The Vincentian Congregation is a clerical society of the Catholic Church. The Congregation draws its spirit and distinctive character from the life and works of St. Vincent de Paul who is chosen as the Father and Patron of the Congregation. The Congregation has taken as its motto, “He has sent me to proclaim the Good News to the poor” (Luke 4:18). The Congregation was started in India 1904 by Rev. Fr. Varkey Kattarath, a zealous and holy priest. The Vincentian Congregation was raised to the status of ‘pontifical right’ on 11 February 1968. The two main aims of the Vincentian Congregation are: (1) Preaching the Good News to the poor, (2) Caring for the poor and afflicted. Now, the Vincentian Congregation has spread almost all over India and abroad in three Provinces and three Dependent Regions. There are about 519 priests and 400 seminarians in the congregation.
POPULAR MISSION RETREATS
The history of Popular Missions goes back to the time of St. Vincent de Paul. Seeing the spiritual and moral degradation of the people Vincent de Paul started Popular Mission Retreats with an aim of renewing and reforming their Christian life. The name “Popular Mission” was given to this retreat due to two reasons: (1) It is meant for all-the rich and poor, old and young, literate and illiterate. (2) The method of preaching is simple and understandable to all.
The themes are based on the Bible and teaching of the Catholic Church. It aims at family and parish renewal by achieving personal sanctification of the individuals. It has proved to be the most effective way of renewing families and parishes. Since 1950, Indian Vincentian priests have been conducting popular mission retreats in parishes. The effect has been overwhelming and it has brought out a dynamic spiritual transformation in the lives of people. At present there is a team of Vincentian fathers in Australia, specifically Melbourne, Perth and Sydney, who successfully conduct retreats in English.