Society of St. Vincent de Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SSVP) is an international organization of lay Catholics who live their faith by helping those in need, in a spirit of charity and justice. The Society was founded in 1833 in Paris by 20-year old Frederic Ozanam and fellow students.
The Vincentians show love, care and understanding to the needy, the aged and the sick, by spending time with and helping them, financially or otherwise, regardless of class or creed. The Society places no pre-conditions, enabling beneficiaries to maintain their self-respect.
The St. Theresa’s unit of the SSVP (also known, since its inception, as the Conference of St. Joseph – Khar/Pali) reaches out to the poor of the parish in the following manner:
- Meeting weekly to discuss the problems faced by pre-identified families in need of aid and exploring optimal solutions to help them. The discussions revolve around both the symptoms and root causes of the various problems faced.
- Investigating needy families living in slums, roadside shelters and old dilapidated buildings on the recommendation of the parish priest or parishioners and giving financial aid to the deserving.
- Visiting aided families on a weekly or fortnightly basis to enquire about their health, children’s education and other basic needs, and disbursing monthly aid funds.
- Tending to the health of aided persons by visiting the sick in hospital and paying their medical expenses, including expensive and recurring treatments like dialysis.
- Attending the funerals and memorial services of aided persons who have died, and reimbursing their funeral Mass and burial expenses.
- Funding the educational expenses of deserving students including tuition fees, text and note-books, disbursing scholarships, and tracking their progress with teachers.
- Sheltering those in makeshift housing by supplying tarpaulins or plastic sheets to cover leaking roofs during the monsoons.
- Counselling those in need on their day-to-day problems, with assistance from the parish priest or spiritual director.
- Organising celebratory functions for beneficiaries on major feast days such as Easter, Christmas, Feast of St. Joseph, and Founder’s Day (Sept. 27), which includes games, gifts and hampers for families in need.
- Visiting institutions run by the SSVP Central Council such as Niramay Niketan (Home for Lepers and HIV Hospital) at Trombay, and Shanti Bhavan (Home for the Aged) at Kalyan. Annual visits to each of these homes include donations for maintenance. The Vincentians also sponsor a Sunday lunch for the poor at Cheetah Camp Trombay.
- Soliciting donations from parishioners after Mass on the second weekend of each month, which are used to fund the activities of the Society. The SSVP and their aided families thank parishioners for their generous contributions, month after month.
- Maintaining meticulous governance and financial records of the Society, which are audited and reviewed by the Apex Body of the SSVP at the end of the financial year.
The SSVP invites all parishioners to join. The Society, led by a President, Secretary and Treasurer, meets every Monday at 7:30pm in the Council Room. Fr. Titus James serves as Spiritual Director. For further information, please contact Elvyn Hanso at tel. 98332-74350 or at e-mail: email@example.com.