The Congregation of the Mission (Vincentians)
In order that he might better respond to the needs of the poor and suffering in places where the Catholic Church had little or no presence, in the early 1600s St. Vincent de Paul began preaching missions in rural areas outside of Paris, eventually organizing the rich and poor, humble and powerful, religious and laity, to follow Jesus Christ who preached the Good News to the Poor and suffering all over France and the world. He and his Little Company preached in word and action, the salvation of body and soul and inspired his followers to help the poor and abandoned directly and indirectly (Constitutions of the Congregation of the Mission, p.19).
The Congregation of the Mission is an Apostolic Society in the Catholic Church whose mission is to follow Christ evangelizing the poor. This purpose is achieved when, faithful to St. Vincent, the members individually and collectively: (1) make every effort to put on the spirit of Christ himself (Common Rules I:3) in order to acquire a holiness appropriate to their vocation (Common Rules XII:13); (2) work at evangelizing the poor, especially the more abandoned; (3) help the clergy and laity in their formation and lead them to a fuller participation in the evangelization of the poor (Constitutions, #1).
The Vincentians came to New Orleans and began to serve at St. Joseph Church in 1858 where they continue to serve to this day. When construction was completed for the new, bigger church now located at 1802 Tulane Ave, the Vincentians collaborated with Mother Drexel to renovate and serve at the former parish which was then called St. Katharine Church on Common Street which became the first Black Catholic Parish in New Orleans.
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