President's April 2022 Report

(posted: April 10, 2022)


Greetings Sister and Brother Vincentians,

As we welcome the warm air of Spring we reflect on the Lenten Gospel readings of the encounters Jesus has with ordinary people. For parishes with an RCIA program, the Fourth Sunday of Lent reading is the Second Scrutiny, (John 9. 1 – 41). Jesus encounters the man born blind. The reading challenges us to put ourselves in the place of the blind man. Have we been blind to Jesus walking with us? Or, to borrow from our Opening Prayer, has He opened our eyes to the Christian calling to seek and find the forgotten and suffering so that we can bring them our love?

Also at this time we cannot but help be moved by the heartbreak and tragedy taking place in Ukraine. Let us pray with the Holy Father in the consecration of Ukraine and Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary: “Mother of God and our Mother, to your Immaculate Heart we solemnly entrust and consecrate ourselves, the Church and all humanity, especially Russia and Ukraine. Accept this act that we carry out with confidence and love. Grant that war may end and peace spread throughout the world.”

To assist with the exodus of people from Ukraine to neighbouring countries or refugees who will be coming to Canada, the National Council of Canada has established a special appeal “Emergency Ukraine” in conjunction with the International Confederation of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD). Funds will be directed where aid will be required. Donations can be made through the SSVP National Council of Canada donation page.
Please direct your donation to “Emergency Ukraine”.

The Social Justice survey is open through the end of April. If you haven’t already done so, I invite you to complete the survey.

The link to the survey can be found here:
ENGLISH
FRENCH

Ann Massel, President
Ontario Regional Council


SPIRITUAL REFLECTION

Lent and Encountering Christ

Lent is upon us once again. Easter is not far away. How should we spend this time? The Church teaches us to focus on prayer, self denial and almsgiving. Through each of these we are given the opportunity to encounter Christ.

But when we encounter Christ, what happens? Our encounter will often not be what we expected.

For the Samaritan woman, in the story that we hear during Lent, she did not expect to see anyone there at the well. Many surprises for her are there. A Jewish man speaking to her. A man asking her for water. This is not what she expected. In our own lives, when we go to Jesus, we too have expectations. God however has his own plan. Often, he shares more of himself with us. We might ask for guidance, but he often tells us just to seek and trust in him. If we show him our pain and ask for them to be taken away, he will often say to just trust him patiently. So expect the unexpected.

He often addresses questions that we thought did not need to be answered. The woman came for water, but he spoke to her of living water, eternal life. She did not even think of it let alone ask for it. For us this could be something that God revealed to us that we needed but we did not even know we needed it. He might ask us, “In what way are you not relying on me?”. He may say “Focus on me more than trying to change that other person.”. He reveals things to us we when need to hear them.

He gets to the heart of the issue. He reveals to the woman that He is the long-awaited Messiah. She asked him this question. The Samaritans worship here and the Jews worship in Jerusalem. Who is right? He tells her the heart of the worship matters, why you worship, not where or how. So too with us, we can get distracted by secondary issues. Things like traditional music, or contemporary music. That takes us away from truly worshipping Jesus in our hearts. He will reset our objective and keep us focused.

Jesus sends us out to tell others about him. The woman goes to town and invites everyone to come and meet Jesus. They believed her based on her testimony. Then they actually met Jesus and came even closer to him. The most important thing about a true encounter with Christ is this: when we truly know him, and he has done all this work in our hearts, we can’t possibly keep it to ourselves. We should be anxious to help others meet him and be changed by him. This encounter sends us out to tell others about him. This happens in our visits and in our stores.

Take time this Lent to encounter Christ. He is waiting for you just around the next corner.

Deacon John Girolami

To view the Lenten Retreat recording on the theme of the Woman at the Well, please visit the ONRC website.

NORTH OF 60 - Early Spring News

Good day everyone,

I am extremely happy to share some truly joyous news with you!
Coral Harbour has been waiting in hope to be adopted since the spring of 2016. Their time has arrived - our Hamilton/Hamilton West Particular Council Sisters and Brothers are committed to filling a 20 foot sea container for our newest extended northern family – Coral Harbour.

Allow me to say, both north and south are excited. Father Daniel from Naujaat, who many of you know, spiritually cares for Coral Harbour too. He played an essential part in finding the support we need in the community. Elder couple, Marty and Lizzie Angootealuk have already stepped up to share, teach and distribute the food to the families in the community. Exciting times for so many wonderful people – both north and south!
Plans are also solidifying for our other communities. Covid is still disturbing how we would “normally” help Nunavut.

Claire Heal who leads the team in Ottawa that supports Rankin Inlet has been faced with a huge, but manageable change. Rankin this year will be receiving crate(s) of food rather than a sea container. There are numerous changes happening at the Church. Fr. Radek knows that food is definitely needed but a sea container cannot be accommodated. Thank goodness for the crate system. Each crate will hold four skids of food but the important part is the crate can be taken apart once the food is stored and right now, storage in the Church is limited too.

The rest of us are busy laying out our plans to gather and fill sea cans. We will be shipping everything on the final voyage northward approximately mid-September…

Stayed Tuned – more yet to come
Pegg Leroux, Chair
North of 60

CAMP VINCENT

Camp Vincent was originally created in 1971 from a parcel of land previously owned by the Bradley family, approximately 69 acres of Carolinian forest, at 15142 Longwoods Road, 10 kilometres east of Thamesville, just outside of Bothwell. At the time, Joe Johns and his fellow members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in Chatham-Kent began to plan buildings and tents on the property. Eventually, when St. Ursula Church was taken down and rebuilt, the old structure was rebuilt at the St. Vincent de Paul Camp, as it was then called, and is now used as a recreation hall. It houses the main offices and some staff bedrooms as well. Since then, two portable staff sleeping quarters, eight camper cabins, a washroom/shower/laundry/water heater building, two large dining halls with a kitchen, a water shed, arts building, and many outbuildings have been added. Additionally, we have a large outdoor pool, an archery range, basketball court, sports equipment, a canoe pond, a campfire pit, and much more. Because of our extensive forest, we have hiking and nature studies available as well as arts, crafts, songs, theme weeks, and skits. Staff counsellors and directors are recruited from colleges and universities. They will have CPR and first aid training. This year we are asking that all campers and staff be Covid-19 vaccinated and we will be following protocols prescribed by the Ontario Health and Safety officers as well as the local health officials. At this time we are not equipped to take wheelchair campers, but our motto is to provide all children from all walks of life with safe, exhilarating, and memorable experiences which will last a lifetime. This is regardless of social, financial, or faith backgrounds. Quality outdoor programming combined with a creative and caring staff will result in a program designed to meet the needs of our campers. Above all, we strive to encourage, educate, and challenge to allow children to grow in body, mind, and spirit.

The name of the camp has been shortened to Camp Vincent. Our camp committee has been actively striving to bring all structures up to code and to attract the most qualified staff to work this summer. We will be training staff from July 4-8, and our first session will begin July 10. Each session begins on the Sunday afternoon with registration and dropping off of campers, and ends the Friday afternoon with camper departures. The week of August 2-5 we will have a shortened week for our youngest campers. Medical histories are taken and a health care aide will always be onsite. There are three tiers of payment which are voluntary payments by parents or by sponsors: $350 is Tier 1, which does not entirely cover all weekly expenses; $395 is Tier 2, which just covers costs; and Tier 3 is $495, which pays the true costs of a week at camp.

If anyone living near the camp (or perhaps not so near) wishes to help us clean the cabins on May 14, all assistance is appreciated. It is less than an hour from the London area. If you are able to join us on May 14, please let us know you are coming by writing us at Info@campvincent.ca.

The camp is also replacing 125 mattresses and would welcome donations for that purpose.

We truly wish to make this a memorable summer at Camp Vincent. Our new website is www.campvincent.ca we also have Facebook and Instagram. Additionally, people can email info@campvincent.ca or ssvpchathamkent@gmail.com for more particular information.

Yours in Christ,
Connie Badour, President
SSVP Kent Deanery

FUND DEVELOPMENT COMMITTEE

A Fund Development webinar was hosted on February 26. If you are interested in learning more about alternative ways of raising funds at the Conference and/or Council level to help people in need, the webinar and resources created by the Fund Development Committee to date can be found at Fund Development - Society of Saint Vincent de Paul - National Council of Canada (ssvp.ca).

Should you have successful fundraising initiatives for your SSVP community, we would love to hear about them so they can be added to our list of resources for the benefit of other SSVP communities to possibly implement to raise funds to carry out our Mission of helping people in need in all possible ways. Please share these initiatives by emailing Linda Dollard. Thank you.

Linda Dollard, Chair
Fund Development Committee

OTTAWA FUNDRAISER

Ottawa Central Council responds to the National Action Campaign Challenge on Housing.

The Ottawa Central Council (OCC) has embarked on a project to create safe, secure, affordable permanent housing for four or more Indigenous families in Ottawa. The Council chose to provide housing to indigenous families because they are over-represented in the homeless population. The Council is responding to the Society’s National Action Campaign on housing and the housing emergency declared by the city of Ottawa.

After studying the housing environment in Ottawa, the OCC formed a partnership with the Multifaith Housing Initiative (MHI) which is a well-respected affordable housing provider in Ottawa. This was a prudent move since the Society had no previous experience in building affordable housing. MHI has been very supportive and appointed some of their staff to guide the Council in planning. They welcomed Vincentians into their planning sessions, and this has been an educational opportunity for the Society.

The OCC’s plan is to provide housing for families in need so that they would pay rent equal to the shelter allowances that their social service incomes provide, thus freeing up the recipients’ basic needs allowances for food, clothing and so on. To accomplish this, the council has committed to raising funds for the down payments on as many units as possible so that the mortgage payments required would be covered by the shelter allowances. An additional benefit that will be incorporated into this project is that the housing complex where the units will be located will make appropriate cultural supports available in the community.

The fundraising plan includes asking for support from Vincentians, their conferences, other church organizations, parishes and businesses. As well, the council is running a progressive lottery called Catch the Ace which features weekly draws and a jackpot which builds until the envelope containing the Ace of Spades is found. Regardless of your home address, participants must be physically in the province of Ontario at the time of online ticket purchase. For more information about how CTA works check out: www.ssvpottawa.ca. Ottawa Central Council invites Vincentians in Ontario to support this worthy and fun lottery.

Corry Wink
Ottawa Central Council Housing Committee


ONRC MULTI-CULTURAL DIVERSITY COMMITTEE

“Every human being is created in the image and likeness of God and is precious in His eyes”
WORKSHOP INVITATION
The THEME is:
MISPERCEPTIONS OF THE “WHOM” OF POVERTY
to be held on
Saturday, May 14, 2022 @ 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. EDT

The presenters that we have sourced are all familiar in working and interacting with people living in poverty. They will share the different views of their respective experiences.

Registration information
Register in advance for this workshop:
REGISTER HERE

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting. Should you not receive the confirmation email, please contact Linda Dollard. We look forward to seeing you at the workshop.

PLEASE Register early to ensure your attendance at this workshop. This is a follow-up to our previous workshop on the Aspects of Racial Diversity and Inclusion. Our hope is that all our SSVP members get a better understanding of the culture of people living in poverty.
CONFERENCE AND COUNCIL EXECUTIVE CHANGES

A reminder to Conference and Council leadership to advise your next higher council of any changes to Vincentians in executive positions. The Ontario Regional Council keeps a record of executive contact information to ensure council members are kept informed of upcoming meeting and events. To inform ONRC of executive member changes please e-mail secretary@ssvp.on.ca.
IN CONCLUSION

We are always looking for Vincentian Testimonials and conference/council activity stories. Send your stories to share with Vincentian across Ontario to Shelley at shelleyssvp@gmail.com.

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Message from
the President