CELEBRATING 150 YEARS IN NEW ZEALAND
This year we celebrate 150 years since the Society of St Vincent de Paul was established in New Zealand in 1867. We also celebrate 400 years of the Vincentian charism which began in 1617, where St Vincent de Paul began his journey in serving the sick and the poor. Since then, his teachings and actions have spread to nearly 150 countries with more than 800,000 members worldwide. His teachings today are still in effect and are being passed on from generation to generation.
This year will be full of special events and projects that will have a focus around the charism that was founded 400 years ago. This year is a reminder of what was started so long ago, and how we continue to live it out in our acts of service.
Connecting in across the Tasman
Late in January, a few of our Vinnies Youth team from Auckland received the opportunity to travel across the Tasman to visit and connect in with the Vincentians of Queensland, Australia. The purpose of this visit was to share knowledge: taking the best practices of both sides to better inform the way forward. It was a moving experience for both of the Vinnies group to learn and share about the different things that happen within their own societies and to bring both of the cities closer together.
Gene Paul Kiely, our Secondary Schools Youth Coordinator, was one of the members from the Auckland Youth team who went on this trip. He had this to say about his experience:
“A few feelings come to the forefront as I reflect on the journey to Australia to connect in with the Youth Team there. These feelings were awe, inspiration and hopefulness.
Awe was felt as the Vinnies team in Australia embraced some of the cultural customs of New Zealand, and in turn; reciprocated this when they shared some from of their own homeland. This was experienced through a moving liturgy, as well as the passing of some Maori taonga (treasure) before our departure. In exchange, we gained a deeper insight into some of the things they value as team, such as song and dance.
Inspiration was further felt as the took the time to sit down with the Vinnies youth who were present. Many of the Australia Vinnies Team engaged in some thought provoking discussion to gain an understanding of what Vinnies youth here in New Zealand value, and how they socially locate themselves in the bigger picture. Many of the team members fed back their delight at how attentive and connected everyone was to their stories and concerns, as it provided many good points to take back to their programmes.
Lastly, hopefulness was felt in the way they affirmed the direction of Vinnies in New Zealand. They believed in each and everyone of us to continue creating connections, and be our best, genuine self for those around us. They made this known to us before our departure home. This was deeply validating, as it allows us to feel at ease that the path we walk is supported by those who care for us.
Awe, inspiration and hopefulness. These are the feelings that I carry with me as we continue to serve and care for one another.”
We would like to give a special thanks to our Vincentian family over in Queensland for being wonderful hosts and for sharing their way of living out the Vincentian faith. We wish you all the best in your ventures this year.