General Assembly 2016 NEWS
New Leadership Team for the Congregation of the Mission
I can announce to you the New Assistants of the Vincentian Curia, The first to be elected is Fr. Aaron Gutierretz from Mexico. He was born in 1951. He is the Visitor of Mexico. Well known to many of the Spanish speaking confreres and very sought after in the South Americas – a man who clearly has a passion for mission in the Spirit of Vincent de Paul. The second to be elected is Fr. Yosief Zeracristos from Hebo, Eritrea. Born in 1961. He has been an assistant general up to this Assembly. He works hard and is a polished presenter. Fr. Mathew Kallammakal is well known to us in Oceania. Born in 1959 in Kollamula, India. He fulfilled the term of Assistant general left vacant when his predecessor was made a Bishop. He now takes the role in his own right. The final candidate and very good choice is Fr. Miles Heinen. Born in 1950 in Dallas, Texas. A gentle, approachable guy with that Texan drawl laughter. He is presently the Executive Director of VSO. Along with the Vicar General Fr. Javier, these confreres make up the Curia.
Over the last few days the delegates of the General Assembly in Chicago have begun electing the confreres who will have general responsibility in the Community for the next six years. These elections included days of retreat, reflection and discernment. Of course the first election was for the Superior General. Succeeding Fr. Greg Gay as Superior General is Fr Tomaz Mavric, from the Vice Province of St Cyril & Methodius, Ukraine. Here he is pictured with our Provincial Greg Brett.
Now we also have elected the Vicar general for the Congregation: Fr Javier Alvarez, who continues in this ministry for another six years.
We pray that Tomaz and Javier will continue to be open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit in the ministry they have been entrusted with for the Congregation of the Mission. We also thank Fr Greg Gay, our retiring Superior General, for the support and assistance he has given world-wide to the Mission.
Benji Paka’s Ordination as Deacon
Yesterday, June 2, Benjamin Paka from Tangagare Parish on Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, was ordained Deacon by Bishop John at the Holy Name of Mary Seminary, Tenaru. A large crowd from his home Parish and from the Good Shepherd Parish, Red Beach, came to celebrate this wonderful occasion. A feature of the Ordination was the interweaving of the cultural elements of the Solomon Islands. The Gathering involved the “Tribal Challenge” from the warriors, who stood guard over the Assembly throughout the Ordination. The Penitential Rite was ritualized with a person walking down the aisle, bound tightly by ropes and the names of the sins that enslaved him before finally screaming “Lord, save me!” and allowing someone to release him from his bonds. The Presentation of the Candidate for Ordination was also a ritual “leave-taking” where the family acknowledged that Benji does not belong to the family anymore but is part of the Vincentian Community, ordained to serve.
The Feasting to follow was something to behold…beautiful food, highlighted by pig cooked in motu – in the ground, covered by hot rocks. Several people were up all night doing the cooking so that such a feast could be enjoyed by everyone.
Thank you to everyone who assisted in the ordination of Benji. The choir and music were outstanding and great appreciation needs to be given to the Red Beach Vincentian Community who organised this.
We pray that Benji will embrace this call to service as Deacon, being a real servant of the people of God in Good Shepherd Parish, Red Beach.