The Companions of Vincent
In the early 1990s, the international assembly of the Congregation of the Mission approved an amendment to the Congregation’s Constitutions to seek greater lay involvement to aid in the ministries of the Congregation. Pursuant to that goal, the U.S. Eastern Province in 1997, established the Companions of Vincent.
The Companions of Vincent covenant with the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission to fulfill the following goals:
1) To share a gospel-based Vincentian spirituality which would integrate life and prayer.
2) To live a spirituality connected to the poor and Vincent de Paul's way of serving the poor.
3) To foster a spirit of community and to support one another in the evangelization and service of the poor and in living out the Vincentian charism.
4) Each member commits to be involved individually or with a group in serving the poor.
5) To deepen knowledge and appreciation of Vincent and the Vincentian charism.
6) To have a special relationship with the priests and brothers of the Eastern Province of the Congregation of the Mission-a relationship of mutual support.
Companion groups exist in various locations around the Eastern Province, e.g. Long Island, Brooklyn, and Philadelphia. Individual Companions are involved in ministries ranging from silent auctions to raise money for poor parishes to trying to bring the charism of Vincent de Paul and Louise de Marillac to their daily work.
There is a Companions Provincial coordinating committee comprised of Companions from the various locales as well as confreres from the Congregation who serve as liaison to the Provincial governing council. The governing council has a standing committee devoted to Companion issues. The bylaws of the Companions call for an annual assembly where members are to undertake a two-year commitment to the program. The bylaws also prescribe some self-governing steps for the Companions.
Although relatively young compared with other religious lay associate organizations, there is an increasing spirit among the members. For example, attendance at annual assemblies during the past four years has often been in excess of fifty to sixty people.
For further information, please contact George Whelan at Gwhelan@Comcast.net.