Sixty years of offering a hand
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.