Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month

Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month 438 314 SVDP USA

Written by Tai Jackson — SVdP Seattle

Hispanic Heritage Month is an annual celebration lasting from September 15 thru October 15, but originally traced back to President Johnson, who first introduced Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. The week-long celebration was later changed to a month by President Ronald Reagan in 1988. During this month-long event, we recognize and honor the cultural, historical, and societal contributions of our Hispanic and Latino communities.

Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to acknowledge the diversity within the Hispanic and Latino communities and their contributions historically in the United States. It’s important to remember the influence they had in shaping the nation’s history throughout various fields. The contributions of figures like Cesar Chavez in the labor movement and Justice Sonia Sotomayor on the Supreme Court highlight the lasting impact of Hispanic Americans in society.

Another aspect of Hispanic Heritage Month is to educate and raise awareness about the socio-economic, political, and educational challenges that are faced in the Hispanic and Latino communities; and the work needed towards addressing such disparities.

With this idea in mind, for the last 10 years, our St. Vincent de Paul Centro Rendu program has been dedicated to lifting spirits by partnering with families, churches, schools, government, and local businesses to create a community center that provides essential tools and resources needed for the Hispanic and Latino community to learn, live, work, and thrive.

Many celebrate by participating in festivals, parades, and cultural events that showcase the Hispanic and Latino traditions. This month is a time to celebrate, reflect upon, and honor the contributions of the Hispanic and Latino communities to the United States. It’s a moment to embrace diversity, learn from history, and work towards a more inclusive future.

Black History Month — Resisting the Plague of Racism

Black History Month — Resisting the Plague of Racism 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Written by: Pam Matambanadzo, National Multicultural and Diversity Committee Chair

We continue our reflection on Black History month and its theme for 2023 – “Black Resistance.”

Last week Connie and Wayne challenged us to reflect, relate and release. 

Do you feel you can relate? As a Vincentian, are you open to accompanying those living on fringe of society, going beyond the charity (meal or shelter) we offer? Are you playing a role towards ending the generational struggle that Black Americans continue to carry? Are you seeking justice?

Many Black Americans will collectively continue to resist the plague of racism. However, for meaningful change to occur, it requires “all hands-on deck” approach as one Society. As fellow Christians we are inviting you to journey with us as we explore the many policies put in place at the end of slavery that are still around today in one form or another. These policies act as barriers to entry – keeping families in a cycle of poverty.

After your reflections last week, and this week – do you feel you have a better understanding of the plight of Black Americans? If no, what steps have you taken towards filling in your knowledge gap?

On the third Thursday of each month the Voice of the Poor Committee has webinars that you can utilize. Topics range from how to set up an advocacy committee at your Conference or Council and other times we delve into policies and issues. This month (February) our topic is New Congress; New Opportunities. In March, 2023 Jack Murphy and Wayne will be covering redlining and the discriminatory practices in housing. Please come and join us.


  1. Berkley Institute breaks down institutional racism in a video:
  2. USCCB Open Wide Our Hearts: Pastoral Letter on Racism:
  3. Harvard paper on Massachusetts Racial Disparity:
  4. Reflective Examination of Conscious: Examination of Conscious .pptx

Raices y Alas: Roots and Wings

Raices y Alas: Roots and Wings 900 900 SVDP USA

Last week, a delegation of Vincentians met with other Catholics from across the country for the National Catholic Council for Hispanic Ministry’s (NCCHM) in Washington DC for the 6th National Catholic Congress Raíces y Alas. This year’s theme, Prophetic Voices: Being Bridges for a New Era, focused on pastoral responses and initiatives to the ministerial priorities of family, Hispanic youth, social justice, and pastoral formation.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was a proud sponsor of the event, the first time the NCCHM had gathered in person in two years. With about 400 Catholics in attendance, the event was so highly anticipated that registration had to close early, and not all those interested in attending could be accommodated. The National Council blessed to send a delegation of 11 Vincentians, plus CEO Dave Barringer, to represent the Society and also grow and learn at the event.

Their time in Washington DC was busy, including joining with other Catholics from their home states for a day of advocacy visiting lawmakers at the Capitol.

Vincentians were present for a special Mass at the National Basilica, where they were able to visit the Frédéric Ozanam mosaic. Vincentian Rosie Silva exclaimed, “Mass at the Basilica was magnificent! The procession of all religious leaders joining us was humbling to witness.”

There was also time for sharing with other attendees about the Society’s essential elements of spirituality, friendship, and service. National Secretary Guadalupe Sosa shared remarks about the Society in a special address. “As I talked to participants at Raices y Alas, many of them knew about our Society and commented on the great work we do in our communities. When speaking to Raices’s participants and when I speak to others around the country, there is no doubt our Society is highly regarded and respected,” she noted.

Our delegates were also able to explore our nation’s capital, and brought Frédéric Ozanam with them for the journey!

Says Pam Matambanadzo, Chair of the National Multicultural & Diversity Committee, “The whole congress was extremely energizing — I generally do not get the opportunity to meet and interact with young Vincentians as much as I did at Raices y Alas. It was extremely rewarding. My greatest takeaway from the congress was that we need to do better at listening to another, especially the younger generation. We should not be afraid that they will replace us, but rather create a space where we can learn from each other: Raices y Alas — we are the roots and they are our wings.”

Thank you to our delegates for their wonderful work as representatives of the Society, and for sharing your experiences and blessings with the rest of our Vincentian family!

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