Society of St Vincent De Paul

The Society of St Vincent De Paul is an international fraternal organization of Catholic lay people, men and women, who practice Christianity by helping those in need on a person to person basis and in a spirit of charity and justice. The society was founded in Paris in 1833 by Frederic Ozanam and a small group of fellow students. Ozanam was then a 20 year old student  of law at the Sorbonne University, where he was challenged to prove the practical value of his Christian beliefs. With his friends he formed a small group who set about helping the oppressed and poor.

The society is named after St Vincent De Paul (1581-1660) whose life was devoted to helping the under privileged. The aim of the society is to provide means whereby members can practice Christianity by loving their neighbours. The help may be in cash or in kind or in the form of counseling, moral support etc. The Society encourages self help and other welfare projects. Though the society is traditionally poor it gives day by day what it receives from its members and benefactors. The society continues to expand throughout the Christian world. It is now established in more than 135 countries with membership bordering 10 lakhs in over 50,000 conferences.

Establishment of SVP in Mangalore
In 1926 conferences were established in Bendoor, Bejai, Cathedral and Milagres church. Later it spread to other parishes and during the last 83 years, it is established in 135 parishes.

Bejai Conference
On 4th May 1926, under the patronage of late Rev. Fr Antony A E. Colaco, 10 members got together and started the Bejai conference. Since the church building was not built then the meetings were held at members’ place. Later when the church building was built a room was given to SVP to conduct the meetings. Even  today the meetings are held in the same room. We have 18 men and 2 women as our members. The Parish Priest is our spiritual advisor.


Weekly Meetings

Every Sunday at 9.30 am we meet in SVP room. Meeting begins with opening prayer  and has spiritual reading, approval of the minutes of previous meeting, statement of accounts, report on their visits to the adopted families or other cases given for investigation, consideration of new cases, secret bag collection as a  proof of the spirit of sacrifice and sharing. The needy people come and place their request for help with the society. The meeting concludes with the closing prayer.

Activities of SVP
The main work of a conference is to adopt poor families regardless of caste and creed and regularly visiting them in their homes and assisting them materially and spiritually and teach them how to stand by their own. Other activities vary as circumstances demand and extend to every form of need or suffering which can be relieved by person to person contact.  At present we feel the basic needs of our Beneficiaries are food, shelter, health and education.

Food: We provide rice required for the week and ½ litre of milk everyday to our adopted families. We pay for their medical bills, support their children for education. During festivals we receive rice, sugar, pulses, coconuts,  etc from our parishioners. We distribute them to our beneficiaries, other needy persons, ashrams in the parish and also in the diocese.

Shelter: During the past few years we have built 20 houses: Some on the land donated to us with contribution from the occupiers and some on their own land bearing most of the expenses. At present due to lack of land in our possession we give our financial help to build houses,  repair and whitewash them.

Health:  Members of the society visit people at home and occasionally visit hospitals or ashrams, spend time with them counseling them, encouraging them in their sickness. We help the sick, disabled and abandoned people to reach the hospitals or ashrams. We provide financial help to those cannot afford buying medicines. We even arrange funeral services for those who die without any persons to meet such expenses.

Education: Every year poor students of primary and high schools of the parish are given scholarships including fees, uniform and books. We provide yearly expenses for some poor girls living in the hostel run by Sisters. We also give some financial help to students aspiring for higher studies in Medicine, Engineering, Nursing, etc from our parish and from other parishes.

Social and Spiritual Activities: We settle domestic differences and disputes related to land, footpath, etc; find employment for the unemployed. We help poor couples desiring to get married and also old age homes. During the year SVP members attend prayer meetings and retreats held in different conferences. The Feast of St Vincent De Paul is celebrated every year. Every month we submit the monthly accounts and work report to Area Council. We remit 10% of income as our contribution to the Area and Central Council.

Resources
SVP members visit the families in the parish during the year and collect funds from them. They give willingly for the noble cause. There are many benefactors whom we can’t visit and some are working abroad. But on their visit to the native place they support us with their generous donations. The members through secret bag collection and occasionally when funds are required for special works help to keep up the resources available. We get bank interest on funds kept for major projects such as houses and on legacies.
We are thankful to God for making us instruments of his love and charity. We appreciate the support and spiritual advice rendered by the Spiritual Advisor and other priests. Our heartfelt thanks to all our benefactors for their good will and support. We pray that the society of St Vincent De Paul may endeavour and serve human kind in the right direction in coming years.

Persons interested to donate for noble cause of our society may kindly send it to:
The President
Soiciety of St Vincent De Paul Society
St Francis Xavier Church
Bejai, Mangalore - 575 004

Or

SB A/C no. 6579
Karnataka Bank
Bejai, Mangalore- 575 004

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