I have some very exciting news to report: Christ the King will be launching a St. Vincent de Paul Conference later this month! What is a St. Vincent de Paul Conference? As many of you are aware, St. Vincent de Paul reaches out to the poor and needy in our community, providing them not only with material assistance but with the respect and dignity that is their due as our brothers and sisters in Christ. I am very excited about the potential for this Conference to help us greatly expand the way we serve the poor and marginalized in our area.
Our parish already does many wonderful things to provide this kind of outreach, most especially due to the dedication of our parishioners on the Christian Action Commission. We operate an active Food Pantry, provide for people in need through the Casserole and Pack-a-Lunch Programs, and have so many other great ministries to reach out to those in need in our communities: Thanksgiving & Christmas Baskets, Giving Tree, Dismas House, and activities to support the Women’s Care Center and Right to Life Michiana, just to name a few. I’m so grateful for the tireless work our parishioners have put into making these ministries so fruitful.
When we did our strategic plan in 2018, one thing we recognized was the potential we had to build upon these ministries and grow them dramatically. If this dedicated group of parishioners was already accomplishing so much, imagine what we could do if we doubled or tripled the number of parishioners involved? The need is definitely there in our community. (In fact, we discovered in our investigation of the St. Vincent de Paul Conference that many food deliveries are made by other parishes in our parish boundaries each month by people in need who call St. Vincent’s.) That’s why expanding our outreach to the community – and involving many more parishioners so that we truly build a culture of Christian service in our parish – were such priorities in our strategic plan.
That’s why I was so excited when a group of parishioners approached me about beginning a St. Vincent de Paul Conference here at CTK. St. Vincent’s will give us the structure, training and spiritual formation to multiply the service we’re doing exponentially, without sacrificing any of the existing ministries we’re doing, and giving parishioners a chance to get involved at many different levels.
Here’s what you can expect from St. Vincent de Paul at Christ the King:
- Home Visits with Food Delivery: Home visits to bring food to those in need are the heart of SVDP’s ministry, and there will be plenty of opportunities for parishioners to be involved. We expect to greatly increase the volume of goods that our Food Pantry does.
- Spiritual Formation: St. Vincent meetings not only focus on the logistics of serving those in need in our community but will also include time for spiritual formation and growth. St. Vincent offers an excellent model with great resources that allow this to happen.
- Greater Access to Services for Those in Need: By making home visits and establishing relationships, we can also identify other ways that the resources of St. Vincent’s here in South Bend can help out families in need since St. Vincent’s connects us with a wide variety of resources to help lift people out of poverty.
- Continuation of our Current Ministries: Our other outreach ministries will continue uninterrupted, and I firmly believe that the assistance provided by the conference can help strengthen them as well.
In a couple of weeks (October 15th and 16th), we’ll have our official kickoff, leading up to the introductory meeting on Monday, October 17th at 7 pm in the Fr. Tripi Room. At that time, some of our parishioners who have helped get us to this point will be in the back of the church after every Mass to answer questions, provide information and even sign you up if you like! I urge everyone to prayerfully consider if this might be one way is calling you to a deeper engagement of your faith, especially as we are called to see the face of Christ in the least of our brothers and sisters.
If you don’t want to wait two weeks to get more information, just shoot me an email and I’ll put you in touch with our lay leaders. Please pray that the Spirit will continue to guide this exciting new chapter in the life of our parish!