London, July 16, 2017
Dear Brothers and Sisters of the Vincentian Family,
On June 28, the European Parliament hosted a celebration to mark the 400th Anniversary of the birth of the Vincentian charism. One of the speakers at this event was a Daughter of Charity from the USA, Sr. Carol Keehan, and she described St Vincent as a “gift” from Europe to the whole world. A very precious gift indeed. As a result of Vincent’s life and work we now have a global Vincentian movement, working with the poor, comprising of two million members, with 250 branches, present in 150 countries.
In addition to celebrating our past, the heads of the Vincentian Family also used the event to at the EU Parliament to look to the future with the announcement of the Famvin Homeless Alliance. This is a new, global, Vincentian Family initiative, aimed at helping those who are homeless – refugees, internally displaced people, slum dwellers and those we see sleeping on the streets of our towns and cities. The Famvin Homeless Alliance will launch during the Symposium of the Vincentian Family with Pope Francis in Rome October 13-15, 2017.
In the next few months we will be contacting you to talk about how you might get involved with this new initiative. All of us can help in different ways whether that be volunteering in existing projects, starting something at a parish level or very simply by reaching out and befriending the homeless people you pass every day. All of us need the warmth of human kindness and all of us are capable of giving it to others.
We would be very grateful if you would share what you are already doing to help the homeless so that we let others learn from your experience. As a first step we ask you to:
- Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for to share the story of your work, to ask any questions you may have, or to join our mailing list.
- Visit our website vfhomelessalliance.org to learn more about the project.
- Follow us and like us on Facebook: https://web.facebook.com/vfhomelessalliance/?ref=bookmarks
- Share this information with your Vincentian fellows.
Finally; following the EU Parliament event the heads of the Vincentian Family met with the European Commission for External Cooperation and Development and they have agreed to fund three pilot projects to tackle homelessness in poorer countries. We are grateful for this show of solidarity and expression of confidence in our work. Further meeting will be held to discuss where these projects will be located and their scope. This is a great start for the Famvin Homeless Alliance and hopefully it will lead to many more partnerships with the EU and other structural bodies.
May we be faithful in hearing the cry of the Lord in those living situations of homelessness and responding to their needs.
Yours in Saint Vincent,
Mark McGreevy, OBE
CEO Depaul International – Director Famvin Homeless Alliance