Scottish Vincentians celebrate in Rome

SCOTTISH Vincentians joined thousands of fellow members from across the world in Rome last week for a special anniversary.

Over 90 countries were represented at the International Symposium of the Vincentian Family last week.

It commemorated the 400th anniversary of the charism of St Vincent de Paul on the theme of ‘Welcome the Stranger’.

Mary McGinley, a member of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) at St Joseph’s in Helensburgh said: “It helped renew our Vincentian spirituality – because we got to meet so many members from other parts of the world, heard their stories and discussed what we can do better.”

Matt Meade, a member at SS John & Columba, Rosyth, added: “The symposium put into perspective just how big the SSVP is across the world – we met people from Peru, Botswana, the US, Australia – all sharing a common goal to help the poor practically and spiritually.

“There was a great sense of shared joy at all the events we attended.”

Pope Francis praised Vincentians at a session at St Peter’s Square on Saturday, telling them: “We thank you for your person, your gift to the church and to the world, and to the poor,” 

He also emphasised the need for Vincentians to make prayer the centre of their life, saying that St Vincent himself encouraged those he worked with to “cultivate the interior life, and to dedicate themselves to prayer, which purifies and opens the heart.”