The Voice

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


Four Annual Events of Columbus Diocese SVDP

Vincentian Links

This is the page for announcing, reporting about, as well as registering for the four annual council events.

The four events are
  • Top Hat Award Dinner, May 5, 2018.
  • Day of Recollection, August 20, 2017
  • Friends of the Poor Walk , September 28, 2017
  • Bishop's Appreciation Mass, December 4, 2017

The Top Hat award is given annually to a Vincentian in our Diocese who has provided outstanding service in our ministry to grow spiritually by seeking out and serving the poor and needy. The "Top Hat" title is used to emphasize that our founder, Frederic Ozanam, did not allow his social class, in which men wore top hats, to blind him to the needs of the poor in early nineteenth century France.

Report on 2018 Top Hat Award Ceremony and dinner

Saturday, May 5, marked the celebration of our annual Top Hat Mass and dinner. There were 15 conferences represented with 70 people attending, including the guests from ARCH, and Getting Ahead. The celebration began with Mass for the 6th Sunday of Easter in the chapel of St. Charles Preparatory. The celebrant,Fr. Charlie Cotton, concluded his homily by challenging us to ask someone who knows us well how we show the love of God.

After Mass the guests walked over to Cavello Hall for a dinner prepared by LA Catering. L.A. Catering is a division of LifeCare Alliance. All profits from L.A. Catering are invested back into our community through LifeCare Alliance programs and services to support older adults, medically challenged and disabled individuals in Central Ohio. Douge Schrage of St. Elizabeth was the 2018 top Hat Awardee. Read Doug’s nomination at: Doug Scrage .

After dinner people who had profited from Vincentian systemic change efforts:ARCH Prison ministry, Getting Ahead mentoring programs and microloans told us their stories.

Diocesan Council president Warren Wright introduced a change in the Vincentian mission statement which was printed on the program and all participants read aloud.

The current mission statement reads:
Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, leads women and men to join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and patron, St. Vincent de Paul.

The new mission statement announces that we are:
A network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to persons in need.

A new Modulo in the Vincentian “Serving in Hope” series was distributed after the dinner. The Modulo is on new approaches in the home visit.

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Report on 2017 Bishop’s Appreciation Mass for Vincentian Volunteers

On the pleasant December 4 moonlight evening over one hundred Vincentians enjoyed once again the hospitality of the St. Joseph Cathedral conference. After 6:30 PM Mass the conference provided their traditional full meal buffet in the cathedral undercroft. As usual there was an array of deserts. The only disappointing part of the evening was that Bishop Campbell was unable to be the celebrant. A sudden illness kept him in bed. Fortunately, Fr. Adam Steitenberger, who substituted for Bishop Campbell drew insights into Frederic Ozanams spirituality from that day’s gospel passage. This was the passage about the centurion who told Jesus that he was not worthy that Jesus should enter under his roof. Vincentians, with home visits, show the poor that they are worthy for us to enter under their roof. We show them that we all are of equal worth. We see the face of Christ in them and we show the face of Christ to them.

It was good to have about a hundred guests. But it would have been better to have many more. These diocesan wide events: Bishop’s Mass, Friends of Poor Walk, Top Hat Dinner and Day of Recollection are the occasions for developing solidarity amongst Vincentians.

All those attending received a special Christmas ornament Warren Wright brought back from the 2017 National Assembly. Each ornament is mouth-blown glass and individually designed and inscribed by Mary Margaret Cannon. For more about these ornaments see
Glorious Gifts

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Report on 2017 Vincentian Day of Recollection

Our annual Day of Recollection was Sunday, August 20, 2017 from 9 am to 3:30 pm at the Martin de Porres Center on the campus of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. From 9-9:30 coffee, juice and rolls were available along with opportunities for Vincentian friendship. From 9:30 to 10 there was a prayer and meditative music. A program based on Module IV of the “Serving in Hope” series began at 10AM. There were 48 Vincentians, representing 20 conferences. A club sandwich box lunch from 11:30-12:30 separated the morning from afternoon sessions.

The facilitator was Tom Mulloy, Director of National Poverty Programs for the USA National Society of St. Vincent dePaul. Tom Mulloy recently began work for National after serving on the United States Catholic Conference of Bishop’s staff for poverty programs. Mr. Mulloy guided participants in using Module IV as it would be used in in a conference meeting. Participants took turns reading paragraphs before addressing the discussion questions. Module IV focuses on showing how the recent Vincentian efforts in legislative advocacy and systemic change are deeply rooted in Vincentian spirituality and practice.

There was serious discussion of how Vincentians could change the perception of parishioners who support Vincentian work that Vincentian works include struggles for social justice as well as charity.

The new “Building Neighborhoods of Hope” program Mr. Mulloy introduced from the National office was not really new to Vincentians of the Columbus Diocese. Columbus diocese Vincentians are familiar with forming local communities of those we serve to articulate the issues which concern them and to advocate for social change to resolve these issues. This is the VOAN initiative. The community action committees under the auspices of the Vincentian Ohio Action Network, especially the Newark Think Tank, are already such neighborhoods of hope.

Mass at 2:30PM in Motherhouse chapel concluded the Day of Recollection. Fr. Charlie Klinger, Diocesan Council spiritual advisor was the celebrant. As usual Fr. Klinger’s homily was insightful. Fr. Klinger’s homily addressed a theme in the gospel passage (Mt 15:21-28) of 2017’s Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary time. The theme was Jesus’ shocking rudeness to the Canaanite woman who begged Him to exorcise a demon from her daughter. Fr. Klinger’s insightful suggestion was that we regard Jesus’s initial rudeness as a sign of his humanity. It sprang from his training as a Jewish man. However, we should regard Jesus’ willingness to get involved with a dialogue with the Canaanite woman as an example of overcoming a human temptation. Fr. Klinger noted that the only other time Jesus is shown as changing his mind is when he allowed him mother Mary to persuade him to change water into wine at Cana.

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Circleville Walk

The St. Joseph Circleville Friends of the Poor walk was held at Mary Virginia Crites Hannan park (MVCH). At least $2609.50 has been taken in. It will help us help the poor in Pickaway County. Mary Kay Wood and her committee for the Walk did a great job. The weather was great. Praise and thanks to St. Vincent de Paul!

by Pat Meves

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