Young Filipino appointed to SSVP’s intl youth commission

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PARIS, France, Oct. 12, 2012—The Parisian-based International Confederation of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) has recently appointed a young Filipino as representative of Asia and Oceania in its international youth commission.

Dr. Michael Thio, president general of the Confederation, has appointed Karl Michael Hila of the Philippines as member of the SSVP’s international youth commission. Hila is currently the director for youth development of the SSVP – National Council of the Philippines. 

Hila poses with a statue of soon-to-be St. Pedro Calungsod during the NCYM in Albay. (Photo grabbed from Hila's Facebook page.)

In an appointment letter dated September 27, 2012, Thio confirmed Hila’s appointment, which will end on September 27, 2014. By virtue of his appointment, Hila will directly depend on the vice-president for international youth, Julien Spiewak, for fraternal assistance.

“Together we shall try to develop and promote the Vincentian work all around the world, through our apostolic action as Vincentians and humble servants of our Lord,” Thio told Hila in the letter.

In an interview with YouthPinoy, Hila said he was overwhelmed by the news of his appointment after attending the recently concluded National Conference for Youth Ministers (NCYM) held in Legazpi City, Albay.

“I am still overwhelmed with joy because of the NCYM and the upcoming Taize Intercontinental Meeting so when I read the appointment confirmation, I just can’t help but cry!” Hila told YouthPinoy.

“I have appreciated the NCYM theme even more, ‘Youth Ministers chosen by Christ, living the faith, and fruitful in mission.’ It is a great honor, and I just feel unqualified and unworthy. Nevertheless, He doesn’t call the qualified but qualifies the called. I am indeed overwhelmed with joy,” he shared. 


Hila admitted the role of representing SSVP youth members from Asia, Australia, New Zealand, and the rest of Oceania is larger than life, given the members’ diversity in cultures. But he said the most pressing challenge for him is to maintain a balance in his roles in the youth ministry and his profession as an engineer.

“The role will give me an opportunity to voice out my suggestions and ideas directly to the International Council of SSVP. The only challenge that I can see is on how to strike a balance as I still have work. But then, I believe in God’s plan for all of us. He will take care of it,” he said.

Hila expressed his thanksgiving to his family, the local SSVP, the National Federation of Youth Organizations, and his circle of friends in the youth ministry for helping mold his leadership skills and for supporting his apostolate.

But Hila attributed all of his success to the Almighty.

“I want to thank God for all the blessings. From a simple orphan, to a troubled teenager, to a sinner and rebel, I was able to finish studies and is now a certified engineer and a youth minister,” he said.

“God rewrote my life and transformed it into a better story. His love is indeed sufficient,” Hila added.


According to the website of the Pontifical Council for the Laity based in Rome, Italy, “the SSVP was founded in Paris as a result of a Conference on Law and History organized by the journalist Emmanuel Bailly for university undergraduates at a time when Catholic student welfare associations were being closed down. The intellectual purpose of these meetings did not, however, meet with the spiritual aspirations and the desire for social commitment felt by a group of students led by Frédéric Ozanam (beatified in 1997).

“Convinced of the need to put words into practice in order to demonstrate the vitality of their faith, they decided to change them into Conferences of Charity, which were to be essentially lay in character, obedient to the authority of the Church, designed to sanctify their members and the poor people they served. They were to be marked by simplicity, friendship and fellowship in relations between the members, with decisions taken on a collegial basis, practicing charity not as an individual activity but through group solidarity.

“In 1835, after drawing up their first rule, the Conferences of Charity took the name of the Society of St Vincent de Paul, after the Saint chosen as their patron, and in 1845 they obtained Holy See recognition in a brief issued by Gregory XVI. The International Confederation of the Society of Saint Vincent De Paul has consultative status with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization as an NGO.”

The website adds that “SSVP is committed to supporting training, education and development projects, and manages medical facilities, social service facilities and homes/hostels; institutes for children; centres for young people; schools; vocational training centres; hospices; centres for unmarried mothers or women in difficulty, and for the rehabilitation of former inmates; institutes for the physically and mentally disabled; helping victims of violence, disasters and war; caring for and supporting the terminally ill, alcoholics and drug- dependents; programes for disadvantaged families.” (YouthPinoy)

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