Abdo Eid, C.M., a Lebanese Vincentian, is completing his eleventh year in the Vincentian International Mission in El Alto, Bolivia. He has worked as a spiritual formator with Vincentian and diocesan seminarians, and as a missionary in Mocomoco — a Vincentian mission with 53 rural communities. While in Bolivia, Abdo has also found time to pursue studies at the Catholic University, and recently has completed a first-of-its-kind survey of the lives and missions of women religious in the country of Bolivia. As a personal pursuit, he has published two volumes of original poetry in Spanish and Arabic (his native tongue). His pastoral outreach and care have further solidified the reputation of the Vincentians as men of deep faith and compassion, and have drawn people from all walks of life to support our efforts.

On the evening of December 1, a group of friends and colleagues gathered at the Catholic University for a special “despedida,” to thank Abdo and to say farewell. The evening included special prayer, readings from his recent volume of poetry, and a touching blessing from one of the elders of the group. The celebration was a special testimony to the impact that a small number of Vincentians are having in Bolivia. Some of the Vincentian confreres of the El Alto mission (Aníbal[Peru],Diego[Madrid] and yours truly[USAEast]) and some of their collaborators from Mocomoco, El Alto and La Paz were present for the evening to witness this touching farewell (our fourth member, Cyril[Paris] was away in Cochabamba giving a retreat for priests). Many of those in attendance came up to me and shared fond and appreciative memories of confreres who have served here. Often noted was the dedicated work of our Polish confreres — in particular Fr. Franc Pávlic, who offered his last breath for the people of Bolivia. Pictures of the event are available online. Abdo will be honored by the Bolivian Catholic Bishop’s conference this week for his work with the laity, priests, seminarians, and religious. It is obvious that his presence will be missed by many people, but his family and confreres in Lebanon will be happy to have him home for a while!