St Vincent de Paul
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is a worldwide Christian community founded in Paris in 1833 by a group of primarily lay people. Bishop Frederic Ozanam was a source of inspiration to them in founding the Society and in fostering them as individuals. The Society has been Catholic from its origins and remains an international Catholic voluntary organization of lay men and women today.
The vocation of its members is to follow Christ through person-to-person service to those in need and to bear witness to His love and compassion.
The Cape Ann Conference of St. Vincent de Paul is based out of Holy Family Parish in Gloucester. Meetings are held in the teachers’ room of St. Ann School on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m..
This local chapter assists roughly 1000 individuals and/or families each year. In addition to making personal visits to those in need, support is provided in a variety of ways. Most support has been in areas of food, utilities, furniture, clothing, and rental assistance. The Conference also maintains an emergency non-perishable Food Pantry at St. Ann Church, a Clothes Closet in the basement of St. Ann School (open to the public on Wednesday evenings from 5:00p.m.-8:00p.m. and on Saturdays from 10:00a.m.-1:00p.m.). Members also provide storage space for donated furniture and necessities.
Since many families need more than short term emergency assistance, referrals are often made to social service agencies, etc. to help over a longer term. The Society also networks with other community resources as needed.
The Society has a dedicated group of members who go out in pairs to visit those in need on a rotating schedule. Additional members assist with the food pantry, clothes closet, picking up donations, and delivering furniture. (New members are always welcome and needed!)
Since parishioners recognize that the need to minister to the poor is a primary responsibility of the church, financial support comes primarily from their weekly donations. Envelopes for this purpose may be found in the pews at all Masses. Donations of food, clothing, furniture, etc. are also provided by contributions from parish members as well as from other individuals and organizations in the Cape Ann area.
Those in need of assistance may contact the St. Vincent de Paul hotline by leaving a message at 978-281-8672. A member on duty will return the call within 24 hours. All calls are kept confidential.
Those who may be interested in becoming a member, or would like more information about the Society, may contact Harry Miller, Conference President, at 978-281-2701, or Helen Downey, at 978-283-7391.