The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was founded in Paris in 1833 by a group of Catholic students who, led by Frederic Ozanam, aimed to put their faith into action through direct contact and assistance to the poor. Inspired by the work and teachings of St. Vincent de Paul (shown), a priest who abandoned the profit of an ecclesiastical career at the Royal Court in favour of working with the marginalised and forgotten poor of France in the 1600s, the group placed itself under his patronage.
A few years after its foundation the organisation had grown in numbers and soon spread to other countries. By 1844 the first Conference of Charity had been formed in England and Wales.
The Sacred Heart SVP Conference was founded in 1931 and has been active ever since undertaking a range of work in the Parish.
We currently have five full members in the Sacred Heart SVP Conference (comprising three men and two women) and three auxiliaries (three men). Full members attend the weekly meetings and undertake visits to those in need. We meet on Tuesday evenings at 8pm in the hall or in the church if the hall is being used.
Most of our members are Eucharistic Ministers which adds a further dimension to our service to the sick and housebound. All of our members have enhanced clearance from the Catholic, SVP and Government Safeguarding and CRB systems.
Here in the parish our small group carry out visits to people in their own homes in residential homes and in hospital. We support the Advent and Lenten Masses for the Sick and the Parish Council’s annual Senior Citizens’ Dinner. We also provide practical and emotional to support to those in need as well as transport and financial assistance.
One of our members is currently chairing the SVP Holiday Committee, three are involved as members of the SVP Home Office Approved Premises (formerly known as Probation and Bail Hostels) Committee and two are members of the SVP Central Council Board of Management.
Three of our members are involved with a Eucharistic Adoration service which is held from 5pm to 6pm most Monday evenings and are also heavily involved with the organisation of the annual SVP pilgrimage to Walsingham to attend the national Mass for the Anointing of the Sick. Recently this has grown in popularity with our own parishioners and others from neighbouring parishes and is proving to be a weekend of both spiritual and social pleasure. We support the annual walk for local martyr Blessed John Ingram, now ecumenical, involving two Anglican Churches with their clergy en route from Newcastle to Gateshead.
The number of people actually requesting visits or other help is in steady decline but there must still be other people who would appreciate this sort of Christian friendship of which neither the Parish Priest or us are being informed. If you are or know of a person in need please let Fr. Michael or a member know.
Anyone wishing to know more about the Society and what membership involves is invited to contact our Conference President Brother Dave Bowman on 0191 2171056 or email: email@example.com