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.

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

Report on 2014 top Hat Award Ceremony and dinner

The 2014 Top Hat, Mass,Dinner and Award Ceremony, began with a 4;30 PM Mass, Saturday, April 26 in the St. Charles High School Chapel. One hundred forty four persons attended, representing twenty three conferences. The celebrant was Fr. Charlie Klinger, spiritual advisor for the Diocesan council. Since April 27was 2014 Divine Mercy Sunday Fr. Klinger's homily brought out how Vincentians could fight temptations to being judgmental about those they serve by realizing their own need for divine mercy. The Mass was followed by a dinner and recognition ceremony in St. Charles' Cavello Hall.

The 2014 Top Hat recipient was Marge Hendey, from the St. Edward, Granville, Conference. Kevin Murphy, a founder and vice-President of St. Vincent Haven, Newark introduced and characterized the exemplary Vincentian service of Marge Hendey. One of her contributions, noted in her nomination brought out: "In an extraordinary effort, Marge helped set up a county-wide “St. Vincent de Paul Help Line” so that anyone in need could call one central phone number and be referred to the proper parish conference in Licking County."

Bill Sparks, Diocesan Council President, presented certificates recognizing extraordinarily competent and dedicated service to Pat Summers and Heather Swiger. Pat Summers is the long time secretary of the Dicoesan St. Vincent de Paul office. Heather Swiger is the manager of St. Lawrence Haven, the Clothing Center, and the Saturday, West Side, food distribution program.

Fr. Tom Petry, pastor of St. Anthony,concluded the program with reflections on the canonizations of Popes John XXIII and John Paul II which were to be celebrated April 27. He observed that their emphasis on mercy and identification with the poor showed how Vincentian ideals are those of the highest level of the Church.

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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 2014 Vincentian Day of Recollection

On August 24, 106 Vincentians gathered at the Martin DePorres Center for their annual Day of Recollection. Deacon Gene Smith, past National President, guided them through morning and afternoon sessions titled: Journey Together Toward Holiness. The sessions opened with a video of the August 22, 1997 Beatification of Frederic Ozanam in the Paris Cathedral of Notre Dame at which St. John Paul II gave the homily.

Gene is currently the Spiritual Advisor of the SVdP Western Region Council of the USA. He is also serving as Deacon at his parish in San Rafael, Ca. He has been an active member of the Society for 44 years.

By explaining the significance of the Incarnation for St. Vincent dePaul he gave an account of the five Vincentian virtues: Simplicity, Honesty, Gentleness, Selflessness, and Zeal. His account of the virtues was a reminder that the primary purpose of our Society is to sanctify its members.

Deacon Smith’s presentations served as training for conference Spiritual Advisors. The sessions closed with a commissioning, and recommissioning, ceremony for conference spiritual advisors.

Fr. Charlie Klinger, Spiritual Advisor for the Diocesan Council, closed the Day of Recollection with a 2PM Mass in the beautiful chapel of the Mother House of the Dominican Sisters of Peace.

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Report on 2014 Friends of the Poor Walk

The 2014 Friends of the Poor Walk held its most successful event ever on Saturday 20, 2014.

Marty Aellig (trumpet) and Chris Sullivan (guitar) provided music that kept everyone’s toe tapping and spirits high. Bill Sparks welcomed everyone and invited Fr Charles Klinger forward to lead a prayer and bless the attendees. His words reminded everyone that we serve Jesus who is found in the face of the poor.

Fr Charles set the tone for what many considered the highlight of day. As Walk Chairperson John Willig stepped forward he introduced Emmy award winning journalist and Channel 4 TV host Gail Hogan. He told Gail that before turning the microphone over to her; he had a surprise.

Surrounded by 32 members of Bishop Watterson’s Concert Choir directed by Christine Joyce, they sang an “Irish Blessing” to Gail that brought her to tears and delighted the entire crowd. It truly was a moment as big as miles. Gail, who has spoken to millions on TV and in person, was so touched that she had trouble starting her speech. When she finished the crowd roared their approval and the Concert Choir sang “God Bless America”.

By then everyone was raring to go and as tradition goes, Marty and Chris played “When the Saints Go Marching In” and the crowd started walking.

The final count on the number of Walkers was 533, the largest ever. Financial numbers are still being tallied but are expected to exceed $47,000. Corporate sponsorship led by Kimball Midwest, Mallek and Malek Law, White Castle Restaurant and Porch Swing Properties, were double what had been collected the previously year.

by John Willig – 2014 Chair, Email John Willig

View Angel Ray's photos of 2014 Friends of the Poor Walk

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