Sixty years of of­fer­ing a hand

Wangaratta Chronicle - - What's On This Weekend -

MEM­BERS of the St Pa­trick’s con­fer­ence of St Vin­cent de Paul cel­e­brated the group’s 60th an­niver­sary on Sun­day, with Mass and a lun­cheon gath­er­ing.

Cur­rent mem­bers were joined by state vice pres­i­dent Michael Cash­man, North East Cen­tral Coun­cil pres­i­dent Frank Pur­cell, gen­eral man­ager of ser­vice de­vel­op­ment Kate John­son, and de­vel­op­ment of­fi­cer Kate O’Brien, along with past mem­bers, fel­low Vin­cen- tians and parish­ioners.

Dur­ing Mass, new con­fer­ence pres­i­dent Doreen Holmes and new re­gional pres­i­dent Robert Wa­ter­man were com­mis­sioned, while con­fer­ence mem­bers Peta Dil­lon, Les Davey and Shirley Sul­li­van were pre­sented with their badges.

The con­fer­ence was born 60 years ago, when then par­ish priest Fr (later Mon­signor) Hussey con­vened a meet­ing which re­solved to form a branch of the St Vin­cent de Paul So­ci­ety.

From the out­set, mem­bers were de­ter­mined to put into prac­tice the mo­ti­vat­ing phi­los­o­phy of Fred­er­ick Ozanam, the founder of the so­ci­ety - to as­sist the spir­i­tual and ma­te­rial ben­e­fit of the poor.

Home vis­i­ta­tion was the first pri­or­ity, and the group’s early minute books il­lus­trate how much of their time the small group gave to vis­it­ing those in need.

Their work con­tin- ues today; St Pa­trick’s con­fer­ence dis­trib­uted 47 Christ­mas parcels last year, and more than $27,000 in Vin­nies Store cred­its were dis­trib­uted to the needy in the AprilJune quar­ter this year.

The track trav­ellers of yes­ter­year were sup­plied with a meal and accommodation, and there are still ar­range­ments to pro­vide meals through a lo­cal cafe, with accommodation pro­vided where pos­si­ble.

The con­fer­ence is sup­ported by parish­ioners and lo­cal Catholic schools, with fifth Sun­day col­lec­tions, poor box, Christ­mas Giv­ing Tree, dona­tions and money raised in the store also con­tribut­ing to funds.

St Pa­trick’s and Our Lady’s con­fer­ences both op­er­ate from St Vin­cent de Paul House in Tem­ple­ton Street from Mon­day to Fri­day, meet­ing with those in need each af­ter­noon to dis­cuss their re­quire­ments and how they can be as­sisted.

MILE­STONE: Long­est serv­ing mem­ber of the St Pa­trick’s con­fer­ence of St Vin­cent de Paul, Terry Con­way, new con­fer­ence pres­i­dent Doreen Holmes, and new re­gional pres­i­dent Robert Wa­ter­man, prepare to cut the 60th an­niver­sary cake.

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