The Saint Joseph Parish Conference of the St. Vincent de Paul Society is a unit of the St. Joseph County District Council, which in turn is a component of a national and world-wide organization. Under the Patronage of St. Vincent de Paul, the Society was founded in Paris over 170 years ago by Blessed Frederick Ozanam. The Conference in Saint Joseph Parish has operated continuously since 1916. The principal mission of the Society is attending to the needs of the poor and, by so doing, increasing the Christian witness of the Society's members. Our motto is "No charity is unknown to the society."
WHAT WE DO
We fulfill the Society's mission in our parish conference by responding to the emergency needs for food, clothing, home furnishings, and other necessities of life of those families who reside within our parish boundaries. In concert with other parish conferences, we occasionally contribute to a joint effort that would be beyond the means of any single parish conference.
Needy families are refered to us by our central referral office, but at times referrals come from the pastor or other parishioners. The name and address of the needy family and the nature of their need is sent to our conference Call Secretary who distributes the calls to individual members of the parish conference who then visits the needy family.
In the case of a call for help with food, groceries are retrieved from the pantry of the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store on Ardmore Trail, or from the parish food pantry at the Saint Joseph Parish Ackles Center. When we make the food call we attempt to engage the client in conversation about their circumstances, particularly the reason they felt it necessary to call us for assistance.. We indicate that the food is a gift of the people of Saint Joseph Parish and frequently invite the client's prayer for our congregation and the SVDP Society.
Calls in response to requests for clothing or other needs are handled similarly except we make the call on the client before taking any action. Most frequently the action taken is to prepare a voucher that is redeemable for the required clothing or furnishings at the Society's Thrift Store.
At the present time the conference has sixteen active members who each handle two to three calls per month. In the past year the conference members made over 230 calls providing assistance to over 500 individuals.
We meet in the Parish Center on the third Tuesday of each month at 7:15 p.m. for brief prayers, spiritual reading, reports on calls, and other conference business.
HOW TO HELP
If you would like to participate in this ministry, you can bring food on our St. Vincent dePaul Care and Share Food Sundays. Or, you can join the St. Vincent de Paul Society by contacting our conference chair, parishioner Roger Jacobs.
Roger Jacobs, Parishioner