Several meetings and activities of the Council General International (CGI) were held from September 8 to 10. It is worth mentioning the International Board Meeting, and that of the International Commission for Aid and Development (CIAD). The agenda was completed with the visit to the tomb of Paul Lamache in his thematic year.
The international Board meeting was held on 8 September in Paris. Early in the morning and prior to the beginning of the scheduled agenda, the Board members visited the premises of the new international headquarters, at 65 rue de la Glacière.
During the visit to the new headquarters, the President General, our fellow member Renato Lima de Oliveira, stated: “We are paving the way for future generations within the CGI. The new headquarters will be more modern and functional, with larger areas and better equipped to carry out the work of all CGI members. Hence, we do hope that the CGI will be able to expand more easily, thus providing the Superior Councils and all Vincentians around the world with more services. I would like to congratulate the commission appointed for this mission, and particularly, our fellow member Bertrand Ousset, our Secretary General, who has zealously carried out this work“.
After the visit to the CGI’s new headquarters in Paris, the Board members pursued the scheduled agenda, meeting at the current headquarters at rue de Londres to discuss several items on the agenda, starting with the details regarding the change of headquarters: schedule for office relocation, the opening of the new offices (expected on 25 February 2020), the expansion of Ozanam museum and the implementation of a new space devoted to providing information on the SSVP.
Then, Fr. Andrés Motto CM, CGI’s spiritual advisor, dedicated the spiritual reflection to Blessed Frédéric Ozanam and his origins in Lyon, to the importance of having a family and a place to call home, intertwining this thought with the joint mission undertaken by the Vincentian Family with regard to Famvin Homeless Alliance and its ’13-Houses Campaign’, aimed at providing the homeless with decent housing.
After the spiritual reflection, the Treasurer General, Larry Tuomey, presented his report and his work regarding next year’s budget, commenting on the need to deliver a report on the Special Collect for Youth 2019, which was held on 4 July, aimed at supporting activities and initiatives undertaken by young people.
The CGI is actively working on three important meetings, which will be held jointly in Nairobi (Africa) in June 2020: the forthcoming CGI’s annual meeting, ‘All Africa’ meeting gathering all SSVP African countries, and the SSVP’s French-speaking-countries meeting. Joseph Makwinja, the 1st Vice-President General Deputy, was in charge of presenting the progress made with regard to the aforementioned meetings.
During the information session concerning the different CGI’s Commisions, the topics covered in the meeting were, among others, the following: the progress made on the Cause of Canonisation of Frédéric Ozanam, the different meetings held with the Vatican, the revision of the international statutes, the goals set for SSVP expansion through the setting-up of the Society in new territories and the progress made in international communication and formation. It is worth mentioning the release of the SSVP’s institutional video, the upcoming CGI’s web revamp, the thematic years as well as the literary contest in the thematic year of Paul Lamache. Furthermore, the International Commission for Historical Research is committed to looking into the possibility of recognising Frédéric Ozanam as Doctor of the Church. An initiative approved by both the President General and the rest of the Board members.
At the end of the meeting, and once all the participants presented the activities undertaken in 2019 and those to be carried out in 2020, the following was highlighted: The Board’s representation, the trip of the PGI, Renato Lima, to the UN headquarters in July 2019, and the invitation extended to the PGI by DePaul University in Chicago to discuss about the SSVP and the systemic change (February 2020). Moreover, it was noted that the forthcoming major Famvin meeting will be held next January in Rome, gathering leaders from many branches.
The following day, on the feast day of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, a small CGI delegation, led by the President General, visited the cemetery of Grenoble, the resting place of Paul Lamache. This event is enshrined within the thematic year devoted to Paul Lamache, regarded as one of the founding members of the first SSVP Conference.
The CIAD meeting, which was held on 10 September, concluded the international activities in Paris. The different topics and projects which are being carried out were outlined during the meeting. However, the focus of the meeting was the current situation in the Dorian-devastated Bahamas. The CIAD has approved an emergency plan for aid in the face of this natural disaster, with an initial transfer of money to Vincentians who are providing assistance on the ground (there are 9 Conferences in the Bahamas).
“These were days of in-depth meetings and debates. The international Board is striving to make the current CGI’s term of office very positive, expanding democracy and transparency across the decisions made. Successful management is pivotal for any entity; particularly, in institutions like ours. I am delighted with the work in progress, since we are complying with 10-top items set out in the strategic plan which was approved 3 years ago, at the beginning of my term of office.”, stated our President General.