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: 626-600-8464..
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 Mike Ume, Ms. Kathy Tracy 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.
Another 500 To Go!
As we have adapted to Covid restrictions, we have adopted different ways of accomplishing our goals. Our mission continues however, no matter what.
We were forced to improvise… forced to keep our distance from people, including ourselves, and yet we hungered to stay connected to the poor. Vincentians understand that we are nothing in our vocation without the poor and the homeless. Like Jesus, they are our masters and we are their servants.
We set a goal for Fiscal 2021 to distribute 1,500 Mercy Bags to the homeless throughout the year. Then Covid struck and severely hampered our Homeless Caravan. We improvised. We moved forward with gathering supplies and our Gators moved forward with their Christmas Project (supplying additional Mercy Bags) and together we amassed 1,000 Mercy Bags for the homeless! Thank you again, Kerry Holtz, Ms. Navarro, and all our Gators!!!
As we had to suspend meeting the poor face-to-face, we instead gathered two nonprofits and four additional Conferences who still have limited contact with the homeless, to act as distributors for us. On December 19th, we handed over to our collaborators the 1,000 Mercy Bags, including prayer cards from our Spiritual Advisor and notes to the homeless from our students. All 1,000 Mercy Bags were distributed within the week!
You see, what would have taken us a year to distribute through our Homeless Caravan, was shared throughout Pasadena, Long Beach, and South LA all within one week!
Now, as Easter approaches, we are ready to create our next 500 Mercy Bags, meeting our annual goal within six months. Truly, God has a plan.
Like the Marine Motto, our Conference will continue to “Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome” whatever adversity confronts us. Thank you all for your continued support. Truly, you have made a difference in the lives of those we serve.