The Press Center of the Vincentian Family is happy to release these important materials relating to the celebration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the religious family of St. Vincent de Paul.
These materials will aid in understanding the religious family, its history and the celebrations of this anniversary year.
El Centro de Prensa de la Familia Vicenciana se complace en publicar estos importantes materiales relacionados con la celebración del 400 aniversario de la fundación de la familia religiosa de San Vicente de Paúl.
Estos materiales ayudarán a comprender la familia religiosa, su historia y las celebraciones de este año aniversario.
Il Centro Stampa della Famiglia Vincenziana è lieto di rilasciare questi importanti materiali relativi alla celebrazione del 400 ° anniversario della fondazione della famiglia religiosa di San Vincenzo di Paolo.
Questi materiali aiuteranno a comprendere la famiglia religiosa, la sua storia e le celebrazioni di questo anniversario.
Le Centre de presse de la famille vincentienne est heureux de publier ces documents importants relatifs à la célébration du 400e anniversaire de la fondation de la famille religieuse de Saint Vincent de Paul.
Ces documents aideront à comprendre la famille religieuse, son histoire et les célébrations de cette année anniversaire.
Society of St. Vincent de Paul hosts 10th Annual Friends of the Poor Walk/Run
(A Downloadable Press packet is at the end)
People across the country will walk and run on the sidewalks, streets and trails on Saturday, Sept. 30 to raise awareness and funds for those living in poverty at the 10th Annual Friends of the Poor Walk/Run, sponsored by the National Council of the United States Society of St. Vincent de Paul. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are currently about 43.1 million people living in poverty. That is approximately 13.5 percent of the population.
“All proceeds and donations from the event stay in the area where they are raised and go directly to benefit people living in poverty in the communities served by SVdP. There are no administrative fees for the Friends of the Poor Walk/Run.”
“Back in 2008, we received the same email every other SVdP group did about initiating a Friends of the Poor Walk/Run,” said Ruth Anne White, secretary of the Society’s St. William Conference in Waukesha, Wis. White has been involved with the Friends of the Poor Walk since its inception. “The intent was to bring awareness of who we were at SVdP and why we were dedicated to our mission.”
The event in each community is designed and operated by the local SVdP chapter in that area. Therefore, details such as the date and time may vary by location. Most events will be held around Sept. 27, the feast day of St. Vincent de Paul, the patron saint of all works of charity.
In 2008, the first year for the walk, participants raised $837,688. In 2016, more than 28,000 people participated in the Friends of the Poor Walk/Run at 240 locations and more than $3.1 million was raised to help those in need in local communities. That is a more than 270 percent increase in funds raised to help people in need since the walk began.
“The most we have raised in a single year is approximately $36,000. This is a significant increase from the $1,500 we were delighted with ten years ago,” said White. “The continued generosity of our supporters subsidizes our ability to be more generous with families who turn to us for help. The money raised from the walk helps us provide our neighbors in need with the basics like a roof over their heads, food on the table and the lights on. All our lives touch for a reason. We are truly grateful for this and we are finding every year ‘new’ Friends of the Poor.”
Funds raised by the walk help Vincentians provide immediate aid such as rent and utility assistance and food as well as longer term help with mentoring and education programs.
“The Friends of the Poor Walk/Run helps our members’ ability to provide the necessary resources and funds to our neighbors in need,” said Dave Barringer, SVdP National CEO. “While the Society provides immediate assistance to people in need, our focus is also on systemic change and long-term solutions. We try to identify the underlying causes that have put an individual or family in poverty so that we can assist them in changing their situation. We work to empower people in poverty and give them the necessary tools to move permanently out of a state of extreme need. Events like the Friends of the Poor Walk/Run help generate the resources to reach that goal.”
All proceeds and donations from the event stay in the area where they are raised and go directly to benefit people living in poverty in the communities served by SVdP. There are no administrative fees for the Friends of the Poor Walk/Run. Anyone interested in learning more, participating or making a donation can visit www.fopwalk.org for more information.
One of the largest charitable organizations in the world, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (www.svdpusa.org) is an international, nonprofit, Catholic lay organization of about 800,000 men and women who voluntarily join together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to the needy and suffering in 150 countries on five continents. With the U.S. headquarters in St. Louis, Mo., membership in the United States totals nearly 100,000 in 4,400 communities.
SVdP offers a variety of programs and services, including home visits, housing assistance, disaster relief, education and mentoring, food pantries, dining halls, clothing, assistance with transportation, prescription medication, and rent and utility costs. The Society also works to provide care for the sick, the incarcerated and the elderly. Over the past year, SVdP provided over $1.2 billion in tangible and in-kind services to those in need, made more than 1.8 million personal visits (homes, hospitals, prisons and eldercare facilities) and helped more than 23.8 million people regardless of race, religion or national origin.
One of the four common projects that Fr. Tomaž Mavrič has encouraged members of the Vincentian Family to participate in during this 400th Anniversary year is a project to end homelessness throughout the world, which includes caring for refugees, migrants, street people, displaced person, etc.
In a blog post from May 2016, Gloria M. Grandolini (with co-author, Ede Ijjasz-Vasquez) shares “3 reasons why ‘Housing for All’ can happen by 2030:
1. The annual investment to new housing needed represents just 0.7% of global GDP
We will need 300 million new homes by 2030, or roughly 21 million new homes per year, according to UN Population’s data.
Building a new decent home with durable materials and necessary utility connections and services costs about US$25,000, which translates into US$525 billion per year.
A more concrete way to understand the scale of this investment is in terms of the GDP.
Global GDP was just over US$73 trillion in 2015, according to the IMF. This means that the world, as a whole, would need to invest annually around 0.7% of the GDP for house construction to meet the housing goal.
2. Falling poverty and rising incomes make housing more affordable Poverty levels are a quarter of what they were in 1990 and account for 9.6% of the global population living below the poverty line.
Today, a household income of $10 a day could translate into a possible loan of as much as $15,000 (assuming 2 earners, 15 year loan at 5% with 40% of income used to service loan), which is certainly sufficient to construct a decent house. Where fiscal capacity allows, this could be supplemented with land allocations or targeted smart subsidies for the neediest, combined with solid financial inclusion programs.
3. India has set a 2022 Housing for All goal
India faces one of the toughest housing challenges, but is taking an uncompromising ambitious approach. The country set its own goal of achieving Housing for All by 2022.
The India Low Income Housing Finance project is challenging lenders to innovate. The World Bank Group is working with the government and the National Housing Bank to extend access to loans to people working in the informal sector, or those who don’t possess a formal property title but still have some form of property rights which can be used as collateral. Lenders are using new technology to better serve borrowers and developers are looking at new construction models to bring down costs. But ultimately, it’s the prospect of being able to serve a huge untapped market that is driving the private sector to innovate.
What works in India has tremendous potential to be effective in Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines and many countries in Africa where reconciling informal incomes with formal lending is still a struggle.
If the goal is possible, the question is how?
Having an efficient and inclusive financial system, a stable macro economy, access to long-term funding and strong land rights are all prerequisites to creating proper conditions for housing finance.
However, housing and infrastructure construction also requires a vast, long-term investment that governments can’t shoulder alone.
In addition to investing in construction, building materials and private housing development, the World Bank Group is helping countries address housing challenges by improving city planning, building regulations and access to land, investing in pro-poor infrastructure and slum upgrading, and strengthening residential rental markets.
The 7th Global Housing Finance conference, which got underway today, focuses on finding solutions to make housing more affordable, including mobilizing private sector financing to meet the housing needs.
While the global housing needs may be daunting, the #Housing4All goal is reachable if we work together and innovate.
Mark McGreevy, OBE, currently serves as Group Chief Executive at Depaul International, and is the founder of the Institute for Global Homelessness. He directs the Vincentian Family 400th Anniversary Homelessness Initiative. Read an interview with Mark and his work at Depaul International by clicking here.
Are you currently doing anything in your branch of the Vincentian Family to end homelessness?
Does your branch of our family have anything planned going forward?
Brother Lawrence Obiko is the 14th Superior General of the Brothers CMM, a Congregation founded in Tilburg, the Netherlands, in 1844, by Bishop Joannes Zwijsen, who was sometimes called the ‘Vincentius of Tilburg’.
Brother Lawrence was born in Bomatara – Kisii, Kenya, on 31 October 1962. He is the fourth son of Mr. Patrick Omwaga Maosa, a supervisor at a coffee plantation and a concierge at a mission school and Mrs. Veronica Bisieri Kinanga, a homemaker and mother of seven children, six boys and one girl, who died shortly after birth. Brother Lawrence’s father died in 1993 and his mother is still living in their parental home. His brothers are married and live with their families in Kenya.
After attending St. Joseph’s Primary School in Nyabururu and Cardinal Otunga High School in Mosocho, a school founded and managed by the Brothers CMM, Brother Lawrence entered the Congregation in Oyugis in 1987 and made his profession for life in 1995. He studied Agriculture at Baraka Farmers Training College in Molo, Religious Formation at Tumaini Center and Spiritual Direction at Mwangaza Jesuit Training Center, both in Nairobi. This was followed by an ICT study at Strathmore University in Nairobi. He speaks Ekegusii, Swahili, English, Dutch and commands sign language. In his sporadic spare time he enjoys taking up the artist’s brush.
Brother Lawrence served the Congregation in Kenya as treasurer, community superior, postulant-master, novice-master and for 12 years as a member of the Provincial Board. As novice-master he was especially instrumental in the establishment of the new noviciate in Sigona, and in Urambo, Tanzania, he supervised the building activities of St. Vincent de Paul Secondary School, where he taught Computer Sciences. In 2008 he was elected member of the General Board and on 5 June 2014 he was elected Superior General. Since 2008 he has been living in Tilburg, the Netherlands, from where he makes canonical visits to his fellow brothers in eight different countries promoting the congregational charism of brotherhood and mercy. Since 2016 he is a member of the Vincentian Family Executive Committee and attended the official opening of the Vincentian Family Office in Philadelphia, U.S.A., on 6 January 2017.
Mark McGreevy, OBE, currently serves as Group Chief Executive at Depaul International, and is the founder of the Institute for Global Homelessness. He directs the Vincentian Family 400th Anniversary Homelessness Initiative.
An interview with Mark
How did you end up starting Depaul and what was your background before?
I started out as a teacher with a degree in theology at Westminster Choir School. At the same time I started to volunteer at The Passage, a homelessness service in Victoria , where I helped with serving food and clearing up afterwards. The whole experience made me realise I was perhaps more suited to working with homeless people rather than children and in 1988 I started as a project worker at a hostel run by the Cardinal Hume Centre. I stayed in this role for nearly 2 years until 1989, when Cardinal Hume created the Depaul Trust. I was asked to be part of the initial team to help set up the organisation.
What have been the biggest changes you’ve seen across the organisation over the past 25 years?
Back in 1990 homelessness charities were very different – they were largely run by volunteers. Volunteers were a mixed and eclectic group. Some came from religious orders, others were people who’d left business . There were no homelessness professionals as such, originally people came from lots of other different backgrounds. There was a real sense of mission as we began to work together, almost as a movement to improve the lot of the homeless. There has been a gradual professionalisation of the sector since its early days. Depaul has developed from being a London-based charity to being UK-wide and international. We continue to uphold the vision of St Vincent de Paul who, four hundred years ago, set out to help “the poorest of the poor”.
What has been your most memorable moment at Depaul?
The most memorable moment was in 1990 when Princess Diana came to open our first project. A lot of hard work went into turning an old convent building in Willesden into a hostel for young people in just 6 weeks. 25 young homeless people arrived and Princess Diana opened it with the paparazzi and TV crews attending from all over the world. It was a special occasion and the hostel, still open today, has accommodated hundreds of young people in need over the years.
What has been the most important professional achievement at Depaul?
Innovation – how we have looked at new ways to tackle old problems. Nightstop, a Depaul UK project, is an incredibly innovative way to help young people in need without institutionalising them. It offers them the chance to stay with a family when they have nowhere to go. We’ve changed the attitude of the sector and the government towards working with homeless people.
In Ireland, we challenged established perceptions and thinking by providing wet-shelters for dependent alcohol and drug users. Accepting the homeless with their addictions was ground-breaking when Depaul pioneered the first projects. It is now the accepted way of doing things.
What remain some of the biggest challenges for Depaul’s work?
Homelessness is growing globally. Across the world 1.3 billion people are living on the street or in unsuitable accommodation; 100 million have no accommodation at all. Urbanisation is increasing, 3.6 billion people live in cities and it’s estimated that by 2050 this will increase to 6.3 billion. Our challenge is in how we influence policy makers to deal with what will be a rise in homelessness globally. The next few decades will see the urbanisation of China, Latin America and Africa. Our challenge is in how we can share best practice globally.
To meet the problem of growing global homelessness head-on, Depaul in collaboration with DePaul University Chicago has set up the Institute of Global Homelessness. This resource brings together leading academics and is the first project of its kind to aim to develop a methodology to count global homelessness and provide a definition of homelessness.
Where do you think or hope Depaul will be in 25 years time?
I would like Depaul to be leading the debate on homelessness and for us to expand our services into other regions. We will continue to provide quality services that are responsive to needs on the ground.
After 25 years what keeps you motivated every day?
I’m lucky in that I get to travel around the world to see our projects on the ground but I see the real needs of individuals who have nothing, whose lives are in crisis and chaos and it brings it home how much we still need to achieve and change, for people who are homeless. I have just come back from Ukraine where there are an estimated 1 million internally displaced people because of the civil war. In Odessa we use a bus as a space where the homeless can come and get food and medical care. What is great is how staff give hope to people who have lost everything.
Robert P. Maloney, C.M., served as Superior General for the Congregation of the Mission of St. Vincent de Paul for twelve years. He now serves as Coordinator of the joint projects of the Daughters of Charity and the Community of Sant’Egidio in Project DREAM in Africa.
May 6, 1939 Born in Brooklyn, New York, USA
June 10, 1958 Entered the Congregation of the Mission in Ridgefield, Connecticut, USA
May 28, 1966 Ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Joseph Daly at Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, PA, USA
1966-1968 Studied at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC, receiving a doctorate in Moral Theology
1969-1979 Professor of moral theology at Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, PA USA
1970-1979 Rector of Mary Immaculate Seminary, Northampton, PA, USA
1979-1983 Superior, Vincentian Residence, Niagara Falls, NY
January-June 1986 Missionary and Pastor in Boquerón, Panama
1986-1992 Assistant General, Congregation of the Mission, Rome, Italy
1992-2004 Superior General, Congregation of the Mission, Rome, Italy
October 1994 Participant in the Synod of Bishops on Consecrated Life
1994-1997 Member of the Council of 18 at the Vatican
1995-2000 Member of Cor Unum at the Vatican
October 2001 Participant in the Synod of Bishops on the Role of Bishops
2005-2014 Chairperson of Commission for Promoting Systemic Change
2005-present Coordinator of the joint projects of the Daughters of Charity and the Community of Sant’Egidio in Project DREAM in Africa
2001-2009 Member of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life at the Vatican
2002-2004 Apostolic Visitor for the Vatican to mediate problems in a religious community in France
Nov.-Dec. 2004 Apostolic Visitor for the Vatican to mediate problems in a religious community in India
2010-2012 Apostolic Visitor for the Vatican, in Ireland, to investigate problems and make recommendations concerning safeguarding children
2011-2012 Vincentian Chair for Social Justice, St. John’s University
2005-present Member of Board of Trustees, DePaul University, Chicago
2014- present Member of Board of Trustees, St. John’s University, NY
Author of seven books: The Way of Vincent de Paul, He Hears the Cry of the Poor, Seasons in Spirituality, Go: On the Missionary Spirituality of St. Vincent de Paul, Turn Everything to Love, Faces of Holiness, ‘Tis a Gift to be Simple. Co-author, with the members of the Commission for Promoting Systemic Change, of Seeds of Hope: Stories of Systemic Change