NC Regional Meeting Draws Hundreds of Vincentians to Rockford Diocese
September 14, 2017

ST. CHARLES—The last weekend in June the Rockford Council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul hosted the North Central regional meeting at the Pheasant Run Resort, here.

Vincentians from Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, the Dakotas, and the upper peninsula of Michigan attended in record numbers.

Vincentians are one of the largest Catholic lay organizations with international headquarters in Paris, France and national headquarters in St. Louis, Mo.,  which is also home to the first St. Vincent de Paul conference in the U.S.

The goal of the meeting was to share Vincentian spirituality, best practices, new programs and goals to help eliminate poverty and to share Vincentian fraternity.

The three-day regional meeting consisted of more than 40 workshops featuring members of the national, regional, and local conferences.

Two Rockford Diocese pastors shared presentations with Vincentians.

Father Howard Barch, director of the Rockford Diocese Prison Ministry and pastor of St. Mary Parish in Byron, offered ways that Vincentians can help both families of the incarcerated and the prisoners themselves.

Father David Peck, pastor of St. John Neumann in St. Charles, was part of a panel discussion with Deacon Richard Martin and his wife Linda, of Aurora, on how the members of the society can assist incarcerated young people and their families.

Opportunities to learn how to use the social media to help “Friends in Need” was another of the workshops that members were able to attend.

Presentations also covered topics such as Vincentian spirituality, governance, fund raising, and opportunities to help us become better Vincentians.

The agenda allowed two field trips. One was to the St. Vincent de Paul senior living facility in West Chicago and another was to Déjà Vu Thrift Store, operated by Vincentians in Geneva.  

 Bishop Malloy offered the opening Mass and was the keynote speaker. He shared with the nearly 300 Vincentians in attendance his feeling that each parish should have a Vincentian conference to help those in need.

Members also had the opportunity to meet Sheila Gilbert, national president; Jeanne Harper, North Central Region vice president. and other North Central region officers.

Susan Wiland from the Rockford Council headed up the organizing committee. She and Dennis Quinn, Rockford council president, and members of the Rockford Council, and many volunteers, planned the regional meeting.

Several who attended said they were renewed and reinvigorated in their mission to provide aid from the 40 parish SVdP conferences in Rockford and the many others in the North Central Region.

Learn more about becoming a Vincentian from your local parish or SVDPUSA.ORG.
— Bill Hartwig