09-28-2023 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

09-28-2023 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders

09-28-2023 A Letter From Our Servant Leaders 1367 1520 SVDP USA

Dear Vincentian Friends,

This is my last Servant Leader column as your National Council President. It has been my privilege to have served you in this role for the past six years. Thank you for your support and prayers.

The columns I have written over these years have been reviewed and edited by my friend Ernie Stetenfeld, who succeeded me as CEO of the Madison Council. When I retired, I asked if he would continue to edit my writing, which he has done faithfully. I am grateful to him for that favor. When he would send the review copy back to me, he frequently commented on what he liked about the column and always provided a “track changes” version. Sometimes, I would ask what it was he liked since there were more red changes than the black original in his revisions, to which he responded that “it had good bones.” Thank you, Ernie; you made me look good.

Ernie is just one of a whole cast of Vincentians that I was privileged to serve with during my term. We had an excellent Board of Directors, and I am especially grateful for the work of the Executive Committee: Vice President Brian Burgess, Treasurer Jim Dodd, Secretary Guadalupe Sosa, and CEO David Barringer. In addition to the Board, we have been well served by our many committees and the staff at our National Office. As David Barringer pointed out in this column last week, in spite of having to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, we accomplished a lot in the past six years because of this great team.

Certainly, the next few years will be crucial to the future success of our organization. The Society in the United States is well-positioned to succeed under the leadership of John Berry and his newly appointed Board of Directors. I have confidence in his leadership and the ongoing guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Please use the tools we have made available so that we build upon a firm foundation. The most important of these resources are the Standards of Excellence. Continue to use them to be sure we have good governance of our Society and are following the best practices they detail. We also have dozens of excellent training materials available, as well as a revised Vincentian Pathway tool to help our members access the guidance they need most. Please use these materials; if you do, we will have a stronger organization — one better prepared to welcome new members and to serve our neighbors in need effectively and compassionately.

Some have asked what I will do with my newly acquired free time. I hope to enjoy having fewer commitments, less email and fewer meetings. As was announced at the National Assembly several weeks ago, however, our new International President General, Juan Manuel Gómez, has appointed me as the Vice President of the International Council General. I am grateful for his trust in me to contribute to the success of the International Council, which will involve continuing my work with international twinning and disaster aid. Beyond that, I suppose my work, like that of any vice president, will include “other duties as assigned.”

As I wrap up these six years, I look back on the importance of Vincentian friendship. The friendships I have found in the Society over 35 years have sustained and inspired me. Those friends are now spread all over the world. I hope your vocation in the Society is built on what is now very well-articulated in our new Mission Statement. We are: “A network of friends, inspired by Gospel values, growing in holiness and building a more just world through personal relationships with and service to people in need.”

This Mission Statement reveals the heart of how our founders understood the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Living in separate cities four years after founding the Society, Frederic Ozanam wrote this to his friend and cofounder Auguste Le Taillandier: “As each of us grows older, may we also grow in friendship, piety, and zeal for good!”

That is also my parting wish for each of you, my friends: “As each of us grows older, may we also grow in friendship, piety, and zeal for good!”

Serviens in spe,
Ralph Middlecamp
National Council President

  • 🙏🙏🙏
    Ron Szejner

  • Job well done, good and faithful Servant! I especially respect your ability to share the credit for your success with your “editor” who returned the favor with the comment about good bones. The team approach always makes us more successful. God Bless you for all you have done and will continue to do!

  • Ralph,
    Thank you for serving the last six years. You “talked the talk and walked the walk” which many, many members of the Vincentian family appreciated and were motivated by to serve, to form, inform and transform our Society.
    Be well and take care.

  • Thank you for sharing your friendship, kindness, and love of Christ with us Ralph. Many thanks to your lovely wife for sharing you with The Society & those we are called to serve. Vaya con Dios, as you continue in your new servant leader role.

  • Job well done indeed! Ralph, thank you for your service over the past 6 years. We were privileged that you visited our conference in Punta Gorda FL and we had the opportunity for some one-on-one. Thank you for that visit. We were so fortunate to have time for a mini-spiritual reflection when you presented your analysis of “Les Mirables” and the history behind the Society’s early beginnings. What a treasure. Be well my friend, and may our paths cross again.


  • I will miss you Ralph. I recall you before you were our National President at the Northeast Convention (i think). Then, got to experience your many graces and talents in the following years as our leader in the National Conventions and Renewal and visit to Pope Francis, where I witnessed your humility, faith and reverence for all that who we are as Vincentians. I hope to meet with you again at the Sainthood of our Blessed Frederick Ozanam soon (It will be worth the trip to Paris!) Thank you for all and God bless you!

  • A job well done, Ralph! Squeeze some family time in there, and Thanks for your servantude!

  • Thank you, Ralph, for your leadership over these past six years. May God continue to bless your Vincentian service in your new role! Peace!

  • God bless you, Ralph. I have enjoyed reading your columns. Thank you for serving so faithfully.

  • Grace and Good Fortune Ralph from your Chico friends. Our prayers have and will be with you.

  • Woke up this morning🎶🎶 Immediate Past President (ADCCWash) as you did Ralph, as Immediate Past National President ( our terms started the same Oct 1 2017 to Sep 30 2023) and like you felt we are handing off to smart, capable and loving servant leaders.

    What a ride Ralph, being on the bus with you. Making scheduled (mid-year, annual assemblies) stops with you and the Society, International friends Renato and Mike N , and some unforgettable stops with our regional community led by VP’s Alice Garvey and then Lynne Betts. My “editor” was Ann Barbagallo, conference President, Secretary and VP in our ADCC. I don’t want to even begin to tell all about her service 24/7 ( email Ann at midnight and you got an answer at 12:03). Same can be said for Wendy and her tech team when trying to navigate the member database.

    I welcome our new leadership with ADCC President Tony Bosnick and have posted events and fond memories since 2012 in Providence, RI my first Assembly on our ADCC social media, particularly on LinkedIn where (and our SVdP Youth know this so well) lifelong Vincentian friends though not near, stay digitally in touch, Nathan, Wayne, Liz, Sister Suzanne our spiritual advisor to name a few! Check it out: https://www.linkedin.com/in/st-vincent-de-paul-washington-dc-montco-pg-somd-6a0905201

    Hey, thank you for print (with Roger) and video shoutouts, especially Ralph’s very wonderful tribute production, and the gallery at HQ, ( with New VP Pauline) —- you know who you are,
    Agape love,
    Tommye Grant
    New Conference President
    Our Lady of Victory DC

  • Thank you Ralph for your servant leadership and thank you for seeing in me more than I saw in myself…
    Blessings on your continual work as I know you will be blessed to be the voice for all…
    It sure has been a ride these six years and so honored to take this ride with you and the G&R National Committee along with the MCD committee and disaster committee….
    Blessings to the SVDP USA….
    May we all see with the eyes of Jesus and do great work in his name…
    In Vincentian Spirit and Friendship,
    Cathy Garcia

  • Ralph Middlecamp is one of a kind. May his love for the Society continue to shine. And may we emulate his unwavering dedication to help those in need. Thank you for your service.


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