although Fr. Judge had his issues with the Vincentian leadership in the U.S. at the time of the beginnings of the Cenacle, he never left the Vincentian congregation and died as a Vincentian. What Fr. Judge perhaps revitalized from the Vincentian tradition was the notion of the key role of the laity in accomplishing the mission, especially in service to the poor and abandoned. His prophetic stance of the laity as “missionaries” – “Every Catholic an Apostle” – and organizing the laity as a fulfillment of their baptismal commitment was a further development of this theology.
The Vincentian Family is, perhaps, one of the most universal, and largest of the union of communities, lay and religious, in the Church with a united vision of serving the poorest and most abandoned. Joining with, and working within this “family”, I believe, is consistent with the vision, and hope of Fr. Judge to multiply the good by gathering up all the various groups with a similar spirituality as a “power for good”. This united effort, and our participation in it, can be more effective, and be multiplied tremendously by becoming part of this larger Family.
In recent years, the Vincentian Family has become more and more aware of the unique contribution of Fr. Judge. They are eager to learn more of him and to even learn from us as a unique expression of the charism. Our hope is that by participating we can learn, share ideas, share Fr. Judges contribution to the larger Vincentian charism, and be a more effective power for good. Please keep us, and this effort in your prayers.