The Society of St. Vincent de Paul
By Leo Wozniak
St. Vincent de Paul . . . that’s a name that has been part of us everywhere and anywhere our Catholic experience has taken us. It has almost become a “take it for granted” part of parish life.
Very much a part of St. Thomas Moore is our parish’s extremely active St. Vincent de Paul ministry.
The ministry was founded in France in 1833, started later in United States in 1845 and then one hundred years later took root in Arizona. The ministry has now grown to provide an invaluable service to thousands of recipients in 150 countries world-wide.
Here in the parish, the ministry is known as a Conference. Conferences in surrounding parishes are grouped together to form a district. All the districts in the diocese together are known as a council. The majority of the work that the ministry provides is done at the conference level.
According to Jim Biondolillo, the current president, “The mission of St Vincent de Paul in our parish is very simple: “We are here to feed, clothe, house and heal people who live within our parish boundaries and who have fallen on hard times and need a helping hand.”
Jim explains that “some of the ways we assist our clients is by having home visit teams who work Monday through Friday providing direct assistance and providing food boxes”.
“We also have people who work in our pantry stocking our shelves and packing food boxes. Some other volunteers work at the various dining rooms through the Valley serving meals.”
Jim also explains that “we have a big food drive in November, which stocks our pantry.”
He says, when necessary, fresh and frozen food items are available from the Society’s downtown distribution center.
Jim points out that a very important source of support comes from the second collection on each fifth Sunday at the parish. These funds, except for a tithe to the district, “stay within our conference for use by us.”
He also says that, “Because of the extremely generous donations that we receive from our parishioners, we are able to use our funds to assist other conferences.”
In addition to Jim, current officers of the parish’s conference are Linda Rasmussin, vice president; Kristin Moats, secretary; and Lynda Gerhardt, treasurer.
Parishioners who want to know more about the ministry and perhaps join as volunteers are invited to talk to one of the members.
“Once parishioners believe that this is a ministry for them,” Jim says, “there are two half-day sessions (four formation classes) which are given at various locations.”
Members of the ministry often wear badges during weekend masses, and can be approached with questions.
To contact our St. Vincent de Paul, call 623-694-0942.October 5, 2017