This was the first Annual General Assembly (AGA) of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul of Canada attended by Kristine Paul, Store Volunteer Coordinator and Peter Albano, Communications Director and the third such meeting attended by Pat Lenz, President, Particular Council of Brant.
A warm Quebec greeting was received from our fellow Quebec City Vincentians at the airport. Then we were transported to the AGA site on the campus of Notre-Dame-de-Foy Community College in Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures just outside of Quebec City. All of the AGA meetings, workshops, seminars, Masses and Rosaries and presentation activities except for the Welcoming Ceremony dinner and Mass in the town of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures were conveniently held in two buildings on the campus. Breakfast, lunch and dinner were provided every day in a small cafeteria in the residence hall or in the large cafeteria in the main student union and lecture hall building.
Pat, Kristine and Peter split up each day to attend the following workshops and AGA meeting activities.
Wednesday, June 22, 2017
Travel to Quebec City
Ontario Regional Council Meeting for all attending from Ontario.
Thursday June 22, 2017
The Joy of our Vincentian Spirit Workshop – Service with Spirituality.
Now What do I do. Your term of office is expiring – How to deal with a President’s end of term and election process.
Project Northern Alberta, Cadotte Lake – Assist Northern Alberta Indigenous communities with food, clothing, furniture, education and sanitation.
The Stress of Living in Poverty – A hands-on living in poverty exercise.
What you need to know. – The Nitty Gritty of Conference Operations.
Catholic Social Teaching in action – To motivate and encourage for Systemic Change
Busy as C(ee)s – Commitment of volunteers, coordination, community, collaboration and connections.
Mass and rosary
Welcoming Ceremony and gala dinner at Seminaire de Quebec in old Quebec City.
Friday, June 23, 2017
Keynote Speaker: Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, Archbishop of Quebec– biblical examples of serving those in need in the way Christ did were very practical and put new light on the Joy in Serving.
Address from Renato Lima de Oliveira, President General of SSVP International – It was a surprise to learn that the President General was attending the AGA. Pat Lenz, Kristine Paul and Peter Albano had the pleasure of meeting him in person and having our photo taken with him at the Thursday night dinner and Welcoming Ceremony at Seminaire de Quebec in old Quebec City. The President General discussed his 20 personal objectives while in office, his three wishes and his seven recommendations. He also provided some SSVP International statistics and conducted an open mic question and answer period with attendees.
Impressions left by the President General are best described by Kristine, “Renato is an example of the youth that will bring the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul into the present day; he is charming, gifted, intelligent, a family man, worldly, passionate and on top of that has a beautiful singing voice; his love of the Lord and of serving the needs of the poor are tangible.”
All members were welcome to attend. Sessions included a broad range of content from keynote speakers to panel discussions.. This also included an open question and answer session with the Canadian President Jean Noel Cormier.
Mass and rosary
Saturday, June 24, 2017
Msgr. Peter Schonenbach, National Spiritual Advisor – discussed Vincentian Charism in a way lay individuals could understand and apply. Whereas a social worker is boxed in by regulation, a Vincentian has flexibility to act within SSVP principles to serve a need.
Honourable Graydon Nichols Spoke on Our Lady of Guadalupe as the patroness of North American Indigenous People starting in Mexico. 30th Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick from 2009 to 2014; born in 1946, Tobique First Nation; Bachelor of Science from St. Francis Xavier University; Bachelor or Laws from University of New Brunswick and Masters in Social Work from Wilfrid Laurier University. Attorney, judge, politician, activist and advocate for education – first aboriginal person in Atlantic Canada to receive law degree and first aboriginal person in Atlantic Canada appointed as a court judge. Named to Order of Canada June 30, 2016 for his contributions to the people of New Brunswick as a lawyer, judge, lieutenant-governor and indigenous leader
Sister Aurea of Our Lady of the Sacred Heart, Moncton, New Brunswick – worked with prisoners and founded the SSVP House for the poor.
National President’s Roundtable discussion with all attendees
The National President, Jean-Noel Cormier discussed the status of several National initiatives including:
- Launch of the new national Website (a work in progress)
- Strategic Plan 2015-2020 – its ongoing implementation
- Communications Plan and research survey conducted among a random group of SSVP members
- Vincenpaul Magazine will be changing to an electronic version from the current costly print version
- An electronic Annual Report will also be produced
- Following on some revisions to the Rule at the international level, a Statutes Review Committee will be making recommendations to make changes to the Canadian Statutes
- 2016 Stats – SSVP visited 204,000 homes, 30,000 prisoners, 350,000 people were helped, there are 15,000 Vincentians, 175 Thrift Stores and 90 food banks across Canada.
Quebec Region – School Student Assistance Program – Operation Bonne Mine
- In 2001 3,900 students were served. In 2016 8,279 students were served. 80% of funding is used for Back-to-School support, 15% for perseverance initiatives and 5% for perseverance scholarships.
- Elementary and secondary school students are assisted with $250. and $500 levels respectively.
Quebec Central Council – RV Caravan Program serving homeless youth in Quebec City
- The Marginal RV serves youth 18-35. The Boehme RV serves youth 18-25. The majority are male.
- The caravan program reaches out to youth at risk.
- In 2016 6,117 youth were served.
Mass in the town of Saint-Augustin-de-Desmaures.
Gala Dinner and closure of AGA Meeting.