For more than 190 years, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been serving those in need. An international lay organization, the society is comprised of conferences across the world associated with Catholic churches. Here at All Saints, we have around 15 active members serving in our local conference to bring assistance to those in our community.
“The mission of the organization is really twofold,” says member David Adamson. “One of those is to enhance or improve the spirituality of the Vincentians, the individuals who are members of the organization. The second is to help those in need, with various circumstances, emergency situations, helping people to get over the hump.”
Individuals in need call into a hotline for assistance and from there, two of the Vincentians meet with them to discuss the need and offer a listening ear.
“We really get to know them,” David says. “We get to know exactly what’s going on with them, and then we will try to determine what best we can do to help them.”
While it could be difficult to keep up with the number of calls they get, the Vincentians ensure each call and person is taken care of with dignity and respect. They are also kept confidential, so no one beyond the ministry members will know.
“There are a lot of needs out there,” David says. “The one thing we pride ourselves on is, if someone calls us, they’re going to get a call back. We are always going to give them some attention and let them know they are children of God. The mission is to do the work Jesus said throughout the Bible — help those in need and to serve others. And that’s what we do. Ultimately that’s the way we increase our spirituality as members.”
After meeting with the person(s) in need of assistance, the Vincentians go back to the group and discuss the case with the other Vincentians. Determined by conversation and democratic vote, the members decide what resources or help they will provide. This ensures the funds are allocated appropriately and each case is considered by the group at large.
The funding for the conference comes exclusively from the generosity of our parishioners, the majority of which is brought in from the red envelope collection. Because the money comes from our parishioners’ treasure, the involvement in stewardship devoted to the ministry goes beyond the Vincentian members.
“We would genuinely like to thank all the members of our parish that are assisting, and reassure or make sure they know how important their contributions are in really helping better the lives of other people,” David says.
“The people directly members of the society are putting more time in it, going out and visiting — but in a certain way, the entire parish is part of it,” adds member John Liebang. “Visiting with the friends is important and letting them know God loves them. But obviously, the financial piece is also very important. The money we collect from the parish is what makes the financial part possible. We are just 15, there’s no way we could support all the calls we get and the way we want to. Even though they’re not giving time, it’s still such a huge part, the entire community is helping those people.”
Both John and David appreciate the opportunity to help others and serve in our local community, making a difference for those who are in need of assistance. They and the other members encourage more people to consider getting involved. The only requirement for membership is the Safe Environment training. New members are always accompanied by experienced volunteers who can help show them the ropes.
The Vincentians meet weekly on Thursdays at 7 p.m. to pray together, reflect on an aspect of spirituality, then go over outstanding situations and bring everyone up to speed as to the work that is ongoing.
For more information, contact David Adamson at firstname.lastname@example.org.