As part of the 350th anniversary of the legacies of Sts. Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac, the Office of Mission and Values coordinated a National Vincentian Young Adult Convocation held on June 19 – 21, 2010. The primary goal was for the convocation to be organized for Vincentian youth by Vincentian youth.
Comprised of members from various organizations that share the Vincentian charism, the convocation was a unique opportunity to develop the vision, capacity, and skills necessary for Vincentian lay leadership. In the spirit of the Vincentian tradition, the convocation included: service, reflection, workshops, worship and celebration. The event was sponsored by the President's Office and the Office of Mission and Values at DePaul University, Niagara University, St John's University, Colorado Vincentian Volunteers, Gateway Vincentian Volunteers, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Vincentian Lay Missionaries, Vincentian Service Corps Central, and Vincentian Service Corps West.
Participants came from near and far; as close as across the street in the Vincent and Louise House. To across the country spanning from Los Angeles and Washington State in the West, to St. Louis, Colorado, Texas and Milwaukee in the Midwest; to New York City, Niagara and Washington D.C. in the east. The Convocation also hosted a few international guests from Nova Scotia, Canada; Nairobi, Kenya; and Rome, Italy as we were joined by Fr. Manuel Ginete, C.M. Delegate of the Superior General to the Vincentian Family, representing for Fr. Gregory Gay, C.M. Sr. Patricia Connolly, D.C., Representative to the United Nations: Social Justice Committee of the Daughters of Charity, St. Louis and Evansville Provinces delivered the Keynote Address. Of the 143 participants of the Convocation: 58 were students, 21 volunteers, 11 alumni, 12 faculty and 27 staff members.
The Convocation partnered with seven community based organizations in Chicago for an afternoon of service. The participating organizations were: Deborah’s Place, Jumpstart, Lincoln Park Community Shelter, Little Sisters of the Poor, New Mom’s Inc., REST and Salvation Army. Seventy-nine convocation attendees participated in service for a combined total of 237 hours of service. Service activities included: clearing up storage space, creating literacy kits, setting up activities for seniors, helping with indoor cleaning, outdoor landscaping and sorting Christmas presents.
Overall the Convocation was a success. Participants enjoyed the opportunity to “engage with people in community from different institutions… and creating a space for Vincentians from diverse places to be together.” One participant expressed, “I feel as if I have a clearer understanding of who I want to be!” Another participant expressed, “Every concurrent session that I went to just pulled more out of me… it allowed me to broaden my Vincentian perspective. I really feel more equipped to spread the mission I believe in so strongly.”
During the “Burning Issues Open Forum” participants engaged on issues they felt were most pertinent to Young Adult Vincentians today and had an opportunity to develop action plans. The following are a few examples of what participants feel needs to happen now: Development of a Blog/Newsletter which engages young adults from all Vincentian Institutions; Development of ‘MISEVI USA’; Development of cross-institution service trip; and a plan to institutionalize the National Vincentian Young Adult Convocation, ex. Niagara University 2011.
Charity Alive Article (Starts on Page 3)