Page 1

In this issue ... • News from around the Dioceses • Indian visitors • Youth News

Issue 3/11 Christmas20 I I Registered Charity



The Society of St Vincent de Paul would like-to wish a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New rear to one and all!

The Society of St Vincent de Paul, or SSVP, is a charity which operates in 142 countries and has around 750,000 members. It operates independently in each country but there is a large amount of cooperation between countries. Membership is open to men and women, young and old. The SSVP asks that members accept fully the Christian ethos, and are committed to express their love of God through personal service to their neighbour. The SSVP respects religious liberty and values of all people and offers help to anyone in need. The SSVP operates in branches, which are known as conferences, and are generally based in local parishes, schools or universities. They meet regularly to review their work as well as allocating future work in a spirit of prayer and mutual support. The work of a conference is usually concentrated on local visiting. However, other activities may include "special works", which serve people in a wider area or give more specialised help in a certain aspect of the work.ln Scotland our 2300 voluntary members make about 150,000 visits each year. The distinctive feature of the SSVP is person to person contact. This is a fundamental part of the SSVP ethos, and so we do not make donations to any work in which members are not personally involved. Where appropriate we offer material or financial assistance to help those in need overcome crises and develop longerterm solutions to their problems, whilst also giving social, emotional and spiritual support. The motto of SSVP Scotland is "Serving in Hope"

PUBLISHING POLICY I. The objective is to publish a new Ozanam News, which will be issued three times per year, May, September and December. To facilitate this, a Publications Committee has been formed and a member of the National Council has been made responsible for its operation. The Publications Committee will normally meet two months before going to the Printer. As at present, the actual putting together of the magazine will be the responsibility of the National Office staff, who will select the Printer and liaise and coordinate with all pre-production functions. 2. In accordance with National Council requirements the intention will be not to feature 'editorial' pieces. Any material deemed to detract from the Society's broader aims will be approved by the National Council prior to publication. Hopefully these arrangements will help the new Ozanam News to develop into a more humorous, educational and spiritual publication which will concentrate on bringing the Society, its Members and Associates closer together. With this 'Togetherness' in mind, items of National Council Agenda business could well become a regular feature in the magazine. In the main, letters for publication will normally be from Twinning parties - regarded as reports. Other letters received will be accepted for publication with an added footnote or returned for discussion by the respective Council and/or President if thought to be more appropriate.




[Christmas thank yous ... ] At Christmas we say thank you for all that the birth of Jesus brought to the world. I'd like to add a few other thank yous. For over 10 years Charles Ambrose edited the Ozanam News and in the last couple of years took responsibility for all aspects of communication, including the website and relations with the media. He carried out these roles enthusiastically, thoroughly and with open mindedness. The visit of our International president followed by the launch of our new website was an opportunity for Charles to end his term of office on a real high note. Charles will be a hard act to follow but I plan to announce his successor shortly. Meantime thanks to Clare Carr who has worked closely with Charles and has been ably holding the fort. Still on communication thank you to Whitebox Digital, the designers of our new website. Not only have they greatly improved the look and feel for our users but also they have provided a simple system for us to keep content up to date. Thanks to the early birds who have already volunteered to help with content and (in anticipation!) to all the other members who will be taking up the challenge.


have been going through a period of substantial changes in the way that the SSVP is run. Although these changes are beneficial in the long run they have involved some temporary uncertainty and stress. Thank you all for telling me openly what you think and so helping sort out difficulties. Now for thanks from Pope Benedict. On November 10-1 I I joined representatives of many European voluntary groups for a meeting in Rome. The climax of the event was an audience with the Holy Father at which he thanked all volunteers for our crucial part in the Church's mission. You can read his inspiring words by logging on to our website and following the link at the bottom of the home page. Finally we owe our supporters a great vote of thanks. Since April, at a time of financial difficulty, they have contributed almost ÂŁ I00000 to our international disaster appeals, including ÂŁ81000 for the East African famine. In the year to March 20 I I our parishioners' overall contributions were almost as much as in the previous year. Having such support is a rare privilege for any charity these days. Michael Balfour SSVP Scotland National President

As Michael mentioned, the SSVP in Scotland has undergone some significant changes in the past year. The National Council of Scotland would like to express warm thanks to Michael Balfour and Christine Gray (National Treasurer) for their hard work and dedication during this period. At times, visitors to the office would be forgiven for believing that Michael and Christine are full time employees-not volunteers! They are both active members of their SSVP conferences (Michael in Edinburgh and Christine in Glasgow) in addition to their duties at National Office.

Our spiritual introduction in this issue comes from Fr Gregory Gay. Fr Gregory is the head of the Congregation of the Mission(also known as the Vincentian Fathers) who were founded by St Vincent de Paul. He is also the Superior General of the Daughters of Charity. The Season of Advent, 20 I I "The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it." John I: 5 To all members of the Vincentian Family: May the grace and peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ fill your hearts now and forever! The above scripture, taken from St. John's Gospel, is an appropriate way to begin our Advent reflection. The Advent stories show us lives lived on the edge: Mary's stunning annunciation to be mother of the Lord; Joseph's noble struggle to accept this awesome reality; Jesus' birth in the simplicity of the stable; the shepherds' humble homage; the sudden uprooting of the Holy Family to escape the wrath of Herod's hands; all these Advent stories show us a God, though centered in Trinitarian love, who "emptied himself' (Phil 2:7), by becoming human. In choosing to live at the edge, Jesus ushered in the Reign of God, and paradoxically drew us closer to the center point of God's love. As Superior General, I have the privilege and responsibility of visiting with my Vincentian confreres, the Daughters of Charity, and members of the Vincentian family world-wide to spread the charism of St. Vincent de Paul. When doing this, I offer my support and encouragement to those who leave their safe, secure world to go to the edge and outer limits and serve the poor. Let me share some examples to illustrate how they live the Advent journey of light and hope. In the Republic of Chad, one of Africa's poorest countries, Daughters of Charity from Spain serving with Vincentians from Cameroon, Madagascar, and Kenya work in a remote, rural area without any Church presence. Their "mission church" is a wooden stage with a makeshift tent, protected by large mango trees. In this neglected region, they bring Jesus and our charism to a people whose hunger and thirst is satisfied by the Word of God and the charity of Christ. In the United Kingdom, I met with Vincentians in Partnership, a coalition of service providers for the poor made up of ten core and thirteen affiliated groups. We prayed, reflected, and discussed ways to imbibe and impart the Vincentian charism of love of God and service to the poor. Their work is with the urban poor, homeless youth, mentally ill, and addicted; in short, those on the margins of society. Their reach of care and compassion goes beyond their borders to Ireland, Eastern Europe and the USA. After an eight-hour flight from Moscow, I arrived in Magadan Russia, a place which seemed to be geographically at the end of the earth. This mission is staffed by Daughters of Charity from the USA and Poland. Once in Magadan, I was transported into a forgotten world of closed prison camps, meeting people who were subject to decades of inhumane treatment. In the Stalin era, Magadan was the final stop for hundreds of thousands of Soviet citizens, labeled "enemies of the people". The Daughters accompany the survivors (called "the repressed") ofthe prison camps, assisting in their healing by helping them to "tell their stories". Along with the presence of the region's only Catholic Church, these former prisoners now have a welcoming community of faith. The beauty of the Church of the Nativity with its Martyr's Chapel, which honors untold numbers of people who perished in prison camps, and actual stories of surviving prisoners, can be seen on their web site:

As we prepare heart and home for the Christmas coming of the Lord, let the words of Jesus and the charism of St. Vincent de Paul resonate more deeply in your hearts and lives. The Advent and Christmas stories vividly remind us of One who was born, lived, and died on the "edge". John's Gospel poignantly reminds us that Jesus "came to his own and his own did not receive him." On. I: 10) This was true for the Holy Family. Often portrayed in paintings and holy cards as sedate and serene, in reality they trod the path of poor, vagrant refugees. That sad reality continues today.

I suggest each of us carve out some time from our busy schedules in these Advent weeks to reflect on the scriptures and the life of St. Vincent, so we may be "watchful, willing, trusting, and testifying" disciples of Jesus, true to our vocation as members of the Vincentian Family. As we take time to encounter the Lord in prayer, scripture, and the Eucharist, we will gain 4

courage, as did St. Vincent, to ask the Lord to direct us to his poor, often unnoticed and on the edge of our lives. In doing so, we will enter into solidarity with them as our brothers and sisters in Christ. May the Lord be born in you anew this Christmas and bless you in this coming year! Your brother in Saint Vincent, G. Gregory Gay, CM Superior General

( AROUND THE DIOCESES J Galloway Goings- on Being Prayerful. •. Vincentians, our sick sisters and brothers and well-wishers, gathered from all over the Diocese for the Annual Mass and Sacrament of the Sick which was held in St Margaret's Cathedral, Ayr on Thursday 22 September 20 I I. Bishop John Cunningham presided and the other Celebrants were: Monsignor Joseph Boyd VG; Canon Patrick McSorley and Father Stephen McGrattan. A congregation of around 200 participated in a joyful and spiritually uplifting liturgy. Afterwards, there was some lively social interaction over tea/coffee and an excellent finger buffet in the hall. This proved a great opportunity to catch up with old friends and all their news. Some people I hadn't seen for years!! Being Students .•. On Wednesday 12th October, around 30 Galloway Vincentians gathered in St John's Parish Hall for A Sound Governance seminar presented by Adrienne Airlie, Senior Partner in Martin Aitken & Co, who are the auditors of SSVPScotland. Given the widespread nature of the Diocese, the high turnout was extremely gratifying. The overall aim of the seminar was to demonstrate how the active participation of all members in the governance of the Society could enhance operational efficiency and help to achieve the charitable aims of identifying and combating all forms of poverty. The excellent Powerpoint presentation was well received by the participants who found it a useful, enjoyable and enlightening experience. At the end some lively questions from the audience were

addressed fully by Adrienne. The evening concluded with tea/coffee and the chance of an informal and relaxing" gaud blether". Being Church •.. In every Diocese in Scotland, the number of active priests continues to decline. So what are we to do about vocations to the priesthood? Church documents make it clear that this is the responsibility of us all. The Apostolic Exhortation Pastores Dabo Vobis states that the work of promoting vocations belongs to" each parish and to every part of the People of God" and the Second Vatican Council is equally clear: " the duty of fostering vocations falls to the whole Christian community and they should discharge it principally by living full Christian lives". Christian living is often experienced as a relationship with God based on vocation: call and response. God calls us to live a particular lifestyle; to do particular things, and we respond positively in faith and hope .When we join the Society of St Vincent de Paul, we do so in response to God's call to a life of service devoted to His poor. As we increase our witness to this experience of discerning God's call and responding positively, we will create a " culture of vocation" which will encourage and sustain others to also listen and respond in a positive way, including those being called to the ministerial priesthood.T 0 this end, one initiative in Galloway Diocese, entitled" Being Church" was held on the afternoon of Sunday 13th November in St Joseph's Academy, Kilmarnock. Its purpose was to allow. Diocesan groups to reflect on how they are 5

already 'being Church' in the way they minister to their communities and the Diocese and to display this visually through a series of stalls. The SSVP Galloway display explained the origins and history of the Society as well as the broad scope of its work. Materials on the stall ranged from copies of the Ozanam News. Rule of the Society, Spiritual Readings, prayer books, a Life Worth Sharing, to letters, Project Reports, Christmas cards and photos from Twin Conferences, as well as take

away material on the Society, its work and an invitation to join with us in the work. Importantly, members were able to share their personal experience of their Vincentian vocation. The display and stall attracted a great deal of positive interest. Finally, there was an opportunity for us all to come together and pray for vocations to the priesthood in Galloway.

Aberdeen East We had a day of Spiritual Reflection on Saturday 24 September at Our Lady Of Aberdeen RC Church, Aberdeen. Approximately 20 conference members from across the Diocese attended the event led by Father George Hutcheson, the Diocesan SSVPspiritual adviser. The day began with mass followed by the exposition of the Blessed Sacrament. Attendees were then split into 4 groups and issuedwith 2 Beatitudes per group to discuss the good and bad points of each. Following discussion within each group Father Georgethen went round each group to explore findings and prompt further discussion. The day concluded with Mass and participants so enjoyed the event that the feedback is a strong preference to hold this at leasttwice a year.




Richard Steinbach, President of ~s John and Columba wrote to us recently with some excellent news about the Conference of St James' Parish in St Andrew's. This Conference has been in decline in recent years, so Dennis Martin(St [arnes' conference) and Fr Andrew Kingham requested assistance from member of the Rosyth conference. , They attended Masses on October i= and 8th, and explained in detail the work undertaken by the SSVP. In his letter, Richard said, "To sum up, it would appear that it was a massive success ... We managed to get 12 names on the day ofthe Masses, with 5 more people approaching Dennis afterwards." It just goes to show that people really do want to get involved!

Fr Andrew President)


Elaine Steinbach,

David Hunter(Fife

We have been working with St Ninian's High School in Giffnock recently in setting up a Youth SSVPgroup, and one of the first ideas that they had for raising funds was Christmas cards. With the help of art teacher Shauneen Mc Canna, first year were tasked with producing designs, two of which have been chosen to feature on Christmas cards which are available for all to buy. In addition to the Christmas card project, the 4th year SSVPgroup will also be making an appeal for the Ozanam Centre, visiting a nursing home and going carolling. Fourth year pupils arrived en masse(around 70 of them!) to take part in their first SSVP meeting. These large numbers were easily managed down 6

to the hard work of Ciara Mc Quillan from the RE department

and Maria McCluskey who teaches


Cards are available in packs of ten, costing ÂŁ3 per pack. All proceeds will go to SSVP projects across Scotland. Contact the SSVP National Office on 0141 2268833.


Members of the youth SSVP recently took part in an event at the Scottish Parliament called 'Get the Picture'. This event was organised by the Scottish Youth Parliament and brought groups from all over Scotland to Holyrood recently. It was organised as part of the 'Festival of Politics' which coincided with the main Edinburgh festival. Participants were first of all given the chance to meet and chat with the other groups in attendance, and learn about the groups in the'marketplace', where each group had a display set up Groups then took part in workshops- the SSVP group participated in a workshop on campaigns, and how to carry them out, with a mock campaign being planned. The final section of the day was given over to a session in the debating chamber, where around 150 young people gave their views on a variety of topics. "It is important for the SSVP to represent the needs of those living in poverty or in need in


Scotland, so to be able to have our young Vincentians participating in an event like this is fantastic! I was so proud of them, and the contribution that they made to the debate, and to the day in general."Clare Carr, National Youth Development Officer, SSVP Scotland.Y oung people from across Scotland are becoming involved in the work of the SSVP. Not only are they helping those in need, but they are actively engaging with their faith and living out Frederic Ozanam's view that

"Christianity is not about ideas but about deeds inspired by love." For more information, visit In the picture with the Scottish Parliament sign, left to right their names are Sarah Gillespie from Rutherglen, Kirsten Fox from Dundee, Eilidh Ferguson from Cumbernauld and Nicole Kane and Colette Carr, both from Motherwell. All of the girls actively work with those in need by helping others through the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Colette, Nicole and Kirsten all volunteer at Ozanam Clubs for children and young people with disabilities, Eilidh volunteers at the Ozanam Centre in Glasgow and Sarah visits the elderly in a nursing home and in homes.

] We have now started planning Camp Frederic CAMP FREDERIC 2012 20 12! Camp Frederic 20 II was a success that we very much hope to build on.

The camp is being held once again in Auchengillan International Outdoor Centre and is planned to take place from Monday 18th to Thursday Z!" June. This camp is for 14 to 18 year olds who are actively involved with the work of the SSVP, whether it be in their school, parish, Diocese, or special works project. If you have any young people in mind who are not yet involved with the Society, Camp Frederic is a great motivator to get them involved! There is plenty of time to get them involved before Camp Frederic. Why not get some young people involved in your parish conference work, and then they can come along and meet with other young Vincentians at Camp Frederic? Further information and booking forms will be made available in the next couple of months, but please feel free in contacting me if you have any questions. Contact Clare or phone 0141 226 8833


I was lucky enough to visit the beautiful town of Nairn recently to attend the Aberdeen West group meeting. I was keen to assure the SSVP in the more northern parts of Scotland that youth development in their area is well and truly on the agenda. The situation in some parts of Scotland is different to the central belt(as far north as Dundee) as there are no Catholic secondary schools so it is vitally important that we reach our young people in other ways. The Diocese of Aberdeen recently held a World Youth Day event in Elgin, where 70 young people attended, so we know that the young Catholics are out there! Some had attended World Youth Day, and some had not but according to people who attended WYD, the Diocesan event embodied the spirit of WYD very much. By all accounts, World





OWl$ ,AND ABOUT¡~,' Youth Day 20 I I was a momentous experience for the young people (and not so young) who travelled to Madrid to gather with around Imillion pilgrims from around the world. Prior to the main gathering, there was a Vincentian youth gathering of 1500 young people. SSVP Scotland were not represented this time around, but we very much hope to be able to travel to Rio De Janiero in 20 I 3 to take part in this potentially life changing experience. We are at the very initial stages of planning the trip, and any information will be distributed as it becomes known. If you have any questions, ideas or invites(1 especially like invites'). please get in touch. Clare, National Youth Development Officer


We were delighted to welcome the Indian SSVP National President and the National Projects Officer Brothers Balaswamy and Prakasham to Scotland for 5 days at the end of October. As India is the main country with which our Society in Scotland has been twinned over many years they were very keen to witness some of the work and projects being carried out by our Scottish conferences and councils. Over the few days here they managed to visit many of the projects and at the same time were able to find time to do a little sight-seeing. On the Sunday they were able to visit St. Andrew's Cathedral, so beautiful after its renovation, after which they were given a guided tour of Our Lady of Lourdes Carfin Grotto and in the evening attended a Mass for the Deaf which takes place every week in St. Mary's Abercrombie St. organised by the SSVP Rendu Group. The following day they paid a visit to the Ozanam Centre in Glasgow where they met with members of the 'Our Lady of the Wayside' conference who do such sterling work helping to provide clothing and meals for the poor and vulnerable of the city. After an hour's travel we arrived at Greenock, renowned for its rain It certainly lived up to its reputation and our Indian

visitors must have felt that they were back in India experiencing their monsoon conditions. However we were given a very warm welcome by the St. Vincent de Paul members at Jericho House, who care for the 16 recovering drug addicts who are housed there. These young men seem so grateful for the care they are given and it was very humbling to listen to them talking of their past life and the devastation caused by their addiction. During their stay in lnverclyde our visitors were even invited to the home of Vincentians who provided them with a succulent Indian curry! In the evening they visited the beautiful church of St. Ninian's in Gourock, after which they met with members of the local SSVP where a very interesting discussion took place about twinning between our two countries. Our National President and the members of the National Office staff offered the following day a . very warm welcome to our visitors and everyone



enjoyed the mouth- watering buffet provided. In the evening we continued our itinerary to Hamilton to visit the Ozanam Club for the disabled where we were met by the President and a huge gathering of over one hundred, including carers. The final day was spent entirely in our capital city where the Group President of Edinburgh had arranged a programme of visits, firstly to St. Patrick's church where the first Scottish SSVP conference was established, followed by a tour of the city and a visit to Port Seaton Caravan Site where our Society offers holidays for those who cannot afford a holiday. The last port of call was to Jericho House where on entering we were

astonished to see a hall packed with grateful visitors who were tucking in to a 3 course meal provided by the members of the conference of Our Lady & St. Andrew's, Galashiels who were on duty that evening.l would like to thank all those who helped and gave of their time so generously to make the visit of our Indian Brothers so successful. I have received an email from them since their return to India expressing their gratitude to all our Scottish Vincentians and stating how impressed they were with the various aspects of the work being done by the Society in Scotland. lan Tierney, Twinning and Projects Officer

PS We have had a request from India for 14 of their Conferences to be twinned. Please contact lan Tierney if you are willing to do this. Email Dear Bro, We reached safely on 8th morning, but we had to rush to oversee the flood emergency relief at Nellore Central Council at Andhra Pradesh Coastal village was flooded with heavy rains, and just returned today, our main aim of visiting you is pay our personal respect and thankgiving for all the help you are extending to our twinned conferences, we could see the extrodinary work of SSVP Scotland, especially Drug rehabilation and Handicaped centres. We thank you for taking care of us like elder brothers. especially Bro.lan who guided us daily. He is a asset to SSVP Scotland. Thanking you once again. Regards Br.Prakasham

On 2 October 20 I I, Our Lady and St Helen's SSVP Conference held an SSVP Information day for all parishioners. The purpose of the day was threefold- to raise awareness of the work of SSVP; encourage new recruits to the conference and develop the community ethos within our parish. Clare Carr very kindly agreed to attend and gave the parish a talk on both her role as the Youth Development Officer and also gave an overview of the charity and its works internationally, with particular reference to the developments taking place globally at youth level.The day was well attended by parishioners, with a talk being given

SPREADING THE SSVP WORD IN CONDORRAT after both lOam and 12noon mass. Information boards and literature on recruitment, twinning and local works were on display and all Conference Members were available for any questions. Tea, coffee and home baking was served and enjoyed by all! Directly as a result of our day, we have recruited 3 new members to our Conference. We have also consolidated our established links with our feeder high school of St Maurice's High and are planning to liaise with an enthused member of the teaching staff to involve the younger high school pupils in parish community projects, such as making visits to the local Nursing Home and providing entertainment. Feedback from parishioners has been very positive! Our most grateful thanks to Clare for her tremendous input and helping to make the day a great success.


Submitted by Brian Durkin, President, St Andrew's andEdinburgh Brian has been a member of the Society in Uvingston for 25 years and has been charged with the task of 'recruitment' by the National Council.

"My dear young people of Scotland. Thank you for such warm words of welcome. I am happy that my first contact is with you, the pride of your beloved country and the promise of it's bright future". These were the first words spoken by Pope John Paul IIwhen he visited Scotland in 1982. The event was the gathering at Murrayfield stadium in Edinburgh for the young Catholics of Scotland. Although the ground was under reconstruction at the time and the capacity had been cut to 45,000, the stadium was full. The Pope had these young people eating out of his hand and the enthusiasm shown by them for his words was hard to describe. That was almost 30 years ago but what has happened since?

Do you remember Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the UK last year and the incredible reception given to him in Edinburgh and Glasgow by the young people from all over Scotland? We all wondered if this visit could possibly be as successful as 1982. We need not have worried. Not only did thousands of people of all faith's and none turn out to welcome him but young people from all over Scotland also turned out in Edinburgh and Glasgow to show their love for him and their faith.

Those young people who turned out at Murrayfield in 1982 will now be in their mid to late 40's. I think it would be fair to say that very few of them ever considered joining the SSVPfollowing that momentous visit. It may well have confirmed their belief in Christ and possibly encouraged many to stay true to their faith but we would be fooling ourselves to believe that many would have considered the SSVP.At the time, we in the SSVP probably hoped that some of them would consider joining us in our Works but how many conferences made any effort to encourage the young people of our parishes?lf we look around at mass today we

along with their children, many of whom wouldhave been in attendance atMurrayfield on that wonderful occasion. The same people who, again must have been inspired by the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to our country last year. Can we afford not to be talking to them about the SSVP and giving them the invitation to join us in our works? Our society was started in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam and a few of his student colleagues. All of them in their late teens and early twenties. The original SSVPwas a young person's movement built on young people's ideals and energies. Over the years, and certainly in the last 50 years it has became an 'older' person's society. There is no harm in that. Frederic and his friends depended on older and wiser people to guide and advise them in their works. There is no substitute for wisdom, and wisdom comes with age. But, at the same time, much of the work that we are increasingly asked to take on requires younger shoulders. Dysfunctional families, people who are troubled with drink or drugs, trouble at school, lack of job opportunities, mounting debt, lack of budgeting skills. Many of the calls that we make to deal with these kinds of problems requires calling on people and families at night. Maybe not too bad on a nice summer evening when it can be light until 10pm but not too nice to make on a cold winter evening. Unfortunately, troubles are not seasonal. Many of us are fortunate. We do have jobs but this means that we cannot make the 'visit' until the evening. Not a good time for those over a 'certain' age.Most of our young people can empathise with people in real need. They love a challenge and with their energies channelled in the right direction can make a change. Give them that chance. I would ask each and every conference in Scotland to put out a challenge to the younger people of our parishes. People from 16 years to 40 years. CLAIM BACK YOUR SOCIETY! In August of this year there were more than I million young people from around the world 10

gathered together in Madrid for the World Youth Day. Pope Benedict XVI joined them in prayer and celebration. There were more than 200 from Scotland. As Pope John Paul I I said in 1982. "They are the pride of our beloved country and the promise of a bright future." Without them we are nothing, and will be nothing in a few short years. We are in a very fortunate position now that we have a National Youth Development Officer in Clare Carr. If you require Clare's assistance then



she can be contacted through the Glasgow head office . . Alternatively, there are a range of presentations on the SSVP website that can be tailored to your needs. Take a look and see what can be done to help you in your efforts to attract younger members to' your conferences.

Let us look forward to a brighter future and, together, build a younger and more vibrant St. Vincent de Paul Society.




Members from around the country gathered at Celtic Park in Glasgow for the National Annual General meeting. Fr Sean Farrell, who is a member of the Congregation of the Mission, provided a thought provoking and inspirational key note speech, which was very well received by the assembled audience.Fr Farrell hails from Ireland and is currently based there, and has also spent a considerable amount of time at a parish in the East End of Glasgow. He emphasised the issue of social justice, and informed us of some of the ways in which the SSVP in Ireland (known as SVP) fight for social justice, giving the example of an alternative budget proposal, which is given to the Irish government.




Christine French, Kirsten Fox, and Kerrick Scott of the Dundee University Conference

During the AGM, as small group of young people learned more about social justice and thought about issues in their own communities. They were very concerned about issues such as gangs, teenage pregnancy and graffiti. They also showed great awareness of the issues that face the people that we work with, and are keen to work for positive changes.

Third and fourth year pupils from St Roch's Secondary School in Glasgow are working together on an appeal for the Glasgow Ozanam Centre. The fourth year SSVP


group(pictured on the left) are working with RE teacher Pauline Miller's S3 personal development class, who will be making presentations to the rest of the school and collecting winter woolies and toiletries for the Ozanam Centre

The pupils are highly enthused about this project, and are keen to help some of the poorest and most vulnerable people in Glasgow.



The SSVP in Scotland are proud to have been able to send a sum of ÂŁ81 ,000 to the East African Famine Appeal. This appeal was organised by the International Council General (the international governing body of the SSVP), which is based in Paris. Conferences from around Scotland gave generously to this appeal. Pictured here are the National Council of Scotland, who recently gathered for their bi-mont~ly meeting. The National Council would like to thank everyone who made it possible to send this fantastic sum of money to those who are in desperate need. The situation in East Africa continues to be a desperate one. In a region where conflict exacerbates drought and famine, 13.3 million people have had their livelihood threatened, and a large number of people have lost their lives.

But there is good news, it has been reported that aid is getting through, and that our donations are making a positive and real difference. Pictured from left to right, they are lan Riddell(Aberdeen West), Michael Balfour(National President), Sr Eleanor Rogers(Daughter of Charity and National Spiritual Adviser), John Joyce(Dunkeld), Joe Mc Eachan(Motherwell), Christine Gray (National Treasurer), Bernice Brady(Glasgow), lan Tierney(Twinning), Jim Lynch(Paisley) and Brian Durkin(St Andrew's and Edinburgh)

[-----------------------) Fred Tritschler from the Conference at St Catherine Labore in Glasgow recently shared with us news of a recent visit to their local primary school, also called St Catherine Labore. The school had planned a Mass on the Feast day of St Vincent de Paul(September 2yth) and invited Fred along to visit, accompanied by his wife Jessie and conference member Rosanne Nichol. They took their statue of St Vincent de Paul with two children(pictured) along with them, and was touched by the fact that the children all wanted to touch the statue when they were leaving after the talk.Fred, Jessie and Rosanne spoke not only about St Vincent de Paul, but also about Frederic Ozanam, Louise de Marillac and St Catherine Labore, who of course was a Daughter of Charity. They went on to speak about how they get money to give to the poor and needy, and the work that they do an Vincentians. As always, the children had a multitude of questions- with one of the most pressing being who the children in the picture with St Vincent de Paul are

MY NIECE CLAIRE INTERROGATES MY ROLE WITHIN THE SSVP! Submitted By Michael Brennan from Ss John Cantius and Nicholas, Broxburn During the second last term of the 20 I 0-20 I I School Cycle, my wonderful wee niece in Dublin, Claire Donohoe, sent me on the attached Questionnaire as part of her Religion/Social Studies Programme. I was delighted to respond to Claire's searching questions and congratulate her on her probing questionnaire and her level of social

awareness. As you will see it's a very personal response to the many questions posed and I thought it might be useful to share it with fellow Vincentians in Scotland. If nothing else it might act as a source of discussion and debate. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

How long have you been part of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society? •• I joined the local Conference of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP)in Broxburn in December of 2006 and later became President of the Conference in June of the following year. Initially I was given the role of Secretary to the Conference which entailed recording the minutes of the fortnightly meetings, dealing with correspondence and preparing documentation for a variety of situations. The Conference itself was in serious decline and so a significant amount of work was focused on raising its profile, conducting appeals and preparing literature for distribution amongst key agencieswithin the local community. A retired President from a neighbouring Conference (Brian Durkin) helped us enormously with orientating new members to the normal workings of an SSVPConference.

What kind of work do you do for the Society? Visiting the poor and marginalised - Helping with loneliness, bereavement, mental health issues and learning disabilities - Providing friendship and support to homeless people, people with addiction problems and senior citizens - Providing advice on debt management - Helping refugees and immigrants - Giving financial support - Visiting and befriending the housebound - Providing clothing and furniture to the poor and helping with shopping - Visiting the isolated in Nursing Homes and Hospitals -Arranging Caravan holidays - Helping families who are victims of domestic abuse or those with few resources - Advocating for those we help through form filling or through contact with local Councillors or Members of Parliament - Ensuring that people are receiving their statutory benefits - Prison visiting and after care - Raising the profile of SSVP through school visits, public appeals, attending conferences etc. - Organising Senior Citizen's Christmas Party or a Special Event/Treat for marginalised children - Being available for Box-Collection duties on a regular basis.

What motivates you to do this work? I feel primarily motivated by a need to give something back - to become involved in an attempt to reduce or minimise suffering particularly for those who are vulnerable or at risk..The work also inevitably leads one to an examination of issues of justice and fairness within the community - issues around the distribution of wealth and resources within society and so I suppose a second motivating factor would be achieving some kind of social justice.A further motivating factor is the possibility of working with like-minded people - folk who share my perspective on the world and have a similar passion for helping the poor and marginalised.

What inspired you to join SSVP rather than a secular organisation? Initially it was simply because the SSVPwas the most easily accessible charitable organisation in the area. Other more secular volunteering organisations would be available but only twelve miles distant in Edinburgh. As a practicing Catholic,

I attend the local Church in Broxburn and so working here with the SSVPproved both convenient and achievable within the context of a fairly busy life related to my full-time employment.


However as time has passed I've become more impressed with the mission set down by the Society, the worldwide nature of its reach, its

guiding principles and the insistent voice it raises on behalf of the voiceless.

What spiritual or religious aspect of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society inspires you? I have to confess that initially I found the religious aspect of the Society a less important dimension of the overall appeal of the organisation. Spiritually, of course, the interventions offered by the Society can prove very uplifting particularly when helping the vulnerable older person or when meeting the children you have helped later in the supermarket or at the bus stop and seeing again the look of joy and hope in their eyes. Religious inspiration has come later and particularly around the Spiritual Readings that begin each meeting. Additionally readings from the writings of Frederic Ozanam, the founder of the Society, can be quite provocative and alert one to the common themes of charity and justice which are evident in many of his articles.A recently discovered quotation from Ozanam written in the 1830's in the midst of the social and political upheaval of post-revolutionary France perhaps serves to make the point as well as highlighting the many parallels with the problems of today's society ....

'The question which divides the people of today is no longer one about political ~JlI~"'-" social question. It is to find out which will win, the spirit of egoism or the spirit of ~:~:"'T;"'if' society to be just a huge exploitation for the profit of the strongest, or a dedicatiOn of each person to the benefit of all, and especially to the ~n of the weakest?' (Frederic Ozanam, 1833)

What do you think are the challenges that face members in Ireland?

I'm not entirely sure about the Irish context although I am aware that the SSVP in Ireland is a much more significant organisation with much greater funding and a much higher profile than the Society in Scotland. The SSVP in Scotland has a much lower profile, is very much identified with the Catholic Church (although it is totally nondenominational and non-sectarian in its work) and does not receive any financial subventions from Government although local Councils are frequently very generous in their contributions. Nevertheless I suspect that some of the challenges faced by the Society in Scotland are similar to those encountered in Ireland. In Scotland recruitment is an on-going problem. Finding people who are prepared to offer up some of their free time to the work of the Society is proving more and more difficult. A second problem which presents as a challenge in the Scottish setting is the inherited

obsession with excessive confidentiality and the utmost discretion around SSVP activities. This is obviously important to the people that we serve but can sometimes act as an impediment to popularising the activities of the Society and to revealing the social and political aspects of the work that we do. Indeed it sometimes contributes to the notion of the SSVP as a secret society. Happily this situation is beginning to change (albeit slowly in some quarters) and in Broxburn we have a policy of presenting an Annual Report of our activities during the previous year to all the members of the congregation. This would have been unthinkable in times gone by but has been warmly received by the parishioners in Broxburn. Editor's note- The line should be drawn between

secrecy and confidentiality. The SSVP would never discuss the names of the people that it works with.

Do you feel campaigning for social justice is an important part of SSVP? Why? Yes, very definitely. Working with the the great social struggle within society the Society worldwide further reflects and the developed industrial world. In Frederic Ozanam himself wrote .....

poor and and both

and marginalised on the ground inevitably raises questions about the tension evident between the rich and the poor. The work of highlights the wider tension that exists between the third world contexts, issues of justice and fairness appear at every turn.


·Order in Society is founded on two virtues - Justice and Charity. One cannot address the notion of Charity without being confronted with the corresponding notion of Justice' (Frederic Ozanam, 1833).

DIGITAL DEVELOPMENTS SSVP Scotland are pleased to announce the launch of their new national website!Members have been working with website developers Whitebox Media on developing this website over the last year and a half and are delighted with the results! Whitebox have been very supportive and helpful throughout the process and we believe that a website has been created that will be very useful for both SSVP members, and informative for the wider community. The address is



ofr '


to SSVP Scotland


"for wI10t hope is tt1cre for us if God shoutd wiItldmw His mercy from t~S?~1 st. Vinc:.entdl!! P",ul tne !;O'!:t.:t'(et ~t l'tn:cnt 4.0;: "'~ul. or ~,'':'Vf',!:..! wDrtdwldt' .:cnkd,cr:!rtIDn 1)1n~ltJnll chl!lrttlo::~wtth 'lbj)Irl/')~\U~{L m!-Mbt'r'.". r,'t'mbt-f'!:.hlp I:. cccn re-men "nd women. 'f':AJ1i~ .s"dc/d.

I '';' ~!""'.'I-' :·;::r.r.:-:. n t'fol"( -cr. c:,1c.; C:;~':;n:<':, t:~~:d :n (>:.1 p:n:I1:". :("(1:1: J-d U'r,'o;"':r:':-:. I "(0". J'!l:(-~·:~ .•i:Jtt·1h ::~'f:".'o' Ih:I' ",','(d.,.;I:",:1 .:I: .:Ii:<.:ll"ll "IJ':.tX' 'NQ'~ I' 01 :t! rr; :1 p·:,·••:r J.~ mr..J -:,.,p~-:. h: •• :it::I:. -'::O"'(-':n:.:-:. •.• .41 t:' o:.:n:.;-"lr.1::d :0 >:I:.l .'" (r~. II:.:-:r. or. 'C-' :-.:~\(1I:" i:'.H r-e U:J(:-:'D(':I:I·"/Q'f;:'~ .•• 'I:h :O;O~,'("~X":\!.:--n : ••••<I:r .1'.:.:1:r \1-: m:1'C' :p:{ JI:~:'h:I;:'I:.:I :~":::J' :l:J!:C": :'~.'':--':.»'t ,.. ;;:';':.:I-,j :1,1' ;;:':U'.'CtIJ'IJ:~·m:m~': m:k: oJoo.l '4U,:U:, •.~t-:.:.:I:h·~·~:r, I:~':I:IJ-t':-: I:.r..r~ :I~'(' :'::':;\,'1-'~ ;<-·:~-I .o Do:":~- crr::.-c. h~~~: t.n,;.lj;'o:--I.lI':rI «Ih: suv- (-:'';':, a-e ro r: c tc '';': r,'rJIW,;:,;,·.r.(J'~:: .l-',",'wi.:'·loi!·l:h r,:';-I'fb:r-:. OJ(".~: Do:"·: •..• -Jt,.I·-=t,'("'~_. W'("': .l~':S!' .r.:- "": vt:r m::1';-".l(J" ,"J'{ J,J:-:' -:.~:n:(":: h:lp Ih:-:.: " n:t:, rt:t::o)"r,t,: c: <;.:~ :n:. d:_:I:p (I"\1:r 1.0::';;;-" I.;.:'0:- r ~r:b ';-!,\'-:'.

The website will constantly be changing, and we hope to be able to provide up to date news and information. If you have any submissions for the website, email them to communication@ssvpscotland.comor send a hard copy to the SSVP National Office. If you are a user of social media sites Facebook and Twitter, you can catch up with all the SSVP goings on online.To follow us on Twitter, go to https:/!/youthSSVP, to 'like' us on Facebook, click on the Facebook tab in the youth section of our new website.

Members' info Council of Scotland The first Council of Scotland meeting of 2012 will take , place on Saturday 4th February. The next meeting will be on April 14th.

Glasgow's Annual Concert will take place on Friday 24th February in Woodside Halls. Performers are to be confirmed. and information will be distributed in the coming months. The "Voice of the Poor" S4 Schools Residential will take place on two more occasions in this academic year. The dates are January I th and January ISthl\9th. Participating schools are to be confirmed. Conferences will be notified if a local school is participating.


Merchandise- the office holds a stock of small blue pin , badges, which bear the logo and the words 'Serviens in Spe'. These badges cost £ I and can be obtained by _ contacting National Office. Christmas


The previously mentioned Christmas cards are now available from the National Office. They come in packs of ten, cost £3, and are available from the National Office.

SSVP Scotland I 13 West Regent Street Glasgow G22RU 0141 2268833 General enquiries Ozanam New/Website:

The late Harry Mirner is pictured here with Fr Allisonat the AGM in 1990. Harry dedicated himself to the role of Treasurer in Motherwell Diocese for over 40 years and always carried out the role with good humour and is sure to be fondly remembered by many. He was a Greenock man originally and was sure to bend the ear of anyone who would listen about his favourite topic- Greenock! Fr Allison was Spiritual Adviser to Motherwell Diocese for ten years.

If you have any old photographs that you would like to share, we would be delighted to hear from you. You can either email a scanned copy, or post us a the actual photo(which we will return, so please be sure to give your address details)



Out of the depths I have cried to Thee, 0 Lord. Lord, hear our prayer.

Ozanam News Christmas 2011  

Christmas 2011 edition of Ozanam News

Read more
Read more
Similar to
Popular now
Just for you