From our pastor Father Neil Herlihy
 
Saint Leo the Great is quoted as saying that “any time is the right time for charity. Where God finds charity with its loving concern, there He recognizes the reflection of His own Fatherly care.”  This call for charity is also reflected in the Book of the Prophet Isaiah as the Lord states, “Share your bread with the hungry.  Shelter the oppressed and the homeless.  Clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.”

As we may know, charity is at the heart of the mission of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.  The Society began in Paris in 1833 when a young law student, Frederic Ozanam, formed the first “Conference of Charity” to visit the poor and disenfranchised and provide them with needed aid and assistance.  The Conference was soon placed under the patronage of Saint Vincent de Paul who spent his life serving the poor and needy in France in the 16th century.  The Saint Vincent de Paul Society formed its first American Conference in 1845 and the Society flourishes in the United States to this very day.

Here at Saint Brigid, our local Saint Vincent de Paul Society Conference works quietly and effectively to help those in need in our local community.  It has a team of trained case workers who carefully evaluate the needs of those who seek assistance.  It seeks to help those in need to regain spiritual, financial or emotional stability.  While doing proper “due diligence” in striving to evaluate true needs, it is always willing to err on the side of charity.

The following prayer titled “OPEN MY EYES” from the Saint Vincent de Paul Society re¤Élects the essence of its ministry and mission:

Open my eyes that I may see the deepest needs of men, women and children.
Move my hands that they may feed the hungry.
Touch my heart that it may bring warmth to the despairing.
Teach me the generosity that welcomes strangers.
Let me share my possessions with people in need.
Give me the care that strengthens the sick.
Help me share in the quest to set prisoners free.
In sharing our anxieties and our love, our poverty
and prosperity, we partake of your divine presence.
Amen

As we reflect on this prayer, we are reminded once again that Jesus said that whatever we do to the least of His people, we do unto Him.  At Saint Brigid we are truly appreciative of the work of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, and through our prayers and support of its unselfish work, we can change many lives for the better, and change our own hearts in the process.

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