The Voice

of the Conferences and Council, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Diocese of Columbus, Ohio


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St. Andrew Conference Mission Statement

Guided by the local Council/Diocesan, National and International Society of St. Vincent de Paul, our Conference strives to enrich each member's Vincentian spirituality first through prayer and reflection, mutually supportive gatherings, and adherence to a basic Rule. We put our faith into action through providing material and spiritual assistance to those in need, one-to-one in our Parish area, and around the Diocese through financial support of other Conferences and Diocesan ministries. Working cooperatively with Parish Clergy and staff, we are committed to the responsible stewardship of the funds donated to us by our Parishioners.

St. Andrew Conference Beginnings

Founded in 1960, the first St. Andrew Conference Annual Report to the Diocese on file is for 1965-66. It shows Rev. Michael Nugent as the Spiritual Advisor; the President was James Fullin; VP was John Bender; Secretary was Joseph Zalewski; and Treasurer was Edward Gibson; other members were Frank Paniccia, Patrick Irwin, and Ed Dagenfield.

The Society started admitting women in 1968. The Conference continued in the '70s and '80s, with Bob McGlone, Ed & Laura Dagenfield, and Don & Kathy Duhigg serving in leadership roles.

In the 1990's Fr. Frank Lane gave special support to the group to help it expand. There were 9 members in 1993-94, and 11 in 1994-95, with Co-Presidents Laura Dagenfield and Don Duhigg. At that time, the Conference helped families through Catholic Social Services and contacts through parishioners; members also visited shut-ins and contributed to the recovery of victims of natural disasters.

Parish-Wide Donations

Parishioners help us help others by donating to our various annual collections:
January: Men's Winter Clothing
March: Hygiene and Cleaning Products
May/June: Clothing Drive for men, women, and children
October: Blankets, Towels, and Linens
November: Hats, Gloves, Mittens and Scarfs

Holiday Outreach: At Christmas we deliver Poinsettias and at Easter we deliver Lilies to parishioners who are homebound or living in nursing homes. We also send Holiday greeting cards to those who cannot receive flowers.

Recycle School Supplies: In cooperation with St. Andrew teachers, at the close of the school year students collect pens, pencils, notebooks, etc. We take them to a local program in need.

Fifth Sunday Collections

Four times a year, there is a fifth Sunday in a month. On these occasions, we solicit financial contributions from parishioners to support our work.

Meetings

Members of St. Andrew's Conference meet twice a month, on the first Saturday of each month after the 9:00 a.m. Mass (a business meeting) and on the third Sunday of each month after the 9:00 a.m. Mass to prepare sandwiches for the St. Lawrence Haven's lunch program.

Home Visits

The core work of the Society is the home visit. We go as friends to folks in our parish area. Visiting always in pairs, we try to better understand their needs. Upon evaluation of the situation, our Conference provides such assistance as rent and utility payment, food and fuel cards, help with medical costs. All our work with individuals is strictly confidential.

Conference Twinning and Council (Diocesan) Support

The Society has a rich history of Conferences helping other Conferences (called “Twinning”) whose needs outweigh their resources. We provide regular monthly financial support to the St. Mary, German Village Conference and to the St. Ladislas food pantry. On a yearly basis, to the extent we are able, we also contribute to various Conferences in the needier parts of the Diocese. In addition, we respond whenever called upon by other Conferences to assist them with direct client aid. We also provide regular monthly financial support to Council/Diocesan Ministries (listed below), and to the Joint Organziation for Inner-city Needs (JOIN).

The National and International Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul leads women and men to grow spiritually, following in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul. The Society was founded in France in 1833, with the first U.S. Conference being established in 1845. Members, called Vincentians, include every ethnic and cultural background, age group, and economic level. The Society's national office website is http://www.svdpusa.org

Council/Diocesan Ministries

Vincentians (and non-Vincentians) can volunteer to help the needy at these locations. The Manager for both these ministries is Heather Swiger, who can be reached at 241-2569 or hswiger@colsdioc.org.
St. Lawrence Haven at S. Fifth and E. Rich Sts – provides a daily sack lunch (M-F) at no cost.

The St. Vincent de Paul Clothing Center at 578 E. Main St. – provides clothing, shoes, and linens (10am to noon, M-Th) at no cost.

Saturday Food Program – operated out of the Clothing Center, this ministry provides 3 days worth of basic food every 2 weeks to the elderly, needy, and shut-ins primarily in the Bottoms and the Hilltop areas of the city. Clients are referred by Catholic Social Services.

Voice of the Poor – Vincentians are called to help bring about more just policies for those who we visit. This can be done through the Voice of the Poor, the advocacy/justice component of SVDP. It provides a means of communicating with local and national legislators on issues relevant to our mission.

More information on any of these activities can be found on the Columbus Diocese SVDP website at www.vincentianvoice.org

Diocesan Events

April - Top Hat Dinner & Recognition

This early evening event begins with Mass and then an informal dinner. The Diocesan President recognizes various people and conference accomplishments, highlighted by the presentation of The Top Hat Award. It is given annually to a Vincentian who has provided outstanding service in our ministry. The "Top Hat" title emphasizes that our founder, Frederic Ozanam, did not allow his social class to blind him to the needs of the poor in early nineteenth century France. The evening also includes an inspirational presentation by a guest speaker.

August - Day of Recollection

This annual day of recollection, reflection, and renewal features an experienced, national SVDP facilitator who guides the group through morning and afternoon sessions designed to deepen our Vincentian understanding and spirituality. The day typically ends with Mass.

September/October - Friends of the Poor Walk

The Walk/Run began as a national program with the purpose of providing local Society of St. Vincent de Paul Conferences and Councils the additional funds to help support their work. From babies in strollers to oldsters in wheelchairs, everyone enjoys food, music, Tee shirts, and walking (or running) as little or as much as they want. All funds raised stay in our local area.

December - Bishop’s Appreciation Mass and Reception at St. Joseph Cathedral. Diocesan leadership recognize volunteers and offer an opportunity for fellowship among members of various Conferences.

Twice a year - Ozanam Orientation

Day-long presentations and interactive discussion relating the History, Organization, and Operations of the Society. All new members are expected to attend an Orientation during their first year.

If you are interested in growing spiritually and serving the community through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, or for more information, you may reach us through the Parish Office, 451-4290.

Please email observations and suggestions to SVDP Site Webmaster

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