Tag Archives: St Vincent de Paul

Saint Vincent de Paul

The prayers for the Mass of Saint Vincent de Paul today have us focus on “the relief of the poor and the formation of the clergy” imitating what Vincent loved and  did in following the Savior. The Church’s mission is one of service and education. Baptized into the company of saints, all Christians ought to have concern for the least in society; likewise, the baptized are to be concerned for their own education in the faith aiming to be as Saint Paul said, mature Christians. In Vincent’s world, education of the faithful came through the formation of healthy and holy clergy. An uneducated, that is, an untrained clergyman can lead others to perdition.

“Charity is the cement which binds communities to God and persons to one another in such a way that whoever contributes to union of hearts in a Company binds it indissolubly to God.” (Coste II, Letter 651, p. 413)

Saint Vincent said in his common rules as noted by Vincentian Father José María Román:

Charitable behaviour towards the neighbor should al­ways be characteristic of us. We should try, then: 1) to behave towards others in the way we might reasonably expect to be treated by them; 2) to agree with others, and to accept everything in the Lord; 3) to put up with one another without grumbling; 4) to weep with those who weep; 5) to rejoice with those who rejoice; 6) to yield precedence to one another; 7) to be kind and helpful to one another in all sincerity.

Hence, Vincent stressed three attitudes for his companions in the Congregation of the Mission and the Daughters of Charity, but they are also applicable to us who are not Vincentians, namely: mutual respect, condescension (humility) and bearing with the weaknesses of our neighbors.

Our prayer today ought to note how we engage in concrete works of charity, spiritual and corporal, and how we attend to our education in the faith while supporting those preparing to serve the world as Catholic priests.

The Vincentians need our prayers, so, I’d like to remember the Fathers of the Congregation of the Mission who serve in the Archdiocese of Hartford, especially those at St Stanislaus Church, New Haven, CT.

I’d recommend reading St Vincent de Paul: A Biography by Father José María Román, CM (London, 1999), but the same author has published various aspects of Saint Vincent’s life and work online.

Saint Vincent de Paul

Vincent de Paul by Gagliardi.jpg

I want to remember the Vincentian community in here in Connecticut, and particularly at Saint Stanislaus Church in New Haven. 

My prayer is that the Vincentian priests and brothers fulfill what the Church prays in the Mass Collect (see below) so that their witness be bold and clear for the faithful following of Jesus Christ. We need the witness of Saint Vincent de Paul and his sons and daughters through the vowed life of the Vincentian Society today more than ever. In an age of diminishment in vocations, the love with which the Vincentians live their vocation needs to be extroverted.

With the Church we pray,

O God, who for
the relief of the poor and the formation of the clergy endowed the Priest Saint
Vincent de Paul with apostolic 
virtues, grant, we pray, that, afire with that same spirit, we may love
what he loved and put into practice what he taught.

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New leadership for St Vincent de Paul Society

Frédéric Ozanam with VdP.jpgCatholics of a certain vintage remember the Saint Vincent de Paul Society –whose motto is “Seeking Charity and Justice– organizes people to respond to the human and spiritual needs of our neighbor. The Society is getting new life with a new leader. The Gospel is still changing people’s lives.

The board of directors elected John Foppe, 42, to be the new leader. Foppe takes on the work of an organization founded in Paris in 1833 by the layman Blessed Frédéric Ozanam who was moved by the poverty of his brothers and sisters and challenged by his Catholic faith. These lay Vincentians lived, and continue to live, the corporal and spiritual works of charity. What became the Saint Vincent de Paul Society was founded in St Louis, Missouri in 1845. Today, it is estimated that the Society numbers around 172,000 members in the USA organized in more than 4,500 conferences; but worldwide the numbers are more more dramatic. 
John Foppe’s story can be read here.
For more information about the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, visit them here.
Saint Vincent de Paul,  Saint Louise de Marrilac and Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, pray for us.

Poverty Eradication and Intergenerational Justice: Stewardship, Solidarity and Subsidiarity

This coming year Pope Benedict is going to spend time teaching matters of Justice. In fact, he’s called for a new emphasis on Justice several times in the past year. St John’s University is a college operated by the Congregation of the Mission (the Vincentians), the religious order founded by the great Saint Vincent de Paul who had a special love for the poor and marginalized but also taught that one can’t effectively serve the poor without an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. For Saint Vincent de Paul, in order to walk with the poor one had to first first walk with the Lord. To that end, the Vincentian Fathers, Brothers and laity organized the Vincentian Center for Church and Society.

Next week, there is the 7th Biennial Vincentian Chair of Social Justice at St. John’s University (Queens, NY Campus) on “Poverty Eradication and Intergenerational Justice: Stewardship, Solidarity and Subsidiarity” to take place on October 22, 2011. 

More information can be found here: Poverty Eradication and Intergenerational Justice.pdf

Saint Vincent de Paul

Vincent de Paul.jpg

Among the Scripture passages that Saint Vincent de Paul (1580-1660) most identified with and recalled for his followers was Matthew 25. He was convinced by the revealed word that God was close to the poor, to those who live on the margins of society, civil or ecclesial. The charism of Saint Vincent, understood most clearly in the Congregation of the Mission, was to make known God’s mercy to all people but most especially to the poor. In this way he was akin to the Prophets and to the life of Jesus. Saint Vincent de Paul once said, “The Church teaches us that mercy belongs to God. Let us implore Him to bestow on us the spirit of mercy and compassion, so that we are filled with it and may never lose it. Only consider how much we ourselves are in need of mercy.”
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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