The President General answers on line the questions of the Vincentians from all over the world

Published on: 2 September 2019

For the first time, a “Talk Show” has been held live with the International President General. This new initiative gives the fellow members and the general public the possibility to chat directly with the President General. It took place on Saturday, 10 August, from the office of the International General Council in Brasilia, and thanks to the technology of Ozanam TV that broadcast live from its Facebook profile.

The experience has been more than satisfactory as many fellow members and those close to the SSVP could ask, in real time, questions to our president general about the issues related to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and the service provided by the International General Council. Besides, the President General sought to answer the questions in different languages, in order to make more participative this “talk show”, which had the national youth coordinator of Brazil, the sister Denise Ramos, as speaker.

The main issues, which raised the greatest interest, concerned the young, training, communication, the international strategic plan, the presence of the SSVP in the world and the canonization process of Frederic Ozanam.

In addition to these core issues, the President General answered other interesting questions as spirituality and the “need to deepen the charisma”, the Vincentian Family. “I would say that we are closer than ever to our brothers of the Vincentian Family and we participate in all the international commissions of the Famvin”. As for the Conferences of children and adolescents, the President stated, “Brazil is a model in this field and other countries are beginning to give importance to the service of the youngest”. About the position of the SSVP concerning the climate change, he stressed “the importance that all the SSVP countries are aware of this issue and of its impact on poverty”.

Everyone who enjoyed this “Talk Show” was able to appreciate the general president’s personal concern for the youth, which he said was “fundamental” to the SSVP due to their ability to “create new ideas, to foster change and new action models.” Furthermore, Renato Lima mentioned the founders of the SSVP, “all of them young”, and the need to return this youth to the institution. He stressed that one of the strategic lines is precisely to have, worldwide, 30% of fellow members under 35 years of age, offering a formula to invite the young to the SSVP, “for them to live the experience of a home visit, the activity which defines the Society of St. Vincent de Paul”.

As for training, Renato Lima stated that a good fellow member is a member that has received formation and is well prepared, remarking that “the General Council is supporting this idea with new international training issues” that are besides available to anyone through the official website of the International SSVP: www.ssvpglobal.org

The questions to the IGP on communication led him to say that the IGC needs to keep working in this field. “We have to enhance communication between ourselves, among the fellow members” in order to be aware of what is happening in the world, having a sense of belonging to the institution that makes us be concerned about what it does and communicates. It is necessary to visit the international website and the social media profiles of the International General Council, to keep up-to-date with their communications, information and proposals. “Externally, we must make ourselves more known”, assign more resources to communication in order to raise awareness and encourage many others to participate in this divine blessing which is the belonging to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The president general addressed a question to all those who were participating in this “Talk Show”: “What would Ozanam have done with the means that are available to us today? How would he have positioned himself in the social media and in Internet?

With regard to questions on the international strategic plan, the IPG referred to it as the roadmap of the International General Council, the only objective way of measuring the development of the SSVP in 10 key aspects for the institution. “It is necessary to set objectives to be met,” to take the SSVP to more countries, support the National Councils with specific measures, to create new global training modules, strengthen the twinning between Conferences and Councils, to promote partnerships with other entities having a mission similar to the SSVP.

As for the concern of the fellow members about the SSVP global presence, Renato Lima mentioned that currently we are present in 138 countries and 149 territories, since there are areas of the same country that, for cultural or historical reasons, maintain a territorial division. On this issue, the essential thing is the thirst to evangelize, to reach others in the territories where the SSVP does not yet have a voice. With God’s help, said Renato Lima, “I hope that throughout my term of office we can spread to 15-20 more countries.”

In the process of canonization of Frederic Ozanam, the President General was very optimistic that Ozanam might be declared a saint. “There are at least 5 cases that have presumably been solved by the intercession of Ozanam, true miracles that, should they be confirmed, would speed the cause of canonization of our main founder.”

Finally, a somewhat personal question made the president general crack a smile, “How do you manage to serve the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, go to work, and be with your family?” Renato Lima replied, “Only God knows and only thanks to Him I can do it.”

Due to the pleasant experience and the good reception of this first “Talk Show” with the President General, a second edition will take place on October 27, at 6 p.m. UTC.

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