Ministry Spotlight: The Society of St. Vincent de Paul

11-12-2017Weekly ReflectionCarmelita Madison

Spirituality • Fellowship and Friendship • Serve Those in Need • Give others the opportunity to serve

I think I've heard of St. Vincent de Paul Charity." ~"What is the Society of St. Vincent de Paul?" ~"What is a Vincentian?" "What are Associate members?"~ "I remember St. Vincent de Paul helped my family when I was a kid. It's a good organization" ~"They help the poor, right?"

These are some of the comments and questions St. Vincent de Paul, Corpus Christi Conference (SVdPCCC) members have heard throughout the years. Hopefully, in the following paragraphs, these questions will be answered. But more importantly, we would like to convey how blessed our Corpus Christi community really is and how its partnership plays a wonderful and appreciated role within the Society ofSt. Vincent de Paul.

Our members enjoy each other's company so much, we meet twice a month. Our members are known as Vincentians. Through experience, we have learned that much of our work is dependent upon faith. Faith in ourselves that we can properly carry out the work called upon us and to understand the deeper needs of our clients. Faith in our community to help provide the resources needed to help others. So we pray a lot. Each meeting opens in prayer with:

Lord Jesus, deepen our Vincentian spirit of friendship during this meeting. Make us responsive to the Christian calling to seek and find the forgotten, the suffering or the deprived so that we may bring them your love. Help us to be generous with our time our possessions and ourselves in this mission of charity. Perfect in us your love, and teach us to share more fully in the Eucharistic sacrifice offered for all.

St. Vincent de Paul Corpus Christi Conference was founded in March 1990 by a handful of parishioners who heard the calling to help those in need. When Maurice "Moses" Wipple, and four others (Dr. Robert Schlacter, Jude Mendoza, Dan Foy and Ray Maldoon) approached Fr. Sigman (Corpus Christi's Pastor at that time) with the idea of starting a St. Vincent de Paul Ministry, they were met with some skepticism. Although, Fr. Sigman thought it was a wonderful idea, the thought crossed his mind, "Who would you serve?" Ahwatukee was considered one of the more affluent areas of Phoenix. However, that spring, with Fr. Sigman's blessings and best of luck wishes, Mr. Wipple and his four founding members, set out to do what the original founder, Frederic Ozanam, did in the spring of 1833. They did what our Lord Jesus Christ did when preaching the gospel. They sought out the poor! A few months later, SVdP -CCC had forty members. …And so the Food Driveand Giving Tree programs began.

"R. Schlacter, DDS, dedicated countless hours for years at the SVDP dental clinic. …How extremely honored I was to know these giving people."


Fast forward to Fall 2017, SVdP has 18 Full Members plus 50 Associate Members. Associate Members are valuable active members who are not required to attend most of the meetings and theyhaven't taken the required two-day training course.

A large part of SVdP is to offer people volunteer opportunities. No matter how small the task may seem, in the bigger scheme of things, that time to accomplish each task is essential in helping someone in need. SVdP hosts the Furniture Drive in April, the Water drive in July, the Cool Coats Drive in October, a Food Drive and Turkey Tuesday in November, the Giving Tree in December, food sorting at the Watkins Center on Saturdays, serving at the Mesa Dining Hall, and volunteer opportunities at our Thrift Stores, plus a slew of other volunteer opportunities at the SVdP Watkins Center.

"As a volunteer and a father, SVdP gives me the opportunity to share with my child the importance of helping others."


With the generosity of time from our volunteers and the generosity of our benefactors, much effort is put into helping families stay in their homes, providing them food, or keeping their utilities running. The service of a Vincentian is to help those who, for whatever reason, are going through a tough time in their life and need a helping hand. As a Vincentian, we are well aware that we are at the mercy of our parishioners' generosity. Therefore, it is imperative that we wisely assist a client the best way possible, even if sometimes we have to say "no." We help clients to try to help themselves as we assist them to get back on track. We can better determine how to assist a client by making a home visit and finding out firsthand what type of help they may need. Equipped with referrals and references, we pray with and council clients at their home on how they can best be assisted.

"It was touching to see a child so excited when he saw a jar of peanut butter in the food box that we dropped off at his home."


Dear God, We ask Your blessing on this home and those who live here. Grant them your guidance during this difficult time. Bless those who have generously given to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, so that we may help others. As we journey through life, may each of us always lend a hand to those in need. Amen.

In addition to helping our community members, we are able to offer assistance to other less fortunate Catholic Churches in our district and abroad. Sincethe Society is a Christian family whose members share their resources, we exercise "twinning" (thecoming together of two communities). Twinninglinks brother and sister Vincentians in a special way;it cuts through language and cultural barriers.Through twinning, councils and conferences implementthe theological virtue of charity and fulfill theChurch's preferential option for the poor.

"I joined SVdP to offer my help, but instead, being a Vincentian has helped me to appreciate and see life from a different perspective."


Our clients are grateful for our services. Some take the time to send thank you notes. It's rewarding when notes of gratitude are received, or we find out that a client will start going to church because they realize that faith is real and that people still care. This gives them hope and the desire to thank the Lord and pay forward the kindness. It may be a slow cycle, buta lovely cycle, never-the-less.

So in a nut shell, the Society collaborates with other people of good will in relieving need and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served because, in them, Vincentians see the face of Christ. In closing we pray:

Lord, it is through your inspiration that so many people are generous in providing us with the resources to serve those in need. Bless and protect our benefactors who sacrifice and share so that our hands willbe filled with gifts.

SVdP-CCC would like all parishioners, pastors, staff, and volunteers to know that we truly appreciate all that you do for SVdP. You are a caring and giving community. It is the generosity of your offered gifts that keeps the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul vibrant and successful in our parish and appreciated byothers. We count those blessings.

If you would like to learn more about the St. Vincent de Paul Ministry and its volunteer opportunities, please visit our page on the parish website or call the Parish Office at 480-893-8770.