When Jesus called His first disciples, He invited them to be a part of His public ministry — to give their lives to Him, follow His lead, and help bring more people come to know Him as the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Today, we are called to that same life of discipleship, giving our lives to Christ and serving our fellow men accordingly. For each one of us, that call looks a bit different and how we hear the call is different too — but the call is still the same, and the fulfillment when we answer is just as real.
Back in the early 1990s, Steve and Melissa Sisa heard Christ call them to come and serve with Him through the simple invitation of a friend. At the time, a good friend of theirs was serving as a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society — a Vincentian — and he invited Steve and Melissa to join their ranks.
“He was a good friend, so we said ‘yes,’” Melissa says. “It began as a simple volunteer opportunity.”
That simple “yes” has since transformed into what each of them considers a personal vocation, serving God by serving those in need in a tangible way.
As part of the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul, our St. Mary conference helps local people in need with things like rent, utilities, food, medical bills, and other such necessities.
“Our mission is to reach out to our friends and neighbors in need,” Steve says. “We are called to see the face of Christ in everyone we meet, the face of Christ that is crowned with thorns.”
To do this, Vincentians go out into the community. Upon hearing of a need through their helpline here at the parish, Vincentians go out to assess the need and determine how they can help.
“Our home visits are what set us apart from many other organizations,” Steve says. “We go into their homes and meet the people. We get to know about their family life and see the environment they live in. It helps us to connect with them and to more accurately assess their needs.”
Melissa says these home visits are a truly humbling element of the ministry.
“I am constantly humbled by the people we serve,” Melissa says. “We go into their homes and see how they live and we see that they are struggling — yet they are strong, hard-working people. It is an honor to serve them.”
Additionally, Melissa says that serving alongside the other Vincentians is both humbling and encouraging as they strive to serve Christ in others.
“It is a diverse group of faith-filled, giving people,” Melissa says. “The opportunity to serve together is a great part of personal growth for us all.”
Indeed, as Christ’s disciples, we are called to serve. So as we serve, the fulfillment we experience comes from Christ Himself. He blesses us tremendously when we offer Him our “yes.”
Is Christ calling you to serve in this way? Both Melissa and Steve encourage you to prayerfully consider if He is.
“Anyone interested in the opportunity to serve ought to come and see what it’s all about,” Melissa says.
“We want people to steadily discern,” Steve adds. “Come see what it’s about. Volunteer in a small capacity and go from there. It’s called the ‘Vincentian Pathway’ — it begins with a volunteer mindset and gradually grows into what can be a vocation of service.”
To learn more about the St. Vincent de Paul Society, to offer a monetary donation to their work, or to offer yourself in service, email Steve Sisa at firstname.lastname@example.org.