Congregation of the Mission
The Congregation of the Mission is a community of Roman Catholic priests and brothers founded by St. Vincent de Paul in 1625 for the evangelization of the poor and the formation of the clergy.
Vincentian priests and brothers total over 4000 worldwide and serve in 86 countries.
St. Vincent de Paul was born in the village of Pouy in 1581. As a boy he lived among the poor and experienced the conditions under which they lived. In 1600 he became a priest. For a time he sought to escape from the poverty of his origins, but with the help of spiritual directors he felt himself called to deeper holiness and, through the events of his life, was finally led by divine providence to a firm determination to dedicate himself to the salvation of the poor. While he was exercising his ministry in Gannes and, on the 25th of January 1617, in Folleville, he saw that the evangelization of the poor was an urgent need. He himself held that this was the origin of his vocation, and of the Congregation of the Mission.
When, in August of the same year in Chatillon-les-Dombes, he founded “La Charite” The Confraternities of Charity to assist the sick who lacked all help, he discovered for himself, and showed others, the close link that exists between evangelization and the service of the poor.
Gradually his religious development led to contemplating and serving Christ in the person of the poor. The vision of Christ, sent by the Father to evangelize the poor, was central to his life and ministry. Hearing the call of people in the world of his own day, learning to listen with an ever more intense love of God and of poor people who were burdened with hardships of all kinds, Vincent felt himself called to alleviate sufferings of every sort.
Among all his commitments he always had a special care for the Mission, and he gathered the first members to join with him in evangelization of the country people; this was set out in a contract dated the 17th of April 1625. They bound themselves to form a Congregation in which, living as a community, they would devote themselves to the salvation of the country poor; this was by an Act of Association which they signed on the 4th of September 1626.
While Vincent and his confreres were giving themselves to the evangelization of the poor, they clearly saw that the effectiveness of their mission to the people could not be sustained unless they also provided for the formation of the clergy. They began this work in 1628 in Beauvais when, at the request of the bishop, they held retreats for those being advanced to orders. In this way they were providing good pastors for the Church.
From the Introduction to the Constitutions and Statutes of the Congregation of the Mission.
- The purpose of the Congregation of the Mission is to follow Christ evangelizing the poor. This purpose is achieved when, faithful to St. Vincent, the members individually and collectively:
- make every effort to put on the spirit of Christ himself (CR I, 3) in order to acquire a holiness appropriate to their vocation (CR XII, 13);
- work at evangelizing the poor, especially the more abandoned;
- help the clergy and laity in their formation and lead them to a fuller participation in the evangelization of the poor.
- With this purpose in view, the Congregation of the Mission, faithful to the gospel, and always attentive to the signs of the times and the more urgent calls of the Church, should take care to open up new ways and use new means adapted to the circumstances of time and place. Moreover, it should strive to evaluate and plan its works and ministries, and in this way remain in a continual state of renewal.
From the Constitutions and Statutes of the Congregation of the Mission
- Constitutions 1984
- Common Rule 1658
- Constitutions and Statutes (1984)
Today these priests and brothers serve in
- Parish Ministry
- Assistance to the Daughters of Charity
- Assistance to the Vincentian Family
- Promotion of Social Justice
Colloque Irish Province
According to the Constitutions and Statues of the Congregation of the Mission the General Assembly is the highest legislative body of the Congregation.
- The current Superior General, or international leader, of the Congregation of the Mission is G. Gregory Gay, CM.
Father G. Gregory Gay III,C.M.A native of Baltimore, Maryland, USA, Fr. G. Gregory Gay, C.M. was born on October 8, 1953 to George and Jeanne Gay. and was educated at John Carroll High School in Bel Air, Maryland. He entered the Congregation of the Mission on August 8, 1973, and was educated at Mary Immaculate Seminary in Northampton PA where he received Masters of Divinity (M-Div) and Theology (M-Th.). He was ordained to the priesthood May 24, 1980 as a member of the Eastern Province, USA.
After ordination, Fr. Gay served the Daughters of Charity at St Joseph’s Provincial House in Emmitsburg, MD for a year. From 1981-85, Fr. Gay ministered at Niagara University as a chaplain, adjunct professor in Religious Studies, and charter member of the NU Justice and Peace Council. In 1985, he went to the missions in the Republic of Panama, where he remained until 2000, when he was named Visitor (provincial) of the Province of Central America. He was reelected Visitor for the Province of Central America in 2004.
On July 15, 2004 at the General Assembly of the Congregation of the Mission, Fr. Gay was elected Superior General. He was reelected for another six year term on July 8, 2010. He has made visiting the provinces of Vincentians and Daughters of Charity, as well as becoming familiar with the various works of the Vincentian Family a top priority of his time as Superior General. In doing so, Fr. Gay has sought to give support and encouragement to all who share his love for the charism of St. Vincent de Paul. Fr. Gay has encouraged young people to avail themselves of Vincentian spirituality and service through involvement in the Vincentian Marian Youth and the Association of the Miraculous Medal.
Fr. Gay was elected to the Executive Council of the Union of Superiors General, which represents the Societies of Apostolic Life. He served in that capacity from 2006-2009. He was recently chosen as one of their official representatives for the Synod of Bishops held in Rome in October, 2012.
- Letter of Superior General Gregory Gay introducing document on the Vincentian Family written in April, 2006
- Letter of Superior General on theme of annual Vincentian Day of Prayer 2008 written on July 18, 2008, anniversary of first apparition Of Our Lady to St. Catherine Laboure
- Letter of Superior General for Advent 2008 "And there was no room for them"
Presentations and Articles
- CMGLOBAL.ORG - official webpage of General Curia
Regional Conferences of Visitors
- Conference of Asian-Pacific Visitors (APVC)
- Conference of European Visitors of the Mission (CEVIM) - website
- Latin American Conference of Vincentian Provinces (CLAPVI)
- Conference of Visitors in Africa and Madagascar (COVIAM)
- National Conference of United States Visitors (NCV - USA)
- List of Provinces (updated April 2009)
'Where the Congregation of the Mission Serves
EUROPE, RUSSIA, SCANDINAVIA
Albania; Austria; Belgium; Belarus; Croatia; Denmark; England; France: Paris, Toulouse; Germany; Greece; Holland; Hungary; Iceland; Ireland; Italy: Rome, Turin, Naples; Poland; Portugal; Romania; Russia; Siberia; Scotland; Slovakia; Slovenia; Spain: Barcelona, Madrid, Salamanca, Zaragossa; Switzerland; Turkey; Ukraine
Argentina; Brazil: Curitiba, Fortaleza, Rio de Janeiro; Bolivia; Canada; Chile; Colombia; Costa Rica; Cuba; Dominican Republic; Ecuador; El Salvador; Guatemala; Haiti; Honduras; Mexico; Nicaragua; Panama; Paraguay; Peru; Puerto Rico; United States: East, Midwest, New England, South, West; Uruguay; Venezuela;
- Armand David (1826-1900)
- Marco Antonio Durando (1801-1880)
- Vincent Lebbe (l877-l940)
- John LeVacher (1619-1683)
- John Baptist Manzella (l855-l937)
- Salvatore Micalizzi (l856-1937)
- Ferdinand Portal (1855-1926)
- William Pouget (l847-1933)
- Antonio Ferreira Vicosa (l787-1875)
- Thomas Judge (1868-1933)
- Janez Francisek Gnidovec (1873-1938)
- Emilio Lisson Chavez (l872-l961)
- Felix de Andreis(1778-1820)
As information specific to the Congregation becomes available it will be posted here.
Lazarists Wikipedia article
[http://www.famvin.org/cm/dictionary/chapter%2016.htm St. Vincent's Conferences to the Missioners] Briefly Annotated List of His Conferences to Members of the Congregation