The Society of St Vincent De Paul, or the Vincents as they are commonly called, is a Christian voluntary organisation set up in 1833 for the purpose of helping those in need. Its founder, Frederic Ozanam was inspired by the French saint of the poor after which the society is named.
The Society is an international organisation today. Its basic operating unit is the local conference of which there are over 1000 in Ireland comprising approximately 9500 members.
The society mission statement is to ‘seek to respond to the call every Christian receives to bring the love of Christ to those in need: “I was hungry and you gave me food” (Matthew 25). ‘
The Society aims to befriend people in need. It aims to:
Provide Support and Friendship – achieved through person to person contact. Members are committed to respect the dignity of the individuals visited and helped. Confidentiality is assured at all times;
Promote Self Sufficiency – In addition to providing short term material support, members assist those in need to achieve self sufficiency in the long term; and
Work for Social Justice – the Society is committed to identifying the root causes of poverty and social exclusion in Ireland and strives to advocate and work for the changes required to create a more just and caring society.
The Our Lady Queen of Peace conference, which amalgamated with St Patricks in Ringsend, hold a meeting weekly at the church on Wednesday at 7pm and this is followed by visits to families and individuals in the locality and in Ringsend / Irishtown who are in need of help. The visits are undertaken in pairs.
Volunteers are also involved in fundraising which usually occurs monthly in the form of a church gate collection after Sunday masses.
Our meetings begin and end in prayers specially written to guide and support us in the voluntary work and assist each member in spiritual growth. The closing prayers include the following, after which, the group goes out on visits to families in their homes to discuss and assess their needs and provide help and support both financial and emotional when possible.
‘We thank you Lord for the many blessings we receive from those whom we visit. Help us to love and respect them, to understand their deeper needs and to share their burdens and joys as true friends’
If you or someone you know requires assistance please contact any priest of the parish or St Vincent De Paul headquarters (Tel 01 8550022) and a visit will be arranged.
Joining the Society
If you are interested in finding out more about the society or would like to join, you would be very welcome to come to a meeting to observe in the first instance or alternatively contact SVP headquarters. New volunteers are always welcome and can take part weekly or at less frequent intervals in accordance with individual availability. Any assistance is greatly appreciated.
More information is available on the website www.svp.ie