MOUNT VERNON - The Knox County Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul located at St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church in Mount Vernon, Ohio welcomed Warren Wright, Diocesan Council President of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul of Columbus for an informational session at the Pope Francis Center on East High Street in Mount Vernon on Monday, January 19, 2015.
At the opening of the session, Tony Spiegel, President of the Knox County Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul announced that the local conference will sponsor a training session for current and prospective members of the Society on Saturday, March 21, 2015 from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at the Pope Francis Center at 301 East High Street in Mount Vernon, Ohio.
Following this announcement Mr. Wright entertained questions and provided detailed information about the customs, training, traditions, funding, and recruitment strategies of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. One of these programs, named the Twinning Strategy, involves pairing a financially secure conference in the Columbus Diocese with an underprivileged or financially struggling conference in the same diocese. Under this program, the struggling conference can receive funds from the secure conference to provide assistance to the needy and the suffering in the community, even when the underprivileged conference has run low on funds.
The group also discussed recruitment strategies including Mr. Wright’s recommendation that the conference hold an Annual Invitation to Serve Meeting during which active members of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul present the advantages, benefits, and rewards of working as a local volunteer for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Mr. Wright did add, however, that “word-of-mouth recruitment is generally the most effective technique used today.”
In addition, Mr. Wright discussed a diocesan level event, named the Top Hat Award Celebration, which encourages members of local conferences to nominate one of their own members to receive the annual Top Hat Award. The award is designed to recognize outstanding service to the suffering and the needy in the conference’s local community and/or in the diocese as a whole. The winner of the Top Hat Award is honored at an annual Mass, dinner, and award ceremony along with the runner-up nominees for that year.
At the meeting, Mr. Wright took the opportunity to announce that the Diocese of Columbus has been chosen to host the 2016 Annual National Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. The conference, which is expected to attract over 750 participants, will be held at the Hyatt Regency in Columbus. Other annual events include the Bishop’s Appreciation Mass for Vincentian Volunteers, the Vincentian Day of Recollection, the Friends of the Poor Walk, and the annual Advocacy Day held at the State House in Columbus.
The mission of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is to assist its members to grow in holiness through bringing concrete aid and comfort to the needy and the suffering of the local community. The Society is also beginning to focus on assisting those in need in their journey out of poverty through mentoring.
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul conference in Mount Vernon is part of the Diocese of Columbus Council of the Society, which is a part of the United States National Council located in St. Louis. The National Council is affiliated with the International Council in Paris, France.