On 09 September 2018, we will be recalling the two years since our new Management Board of the International Council General took up its role under the presidency of our fellow member Renato Lima de Oliveira, for a six-year term (2016/2022). Renato Lima is the first Ibero-American member to fill the position of SSVP President General.
We thank God for all the members who have taken on a service responsibility in the international structure, who have accepted important missions and tasks around the world, faithfully representing the SSVP, for the effective fulfilment of the strategic plan of our Confederation.
In this term of office, some specific progress has been made in international management, continuing the good work of the earlier presidencies. We can mention some of these: a) creation of the General Mediation service (ombudsman); b) strengthening the international structure; c) launching the “SSVP Plus” project (expansion); d) seeking new cooperation agreements and international accords with charitable or philanthropic organisations; e) creation of the International Solidarity Fund (ISF); f) expansion of the role of the Committee for International Aid and Development (CIAD); and g) promoting the history and legacy of our founders.
In the field of communications, the publication of Circular Letters has been resumed, as well as the publishing of the “Ozanam Network” newsletter, the new webpage and live broadcasts of the main CGI meetings on Ozanam TV. Use of social networks has also been promoted, and the “Seven Founders” film festival has also been launched.
In the field of training, the “International Themed Years” have been launched (2018: Year of Lallier), the “Charity in Hope” medal, the weekly spiritual readings (available on the website), the “Praying in Unity 10-20-30” project and new modules have been added to the Universal training course.
In the field of youth, the 4th July has been named “International Day of SSVP Youth”, and in June 2018, the 2nd SSVP International Youth Meeting was held, very successfully, in Salamanca (Spain). The next youth meeting will be on (day, month) 2023.
We would also like to note that we have managed to make progress on the canonization process for Frédéric Ozanam, with the revelation of some possible further miracles, and also to comment that relations with the Catholic Church continue to be very close, with the practical participation by SSVP in two Vatican bodies (the “Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life” and the “Dicastery for the Service of Integral Human Development”).
Another important matter is that of the institutional journeys undertaken by the President General to 16 countries in 2017 and to 15 countries in 2018, always with the generous support of the host Superior Councils. Territorial Vice-Presidents have also visited the countries, taking the message of unity spread by the Council General.
“This progress has only been possible for four reasons: 1) the strong commitment of the members of the Board; 2) the professional level of the staff at the Paris head office; 3) the harmony and unity with Superior Councils; and 4) the full support of our own families. All this has given the Council General a positive, favourable environment to deliver our services. For all this, we thank God for the projects, programmes and initiatives of the present mandate. My thanks to you, and I ask you for your prayers, to continue supporting this Board with your generosity, as you have been doing up to now”, emphasises our President Renato Lima.
The 12th President General, Amin de Tarrazi, emphasises how the leadership of the Council incarnates and mobilises the values and virtues of Saint Vincent de Paul and Frédéric Ozanam. “May our Lord and the Virgin Mary continue to inspire the leaders of the Council General so that their initiatives and undertakings remain always at the service of charity and the Church,” commented Amin de Tarrazi.
Similarly, the 15th President General, Michael Thio, emphasized the strengths of the CGI in the area of training. “Very significant is the continuing and depeening of the Spiritual Formation of Vincentians which is key to the very foundation and fundamentals of the Society as a truly global Catholic Lay Apostolate Organization in the apostolate of charity and love. We wish you well and may the good Lord bless you and Mother Mary intercedes on behalf of all of you and CGI team”, asserts Michael Thio.
The International Council General was founded in July 1839, with Emmanuel Joseph Bailly de Surcy as the 1st President General. In 2019 the CGI will mark 180 years of existence, and we are preparing a series of innovative ideas for celebrating this occasion. The new management plan for the International Structure will also be produced in 2019.
Once more, we ask for your prayers for the success of this mandate, for the aims of our beloved Society.