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 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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