From 7th to 11th November 2022, the Executive Committee of the International Vincentian Family (VFEC), came together in Rome for their annual meeting. The meeting was presided by Father Tomaž Mavrič, CM, Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission. Br. Lawrence Obiko CMM, superior general of the Brothers CMM, and Br. Broer Huitema CMM are members of this committee and were present in the meeting.
The members of the Committee discussed about various topics: evaluation of the work of the various Vincentian commissions and work groups, approving the 2023 budget, analysis of the homeless project and Vincentian action on behalf of the refugees from Ukraine, and organizing the International Meeting of the Leaders of the Vincentian Family.
Pope Francis blesses “Sheltering”
On Wednesday 9th of November the group was received by the Pope. On this day, at his usual Wednesday audience in St. Peter’s Square, Pope Francis blessed “Sheltering”, a sculpture that promotes the Vincentian Family’s “13 Houses Campaign”. The aim of this campaign is to provide material and spiritual help to people experiencing homelessness around the world.
The “Sheltering” sculpture was conceived to shed light on the problem of homelessness in the world and to promote practical solutions in line with the mission of the 13 Houses Campaign. For Father Tomaž Mavrič, “it is remarkable that 400 years after our founder St. Vincent de Paul provided 13 houses for abandoned children in Paris, the Vincentian Family Homeless Alliance can commemorate this past initiative by building similar houses for homeless people in different countries around the world. As Vincent said – ‘we must put our words into action’.”
“Sheltering” is a life-size bronze sculpture depicting the figure of a homeless person covered by a blanket pulled by a pigeon in flight. The sculpture is the work of Canadian artist, Timothy Schmalz.
“With Sheltering I wanted to highlight the plight of the homeless, offer them comfort and promote practical solutions such as the Vincentian Family 13 Houses Campaign”, Schmalz said of his reasons for creating the sculpture. He added: “It is everyone’s job to provide the homeless with a roof over their heads. To make them visible and address their needs.”