In their ongoing commitment to connect “those with a need to give and those with a need to receive,” Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Denver happily announces an expanded partnership with the Denver metro area’s Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP), a fellow Catholic organization equally committed to the Church’s call to charity.
About St. Vincent de Paul Society
Inspired by the living witness of St. Vincent de Paul, a 16th century saint renowned for his remarkable service to the poor, members of the Society provide door-to-door service to the needy and suffering residing within their local community. The international Society’s network is organized into small, parish-based conferences of Catholics specially committed to the Vincentian mission.
Society members travel in groups of two for scheduled home visits with the person or family in need and, after giving them the opportunity to share the details of their situation, determine together if and how the Society may be of service.
“Our motto within the Society has always been, ‘No works of charity are foreign to [us],” says Chris Strassburger, executive director of the SVdP’s Denver Metro Council.
“It might be buying someone food or clothing or crucial prescriptions,” continues Strassburger. ”It might be assisting with basic utility bills for protection against the elements. Or, it could be driving someone to a job interview because they don’t have a car. It’s truly amazing, the stories I’ve heard about how our volunteers help people in their moment of need.”
Partnering with Catholic Charities
In 2011, Catholic Charities’ Emergency Assistance ministry began partnering with two SVdP conferences in Aurora – one at St. Pius X Parish and the other at St. Michael the Archangel Parish. Since that time, Catholic Charities has donated over $50,000 in rent and utility assistance funds to the conference.
In recent months, Catholic Charities has expanded this partnership from two to all 27 parishes currently hosting a SVdP conference within the Denver Metro Council, and committed to sharing up to $60,000 in emergency funds before the end of 2014. Beyond financial assistance, Catholic Charities has also begun assisting the SVdP ministry on a routine basis with clothing and other needed material goods.
“Catholic Charities is committed to partnering with other Catholic organizations to extend the healing ministry of Jesus Christ,” says Wendy Oldenbrook, Director of Marketing and Communication at Catholic Charities. “Working with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Knights of Columbus and parishes throughout the archdiocese allows us to amplify our collective impact, increase efficiencies and support the grassroots efforts of dedicated volunteers in our community.”
“Through this partnership, we can help even more men, women, and children in our community to get past a short term hurdle that life has thrown them,” he adds, “and help them to better themselves for the long term.”
Beyond assisting Catholic Charities with ensuring the personalized distribution of material needs to those in need, the SVdP has also demonstrated their own support for like-minded Catholic Charities ministries. On a monthly basis, the SVdP conference at St. Michael the Archangel Parish has collected, on average, over 250 pounds of donated food to be delivered to Catholic Charities Little Flower Food Pantry in Aurora.
A unified mission for the poor
As the charitable arm of the Archdiocese of Denver, Catholic Charities connects those with a need to give and those with a need to receive, in three interlocking areas: Women’s Services, Family & Child Care Services, and Housing and Shelter Services.
Like Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul believes that charity extends far beyond material help.
“Sometimes the thing for which our clients are most grateful is our willingness to sit with them, to listen to their story with compassion, and to assure them that they aren’t alone,” says Strassburger.
Neither Catholic Charities nor the Society make any religious distinction in who they serve. Firmly rooted in prayer, Christian Gospel values and in the social teaching of the Catholic Church, they recognize every charitable encounter as an encounter with the face of Jesus Christ.