The local Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul that covers the area of the Diocese of Mobile reports that Vincentians throughout the diocese provided over $625,000 worth of aid to the poor and needy in Southern Alabama during the latest fiscal year. The Society provided just over $359,000 in direct financial aid to needy families which includes help with utilities, rent, and food. In addition to that, the Society also gave out over $266,000 in items donated to the Society for the poor such as food from its pantries, clothing, and furniture. This aid touched over 23,000 people in our diocese by way of home visits, hospital visits, visits to the homebound, and other meetings with those seeking assistance.
All of this help for the poor comes directly from the generous donations that parishioners give to the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Whatever comes in as donations, the Vincentians give right back out in aid to the needy. All potential recipients of aid are checked out as best as possible to assure that money and household items donated to the Society go to help only the truly needy. Nearly all donations are used locally.
SVDP is the largest lay Catholic charitable organization in the world, with Vincentians now serving the poor in 151 countries. The Society was founded in Paris over 185 years ago, and has been serving the poor in the Mobile diocese since 1896. Members of the Society are the average Catholics in the pews who wish to respond to God's command to all of us to personally help the least of our brethren in our own local neighborhoods. There are currently 361 Vincentians in the Mobile diocese, with 245 fully active parishioners, and another 116 volunteers who work occasionally to help the active members on their activities. The Society has 22 SVDP Conferences operating within the diocese, with 23 of the diocese's parishes affiliated with those 22 conferences.
The Society has embarked on a growth campaign asking those parishes who are not yet affiliated with SVdP to encourage their parishioners to begin helping the poor in their parish area by associating with the Society. SVDP would like to have all Catholics within the diocese hear about how Vincentianism can help them to follow Our Lord’s commandment to not just help the poor by monetary donations, but to also do so by personal contact to those in need.
To learn more about the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, or to refer someone to SVDP who needs help, visit their local website at www.svdpmobilecouncil.org. There are also a number of videos on You Tube about the Society that can give you more insight into how Vincentians around the world are actively serving those in need.
As we continue to recover from the Covid 19 pandemic and start to reopen our churches and communities, We also start to open up our conferences for meetings and functions. The District Council is dedicated to keeping its members safe and ask all conferences to continue to practice safety in their operations. We are planning to welcome our current members back and will also welcome new members into our conferences. For those whom are seeking to grow spiritually by service to those in need, we welcome you to join one of our conferences or if your parish does not have a conference we would be available to offer assistance in starting one. Our plans are to increase the number of conferences and members in the northern and eastern side of the archdiocese. So, please help us to reach our goals.