The Way of St. Vincent Is Our Way. Introduction

Francisco Javier Fernández ChentoCharismLeave a Comment

Author: Miguel Pérez Flores, C.M. & Antonino Orcajo, C.M. · Translator: Charles T. Plock, C.M.. · Year of first publication: 1986.
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Saint Vincent, in the exercise of his priesthood, came face to face with the poor. Through this encounter, Vincent knew that he looked on the face of Christ. This experience was Vincent’s moment of truth, brought to light by charity: as the image of Christ, mediator of a new world, the poor became Saint Vincent’s way, the door by which he must enter. This experience revealed to Saint Vincent the meaning of his vocation: to serve the poor… Each one of us, as well as our local communities, must walk in the way Saint Vincent has shown us. In this, our conversion to the poor becomes our way of following Jesus Christ.

Document of the 1974
General Assembly, 14, 16

Preface to the Spanish edition

This book contains theological-spiritual reflections as well as historical and canonical comments on the Constitutions and Statutes of the Congregation of the Mission. The purpose of the authors is twofold. First, we wish to help the confreres, whatever their age or apostolic work, in a thoughtful reading of our Constitutions and Statutes, approved by the Holy See, June 29, 1984, hoping that this reading will lead them to a deeper understanding. Second, we wish to enrich the mental prayer of the confreres by presenting those most fundamental themes that characterize the life and mission of the Little Company in the Church.

To be accurate, however, we are not dealing here with a Book of Meditations for the use of the Congregation; rather we offer reflections on our Constitutions and Statutes, which might be useful as meditation material.

The structure of each reflection is simple. The title of the study gives unity to the reflection and is woven through each of its parts. Introduced by a text from the New Testament, a selection from our Constitutions is presented, which is the object of the reflection. After a general orientation to the proposed theme, three points are developed, using texts from Saint Vincent’s writings, Vatican II Documents and recent Papal Documents. To personalize reflection, two or three questions are added at the end, and finally, a prayer, taken from the Roman Missal or from Saint Vincent, concludes the reflection.

The meaning of these different parts is obvious. The Constitutions are the fruit of our meditation on the Gospel, on the life and teaching of our Founder, and on their meaning in today’s Church. The reflection ends with an opportunity for practical resolutions, because either our Constitutions become a way of life for us or else they are useless. The final prayer is, above all, an invitation to personal prayer.

In the appendix, we have added the traditional prayers of the Congregation, which were usually recited in the Community on certain days as a way of deepening our consecration. This tradition is worthy of renewal.

In order to clarify the meaning of our Constitutions and Statutes, the authors of El Camino de San Vicente es Nuestro Camino have assembled the texts from different sources and have given brief introductions. We are honored to have been able to render this service to the Company and to each one of our brothers.

Miguel Perez Flores and Antonio Orcajo
Burgos, Italy
January 25, 1986

Introductory letter of the Superior General to the Spanish edition

We, as members of the Congregation of the Mission, often ask ourselves and others the question: “What would Saint Vincent be doing today?” In attempting to answer this question, we can easily err by projecting our own personal ideas onto Saint Vincent and interpreting his thoughts in a very subjective manner.

One of the merits of this book is that it allows Saint Vincent to speak for himself—to speak to us, his followers, who must live in today’s world. The publication of this book, which freely cites the works of Saint Vincent and the text of our Constitutions approved by the Holy See, help us to respond objectively to the question: “What would Saint Vincent be doing today?”

This work, patiently and carefully put together by Father Miguel Perez Flores, C.M. and Father Antonino Orcajo, C.M., can serve several purposes, especially our meditation or mental prayer. Faithful to Saint Vincent’s conviction that having good thoughts without putting them into practice is an incomplete prayer, simple questions have been added at the end of each reflection. These questions suggest ways in which Saint Vincent’s spirituality might be incarnated in real life. Like the Psalms, these reflections ought to be read in a meditative way if we wish to receive the wealth that they contain.

I thank Father Perez Flores, C.M. and Father Orcajo, C.M. for this contribution to our Vincentian spirituality and, like Saint Vincent, I ask God to give the gift of prayer to the Congregation.

Richard McCullen, C.M.
Superior General
January 25, 1986

Introduction to the English edition

The deed is done. It is with relief and joy that I write this introduction after almost two and a half years of translating and editing this work of Father Flores-Perez, C.M. and Father Antonio Orcajo, C.M.

Some comments about this translation. This work is a translation of the Spanish text, not the original French or Latin—this may account for some of the changes in the expressions used. This work is not a literal translation, but rather a translation into hopefully good English—this accounts for the way in which certain phrases and words have been translated. Many individuals worked on different parts of the text. After these translations were received, they were edited so that a consistent English style could be maintained. The official Church documents used in the text often contained lengthy sentences. In order to make the reading easier, many of these sentences were broken into two or three or more. Also, the texts often used the phrase “man” or “men” and, wherever possible, inclusive language was used. These same principles were applied to the works of Saint Vincent. Finally, the Scripture readings at the beginning of each reflection were taken from various translations.

On the next page is a list of contributors who helped in the translation of this work. I wish to single out one of those individuals, Thomas S. Krafinski, C.M., who read this entire work several times, making corrections and suggestions in order to attain a smooth, contemporary English. Without his help, this work would never have been completed and readied to be presented for publication. We often argued about phrases and the meaning of words and placement of phrases and punctuation and capitalization—all with the hope of presenting the best possible text to you, the reader. I thank Tom for the many, many hours he spent on this text. I, however, take responsibility for any errors in the translation of this text.

In translating this work, I have learned much about Saint Vincent and our heritage. I hope that as we read and pray this work, we will be renewed in our spirit, and in our life together.

Charles T. Plock, C.M.

Thank you, all of you, for your contribution to this work:

  • Joseph Agostino
  • Frances Berryhill
  • Georgia Breszler, D.C.
  • Luisa Bullock
  • Blanca Calderon
  • Jeanette Capella
  • Sandra Carrero
  • Esperanza Castro
  • Andrea Catalan
  • Julie Colon
  • James Claffey, C.M.
  • Maria Concha
  • Gerard Deitzer, C.M.
  • Michael Delaney
  • Marisol Diaz
  • Maria DiCarlantonio
  • Tara Di Mino
  • Melissa Dinan
  • Arthur Marie Donnelly, D.C.
  • Joanne Dress, D.C.
  • James Gleason, C.M.
  • Jane Graves, D.C.
  • Steve Grozio, C.M.
  • Yvette Guzman
  • Elizabeth H. Handler
  • Sue Ellen Harrington
  • Karen Hollenshead
  • Dennis Holtschneider, C.M.
  • Thomas Hynes, C.M.
  • Maria Innis
  • Anna Jimenez
  • Jennifer Jiski
  • John Kane, C.M.
  • Jennifer Kelly
  • Arthur Kolinsky, C.M.
  • Thomas Krafinski, C.M.
  • Charles Kreig, C.M.
  • Carlos Lazarus
  • Carmela Leone
  • Peter Lowengueth, C.M.
  • Gustavo Machado
  • Chiquita Mastrangelo
  • John Mendez
  • Cisca Meyo
  • Anne Marie Minchong
  • Angela Mulligan, D.C.
  • Christine Mura, D.C.
  • Sally Nowak
  • James O’Keefe, C.M.
  • Vincent O’Malley, C.M.
  • Aurora Ortiz
  • Antonio Portilla
  • Jose Portillo
  • James Reho
  • Nina Rich
  • Juana Ruch
  • Madeline Saldwar
  • Rafael San Martin
  • Constancio Soto
  • Mary Jean Tague, D.C.
  • Yamila Torres
  • Mario Vincenzino
  • Erica Weiler
  • Denise Williams, D.C.
  • Catherine Wilson
  • Michael Wilson
  • Angela Yargo
  • Janet Zandr
  • Kelly Zero

…much reflective prayer and reading of our constitutions is called for and it is my hope, and indeed the hope of us all, that these constitutions will be the means that will enable us more effectively to love what Saint Vincent loved and practice what he taught.

Richard M. McCullen, C.M.
Presentation of the Constitutions
September 27, 1984

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