Our Seminarians recently attended the Vincentian Family Gathering in San Antonio, Texas in early June, and here they share their thoughts on the experience:
Leo Tiburcio: “It was good to see and share with many people, religious and laity, who follow Jesus Christ through the Vincentian spirituality. It shows that God really cares for his lowly sons and daughters who seek peace for themselves and families. The experience taught me how to be ready to welcome the stranger, how to response to their needs, and how to meet God by welcoming them. The meeting also taught me that God had called me to serve the needy, especially the migrants. Since I, too, left home and country, I understand the migrant. Both they and I speak the same language of a common experience. Praises to God for the Vincentian Family.”
Tom King: “The Vincentian family has a crucial role in raising awareness on a local and political awareness regarding the people affected by the policies in place. All Vincentians are called to welcome the stranger, to be available to the stranger, to walk a journey with the migrant, and to promote change that would allow families and afflicted people to make a new life for themselves. with the help of the hands of a Vincentian eager to love and care and be a voice for those who are unheard, migrants and refugees can come to know the love of God.”
Eric Sanchez: “The Vincentian gathering exceeded my expectations. Since I am also an immigrant and for some time I was also undocumented, I identify with the stories of entire immigrant community. From now on, I will attempt to be more informed about the current immigration situation in this country and be bold and courageous to denounce with prudence the injustices committed against the immigrant and undocumented community. I will also be open and ready to help those who ask me for help.”
Joseph Swaris: “The Vincentian Family Gathering offered me a lot of resources and materials for speaking and ministering as a Vincentian. Last year’s topic of the General Assembly was, welcoming the stranger. If we realize the signs of the times, the strangers are the refugees and undocumented who suffer the most. That’s going to be a future mission of the Province of Germany-Austria. The Vincentian Gathering helped me discover my vocation more deeply.”
Rok Zelender: “It has been an invaluable experience to meet so many different Vincentian branches that are striving to do something good in this broken world. The structure of the conference was good and the voices of immigrants (Yessenia and Yohannes) were heartbreaking and full of emotions. Also, all other presenters were well prepared and interesting to listen to. And most importantly, they gave me a lot of new information about the topic of migration. The main question for me at this moment is: What can I do? After having a little more knowledge on migration I need to make sure that I am aware of this situation, not only in USA but also in Slovenia and Europe where my future lies. I will try to stay informed on the topic of migration and try to implement some of the ideas that were listed by the participants of the Vincentian Family Gathering participants. We need to work together. May God help us all in recognizing and welcoming the stranger in our lives!”
Fr. Emmet Nolan, C.M.: “On Holy Trinity weekend, a feast very close to St. Vincent’s heart, the many branches of St. Vincent’s family gathered around a painful reality for millions of our beloved brothers and sisters – immigration and migration. As we deepened the bonds of our friendship through prayer, study and sharing we became ever so much more aware of God’s guiding and sending providence for us to continue to welcome, advocate and love the stranger among us.”
Fr. Jack Timlin, C.M.: “I was very happy that the seminarians and I attended the Vincentian Gathering. The issue was critical to our people, because it dealt with the sufferings of the immigrants. It gave us concrete ways of accompanying the immigrants.
It was wonderful to see so many young people who are concerned about the poor and marginalized.
What our nation is doing at the detention centers is immoral. It took away from the event that I have to do more especially as a citizen on behalf of those who are refugees and immigrants.”
Luis Romero: “I had a wonderful experience. There is much diversity to the Vincentian Family. It helps my vocation to see all these people.”