On March 3rd 2019 the SVP appealed at each Mass for new members. Below you will find the appeal at the 6pm Mass. If after reading this you are interested in becoming a member please leave your contact details with the parish office and someone will contact you.
For more information on the SVP please visit https://www.svp.org.uk/
I am delighted to have this opportunity to tell you about the SVP, The Society of St Vincent de Paul and what we do.
Our purpose is to provide friendship and support to those who are in need. When the Society first began in Paris almost 200 years ago, developing from a small group of students challenged to prove that Christianity had a practical application, there were many in dire poverty. That small group, led by Frederic Ozanam, began a tradition which rapidly grew and spread across the Catholic world and the new Society was placed under the Patronage of St Vincent de Paul, the saint of the poor, hence the name we are known by today.
While the basic aim of the Society has never changed and the opening prayer of our weekly meeting, reminds us “to seek and find those who are forgotten and to bring Christ’s love to the suffering and deprived”, our work has adapted to meet the needs of the current age. Sadly, we still come across cases of real material need and thanks to you regular generosity, we are able to respond to them, but it is loneliness and lack of regular human contact that is the real need.
Modern society is more mobile and often family and friends have moved away so if you begin to have difficulty getting out or are in residential care you can become very isolated. SVP members visit, normally in twos, to provide a regular chance to catch up with the news of the Parish; talk about what is in the newspapers or on the television; discuss the performance of football or other sports teams; and anything else of interest. It also allows people to recount their own experiences of past times and events which are fascinating to listen to and normally full of humour. Both the person being visited and the SVP members get great enjoyment from these visits. On occasion, we might provide transport and company for a one-off visit to a shop or bank or medical appointment or similar.
In some cases, we can spend time with someone to allow a carer to have time to themselves, even if it is only going into another room for a while, or perhaps having an hour or so to catch up with their friends or do some shopping.
Thanks to the financial support we receive from the parish we do still deal with cases of material need both within the parish and in the wider local area, again visiting and providing personal as well as financial support. At times these can be very challenging and distressing cases. Each week we take the food donated by the parish to the food bank and some to the Missionaries of Charity in Seel Street who provide hot meals for the homeless every day. We have a strong relationship with Asylum Link at St Anne’s providing regular supplies of soap and toiletries and helping in one-off needs.
In the wider community, thanks to your generosity, we are able to support other SVP activities like the annual summer camps for children who would not otherwise have a holiday, support for the children of prisoners, and a variety of other special SVP groups.
We are also part of the Twinnage scheme supporting, financially, two SVP conferences in India and one in Sudan.
Commitment as a conference member is to attend the short conference meeting each week if possible, where we pray together, keep up to date with those we visit, and arrange visits for the following week; and then if possible, to carry out one visit. We all have other commitments and realise that the work of the Conference has to be arranged round these and not everyone is available to visit each week.
The modern SVP is an organisation of men and women across the age ranges with a wide variety of skills and experience, united in a desire to help others. We are fortunate at Bishop Eton that we have one of the largest Conferences (as Parish groups are called) in Liverpool but there is always more to do and we would welcome more members, especially from younger age groups than mine. Any organisation grows and develops by bringing in fresh ideas and skills and we are always happy to add to our numbers, and that is the main purpose of this talk at all Masses today.
If you would like to consider joining in our work or would like further information please leave your name and contact details with Bryan who is collecting outside this evening, or leave your details at the Parish office and we will contact you. As we work with often vulnerable people and visit people in their own homes DBS clearance is required but this is a fairly simple process and is normally swiftly done.
Thank you for listening