The Lord hears the cry of the poor...

September 27 on the church calendar is the memorial of St. Vincent de Paul.

Born in 1580 in Gascony, Vincent was ordained a priest in 1600 and won renown for his work with the poor. The story is told of his capture by pirates and enslavement in Tunis and his subsequent escape. In Rome he came to the attention of Pope Paul V, who sent him on a mission to the French court of Henry IV, where Vincent remained as chaplain to the queen. His activism, and the holiness of his life brought about the revival of French Catholicism. He inspired many of the court to an interest in the poor of Paris and was the founder of organized charity in France. In 1625 he founded an order of secular priests to work in rural areas; it became the Congregation of the Mission, called Vincentians. With these priests, St. Vincent conducted retreats, founded seminaries, and achieved widespread reform among the French clergy. For city work he founded the Sisters of Charity. St. Vincent's influence, through his spirit and through his institutions, is incalculable. He died in 1660 and was canonized in 1737.

You may be familiar with this saint's name through the work of St. Vincent de Paul Societies in many parishes, including Holy Family in Concord. A SVdP Society is composed of parishioners who serve the poor locally. Any city or town, including our own, includes those whose needs are great even if unknown to neighbors. A distinguishing feature of the Society's work is that they visit and establish relationships with those they serve.

Any pastor is grateful for such ministry as am I for the work done by our own SVdP Society. Their work depends on the generosity of others. The poor boxes at the church doors support this work. If you would like to offer your financial support, send a check made out to the St. Vincent de Paul Society to the parish office.

Pray today for our parish SVdP Society and for the people they serve.

St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us!

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