Society of St. Vincent de Paul ~ Assumption BVM-Conference
The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is very pleased to announce the arrival of a new ministry, here at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church. Assumption BVM -Conference is a new member serving as an extension of The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Los Angeles Council. We are now serving ABVM church and our parish community.
Our Conference is composed of 30 members from Assumption Parish. We have committed ourselves to the mission of Saint Vincent de Paul, as first originated by our founder, Frederic Ozanam, in Paris over 200 years ago.
Last year globally, more than 160,000 Vincentians gave over 12 million hours of service to the needy. Leading with their faith and through their charitable works, they delivered sustenance, gave hope, and promoted the dignity of their neighbors. Like Frederic Ozanam who ventured out into the streets of Paris 200 years before, Conference members on four continents went into their communities seeking out those who are desperate and requiring assistance with basic human needs.
Your Assumption BVM-Conference has committed itself to carrying the “Light of Jesus” into our community, sharing our Catholic faith and delivering charitable works to those most in need. As we encounter people seeking assistance, we will ask if they wish to pray with us, but we will never proselytize. As we visit people in their homes or on the street, we will never be judgmental of lifestyle or social condition. We will always be compassionate and objective, and do our very best to find some service to provide based on our guidelines. We will serve Catholic and non-Catholic alike, and we will disavow no one.
At the beginning of the 20th Century, President Theodore Roosevelt was challenged by special interests regarding his use of the Antiquities Act to create and preserve national parks. In order to convey his penetrating foresight on why it was so important, he responded to his critics in a speech made in New York, “…we are not building a nation to last a day; but rather, we are building a nation to last an eternity”. Likewise, Assumption BVM-Conference has not opened its doors to help a mere handful of people for a year or two; but rather, we are building a High Impact Conference dedicated to serving people for decades to come. This is the Vincentian tradition, and we pledge to carry it forward here at Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Church.
We are concerned with material poverty, social poverty, and people requiring assistance in finding needed government services, who for whatever reason cannot help themselves. We may assist people without resources due to homelessness, sickness, or unemployment. We may visit the aged neighbor with dementia, and assist them with home safety issues. We can provide food assistance and other material help that meets an immediate need, such as paying a phone or electric bill. You will also soon find Assumption BVM-Conference engaged in collaboration with parish ministries or throughout the Conference district, with neighbors such as Five Acres or Friends In Deed. Eventually, we will involve the Conference in advocacy, not only serving the needy but lending our voice to their support and treatment.
What might Assumption Parish see in the coming months: 1) expect to see us involved in parish gift activities during Christmas 2) come join us for local restaurant fundraisers 3) we are working on “Catholic Day” Dodger game for next season 4) Valentine’s Day or March Madness Bingo 5) Inter-Faith “CROP Hunger Walk” in November 6) and early planning stages for a Harvest Festival early October, 2017! You will also find us participating in seminars district wide and at the Los Angeles Council downtown.
Assumption BVM-Conference is a distinct entity and service. Even though we are an extension of The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, we are not funded by them. We are tasked with raising our own funds and ensuring that monies are not hoarded. We have a mandate to put money donated to the Conference to work in the parish community in a timely manner. It is important to note, that 100% of all donations must be used directly in serving the needy. Your Conference provides for its own expenses with a “secret collection”. No donations are used for managing the operation of the Conference.
You will find more information about Assumption BVM-Conference on the parish web page before the end of September. As we progress with clients and activities throughout the year, we will be adding our visual narrative to our Facebook page as well. Please note too, that we have activated our Hotline: 626-657-0836.
You can support the Assumption BVM-Conference by using our Church Offering Envelope soon to be found in the church pews. Look for the envelope with our Saint Vincent de Paul logo. Thank you in advance for supporting our compassionate tradition.
Lastly, allow our Conference to thank Father Gerard, Ms. Kathy Tracy, Sister Susan Slater, and Ms. Janet Perez for their gracious support and training. Our promise to all is to place our mission first and serve diligently with a compassionate heart. To each of you we are eternally grateful.
We are the Vincentians of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, Assumption BVM-Conference, and we have much to share.
St. Vincent de Paul sought to focus on the direct service of the poor. However, he knew that to do so, he would need to gather, motivate and negotiate with diverse groups of people. St Vincent used Jesus’ example of setting new courses and gathering His Apostles to help Him. St. Vincent used people from a variety of social classes and career fields as well as clergy and cloistered nuns. Today we try to follow in St. Vincent’s footsteps.
We have worked with one of our Friends, Rita, to help identify areas where we might find the homeless and offer them assistance. The Girl Scouts have helped us by building mercy bags filled with toiletries. Various business owners have helped by giving us a break on supplies. We’re also working with Friends in Deed to help supply their pantry. We were able to give them hundreds of pounds of food at Christmas and we refer our Friends-in-Need to their Food Pantry and Women’s Room. At Christmas, we supplied gifts or books to Pasadena Schools and gave gifts and food to families of another local parish.
We work closely with the other Conferences in the area to discuss needs and ideas for how to meet those needs. We recently shared our practice of assisting the homeless during bad weather with our Bad Weather Rescue Kit. The kit consists of appropriate outer wear like a poncho or warm jacket, sleeping bag, mat, mercy and food bag and a thick tarp for shelter. The LA Council has decided to use $10,000-to-$20,000 in grant money they received to purchase a store of these supplies so other Conferences can extend this practice.
We thank you for continuing to support the poor and marginalized. We can only give to them from the resources you provide for us. We are deeply grateful. In the picture above is our President Robert Wyatt, Vice President, Rita, our guide to helping the homeless, and Joan Feser.
If you know someone who needs assistance, please call our hotline: (626)657-0836. If you would like to make a monetary donation to be used in helping those in need, please use the Assumption-SSVdP tan envelope provided in the pew. Remember, 100% of your donation serves the needy and the poor.