SAN DIEGO – Once a year, a Day of Recollection is held when all members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) come together to enjoy fellowship, share in their Vincentian spirituality, and recommit to their mission of serving the poor.
This year’s Day of Recollection will take place on Saturday, July 27. The event, which is open to all current members as well as those interested in the works of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, is free but registration is required. It will begin with an 8:30 a.m. Mass celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop John P. Dolan in Mission San Diego de Alcala’s St. Francis Chapel.
Sister Paule Freeburg, spiritual director for the Western Region of the National Society of St. Vincent de Paul, will deliver a presentation on “Vincentian Spirituality Through the Gospel of Luke.” Deacon Tim Schulz, a longtime lay Vincentian who was ordained to the permanent diaconate on June 7, will bless his fellow Vincentians as they renew their commitment to the society.
The San Diego Diocesan Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is made up of 12 conferences. The conferences generally serve people in need within their parish boundaries. Unlike social service agencies which refer to people in need as “clients,” Vincentians visit people in their homes and refer to those they help as “neighbors” or “friends.” All neighbors are treated with the utmost confidentiality.
Vincentians provide help in a variety of ways, all the while, listening and praying with those they visit.
More than 500 Vincentians in San Diego had nearly 13,000 person-to-person contacts with neighbors in need last year. More than 3,300 of those contacts were home visits providing forms of assistance that included everything from helping people to remain housed to keeping their lights on. Visits were also paid to those in prisons, hospitals and eldercare. The organization’s food pantries have also helped the many in San Diego County who are food insecure, and several of its conferences have thrift sale operations.
Lali Chan-Chale, president of the Santa Sophia Conference, became a Vincentian five years ago after moving here from Mexico. Because she didn’t yet have a work permit, she began volunteering at her conference’s food pantry, which serves nearly 300 families monthly. She made friends quickly and fell in love with her new Vincentian family.
Following a recent home visit, she told her fellow members, “Even though we helped keep the roof over the family this month, their needs are much more that what we could do. Days after the visit, I am still thinking about the family and I realize that many of our neighbors are in the same situation. So, this month, I ask you to remember our neighbors in need in your prayer, that the Holy Spirit may guide them and they can feel the peace and joy of our risen Lord in their hearts.”
For more information about the SSVP and the Day of Recollection, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (760) 224-7974. The event is free but registration is required at www.Acceptive.org.