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SVP Festival Meeting in Cumuto
story appeared in Catholic News, December 24, 2006
 
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Sunday, December 10, the North East Particular Council of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVP) held its Festival Meeting at the Cumuto RC Church followed by a lovely gathering of Vincentians. Over 120 members packed the church for this joyous occasion.

The morning commenced with a beautiful Mass led by parish priest, Fr Madhosingh. Cumuto is quaint little village just off Wallerfield, sparsely populated with a small but homely and comfortable little church. Parishioners welcomed members of the SVP and the Cumuto Conference and parishioners extended all courtesies.

Having all participated in an enjoyable Mass. Members greeted each other and settled down to the more formal business of the day. The first item was the election of the president of the Particular Council. Senior Vice President, Brother W Gould (Mayaro) informed that there were three nominations for the office.

He also informed that two nominees had declined and as a result the incumbent (Brother R Boneo) of Santa Rosa Conference was returned unopposed for a second term. Brother Gould thanked all present for their active participation in this very democratic process.

Brother Boneo thanked the Congregation for the trust and confidence they have reposed in him for yet another term and pledged to continue to do his best for the Society. He also gave a brief history of his coming to the SVP and thanked both Sister Etienne (Sangre Grande) and Sister S Maharaj (Santa Rosa) for always encouraging him to give himself to the Society.

Brother R Roberts (Sangre Grande), secretary then read the relevant Minutes, which were subsequently confirmed and followed by discussions. Thereafter, the Conferences all reported on their activities over the year and told of their plans for families that they look after for the Christmas season. Some (eg Fishing Pond and Cumuto) revealed very difficult circumstances that warranted much attention by all their brother and sister conferences.

Many of the Conferences expressed best wishes for the New Year. Most wanted the Society to continue to grow and to get the youths more involved. In fact Sangre Grande reminded the meeting that the Society was started by six men the eldest being only 24.

Where are the youths today was the lament. All wondered if materialism had conquered them all. But Santa Rosa while agreeing with the need for youths hoped for men. Too many ongoing projects needed the input of men. The hope is that their wish would be satisfied in the New Year.

In his address to fellow Vincentians Brother Boneo brought news to them on some of the Society’s major projects. He told them of the difficulties in completing the new home at San Fernando. He shared the vision for the new Cyril Ross Home that will soon be constructed.
Conferences were also thanked for the support given to the National Executive in response to the calls of National President Brother  Anthony Wong Doo during the year.

On the local front Brother Boneo likened the SVP to the marine soldiers of an army saying the SVP were the ones always in the forefront and many times are the first and only contact that those in need may have with the Church.

He asked each and every member to see Christ in those they served. They were told to always remember that the Society was not a social club but a vocation and in doing the Lord’s work faith is deepened.

Like all the previous speakers Brother Boneo wished each and everyone a holy and happy Christmas and a prosperous New Year. Members then stood for a minute’s silence during which each member was asked to personally rededicate themselves to the vocation of serving the poor.

Members then enjoyed a sumptuous lunch. There were lots of local drinks to enhance the lovely meal. Eventually the maxis began to return and members departed for their respective homes in the knowledge that they would meet again.

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