Pastor’s Letter, September 17, St. Vincent de Paul Society,

The Pastor’s Letter this week is from Peg Verranault, President of the OLR St. Vincent de Paul Society.

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul at OLR was founded in 1993 in the old white house that was the original OLR Church, and has been serving the needy in the surrounding neighborhoods for the past 30 years. Those who were instrumental in founding the conference and the first Vincentians at OLR were Anne Sokol, Marianne Stoddard, Pat Conrad and Jim Cooper, who was also the first president. The society at OLR did not become a conference until three years later in 1996. Named in tribute to the original Conference of Charity, the Conference is the basic organizational unit of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. There have been several presidents over the years and one of them, Tom Kassekert, was instrumental in growing the membership at OLR until he passed away. There are now over 50 Vincentians who serve today.

OLR SVdP began with a Food Pantry using food drives to provide food to the needy in the area. We now contract with Harvest Hope for government subsidized food and last year we purchased 48,442 lbs. of food and serve over 200 families each month. The food pantry has been located throughout the OLR campus, at one point being housed in what is now the school library for 7 years. The current location allows us to store food in multiple refrigerators and freezers along with a large amount of storage for other non-perishable items.  We are committed to serving the poor and needy in our parish and the surrounding neighborhood by offering other forms of help through financial assistance for utilities and rent payments and homebound visitations.

Deacon Ron Meyer, past Chaplain of the OLR Conference, was instrumental in working with other area churches in the area, especially Pastor Alfred Johnson’s “Greenville Church Without Walls” to help those in need in the Pleasant Valley area south of OLR. He also participated in the establishment of Mother Teresa House, and SVdP continues its support there by providing financial assistance for the cost of dentures for those in need.  We continue to look at other areas and ways in which we can reach out and help.

The OLR SVdP Conference was established with only four parishioners who are responsible for the dedicated group that the current SVdP has become. None of this would be possible without the support of our pastor, Fr. Longenecker, the generous donations from the people of our parish, and the commitment of all those who volunteer and have volunteered over the past 30 years. Thank you all and God Bless You!

Peg Verranault, President, SVdP, OLR Conference

Please join us for our 30th Anniversary reception and light refreshments, this Sunday, Sep. 17, immediately following the 10:30am Mass, in Guadalupe Hall. We are also sponsoring a food drive this weekend, please bring non-perishable food items to the Narthex or Guadalupe Hall.