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 23, 2017.
  • Day of Recollection, August 20, 2017
  • Friends of the Poor Walk , September 28, 2017
  • Bishop's Appreciation Mass, December 4, 2017

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 2017 Top Hat Award Ceremony and dinner

On Saturday April 23 sixty five Vincentians from seventeen conferences gathered at St. Charles for a 4:30 PM Mass followed by a dinner in St. Charles’ Cavello Hall to recognize the 2017 Top Hat honorees. The celebrant for the Mass was Fr. Charles Klinger, Diocesan Council Spiritual Advisor. The distinguished individual Vincentian honored with the Top Hat award, which is actually a nineteenth century top hat, was Walt Ohm of the St. Anthony conference. The outstanding Vincentian group presented with a plaque was the “SOUP group” from the Kenton Immaculate Conception conference.

Walt Ohm is one of those long serving Vincentians who has served in just about every Vincentian ministry in his conference. A special contribution of Walt has been applying for and receiving grants from the Catholic Foundation for providing rent assistance. You can read Walt’s Top Hat nomination for Walt Ohm. You can read the SOUP group’s nomination . The SOUP group supplies cleaning and hygiene products; not soup! In Kenton, several churches cooperate to provide a free “soup lunch” during the last week of each month. At these soup lunches a group of Vincentians from the Immaculate Conception conference distribute free cleaning and hygiene products which they have bought in bulk quantities and carefully poured into smaller containers.

April 24 was the Second Sunday of Easter and also Divine Mercy Sunday. Fr. Klinger’s homily focused on Divine Mercy. He modified the saying “You cannot give what you do not have” to reflect on “You can give what you have.” The modification led to the lesson that we can give mercy indefinitely because God gives us mercy without limits.

Keith McCormish from Faith Mission was the after dinner speaker. Keith spoke on his participation in Mt. Carmel’s Community Friendship Program. Keith began by reminding his audience that frequently when homeless individuals and families find housing they become separated from the only community they still had: those who were sharing homelessness with them. The Community Friendship Program bridges the gap from the communities of the homeless to new communities by inviting members of these communities to share a meal and an evening gathering to foster growth of friendships of like minded people.

The program’s website tells us
“The Friends Program gives newly housed people who’ve recently experienced homelessness an opportunity to share, connect and build relationships with others in the community while developing a healthy and beneficial social support system. The program meets monthly so participants can see each other regularly, establish genuine friendships, and ease the transition into independent living. Each meeting includes a meal and an activity, which has ranged from a cooking class and holiday caroling to board game night and Franklinton National Night Out. Meetings are held each fourth Tuesday from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Mount Carmel West's Healthy Living Center. Visit Community Friendship Program.

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Report on 2017 Bishop’s Appreciation Mass for Vincentian Volunteers

On the pleasant December 4 moonlight evening over one hundred Vincentians enjoyed once again the hospitality of the St. Joseph Cathedral conference. After 6:30 PM Mass the conference provided their traditional full meal buffet in the cathedral undercroft. As usual there was an array of deserts. The only disappointing part of the evening was that Bishop Campbell was unable to be the celebrant. A sudden illness kept him in bed. Fortunately, Fr. Adam Steitenberger, who substituted for Bishop Campbell drew insights into Frederic Ozanams spirituality from that day’s gospel passage. This was the passage about the centurion who told Jesus that he was not worthy that Jesus should enter under his roof. Vincentians, with home visits, show the poor that they are worthy for us to enter under their roof. We show them that we all are of equal worth. We see the face of Christ in them and we show the face of Christ to them.

It was good to have about a hundred guests. But it would have been better to have many more. These diocesan wide events: Bishop’s Mass, Friends of Poor Walk, Top Hat Dinner and Day of Recollection are the occasions for developing solidarity amongst Vincentians.

All those attending received a special Christmas ornament Warren Wright brought back from the 2017 National Assembly. Each ornament is mouth-blown glass and individually designed and inscribed by Mary Margaret Cannon. For more about these ornaments see
Glorious Gifts

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Report on 2017 Vincentian Day of Recollection

Our annual Day of Recollection was Sunday, August 20, 2017 from 9 am to 3:30 pm at the Martin de Porres Center on the campus of the Dominican Sisters of Peace. From 9-9:30 coffee, juice and rolls were available along with opportunities for Vincentian friendship. From 9:30 to 10 there was a prayer and meditative music. A program based on Module IV of the “Serving in Hope” series began at 10AM. There were 48 Vincentians, representing 20 conferences. A club sandwich box lunch from 11:30-12:30 separated the morning from afternoon sessions.

The facilitator was Tom Mulloy, Director of National Poverty Programs for the USA National Society of St. Vincent dePaul. Tom Mulloy recently began work for National after serving on the United States Catholic Conference of Bishop’s staff for poverty programs. Mr. Mulloy guided participants in using Module IV as it would be used in in a conference meeting. Participants took turns reading paragraphs before addressing the discussion questions. Module IV focuses on showing how the recent Vincentian efforts in legislative advocacy and systemic change are deeply rooted in Vincentian spirituality and practice.

There was serious discussion of how Vincentians could change the perception of parishioners who support Vincentian work that Vincentian works include struggles for social justice as well as charity.

The new “Building Neighborhoods of Hope” program Mr. Mulloy introduced from the National office was not really new to Vincentians of the Columbus Diocese. Columbus diocese Vincentians are familiar with forming local communities of those we serve to articulate the issues which concern them and to advocate for social change to resolve these issues. This is the VOAN initiative. The community action committees under the auspices of the Vincentian Ohio Action Network, especially the Newark Think Tank, are already such neighborhoods of hope.

Mass at 2:30PM in Motherhouse chapel concluded the Day of Recollection. Fr. Charlie Klinger, Diocesan Council spiritual advisor was the celebrant. As usual Fr. Klinger’s homily was insightful. Fr. Klinger’s homily addressed a theme in the gospel passage (Mt 15:21-28) of 2017’s Twentieth Sunday of Ordinary time. The theme was Jesus’ shocking rudeness to the Canaanite woman who begged Him to exorcise a demon from her daughter. Fr. Klinger’s insightful suggestion was that we regard Jesus’s initial rudeness as a sign of his humanity. It sprang from his training as a Jewish man. However, we should regard Jesus’ willingness to get involved with a dialogue with the Canaanite woman as an example of overcoming a human temptation. Fr. Klinger noted that the only other time Jesus is shown as changing his mind is when he allowed him mother Mary to persuade him to change water into wine at Cana.

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Circleville Walk

The St. Joseph Circleville Friends of the Poor walk was held at Mary Virginia Crites Hannan park (MVCH). At least $2609.50 has been taken in. It will help us help the poor in Pickaway County. Mary Kay Wood and her committee for the Walk did a great job. The weather was great. Praise and thanks to St. Vincent de Paul!

by Pat Meves

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