Renato Lima de Oliveira - XVI International President General – elect
The emotion is truly very strong, my friends. I never thought that one day I could be here, in this position, elected International President General of the SSVP in order to lead this work of divine inspiration, following the footsteps of our co-founders, above all of the beloved fellow member Emmanuel Joseph Bailly, the first President General.
I am very happy and moved, and I hope that I will never disappoint you! It is a great honour for me!
When I joined the SSVP, in 1986, I simply wished to help the families in need, seeking to create a better world, with more equality and more opportunities, bringing hope to those who were sad. Just that! Now, you have made me "the servant of every one", of you and of the poor!
As we know, works of charity for the poor belong to God. Therefore and first of all, I want to thank God for our being here together, attending this Extraordinary General Assembly and voting for a new International President General.
Every six years, our association meets to renew itself, looking at the future with hope and generosity. For this reason, it is always worth repeating the maxim that "this work belongs to God", and therefore, we must do what pleases most the Lord: love and service to the poor. This is our vocation and mission!
Without God’s blessing, we could do absolutely nothing. The Holy Spirit guides us and inspires us to make the best decisions for the sake of our Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The forces that I, and the new leaders of the International General Council, need to work correctly in order to fulfil the institutional role of the Council come from God.
My gratitude to the Holy Mary, through Our Lady of Aparecida (Patron Saint of Brazil) and to Our Lady of Fatima (the patron saint of Portugal) for the strength that She gave us to get here.
On Tuesday, June 7th, I will share with you a deeper reflection on the 20 points of our work programme and I will speak about my ideas for the international structure.
Before concluding, I wish to express my opinion about the changes in our young Rule from 2003. I consider many of the proposed adjustments as "significant progress" for the implementation of the Vincentian works. On the other hand, there are extremely complex and sensitive issues, which will require major, irrevocable decisions that will cause a deep impact on the future of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul all over the world. We cannot leave this Assembly divided.
Therefore, I ask the Holy Spirit to enlighten you to make the best decision. You have to reflect deeply on the decision that you will make! This is what your elected President is asking you, with love!
This is what I had to say at this moment. Thank you for your trust and for your support! THANK YOU VERY MUCH!