The global leaders of the Vincentian family converged at St.
John's University from July 1 to 13 for an intense, two-week
gathering focused on the direction and future of the Congregation
of the Mission.
One of the reasons St. John's was chosen for the Visitors
Meeting was to showcase the many ways the University is embodying
the Vincentian Mission, both locally and globally, said Rev.
Gregory Gay, C.M., Superior General of the Congregation of the
"I wanted to bring home the fact that our Universities—St.
John's in particular—are doing great work in terms of service to
the poor," Fr. Gay stressed. "There are any number of programs that
are really connected to our charism of evangelizing and helping
those in need."
Visitors from more than 50 Vincentian provinces around the
world came together to discuss, pray and reflect upon critical
issues facing the Congregation, such as its relationship with the
laity and challenges to carrying out its mission in today's world.
A number of presentations included opportunities for questions and
The meeting was scheduled at the halfway point between the
Congregation's general assemblies, which take place every six
years. "There we discuss themes involved in the present and future
of the Congregation," Fr. Gay observed. "This serves as a kind of
progress report in terms of our direction as a body."
Rev. Michael Carroll, C.M., Provincial of the Eastern Province
of the Congregation of the Mission and former Executive Vice
President for Mission and Branch Campuses at St. John's, was
pleased the University was chosen as the venue for the meeting. He
noted that many of the confreres who attended pursued language
studies at St. John’s themselves and have sent their priests to the
University for their education.
"I think the University can be very proud of the Vincentian
spirit that's alive at St. John's," Fr. Carroll said. "Showcasing
the work of the Vincentians and our colleagues on this campus who
serve the Church in the spirit of St. Vincent represents a moment
of great pride."
"Anything that helps keep us focused on who we are as
Vincentians has value, and that's what this meeting seeks to do,”
he added. “We're focusing on what it means to serve the Church as a
Vincentian. We're called to be missionaries—we're people who are
always moving on from where we are to do other things and serve new
Fr. Gay noted that in the midst of the two-week meeting the
Visitors spent one day touring New York City, concluding with a
visit to Ground Zero. "That was powerful," he observed. "The
message there was of the country coming together to support one
another and receiving support from other countries. It was a good
sign of the solidarity that exists between human beings in moments
of crisis and tragedy, and parallels what we hope to accomplish
Reflection, Preparation, Collaboration
Rev. Elie DelPlace, C.M., Provincial of the Congregation of the
Mission in Paris, observed, "The meeting has allowed us to open our
minds to other realities. It's a place where we can develop new
projects and new initiatives. We can enrich each other and go
forward." He added that Vincentian universities like St. John's are
called to take a leadership role in the formation of new
"I've been presented with pages of material outlining what the
student body of St. John's has done in terms of the Vincentian
charism, and it makes me feel good,” Fr. Gay added. “This is what
we're supposed to be doing—passing it on. It's not just about what
the priests and the sisters do. It's about what we all do
"The meeting is an opportunity to plan for the future," said
Rev. Nicola Albanesi, C.M., Provincial of the Congregation of the
Mission in Rome. "It expands our global view of what's occurring in
our community. It opens our minds and puts our problems in
perspective. Here we develop concrete solutions."
Fr. DelPlace and Fr. Albanesi were instrumental in the creation
of the Paris and Rome campuses respectively, and spoke highly of
their successful collaboration with Fr. Carroll and St. John's. Fr.
DelPlace observed, "We responded to a need that St. John's had and
they did the same for us. It was providence that we built something
Visit the Congregation of the
Mission online for more information about the Visitors'