When one is better than a billion

When you can’t pay your three-digit utility bill or even two-digit grocery charge, all those zeroes in a billion dollar government stimulus package don’t mean a lot. But the concern of one individual interested in your well-being can mean everything.

That’s why, as area unemployment rises and the national economy continues its downward trends, it is welcome news that the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is seeking to grow in the Diocese of Peoria under new leadership.

Members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, or “Vincentians,” are men and women who strive to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to individuals in need. It is this personalized involvement that makes the work of the Society unique. It is offered quietly and confidentially, sometimes using funds donated in what used to be called the “poor box” at church. Some members in our diocese have been doing this “work of God” for decades.

We who are blessed with employment or resources such as time would do well to consider our brothers and sisters who find themselves struggling in this economy. There are many ways to encounter and respond to Christ in the guise of the needy. Supporting or volunteering through Catholic Charities is one. Donating to or volunteering at your parish or community food pantry is another, as is supporting the Christ Child Society. Prayer, hopefully, is a given.

Or maybe God is calling you to explore the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

“We should reach beyond ourselves to people in need, especially in these difficult times,” Deacon Steve Cenek told 30 Vincentians who gathered in Peoria last weekend. “Is there something we can do more?”

If the answer to that question is “yes,” the new president of the Diocesan Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul would welcome your call. His number is (309) 713-0116. More information on the society is also available online at www.svdpusa.org.– Thomas J. Dermody, editor-in-chief, The Catholic Post

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