The recent passing of a long time Vincentian, Larry Fredendall, has led to significant reflection on the life of such a good man.
A funeral was held for him the day before the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul. He was the father of 10 children, a founder of St. Mary Parish in Port Huron, and a founder of the SVdP conference at that parish and the Blue Water Community Food Depot. The TOP HAT award was presented to him in 2008 for his 40 years of service and initiatives for the poor in his community. Despite the pandemic, his funeral mass was attended by many family and friends – celebrating a life of giving and a legacy that will live on in so many ways.
The words described of him were kindness, generosity and responsibility. Hospitality, acceptance and love were extended by him to those who were quite marginalized as if it were the most normal thing to do. One quote says a lot of this Vincentian – “From Dad I learned to err on the side of generosity and I was deeply moved taking food to homes throughout the city”. For family, friends and neighbors, he was unassuming with a sparkle in his eye as he gave of himself to those in need.
His life exemplified that of a devoted family man, Catholic and Vincentian. He was introduced to me as clearly someone to emulate in my beginning work in the conference.
How many in your conference have a similar sparkle as they make a home visit, distribute food at a food pantry or listen to a neighbor’s troubles on a telephone call?
How many other Vincentians in our Archdiocese are similar in their commitment of generosity, acceptance and kindness to those they serve? We are 145 Conferences strong. Just think of the power of our spirituality, friendship and service demonstrated in our daily life. Not power over people, but the power of what so much kindness and love can do for those who are in need.
Please remember the phrase, “the Face of Christ”, as you go about your Vincentian life. Seek out those in your conference that also have that light of giving in their eye and honor them for their good works.
Together, let’s say, “The Prayer for the Faithful Departed”
“Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May their souls and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace, Amen.
God bless to all of you.