We turned a page at the last meeting of the Board of Directors of VIVAT International held in Rome on 23 January 2012. In accordance with its Charter, after a three-year term, the presidency of VIVAT changed hands, from the SVD Superior General to the SSpS Congregational Leader, Sr. Ma. Theresia Hörnemann. A corresponding change also took place in the Executive Team in the VIVAT Office in New York. Fr. Felix Jones, SVD took over as chairperson from Sr. Zelia Cordeiro dos Santos, SSpS.
With the admission of the congregation of the Adorers of the Blood of Christ (ASC) as full members of VIVAT, the membership of the Board of Directors also needed to re-constituted. Sr. Zita Resch, ASC contact person, becomes a member of the Board. Likewise, Sr. Carmen Elisa Bandeo, newly-appointed SSpS Generalate JPIC Coordinator, also joins the Board. The other members remain the same, namely, along with the president (SSpS congregation leader) and vice-president (SVD superior general), Fr. Gregory Pinto, SVD, Fr. Milan Bubak, SVD, Fr. Gervase Taratara, CSSp. The newly-appointed SSpS Secretary General, Sr. Selva Rany Selva Raj Selvi, is now also the secretary of the Board.
Allow me to take this opportunity to share with you some of the other more significant developments which were approved or noted by the Board at its last meeting:
(1) The Board decided to join the ICR (International Religious Congregations at the FAO) in its effort to seek representation or accreditation at the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) in Rome.
(2) The Board approved the Statutes of the VIVAT National Branches in Argentina and Bolivia. Thus, with the Statutes of Indonesia approved earlier, we now have three National Branches. Two other National Branches are still working on their Statutes, Kenya and India.
(3) The Board approved the application for Associate Membership of two religious congregations, namely, the Sacred Heart Fathers (SCJ / Dehonians) and the Religious of the Assumption (RA). This decision was subsequently confirmed by the joint meeting of the two Founding Congregations. This raises the total number of religious congregations constituting VIVAT to twelve (12).
(4) The Board approved the French and Italian versions of the Charter and Statutes of VIVAT International. The English, Spanish, Portuguese versions had earlier been approved. A booklet that will contain all language versions of the Charter and Statutes will eventually be published.
(5) The Board expressed gratitude for the financial donations coming from the Comboni Missionaries (MCCJ) and the Missionary Sisters of the Holy Spirit (Cssp).
The above are just a few signs of growth, limited to the period of the last six months, which VIVAT International continues to experience throughout the years. After a decade of existence, VIVAT has grown not only in terms of its internal structures but also in terms of its service to our missionaries in the field and the many poor and marginalized people in the world. Indeed, even if only one person experiences fullness of life because of VIVAT, then our efforts shall have been worthwhile. I’m certain, however, that more than one has been served by the selfless dedication and tireless commitment of our confreres and sisters around the world.
It is with this conviction that I pass on the presidency of VIVAT International to Sr. Ma. Theresia Hörnemann. And as I do so, I would like to thank the out-going officials and members of the Board for their selfless service – Sr. Judith Vallimont, SSpS (outgoing Board member), Fr. Emmanuel Kofi Fianu, SVD (outgoing Board secretary), Sr. Zelia Cordeiro dos Santos, SSpS (outgoing ET Chairperson). My thanks also go to the many confreres and sisters in the field who have collaborated and continue to do so with the Executive Team in New York, our representative in Geneva, and the Board of Directors in Rome.
I end my term by asking everyone to lend Sr. Ma. Theresia their full support and collaboration. Vivat Deus Unus et Trinus in cordibus nostris.
Fraternally in the Word and the Spirit,
Antonio M. Pernia, SVD