Dartmouth, Nova Scotia

Saint Peter Roman Catholic Parish

CHRISTIAN

CHURCH

Current Information

Please continue to remember the poor who often go day to day wondering how they are going to feed their families. If each one of us brought only one can or jar of food every week, no one would need to go hungry. Donations of food may be left at the front entrance to the Church on Sunday or brought to the Parish Office at anytime; donations of money should be clearly marked "Saint Vincent de Paul" and put in the collection basket.


HISTORY AND GENERAL INFORMATION

The Saint Peter's conference of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul was officially established (aggregated) on the 10 of June 1978.


With the establishment of the Saint Peter's Conference there began an expansion of the society from its local roots in Halifax. This expansion continued in other parishes and the Dartmouth Particular (regional) Council was officially established on November 20th, 1987. Within the Dartmouth Particular Council there are now eight parish conferences.


Members of the Society tend to the needs of the poor by providing emergency groceries, clothing and shelter. They also provide some occasional services including an annual Christmas dinner bringing together these families, friends and persons whom they serve through the year.


Membership is open to any parishioner who feels called to serve those in need and is ready to commit to the rule of the society.


Meetings take place on the 3rd Tuesday of each Month September through April.


The President of the Society is Anne MacIsaac. The Society may be contacted through the Parish Office - 10 Maple Street, Dartmouth, N. S. B2Y 2X3 (902-466-6183)


ORIGINS

The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul figures prominently among those apostolic institutions which owe their beginnings to the free decisions of lay people.


It is an international lay organization, founded in Paris in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam and his friends. A Catholic Society, it is open to all those who desire to live their faith in love and service of their neighbour.


Under the patronage of Saint Vincent de Paul, it draws its inspiration from his thought and his works. Members strive, in a spirit of justice, charity, mutual help, and solidarity with the poor, and by personal commitment, to ease the hardships of those who suffer.


Members are called upon to deepen their faith through personal contact with the poor. For the disciples of Ozanam, service of the poor is a virtual "sacrament" which puts them in touch with the suffering Christ present in the poor.


Because the vocation of the Society is to give first priority to those who suffer from loneliness or abandonment, the Society has always been attentive to old people, as well as to the sick and to the handicapped, extending comfort and friendship to them, and expressing solidarity with them.


Thus motivated, the members continue the mission of Christ to proclaim the Good News to the world.


The Society aims at the promotion of the Christian message by living the vocation and mission of lay people in the Church and in the world, because, like all the baptized, its members form part of the people of God.


On February 4, 1834, Ozanam suggested that the Society put itself under the protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary and it was then proposed that the feast of the Immaculate Conception, December 8, be the day to be celebrated. At the same time it was recommended that Saint Vincent de Paul be named patron of the Society.


VOCATION AND MISSION OF LAY PEOPLE

In the Church and in the World. In its decree on the apostolate of the laity, Vatican Council II enumerated different modes of apostolate accessible to lay people, either individually or as groups. Among the groups, the Council document underlined, "there are a certain number of apostolic initiatives either individual or collective which owe their origin to the free choice of lay people and whose management has always come from their prudent judgment."


One must recognize the right of assembly among the faithful in the church, and Canon Law affirms it: "the faithful have the right to found and freely manage associations of charity or piety with the right to hold meetings."


The Foundation of the Society in 1833. Frederic Ozanam a prophet?


MEANS: By the practice of charity


The Church in all ages has been recognized by the sign of charity. It holds its charitable works as one with its own mission and as an inalienable right; this is why compassion for the poor and the feeble, works of charity so-called, and mutual help for the relief of all kinds of human suffering are held in special esteem. The specific role of the laity consists in CHARITY towards one's neighbour in those forms ever old, ever new: the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. CHARITY motivates and sustains active solidarity, ever attentive to all the needs of the human person. A like charity, practiced not only by groups or communities is and always will be needed; nothing can take its place, not all the institutions nor publicly funded organizations.


Where is the material, emotional and spiritual poverty?


material:

unemployment, housing, finances, food, clothing, leisure, outings, etc.


emotional:

Family circle, lack of values, truancy, neither respect nor love, solitude neither voluntary nor desired, failure in conjugal life, life occasionally as a couple, exploitation.


spiritual:

Absence of family values, apathetic parents, lack of respect, lack of human dignity, remoteness from any spiritual atmosphere, bad companions, unscrupulous associates.


THE FOUNDER: FREDERIC OZANAM


Frederic Ozanam was born on April 23, 1813 in Milan.


In 1815 the Ozanam family moved to Lyon where the father had secured a position in the Hotel-Dieu hospital.


As a twenty-year old university student, Ozanam was profoundly Christian and pursued his studies assiduously, attending all the lectures of the history conference where literature and philosophy were given equal appreciation.


In 1822, Frederic began his classical studies at the Sorbonne. He married and was soon established both as a family man and as a successful professor at the Sorbonne. In Paris he was haunted by the misery of the poor, and his dream was to see harmony among social classes. He campaigned for justice and charity. His faith enabled him to see Christ in the poor, and in the evening of his life, he repeated very clearly: "Our aim is to keep the faith and to spread it among others by means of charity,".


In 1833, anxious to respond to the attacks formulated by his colleagues - followers of Saint-Simon - Ozanam and some of his friends founded the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul.


Ozanam was encouraged by the Revered Joseph Emmanuel Bailly de Surcy, founder and former director of the "Societe des Bonnes Etudes" (society for good studies). Ozanam made a pact with his fellows to follow their lead, but "to help the poor materially, and after a certain time, perhaps to help them to return to the practice of religion."


April 23, 1833 was the day when the first meeting of the new Society was held.

Saint Vincent de Paul