The Voice

of the Conferences and Council, St. Vincent de Paul Society, Diocese of Columbus, Ohio

Four Annual Events of Columbus Diocese SVDP

Vincentian Links

This is the page for announcing, reporting about, as well as registering for the four annual council events.

The four events are
  • Top Hat Award Dinner, April 25, 2015.
  • Day of Recollection, August 23, 2015
  • Friends of the Poor Walk , October 3, 2015
  • Bishop's Appreciation Mass, December 7, 2015 (tentative)

The Top Hat award is given annually to a Vincentian in our Diocese who has provided outstanding service in our ministry to grow spiritually by seeking out and serving the poor and needy. The "Top Hat" title is used to emphasize that our founder, Frederic Ozanam, did not allow his social class, in which men wore top hats, to blind him to the needs of the poor in early nineteenth century France.

Report on 2015top Hat Award Ceremony and dinner

Fr. Charlie Klinger, Diocesan Council spiritual advisor, began the 2015 Top Hat Ceremony with 4:30 pm Mass in the St. Charles High School chapel. Dinner followed in St. Charles’ Cavello Hall. One hundred forty four Vincentians from twenty-three conferences attended. Joe Anastasi was awarded the 2015 Top Hat. Bill Sparks was awarded an honorary Top Hat for his dynamic leadership as Diocesan Council president. St. Elizabeth Food group was the outstanding group. John Rush, President and CEO of CleanTurn, gave an insightful overview of a social enterprises for returning citizens. All nominees were recognized. The inspiring nominations may be downloaded below.

Download 2015 nominations of Top Hat Honorees

Deacon Tim Birie by Tony Spiegel
Paul Breen by Cindy Coykendale, Marilyn Dougherty
David Gahn by Sue Campbell, Patti Aelig
Debbie Kirkendall by Deborah Jobe
Debbie Kirkendall by John & Mary Powers
Bill Sparks by Charles Kielkopf
Bill Sparks by Joff Moine
Joseph Anastasi by Johanna Ryan
Kathy Tourgeman by Kevin Dunleavy
St. Michael Food Pantry by Janet Plunkett
St. Elizabeth Food Group by Toni Ventresca
Lancaster We Care Committee by BarbaraSpangler
Newark Think Tank on Poverty by Deborah Cook-Gorsuch

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Bishop's Appreciation Mass, Report on 2014 Bishop’s Appreciation Mass for Vincentian Volunteers

The celebration of the Bishop’s Annual Appreciation Mass for Vincentian Volunteers was on Monday, December 1 at 6:30 PM in St. Joseph’s Cathedral. Bishop Frederick Campbell was the celebrant and homilist. Approximately 250 Vincentians from all over the diocese gathered for the mass, Vincentian friendship and the annual buffet dinner in the Cathedral undercroft supplied by the St. Joseph SVdP conference.

Bishop Campbell observed that the utopian selections from Isaiah for the first weeks of Advent should not mislead us away from thinking of Advent as a season for repentance and reform. We must recall that the utopian chapters of Isaiah are preceded by chapters telling Judah that her infidelity and sinfulness had brought disaster upon her. Repentance and reform were needed to make her worthy of the utopian conditions. Similarly, we need repentance and reform in Advent to be worthy of the dignity bestowed on humanity by the Incarnation we remember at Christmas.

Bishop Campbell noted that Vincentians serve others because we recognize the dignity which Christ bestowed upon them; not because serving others makes us feel good.

During dinner, Warren Wright, Diocesan Council President, expressed great appreciation for the volunteers who make possible the Diocesan Council’s special ministries: St. Lawrence Haven, Clothing Distribution Center and the Saturday Food Program.

As is his custom, during the dinner, Bishop Campbell circulated through the dinning area personally expressing appreciation to Vincentians for their signficant services to the poor and needy.

Report on 2015 Vincentian Day of Recollection

Our annual Day of Recollection was Sunday, August 23, 2015 from 9 am to 3 pm at the Martin de Porres Center on the campus of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. From 9-10 there was a continental breakfast along with opportunities for Vincentian friendship. There were 67 Vincentians, representing 24 conferences. A soup and club sandwich lunch from 11:30-12:30 separated the morning from afternoon sessions.

Mass at 2PM in Motherhouse chapel concluded the Day of Recollection. Fr. Charlie Klinger, Diocesan Council spiritual advisor was the celebrant. Fr. Klinger’s homily connected the themes of the Day of Recollection and the Twenty First Sunday of Ordinary time’s Bread of Life gospel. If we truly believe in the Real Presence, then we really believe that Christ himself can be the food –that which gives life – to each and every human being. That is recognizing the Face of Christ in the vast variety of human beings.

Our facilitators Cajie and Fidelis D’Cunha are from the SVDP Detroit Council. With PowerPoint presentations this husband and wife team led us in prayer and reflection on “Recognizing the Multi-Cultural Face of God”. They are immigrants from India of Portuguese heritage with significant real life experience of recognizing the face of God in people of diverse cultures.

They did not labor what is obvious to Vincentians by arguing for the general principle that all human beings are equally children of God. Their task was uncovering our biases which in fact stop us from acting on the general principle of equal dignity and worth. The emphasis was on whether or not these biases hindered us from accepting diversity in the membership of our conferences. Discussion brought out that except for inner city conferences there was little diversity in conference membership because of lack of culture and racial diversity in parishes. So, Vincentians left the Day of Recollection looking forward to being prepared to welcome diversity in their conferences if the demographics of their parishes changes.

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Report on 2015 Friends of the Poor Walks

Columbus Walk

The weather forecast called for all day heavy rains, 30 mph winds and temperatures dropping to the low 50’s. South Carolina was experiencing a 1,000 year rainfall due to Hurricane Joaquin and the weather was heading west to Columbus. What were we to do? We had been planning the St Vincent de Paul Friends of the Poor Walk for 9 months and had spent hundreds of hours in preparation.

Our twelve member Walk committee decided to gather for Prayer at 7:00AM the day of the Walk to seek God’s direction. Following our prayer there was no clear sense of direction except everyone felt the he or she had a job to do and we got to work. By 9:45AM, 428 people had gathered, a number that far exceeded our earlier expectations. Not a drop of rain was felt and although it was cold there was a spirit of joy in the air felt by everybody.

SVdP President Warren Wright opened followed by Fr. Charlie Klinger,who had just returned from the Papal visit in Philadelphia, led with a prayer and then blessed the people with Holy Water. The key note speaker Sabree Akinyele spoke of the power of acting on God’s will and believing the Lord can and will use you to serve others. It was a stirring message.

In some ways it was the most powerful Walk we ever had. In some ways it was the most difficult Walk we had. And in some ways it was the most joyful Walk we ever had. I felt like the Lord was telling us that, All things turn to good if we trust in Him and not rely solely on our selves”. Bless the Lord!

by John Willig – 2015 Chair, Email John Willig

Circleville Walk

We had 17 walkers and have $1331 and waiting to collect $20. I am pleased. Our rain held off too. The Youth Director thought 14 of the youth would come so they may have slept in with the weather report. Everyone liked it and will spread the news with the others.

From Pat Meves,

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