Last week, I had the privilege to travel to Salamanca, in northern Spain, to meet with many Vincentians passionate about helping our homeless neighbours. I arrived at the CM Centre of Spirituality and was warmly welcomed by the provincial councilors for social work of the Daughters of Charity. These sisters do amazing service every day for our homeless brothers and sisters across the country. They have such love for the poorest! I was also humbled to meet two brilliant guys: Juan Manuel Gomez, National President of the SSVP in Spain, and Javier Chento, who coordinates .famvin in the world. Wow! I felt inspired by their compassion and energy!

As a member of the FHA Commission, I am responsible for advising how this movement can grow and touch the lives of thousands of homeless men, women and children – those who live in slums, are refugees or internally displaced, or who try to survive on the streets.

I was stirred by the creativity I witnessed in Salamanca – as St Vincent taught us, it’s not just enough to help people, we have to help them in an effective and innovative way. Those in Spain showed me how varied and compassionate the Vincentian Family’s service is.

I presented to the sisters and other attendees how the FHA will support them in their ministry. At our International Conference in November, experts from across the globe will teach participants how to better help our homeless neighbors. And through the 13 House Campaign, the FHA provides the structure and materials for Vincentians to build new homelessness projects.

We want to help at least 10,000 people through this Campaign. People tell me that this is ambitious. And they’re right! It needs to be – there is too much social injustice in this world, and homelessness in its many forms is one of the most visible signs of this. We need to be ambitious and united as Vincentians in correcting this.

In Salamanca, I found the very essence of the Famvin Homeless Alliance. The FHA is not about any one person or organization – it is about unity and collaboration across the world. From Salamanca to Manila, from Chicago to Rio and everywhere in between! I am proud to represent the FHA and spread its message. The spirit of St Vincent lives across the world, and now together we will make it grow even further in support of our homeless brothers and sisters.

Marco Iazzolino