SSVP National Council of Singapore
The members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul (also known as “Vincentians”) celebrated their patron’s Feastday at the Queen of Peace Church on Monday, 28 Sep 2015. His Grace, Archbishop William Goh, was joined by Fr Eugene Vaz and Spiritual advisors from various parish conferences.
During the homily, the Archbishop stressed the importance of the Vincentian spirit of service to the poor. For many, it is composed of only human compassion but that alone cannot make one a good apostle of charity. Human compassion is limited, myopic and dependent on human strength. What we need is divine compassion. Without divine compassion, Vincentian work is reduced to pure humanitarian work and we will not be able to offer the fullness of the gospel, i.e. Jesus. His Grace reminded Vincentians that it is not enough to focus on the material needs of the poor, as the ultimate end of our service is to bring God into their lives. With divine compassion, we will find the strength to love everyone like God. He ended the homily by saying that the greatest joy of service is service.
This was echoed by Helen Ng, 62, one of seven Vincentian recipients of the 25-year long-service award. She shared how “People say we help the poor but actually, the poor is helping us”. For Christopher Goh, 65, another long serving member, providing educational support to a pair of twins from Primary School level to Polytechnic level, and seeing them attain scholarships from the Singapore Armed Forces, was a memorable and rewarding experience. “When their mother came up to thank us and tell us that they could support themselves from now on, I felt really happy, ” he said.
As the Mass came to an end, 80 new Vincentians gathered in front of the Archbishop to take the Vincentian Pledge. Archbishop William announced that if all Vincentians truly lived out the Vincentian spirituality as set out in their promises, the Society would increase by leaps and bounds. He then asked all Vincentians to remind themselves daily of the promises they had made.
Members then adjourned to dinner at Qian Xi Restaurant for an evening of delightful fellowship over a meal. Matthew and the Mandarins were the special guest performers, and members were treated to an enjoyable night of song and dance.
(Photo Credits: Peter Kay & Paschal Tay)
On 31 August 2015, new Vincentians and observers gathered at St Ignatius Hall to attend the SSVP Induction Retreat. Fr Eugene Vaz, the key speaker and retreat master of the Induction Retreat helped the retreatants to reflect on what it truly means to be a Vincentian. With the theme ‘We are known by our fruits’ (Lk 6:44), Fr Vaz encouraged Vincentians to bear good fruits. He emphasised on the importance of building our spirituality first before we can be true Vincentians, failing which we would be mere volunteers. Our “fruits” (actions) flow from our faith, our personal relationship with God, our response to God’s call to serve the poor and be one with the weak and vulnerable.
After a quick lunch where retreatants enjoyed the fellowship with Vincentians from various conferences, David Lau highlighted the difference between a volunteer and disciple mentality. Magdalene Tan then explained the Rule of the Society, a mandatory document that governs the Vincentian way of being and doing. Finally, the Retreat concluded with a Eucharistic celebration.
To download Fr Eugene Vaz’s powerpoints slides, please click
To download David Lau’s presentation, please click
Credit: Catholic News, Sunday August 23, 2015
About 300 Catholics from various churches and ministries came together to distribute food packets to migrant workers over the jubilee weekend
While Singapore celebrated the nation’s 50th anniversary on Jubilee Weekend, a group of Catholics came together to commemorate the occasion with the migrant community in Singapore.
On Aug 8, 300 Catholics visited the WestLite Dormitory at Mandai to bring food packets to some 5,300 resident migrant workers.
The packets comprised essential items such as rice, noodles, sugar, sweeteners, energy drinks, toothpaste, soap and tea powder.
Mr Aung Min Tun, a shipyard supervisor from Myanmar, has been working in Singapore for eight years now and this is the first time he’s seen volunteers bring the special occasion right to their dormitory. “I’m very happy to see so many people come over just to pack and give us these food baskets,” he shared
For Mr A Maguraj, a lift maintenance worker from India who has been here since 2009, he was “thrilled to receive this special pack” and added that it made him “especially happy to see everybody looking so happy as the nation celebrates her 50th birthday”.
Organised by the Society of St Vincent de Paul (SSVP) and the Archdiocesan Commission for the Pastoral Care of Migrant and Itinerant People (ACMI), the Food Basket Project brought together Vincentians, youth ministry members and parishioners from six churches (Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, St Vincent de Paul, Immaculate Heart of Mary, St Francis Xavier, St Mary Of The Angels and St Ignatius)
“This is part of SSVP’s efforts to celebrate the Catholic Joy SG50 initiative across the island. “We are organising a series of food projects with various parishes to provide thousands of meals to those living among us who are less fortunate.” said Mr Paul Foo, president of SSVP National Council.
While many groups are well organised with an established support network, there are some that are relatively on their own especially the newly arrived migrants.
It is for them that ACMI and SSVP are organising this food basket project.
On the occasion of SG50, we should also recognise the contributions of the migrant workers to Singapore’s development. - Mr Timothy Karl, ACMI
“They have sacrificed much and we should thank them. This is also an opportunity for us to create awareness of challenges faced by migrant workers and to reach out to let them know that they can approach us for help should they encounter any difficulties or problems,” said Mr Timothy Karl, Executive Director of ACMI Singapore.
Another positive outcome of the food project is the coming together of various churches and ministries, including the youth. Many of the youth volunteered to be distributors and were excited to personally present the food baskets to the migrant workers.
A number of them took this time to chat with some of these workers and learn about their stories.
For many of them, this experience was a unique one. Said 21-year-old Alexandra Hofbauer, This is my first time helping out in such an event and it’s not what I expected at all... It’s really heartwarming to see so many people come together to volunteer their time on a Saturday.”
Ms Margaret Wong, one of the leaders of the Food Basket project said, “This is the first time such an activity is being carried out on a large scale. It’s really a mammoth task to prepare and distribute 5,300 food packets in a single day, and we need to work out every single detail including receiving and packing the items, bringing the food packs to the migrant workers and interacting with them.
“I’m very inspired to work among a group of like-minded Catholics. We may come from different parishes and ministries, but we are united in our efforts to live out our faith and passion to do our part to celebrate SG50 through this project.”
Earlier in June, teen confirmants and Vincentians from the Church of Christ the King visited Chip Ong Seng Dormitory at Tampines Road to distribute food baskets to 650 migrant worker residents. More food basket projects will be planned later in the year with other parishes.
The Society of St Vincent de Paul Singapore's Annual Report 2014 is available for download here