Dear Fellow Vincentians,
Happy Feast Day! I am writing this article on the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul. Today, I reflect how St. Vincent de Paul has influenced and thus changed my life. Thinking about it over the past month, and after attending our National Assembly, I have been filled with the “Spirit” of the Society and have grown in my personal understanding of what God calls each of us to do. This year‘s theme was “One Society Serving In Hope” The National Meeting was held August 28th through September 2nd in San Diego. We were inspired by two wonderful Keynote speakers. Fr. Aiden Rooney from The Congregation of the Mission spoke on the topic of Embracing the World: What would Frederic Do? Aiden gave insight into how even in today’s world we are challenged as Frederic and his companions were years ago.
We also had a spiritual retreat by our National Spiritual Advisor, Most Reverend Donald Hying, Fourth Bishop, Diocese of Gary. In both addresses, we as Vincentians were told how valuable our mission is to our Church. During one of the reflections, we were asked to reflect on this question: “If you had no money to give, no furniture to provide, no food to share with our neighbors in need, would you still be a Vincentian?“ Yes, there is much more to our vocation as Vincentians in our Mission of Charity.
It is more than material things we bring to those we serve. We bring ourselves, we bring hope, we bring our presence and that is probably the greatest gift we can give to anyone.
The National Office provided various workshops and reports from many committees. In our Business Meeting we were asked to approve a National Strategic Plan. As we in our Council develop our own Strategic Plan, we will look to see if we can build on the vision that all Vincentians share. All materials from the National Meeting may be found on the National SVDPUSA.ORG website. I encourage each of you to view these valuable resources.
On September 18th, we celebrated the Feast Day of St. Vincent de Paul at the National Shrine of the Little Flower Basilica . One hundred Vincentians came together for Mass, a commissioning of new presidents and our own recommitment to the Society. Fr. John Riccardo, our Archdiocesan Spiritual Advisor was scheduled to celebrate the Mass, but his mother’s funeral was on that same day. I ask each of you to keep Fr. Riccardo and his family in your prayers. A special thank you to The Shrine Conference for hosting, Fr. John Kopson for filling in for Fr. Riccardo and the Shrine Ladies Guild for providing a lovely reception following Mass.
I am finishing this article on September 30th, the day after a successful Friends of the Poor Walk. Yesterday, a thousand friends, neighbors and Vincentians met on Belle Isle to share fellowship and friendship while expressing solidarity with those it is our privilege to serve. Many thanks to all the staff and volunteers, sponsors and of course the walkers who made this a truly special event.