2018 Advent Project

... and she gave birth to her firstborn son.  She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  
Luke 2:7 

Be the people God wants us to be
We begin and end our SVdP meetings in prayer.  It seems appropriate to share an excerpt of these prayers that help us to remember we can be the people God invites us to be.

Lord Jesus, deepen our Vincentian spirit of friendship during this meeting and make us responsive to the Christian calling to seek and find the forgotten, the suffering, or the deprived so that we may bring them your love.  Help us to be generous with our time, our possessions, and ourselves in this mission of charity.  Perfect in us your love and teach us to share more fully in the Eucharistic Sacrifice offered for all.

Lord Jesus Christ, keep us in your love.  Help us to respond more spontaneously to the suffering of others, and come to love you more deeply by service to our neighbor.

Making a Difference
Isn't it funny, in spite of all of the scientific and technological advancements that we still have so many problems?  There are so many crises being experienced.  There are so many unemployed.  There are so many homeless.  There are still so many poor and starving people in the world.  Perhaps it's because people are too busy chasing that star, climbing that ladder, focusing on themselves.  Perhaps it's because people simply don't care enough about others to make a difference. 

We spend a lot of time praying that God will change things -- make things better.  But we don't look to ourselves to make a difference.  The problems seem so enormous that we tend to be overwhelmed and think this is too big for us.  But the fact is we can make a difference. 

In other words, if you want things to change in this world, then you have to do something different.  But you don't have to change the whole world, just make life better for someone today, this moment.

The Two Great Commandments
The purpose of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is to fulfill the two great commandments -- love of God and love of neighbor.  We seek to grow spiritually in our meetings and through prayer and sharing of our faith.  We develop a bond or community of faith with our fellow Vincentians.  We participate in other forms of spiritual activity.  We seek out God's needy, both materially and spiritually, and help where we can.  Sometimes great resources are needed -- sometimes we can do no more than listen and comfort -- we are very good at it.  We respond to the opportunities God presents to us.  In coming closer to those in need, you are coming closer to God.

Three Essential Elements
The three essential elements of the work that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul does are of equal importance.

1) Spirituality
To bear witness to Christ and to His Church by showing that the faith of Christians inspires them to work for the good of humanity.
  • Showing Christ's face to those in need
  • Seeing Christ's face in those in need
  • Evangelization by example
  • Praying with those in need
  • Prayer, meditation, discussion of ministry
2) Friendship
To bring together men and women of goodwill and to assist them by mutual example and true friendship in drawing nearer to the divine model by fulfilling his essential precept, namely the love of God in the person of others.
  • Person to person relationship to those in need
  • Home visitation to maintain the dignity of those in need
  • Working together on special projects
  • Collaboration with other SVdP conferences
  • Praying together
3) Service
To establish a personal contact between its members and those who suffer, to bring to the latter the most efficacious and charitable aid possible, and to promote self-sufficiency.
  • Material assistance (food, clothing, furniture, basic necessities)
  • Financial assistance (rent, utilities, transportation)
  • 100% volunteers
  • Special works (stores, pantries, housing)
Our Parish Advent Project this year will raise funds to support the work that the Holy Spirit St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Conference does to help those in need in our community.  We are also including a family Advent calendar activity to raise awareness of the things that many in our community go without and provide a creative way that children can participate in supporting this ministry.

For I was hungry and you gave me food.
I was thirsty and you gave me drink,
a stranger and you welcomed me,

naked and you clothed me,

ill and you cared for me,

in prison and you visited me.

  Matthew 25:35-36

Donations will be accepted at Holy Spirit from December 1st through January 6th. 

Become a Vincentian!

We need YOU!  The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a great way to increase your spirituality and help others in need.  Even a small amount of time can make a huge difference to those in need.   Please consider joining our Holy Spirit Conference!  If you'd like to explore the possibility, contact Conference President, Tom Fox at 261-6882. 

St. Vincent de Paul wrote:

Be careful not to overdo it...  The spirit of God leads us on gently to do the good which we can reasonably accomplish so that we can do it consistently and for a longer period of time.  Act thus and you will be acting according to the spirit of God.

To be involved in the service of Jesus is a sacred trust to which we have been invited.

If in the eyes of the world the poor have little value, they are the ones who open to us the way to heaven; they are our passport to paradise. 

In the poor, we find the presence of Jesus, who, though rich, became poor for us.

       Pope Francis

Remember when we still had neighbors?  When people in a community actually cared about each other?

People didn't fall through the cracks back then.  There was always someone there to catch them.

Who is our neighbor?  Is it just the person next door?  Or is it anyone in need?

Our neighbors are cold, hungry, desperately sad.  Do something for them.  Love your neighbor.

How do I know the poor?

How do I love the poor?

How do I serve the poor?

How do I advocate for the poor?

How can I live more simply so as to be more generous to the poor?

Someone once wrote:

If you always do what you've always done,
you will always get what you always got.

If you want to get what you've never got,
then you have to do what you've never done.

The Parable of the Good Samaritan

"And who is my neighbor?"  Jesus replied: "There was a man going down from Jerusalem to Jericho who fell in with robbers.  They stripped him, beat him, and then went off leaving him half-dead.  A priest happened to be going down the same road; he saw him but continued on.  Likewise there was a Levite who came the same way; he saw him and went on.  But a Samaritan who was journeying along came on him and was moved to pity at the sight.  He approached him and dressed his wounds, pouring in oil and wine as a means to heal.  He then hoisted him on his own beast and brought him to an inn, where he cared for him.  The next day he took out two silver pieces and gave them to the innkeeper with the request:  "Look after  him, and if there is any further expense I will repay you on my way back."  Which of these three, in your opinion, was neighbor to the man who fell in with the robbers?"  The answer came, "The one who treated him with compassion."  Jesus said to him, "Then go and do the same."

Luke 10:25-37