OFIA

11-17-22 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

11-17-22 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 900 900 SVDP USA

Television watchers are used to mid-season breaks, long gaps between seasons, and mid-season replacements that all make it difficult to get into a viewing routine for their favorite shows. I’m not sure if the DVR was the answer, or part of the cause, for this programming chaos! Add in a pandemic that severely affected production schedules, and it’s no wonder that the Society’s very own TV show got delayed for its second season. But we are back!

When Season Two of “Our Faith In Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul” (or as we lovingly refer to it, OFIA) finally airs this month on the EWTN cable network, it will have been more than three years since our last broadcast. Our Society’s production team of the Orlando Council’s Trace Trylko, independent videographers and hosts, and National staff couldn’t travel during the pandemic, and local services schedules were also thrown out of whack. Fortunately as the show illustrates, the Vincentian services continued during the entire period, even with sometimes significant COVID adaptations.

Set your DVRs or watch live during the week of November 28, daily Monday through Friday at 5:30 PM Eastern / 4:30 PM Central to see five new episodes of OFIA on EWTN. (With as always, programming subject to change.) Another five episodes will air later; at this time we expect this in February. That’s correct, we will air during the week of Giving Tuesday and for some people, the start of the holiday volunteer and giving season. We thank EWTN for this special opportunity – we can’t ask for funds during the broadcasts, but we really appreciate the exposure of our works nationwide to the EWTN viewers, potential material and financial donors, members, and volunteers!

Each episode features SVdP works in at least three different U.S. cities, told from the perspective of our members, their work and commitment, and how they see the Face of Christ in the people they serve. We will feature Home Visits, food pantries, systemic change classes, health programs, workforce development, and so much more that is testament to the variety of Society work as it is most needed in each local community. We also feature local clergy who extoll the works of the Society in their neighborhoods. We could not get to every community, but while you may not see your Council, you will more than likely see your work! Overall for Season Two we travelled to more than 30 locations.

You might also see a sampler of work that your Council or Conference might consider as a new practice, or best practice, for the future. Being creative unto infinity, our Conferences tweak program elements to fit their local needs, so there is always a different approach we can learn from each other.

Please consider watching the 30-minute shows as a Conference, either “live” or recorded. Have a viewing party! Consider using the shows, or parts of them, in your local promotional efforts. Our National office can help you get the clips you need, and the shows will all be on our website for sharing once EWTN airs them twice. The Society owns all of the content except for the EWTN commercials, so everything you see on the show is available to you!

Please help us to advertise the broadcasts this month. Include OFIA mentions in your parish bulletins and other Church and community communications. The National Council will have a broad social media presence to highlight the shows, but please help us to share the postings where you can. We want this great display of Vincentian services to be in front of as many viewers as possible – we are humble, yet proud of what we do for our friends in need. Also, one can’t help but want to join us when you see the hearts of our Vincentians in their work with neighbors. As the Society rebuilds our membership post-pandemic, the OFIA shows can be a great tool to introduce the Society’s charism and works to potential members in the comfort of their living rooms.

As Thanksgiving approaches just before the OFIA airings, I’m thankful as the show’s executive producer for the opportunity to work with so many in our Society to have this second season finally get on the air. Our Vincentian story is so big and so very beneficial that it deserves this broadcast spotlight. I’m thankful for all the Councils and Conferences that took part in our production for sharing their works and their heartfelt experiences of what it means to be a member of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. None of what you will see on the shows is scripted. In these days of often fake reality television, the “Our Faith In Action” experiences may be the more genuine human experiences as Vincentians demonstrate God’s love on camera. I pray that you will view these special programs and share them with others.

Yours in Christ,
Dave Barringer
CEO

Our Faith in Action Returns for Second Season

Our Faith in Action Returns for Second Season 1080 1080 SVDP USA

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is excited to announce the premiere of season 2 of “Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul” with a special one-week event on EWTN Global Catholic Network beginning on November 28 at 5:30 PM Eastern/4:30 PM Central. Five episodes will air over five nights.

The series follows SVdP members, known as Vincentians, on their spiritual growth journey through service to people and families in need. From the Society’s traditional Home Visits (where we bring friendship and aid to neighbors in need), food pantries, and assistance with rent and utilities, to innovative health care, financial and mentoring programs, Vincentians see the face of Christ in those we serve.

In this series, Vincentians volunteer across the country to bring effective, personalized help to people in poverty and share their stories of Christ’s love along the way.

“We are very excited for the premiere of season 2 of Our Faith in Action. Creating this show has been a labor of love and collaboration between the National Council and our Councils and Conferences across the country,” said SVdP National President Ralph Middlecamp. “We hope that in seeing the work being done by their Vincentian brothers and sisters, individuals will find inspiration to put their own faith into action and join the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in their communities.”

The one-week event of Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul will air daily on EWTN cable channels from November 28 – December 2 at 5:30 PM Eastern/4:30 PM Central. Click here to find the EWTN channel in your zip code. Click here to view the program schedule.

Episode Descriptions

  • Episode 11: Finding New Beginnings
    In this episode, join Vincentians as they prepare kids for the upcoming school year, offer returning citizens a new career path, and work to shrink barriers for friends in need through the Bridges to HOPE program. Tune in to learn how Vincentians put their faith in action every day across the country.
    (Chicago, Cincinnati, Detroit)
  • Episode 12: Feeding Minds and Bellies
    In this episode, join Vincentians as they tutor children in need, help feed their neighbors in need at a food pantry, and offer scholarships and mentorship to promising high school students. Tune in to learn how Vincentians put their faith in action every day across the country.
    (Orlando, Madison, Phoenix)
  • Episode 13: Homelessness and Home Visits
    In this episode, learn how thrift store shoppers can find affordable hidden treasures, and join Vincentians as they take on homelessness in one of the country’s biggest cities and visit with a neighbor in need. Tune in to learn how Vincentians put their faith in action every day across the country.
    (St. Louis, Los Angeles, Huntsville)
  • Episode 14: Helping Friends in Need Find Success
    In this episode, Vincentians offer bilingual services to help friends in need build a new life, a Family Success Center supports struggling families, and those targeted by predatory lending are helped by the Society. Tune in to learn how Vincentians put their faith in action every day across the country.
    (Seattle, Louisville, Austin)
  • Episode 15: Building Faith in People of All Ages
    In this episode, Vincentians put their woodworking skills to good use to help neighbors in need, while others make sure no food goes to waste, and Vincentians build a home for the homeless youth in their community. Tune in to learn how Vincentians put their faith in action every day across the country.
    (Fort Wayne, Atlanta, Lane County)

Five additional episodes of Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul will air on EWTN in early 2023. Stay tuned for airtimes and dates! In the meantime, catch up on Season 1 here.

Click here to download bulletin announcements, for use in your parish bulletin or Conference Facebook page.

When the World Shut Down, We Never Stopped Serving Neighbors in Need

When the World Shut Down, We Never Stopped Serving Neighbors in Need 1733 902 SVDP USA

When the COVID-19 pandemic began in March 2020, it felt like the world shut down overnight. Churches, schools, and businesses closed their doors. No one knew when those doors would reopen — or if they would reopen at all.

But for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and those we serve, shutdowns were never an option. Our 100,000 volunteers from across the country quickly pivoted our service models so that we could safely continue to support our neighbors in need, who were adversely affected by the pandemic.

EWTN Global Catholic Network recently aired a special called Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul, illustrating how Vincentian volunteers in Albuquerque, Houston, and Tampa made innovations in how they serve neighbors in need. They’re the stories of just three out of the nearly 4,500 communities we serve nationwide adapted operations to support our neighbors in new and creative ways. Social distancing was essential, but it never changed the Society’s unique person-to-person ministry.

If you missed EWTN’s special, fear not! Watch it here now:

Share it with your Conference, Council, and parish communities!

 

08-05-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

08-05-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 1368 1387 SVDP USA

We aren’t out of the woods quite yet, but we can at least see the clearing ahead of us.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the U.S. has seen a lot since our 1845 founding. We are blessed that with every war, every pandemic, and every Depression, recession, and other disasters both man-made and natural, we have bent perhaps but not broken in our service to God and our neighbors in need. We pray and then we persevere.

While the story of our pandemic period is full of sadness, turmoil, and uncertainty, it is nevertheless a story of Vincentian spirit and service that deserves to be told and to be remembered. It’s our nature to say “Well, that was that” and move on to the next challenge, the next family in need, and our next Conference meeting. Before we forget these past 18 months and all the changes we went through, including most notably the forced isolation from each other, we should reflect on the experience and how, as individuals and as the Society, we too are changed.

This weekend (Friday at 5:30 PM and Saturday at 2:30 AM Eastern), a special pandemic edition of “Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul” will air on EWTN. Set those DVRs!  It’s a 30-minute look inside our Vincentian experience and how our members and Conferences continued in their formation journeys and in their service to neighbors in need. While cost, time, and travel considerations limited our filming to just three cities and Councils, this is really the story of all of us. If you squint just right you will see your Conference’s innovation in its food pantry, your Council’s changes in its thrift store, your fellow member’s continuing of Home Visits in unique ways, and maybe even yourself in the way you found the inner strength to just keep going.

If only our own members see this show it will be a success! Many of us did not know about the challenges overcome in different ways in Conferences across the country. The show gives us pause to reflect, and then to celebrate our common stubbornness, uh, I mean perseverance to serve in the face of chaos everywhere around us. Be proud; we are still here!

We don’t need a TV show, however, to educate ourselves. No, our communities and our supporters – parishioners, clergy, foundations, business partners, and others – deserve to see our story, too. They made our work possible with prayers, materials and financial support, and often during this period, new collaborations. While other social service and faith-based organizations pulled back, we stayed. We stayed in touch with our most vulnerable neighbors. We stayed in prayer with our parishes, clergy, and each other. We kept meeting, kept serving, and kept looking for how else we could serve God and share His love in our communities when it all shut down. The show tries to pull all this together in just 30 minutes. It’s a half-hour I ask you to share widely.

My hope is that each of us can share the show in a Conference meeting, parish gathering, annual dinner, or donor meeting. We own the show content, and will have it available through our website as soon as the broadcast rights clear in the next week. Trust me, EWTN will also appreciate the sharing as well!

To be clear, we all know that we don’t serve as Vincentians in order to get earthly credit; our rewards are more eternal. That recognized, we do need to tell our story more to recruit new members and to continue the public support we require for us to continue our works. Humility is a virtue. Sometimes, though, we need to remind everyone, and yes even ourselves, that we do good work and that our communities can depend on us to be there in good times and bad.

The pandemic resulted in Vincentian innovation, some of which will become lasting change. The pandemic challenged us to ask if “the way we have always done it” is now the most effective way for today and tomorrow. As we tell our story through the EWTN presentation, National Assembly workshops and otherwise, perhaps it will inspire us to consider even more changes, still consistent with our Rule while also consistent with today’s needs and service environments.

The “pandemic special edition” may drive innovation discussions in your Conference and Council. We wish that it didn’t take a pandemic to have these conversations! We appreciate nonetheless that God has blessed us with our journey together out of pandemic darkness to a new day in His service! Still here!

Yours in Christ,
Dave Barringer
CEO

06-24-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

06-24-2021 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 275 287 SVDP USA

Tell me a story…

These words are implored by every child to parents worldwide. Stories entertain and often educate. Christ Himself used stories, notably parables, to make His point in a relatable fashion to the many varied groups who asked Him difficult questions.

As noted elsewhere in this and future editions of the e-gazette, the National Council has produced a “pandemic special edition” of our TV series “Our Faith In Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul” (OFIA).  The show will premiere on EWTN on Friday, August 6.  Our 30 televised minutes will tell stories from three Councils of how they adapted to parish, pantry and store closures, quarantines, no in-person Conference meetings and other sudden disruptions to traditional Society services and relationships. No worries, we will remind you when the airdate gets closer to set your DVR, and we will make the show available later for those who can’t access EWTN in their cable packages.

These three Council stories are actually recaps of several stories within each Council. We could have spent our full allotted time on any one of them! Further, we know that you have such stories too in your Conference and Council. Vincentians across the country adapted mightily to keep going, keep serving, and keep caring for their neighbors.

But what good is a story if it isn’t told?

Vincentians are a humble lot, which sometimes costs us opportunities. We serve quietly, often fulfilling the catchphrase of “Tell me you are ____ without telling me you are ___.” This phrase is used by college alumni groups, branches of the armed forces, those with community pride, and many other affinity groups. Society members have been “telling me they are Vincentians without telling me they are Vincentians” almost to a fault! We are known by our actions, or so we want to believe. More likely these days, our caring, faith-filled examples are either barely noticed or quickly forgotten. Unfortunately, a good example is not as memorable as a bad one.

That’s where a good story helps to make a more lasting impression.

Okay, so many good, humble Vincentians probably won’t talk about their own great works. Let’s agree, then, to tell the good stories of our fellow Vincentians! We can also tell the stories, without names of course, of our friends in need and how they struggle, and then succeed, to improve their lives. We can tell the stories of how a community donor’s resources fed the hungry or provided a virtual class in financial literacy.

This year we all need to hear uplifting stories of pandemic survival, adaption and overcoming the odds. Many such stories exist across the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. After all, we were one of the few groups who continued to serve at the neighborhood level and made a huge difference doing so. However, who really knows about the work we did, and the barriers we overcame?

Many supporters stepped up this past year to help us. Some were existing valued sources of funds, volunteers and material goods. Others, previously unknown to us, contacted us because we were the best or maybe the only resource providers in town during the pandemic. These supporters large and small now deserve the stories of how their efforts made a difference – and how they can continue to make a lasting difference as we press onward. Poverty did not go away with vaccinations.

Our members deserve stories, too, as they may have served in isolation from each other and those we help. They may feel incomplete because they weren’t able to go on an in-person Home Visit. Some miss the prayers and spiritual togetherness of a Conference meeting that, try as we did, just couldn’t be satisfied with a Zoom call.  Let’s take the time now to share our SVdP pandemic stories with each other. As with Christ’s stories, we can learn from them and build community.

Finally, what stories can we relate in our parishes? Masses were shut down for weeks, even months, isolating parishioners from each other. They may not have kept abreast of the Society’s continuing work, or how it adapted to stay healthy for all involved.  As fellow parishioners learn how we persevered, perhaps they will be motivated to join us! Every story should end in an invitation to serve along with us.

We have a unique, and perhaps short-lived, opportunity for the Society to relate our resilience, challenges, and successes, from this pandemic period. Before we all put this crazy time behind us, let’s collect and share the stories that made this year in some ways our Society’s finest hour.

Yours in Christ,
Dave Barringer
CEO

Our Faith in Action…Even During the Pandemic

Our Faith in Action…Even During the Pandemic 1080 1080 SVDP USA

Almost overnight, the world changed forever in March 2020. But while many organizations closed in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s 100,000 volunteers knew that full closures weren’t an option. We would have to adapt our service models — and do it quickly — to safely continue to support our neighbors in need, who were adversely affected by the pandemic.

From masking up to social distancing, we innovated how we serve our neighbors in need, but never changed the Society’s unique person-to-person ministry.

Tune in to EWTN on August 6 at 5:30 PM Eastern for the premiere of a special edition of Our Faith in Action: Today’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul. We’ll share how Vincentians adapted their operations to support our neighbors in new and creative ways.

Mark your calendar, set your DVR, and join us on our travels to Albuquerque, Tampa Bay, and Houston, and see just some of the good works of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

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