06-16-2022 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

06-16-2022 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 1367 1520 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentian Friends,

In last week’s Servant Leader Column, Renato Lima de Oliviera, our International President, shared some of his thoughts looking back on his presidency. In another year I may write a similar column, but today I want to look forward, not backward. Like Renato, I have 15 more months left in my term of office, and the process of choosing the next National Council President has begun. Succession planning is important at every level of the Society, and we have a National Council process that will provide a six-month period for me and your next president to work on a smooth transition.

Earlier this year I appointed a National Election Committee. The committee is headed by Raymond Sickinger, and its members include Sister Kieran Kneaves, Gladys Hoerner, Mike Syslo, and Tommye Grant (replacing the recently deceased Marie Wicks). CEO David Barringer and I serve on the committee as ex-officio members. I am grateful for this committee of well-respected Vincentians who have prepared the necessary documents and have the duty of overseeing the entire presidential nomination and election process.

A call for nominations of presidential candidates and the details of the process were issued at the Midyear Meeting and were sent to all National Council members. Nominations were due to be postmarked by June 13. As of this writing, four nominations had been received. The names of nominees, their biographies and their platform papers will be provided in the next few weeks, after the committee examines the nominations to verify eligibility.

At the National Assembly in Baltimore, there will be an opportunity to meet the candidates at the Host City Reception. They will each speak at the Saturday business meeting. To reduce the slate to two candidates, your representatives will be asked to vote for the candidates they believe will best serve our National Council.

Following the Assembly, we will conduct a nationwide process that will allow all active members to review the two candidates’ platforms, biographies, and recorded videos, and then to vote at a Conference meeting. The results of this deliberation by members will then inform the vote of National Council Members from each diocese represented. Please look for more information in the e-Gazette about the candidates and the process.

To help us find the right person to be our next president, what I ask all of us to do is to follow the Society’s long-standing practice of praying to the Holy Spirit regularly as our process proceeds. That is what was done when our first president, Emmanuel Bailly, stepped down. Here is the prayer provided to us by the National Election Committee. To download the PDF of this prayer, click here.

The office of National Council president is not an honorific position but is rather a servant-leader role that is both extremely rewarding and quite challenging. I and every previous National Council president will attest to the fact that we did not fully understand what we were called to do when we took the position. Like the rest of our entire vocation as Vincentians, serving as national president is a journey that requires prayerful trust in the Providence of God. It is a journey I have been on with all of you for almost five years. That journey is not finished, but it is time to ask the Holy Spirit to identify who will continue it with us as the next servant leader of the National Council of the St. Vincent de Paul Society in the United States.

Serviens in spe,
Ralph Middlecamp
National Council President


SVdPUSA is on Instagram!

SVdPUSA is on Instagram! 1200 628 SVDP USA

Many people have asked when SVdP’s National Council will join Instagram.

Well, the wait is over! SVdPUSA’s Instagram is LIVE!

We are so excited to have another Social Media Outlet where we can share the good news of Vincentians across the country and around the world dedicating themselves to helping their neighbors in need.

Please follow our Instagram by clicking here to keep up with all things @svdpusa!

2022 Midyear Meeting Wrapup

2022 Midyear Meeting Wrapup 776 652 SVDP USA

Last week, nearly 200 Vincentians gathered together in St. Louis for the first in-person Midyear Meeting since 2019.

It was a wonderful opportunity for the National Board of Directors, National Council Members, Executive Directors, and other Vincentian leaders to come together and share ideas after a three year hiatus.

While it was very exciting to have so many Vincentians in one place, we realize there were still those who were unable to join in-person. In order to give those not in attendance the chance to see the various presentations from the Midyear Meeting, we have created a playlist of the video recordings from the meeting. You can access them by clicking here. You will find recordings of the following:

We thank all who attended Midyear or took part via zoom. We look forward to seeing you all in Baltimore for the 2022 National Assembly!

New Roundup 2-5-2022 to 2-11-2022

New Roundup 2-5-2022 to 2-11-2022 1200 1200 SVDP USA

With 100,000 Vincentians across the United States and nearly 800,000 around the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul provides person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering. Read some of their stories here:



Help us share the good news of the good work being done in your local Conference or Council! Email us at info@svdpusa.org with the subject line Good News.

12-16-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

12-16-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 1363 1363 SVDP USA

As we wrap up the calendar year, Vincentians are focused on the usual food pantries, plus food and gift distributions over the holiday period. I imagine that half a million turkeys alone will be distributed by our members this month. No, we won’t capture this data in the annual reports!

While some of the charity mechanics remain as they have in the past, we have several pandemic-required innovations in place that differ according to your state, county, or city. These make us pause and think as well of how different almost everything was in 2021, and ask what next year will hold for us as Americans, Catholics, and Vincentians.

When we evaluate, most of us think first of all the negatives. We lost family and friends to COVID. The resulting economy is uncertain right now. The Church has its own crises. Religious freedoms, and some of the Catholic causes we care so much about, are under attack in both the legislative and public forums. That’s not the entire list, and you probably have a few items to add from your own experiences.

In our work for the nation’s families in need, we feel the pain when the prices of automobile gasoline, home heating, and food rise due to inflation, supply chain issues, and other rationales. Most of us see the costs of our grocery bill rise, complain a bit and then go on with our day. For someone in poverty, that increase is a sharper pain that affects their sustainability. A dollar more a gallon for gas over the past year is an unstated, regressive tax on the poor. General inflation hurts everyone’s ability to get ahead, but it hurts poor families more severely.

All of this points us as Vincentians back to the long term promise of systemic change. We can pay rent bills just as we hand out turkeys for Christmas. The rent is due again next month, and the family will be hungry again when the last bowl of turkey soup is eaten. The poverty not-so-merry-go-round continues, and it takes extra effort to get off – for the poor and for us servants to them, too.

Many of our Society Conferences and Councils had a good financial year in 2021. This gives us a stronger opportunity to re-think our activities and strategies for the year ahead. If we develop financial literacy education, trade skills job training and placement, alternatives to predatory lending, and our other systemic change tools, the people we serve won’t need to be dependent next year on holiday handouts. They will be better able to provide for themselves, creating a better holiday for all of us. Really, wouldn’t that be the best possible Thanksgiving and Christmas, to know that more families don’t need the Society of St. Vincent de Paul or the local government to provide for them?

In January we start new diets, new exercise programs, and other new annual goals for ourselves. Let’s take time in our first Conference meetings to take just as hard a look at ourselves as Vincentians, our programs, finances, and most importantly our goals for the people we served this holiday season. Yes, the outside world will have its challenges as it does in every year. What can we do differently to make life better than it is right now for those we just served over the holidays? More of the same, or perhaps some completely different actions?

Holiday charity is good and Vincentian. Reducing the need for it is so Vincentian too, isn’t it?

May you have a blessed Christmas Season and an inspired New Year!

Yours in Christ,
Dave Barringer

04-09-2021 News Roundup

04-09-2021 News Roundup 1200 1200 SVDP USA

Through the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Vincentians across the United States and around the world are finding spiritual growth by providing person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering. Read some of their stories here:



Help us share the good news of the good work being done in your local Conference or Council! Email us at info@svdpusa.org with the subject line Good News.

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