Our Saint John and Saint Paul Conference (local chapter) of the International Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was started over five years ago to extend Christ’s ministry to those struggling to get by in our community. Under the leadership of Father Robert Blaney several members of both parishes met to learn more about the starting of a Conference of Saint Vincent de Paul Society. This ministry at its core is centered on the confidential home visit to our friends in need by two of our members, dating back to the 19th century tradition when Blessed Frederick Ozanam initiated the home visit so members could understand directly the needs of our friends.
Our conference of Saint Vincent de Paul was led by founding President Michael Mastrianni with Margaret Klingmeyer as Treasurer. The Society members began to meet on a monthly basis to grow in holiness and help serve those in need who contacted the conference. Dr Thomas Gaziano joined the executive board soon after as vice president. After 3 1/2 years Tom became the second president. The Saint John and Saint Paul Society Conference of Saint Vincent de Paul is composed of 16 members from both parishes. While some members have had to step away due to other commitments or moving out of the area, our members continue to meet on a monthly basis to grow in faith through prayerful reflection and in comradery as we discuss the needs of those we serve, named “friends”. Together we develop a plan on how to meet the friend’s needs through financial support and/or an introduction to another social agency or services.
During the last five years our Saint John and Saint Paul Conference of Saint Vincent de Paul has been making home visits (or by telephone during the Pandemic). Through the visits we have been able to provide financial assistance to over 75 individuals and families (18 of these were assisted more than once.) Our Conference has provided over $71,000 in financial assistance in support of rent, tuition, utility bills, food assistance, furniture, clothing, and other expenses.
In addition, our Conference has put together a resource guide for friends and has worked with several social services agencies from the Town of Wellesley including the health department, school department, Council on Aging and the Wellesley Housing department. The needs of our community are great.
There are three very direct ways you can help:
1) Volunteer and join our conference – email us at SVDP@sjspwellesley.org to learn more.
2) Pray for those we serve and for members of our conference.
3) Provide financial donations so that we can assist our friends in need.
Donations can be placed in the boxes in both churches, and checks (made out to “SJSP Conference SVDP Society”) can be mailed to the office: SJSP SVDP Society 39 Washington Street Wellesley, MA 02481
Is there a person or family you know in need of help? Please contact either parish office or email us at SVDP@sjspwellesley.org. A SVDP member will respond – all requests are completely confidential.
Next week we share some special stories of our visits and assistance provided.