Our Patron Saint

Our Patron Saint
Some people do not realise that St Vincent de Paul was not the founder of our Society but he is our welladmired patron saint. Vincent was a person who became dedicated to serving the poor and disadvantaged, a hero for us to honour and emulate.
Highlights of his biography are:
  • Vincent was born of a peasant family in France in about 1580,
  • He studied humanities and theology, became a tutor and in 1600 was ordained a Priest.
  • He was captured by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery in Tunis but escaped with his master whom he converted.
  • He became a Parish Priest and chaplain to a wealthy French family but changed his life to serve the poor and disadvantaged.
  • He set up conferences to help the needy, established hospitals and seminaries, visited and assisted galley convicts and helps set up the Daughters of Charity.
  • He was able to raise large sums of money to aid the unfortunate, particularly foundlings who had been deliberately deformed to evoke pity and left to die.
  • He also helped ransom 1200 slaves and assisted Irish and English Catholic refugees who had been driven from their country.
  • Vincent died in 1660 and was canonised in 1737.
For much more, visit the Catholic Encyclopedia website.
P.S. Vinnies website, www.vinnies.org.au, has just been updated. It is well worth a visit.

Our Burning Bush

Our Burning Bush
New South Wales has just experienced the worst bush fire season in years. Many people have lost everything : their house, belongings and their livelihood while others have lost out on compensation due to new rules for bushfire disaster relief.

To help the bushfire victims, the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW has launched a Bushfire Appeal..Financial donations are the most effective way to quickly provide the right kind of assistance to people who need it most. Home visitation work provides support by way of food cards, clothing, furniture, and utility vouchers to people experiencing hardship. Visiting members of the Society also extend the hand of compassionate friendship to those who have experienced the devastation caused by the fires.

Ray Reynolds, St Vincent de Paul Society NSW State President.says “Vinnies members live and work in these communities which means we will be there for the long-haul, helping people rebuild their lives in any way possible for as long as they need, but we can only do that with the generous support of the public”

To donate  call 13 18 12 or go online to www.vinnies.org.au. Also,if you shop instore at Best & Less you can donate with your purchase and all proceeds will be directed to the Vinnies Bushfire Appeal.

Yourkind donation will make the road to recovery easier for the victims of these devastating bushfires.  Many thanks for your support.


Two Australias

Two Australias 
As a contribution to Anti-Poverty Week 2013, the National Council of  St Vincent de Paul Society launched a report entitled  "Two Australias : a report on poverty in the land of plenty". 
In an accompanying  Media Release entitled "Vinnies tells the government 'It's time for new thinking on poverty' ", our National CEO, Dr John Falzon said:“Our members across the nation are continuing to see the emergence of two Australias: onecharacterised by prosperity and highend consumption, the other by a daily struggle to be able toafford the necessities of life. We are launching this report as a tribute to the courage of thepeoplewho have borne the brunt of inequality in Australia".

In the same Media Release, National President, Mr Anthony Thornton, extended the message saying "Over the last 40 years full time wages have increased by 59% for highincome jobs, but by only 15%for the lowest income jobs. While the poorest fifth of households have not seen an increase in their wealth over the last 10 years, the richest fifth have increased their wealth by almost 30% in the same time. When compared to other developed countries, Australia performs poorly on income inequality measures. Out of 34 developed countries, we are the ninth most unequal".

He concluded with this timely advice “It’s time we got serious about poverty and mustered the political will as a nation to broaden our revenue base so that we can systematically reverse the slide into two Australias.
For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au

Anti-Poverty Week

Anti-Poverty Week
Poverty and severe hardship affect more than a million Australians and more than a billion people world wide. Anti-Poverty Week 2013 starts today and continues until next Saturday. with numerous activities which aim at
  • strengthening public understanding of the contributing causes and consequences of poverty.
  • encouraging research and discussion of such issues by individuals, business and health organisations, schools and government departments.

As part of Anti-Poverty Week, Vinnies NSW is holding two events. The first is two hour lecture session entitled "Who is my Neighbour". This event will be held this afternoon at Santa Sabina College, Strathfield, and will feature Dr Maryanne Loughry RSM, Associate Director of Jesuit Refugee Services and Mr Paul Power, CEO Refugee Council of Australia.

The second is a "Vinnies Social Justice in the Pub" event scheduled for 7:30 pm next Wednesday at The Bank Hotel, 324 King St, Newtown. The Guest Speaker will beProfessor Julian Disney, Chair of the Australian Press Council. He will be speaking on the topic of "Poverty in Australia today" and reflecting on whether Australia is a lucky country for everyone?

For more details, visit www.vinnies.org.au and www.antipovertyweek.org.au.


St Vincent de Paul Post Election Reflections
Now that the new Australian Government has been sworn in, the National Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society has issued a Media Release warning against a return to old welfare policies.
Dr John Falzon, CEO, said that the Work for the Dole Scheme is an example of poor policy. It was criticised by the OECD as being a short term programme with no focus on skilling people or preparing them for sustainable employment.
He also said that the new government has an excellent opportunity to address the underlying structural causes of unemployment. This would entail :
  • looking at ways to create economic activity in places where jobs are few and far between. 
  • ensuring that people who are currently excluded from the labour market are provided with concrete pathways to employment, including training opportunities, 
  • Urgently increasing Newstart by $50 a week..
National President, Mr Anthony Thornton, added that "over the coming weeks The St Vincent de Paul Society will be seeking meetings with Mr Kevin Andrews (Minister for Social Services) and Senator Marise Payne (Minister for Human Services) to discuss welfare reform"..
 For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au

Our Lady of the Way

Our Lady of the Way
Vinnies' article in last week's Catholic Weekly , entitled "Care and support at Our Lady of the Way help to ease the pain" describes the help given to an elderly lady, who had broken up with her often violent partner after she had been diagnosed with cancer. Sarah, we'll call her, was unable to work due to her illness. Her cousin took her in for a while but eventually said she couldn't support her any more and and she would have to leave.
Fortunately, Sarah was referred to Vinnies homeless service, Our Lady of the Way, in Western Sydney, She was given temporary accommodation, case management, counselling and assistance to obtain community housing. This service sees that Sarah has appropriate care while she is at home or in hospital.
Our Lady of the Way is only one of ten homeless services for homeless women and children who are escaping domestic violence. Most cater for 6 or more families, The Marian Centre caters for 20 families and has 66 crisis beds/cots plus 80 outreach beds/cots. 
Many homeless people suffer depression and or some other form of mental illness and their physical health deteriorates. Often there is high dependency on alcohol and/or other drugs and nearly all will have suffered some trauma either as a child or adult or both. Vinnies is always willing to help those who stumble along the way.
The Catholic Weekly supports Vinnies, so please support The Catholic Weekly which is available at the back of the church for $2 in the Poor Box.

Warning from St Vincent de Paul Society

On the eve of the Federal Election, the Nationals Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society issued a a Media Release to both sides of politics entitled "Vinnies warns incoming government: Don't take us for granted".  
Dr John Falzon, said  "Whoever claims victory on Saturday night is to be warmly congratulated. It is a great honour to serve one’s country as a Prime Minister. But to the victor we say: Do not take the St Vincent de Paul Society or the many other wonderful charitable and community organisations for granted. It is your responsibility to prevent poverty and to fight inequality. It is not good enough to simply rely on charities to meet the cost of living pressures for single mums or people who are unemployed". 
 Mr Anthony Thornton, our National President, added: “ we are deeply concerned about planned job cuts. Weneed to boost employment rather than cutting jobs or putting theboot into the unemployed. Westill hope to see a commitment from the Opposition to halve homelessness by 2020. We are yet tosee a commitment from either side to lift Newstart by $50 a week. We do however see the policiesof both sides on asylum seekers and we cannot help but feel a sense of despair".
A week has passed and Australia is now under new management. We hope that the 2.2 million people living in poverty, including 600,000 kids, will not be forgotten.  

Social Justice

Social Justice
Not only must we give bread to the poor but must ask why they have no bread. - Bl Frederic Ozanam
The poor are not always responsible for their sad situation. The causes of poverty are often due to misfortunes in life and pervading unjust social structures  We live in a market economy which is generally more concerned with maximising profits than the welfare of its workers. Furthermore the prioritories of governments often subordinate the needs of the poor to the desires of the rich. Members of the St Vincent de Paul Society in their visitations to the poor and disadvantaged become aware of such causes. They can ameliorate their anxiety with gifts of food cards, utility vouchers and sympathetic listening. What else can we do?
Last week's edition of the Catholic Weekly.contained a Vinnies' article entitled " Vision of social justice based on the dignity of all mankind" which showed how the St Vincent de Paul Society NSW seeks to carry out its commitment of social justice by actions such as:
  • Identifying the root causes of poverty.
  • Offering a hand-up to the poor rather than a hand-out.
  • Speaking up against injustice, inequality and exclusion.
  • Providing a voice for the voiceless.
  • Changing negative attitudes to the marginalised.
  • Promoting human rights of all people

Mary Mackillop Outreach

Mary Mackillop Outreach
"Lives are changed at the Outreach service under Mary Mackillop's patronage. It's everyday miracles"  -  Vision magazine, Winter 2010              
Mary Mackillop Outreach (MMO), located at Lewisham, is a Special Work of the St Vincent de Paul Society. It provides recreational, educational, social and living skills for people who have a mental illness or disability and reside in boarding houses or group homes in the Inner West of Sydney.
For the benefit of clients, MMO has a billiards table, table tennis facilities, TV and computers. Clients choose their own entertainment with the help of enthusiastic staff members. 
MMO delivers creative and educational activities including:
  • Creative Arts
  • Cooking
  • Beauty Program
  • Health Education
  • Recreational Activities
  • Computer Skills
  • A Sports Program
  • Bus Trips
MMO also has two Men’s Sheds attached to the service: providing manual arts activities for retired men and persons with a disability or mental illness. For enquiries about MMO call 9568 0247. It is also on facebook and twitter.

Mini Vinnies

Mini Vinnies


"Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom." - Nelson Mandela


Mini Vinnies is group of young people in a primary school who get together to help those in need within their school and local community. Mini Vinnies introduces children to the St Vincent de Paul Society, to social justice issues and to living faith through action.It is about young people meeting to converse, share ideas and concerns, have fun and support each other.

  • Seeing means becoming aware of some social problems and how they can be improved by good works.
  • Thinking involves discussion with other Mini Vinnies members about the causes of poverty and social exclusion.
  •  Doing involves supporting the Society in its good works, in particular those that have been discussed.
For more , visit www.vinnies.org.au

Refugee Week 2013

Refugee Week 2013
This year, Refugee Week was aimed to raise awareness of issues affecting refugees and celebrate the positive contributions of refugees to Australian society The theme of this celebration was Restoring Hope which reminds us that refugees flee their homelands because they hope to find freedom from persecution for themselves and their families and also because they hope to be given a chance to start a new life. 
Coinciding with Refugee Week, Vinnies' National Council of Australia issued a Media Release reaffirming Vinnies' commitment to support the human rights of asylum seekers by speaking out against policy that dehumanises people who are only trying to protect themselves and their families from harm.Some people think that most asylum seekers are just pretending to be refugees for economic reasons. However, Dr John Falzon, National CEO, states that the vast majority (up to 90 per cent) of people who arrive by boat are found to be genuine refugees.
National President, Anthony Thornton, added “Many St Vincent de Paul Society volunteers visit asylum seekers in detention centres around the country, and see first-hand their immense suffering in these prisons, as well as hearing their stories of persecution and torture in the countries they have fled. If all of us could only see the conditions asylum seekers face in detention, at sea, and in their home countries, it would be impossible for us to ignore or to politicise the issue further,”

CEO Sleepout

CEO Sleepout 2013
This year, over 1,000 business and community leaders who attended Vinnies' CEO Sleepout were challenged to raise their awareness of homelessness and to raise money for Vinnies' homelessness services. The first of the these challenges was to be achieved by the experience of sleeping rough on a sheet of cardboard, and having little to eat on the longest night of the year. The second challenge was to be achieved by talking to their friends and staff, explaining how they could change lives of the homeless for the better by donating to Vinnies' Homelessness Appeal. 
This CEO Sleepout turned out to be  an outstanding success. The participants raised over $5 million, Australia wide, for Vinnies' Homelessness Services. The NSW total was almost $2 million with Holly Kramer,Chief Executive Officer of Best & Less, raising the top amount of almost $150,000. Portraits of participants and the amount they raised can be browsed on the sleepout website. Postings of relevant videos, photos and messages can be found on Facebook and Twitter showing Sleepout highlights and varied positive reactions of the CEO's to the event.  

The website also contains a video of the  2012 Sleepout video featuring Seal, Grammy award winning musician and coach on "The Voice", who appears paying a visit to Matthew Talbot Hostel and the Ozanam Learning Centre (OLC). Seal was homeless himself as a teenager, sleeping on the streets and in subways. While visiting OLC he gave a short performance with some of Vinnies' clients. He said that for many homeless the sense of not being noticed can be devastating."Part of the battle is being heard or just knowing that someone actually sees you".

Social Justice

Social Justice
"Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, protect the rights of those who are helpless. Speak out and pronounce a sentence of justice, defend the cause of the wretched and the poor." (Proverbs 31:8-9)
Vinnies is following the teachings of the scriptures when we speak up about social Justice. Most pronouncements for this cause come in the writings of the National and State Councils via
  • Media Releases,
  • Submissions to governments,
  • Journals,
  • Forums, Reports and Speeches, 
  • eMail Newsletters,
  • Websites and Videos,
  • Social Media.
Our founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam , did not have the luxury of electric communications but his writings on the subject are still with us and pertinent. He said “Charity is the oil being poured on the wounded traveller. But it is the role of justice to prevent the attack.” So, it is by questioning the causes of injustice that Vinnies encourages people of good will to work towards ensuring justice for all in our society.
P.S.  Many thanks to all those who have generously donated to our Winter Appeal. Others who still wish to support us can do so via the Piety Stall or the Poor Box.

Do something about it

Do something about it.

The St Vincent de Paul Society, at the launch of its Winter Appeal 2013, challenged Australians to take a positive stand against poverty by doing something about it.this winter. It is easy to sit back and put it in the too hard basket. We are asked to dismiss attitudes of powerlessness and be inspired to take action on things that matter to our neighbours.

 Michael Perusco. Vinnies' NSW CEO, said  “The St Vincent de Paul Society is really concerned about the long-term impact of current cost of living pressures. He added 'There’s no question that the current situation is undermining the ability of many Australians to fully participate in education, access healthcare, feel included in their local communities and care for their families.” 

Ray Reynolds, NSW President, expects that people already struggling, face an evenbleaker time during winter saying “Sadly, too many Australians will experience a long, cold and often lonely winter. Our members see thestrugglesthey face each and every day. By donating to the Vinnies' Winter Appeal, you can help us continue thiscrucialwork and make a real difference to people’s lives this winter,”

He adds" Please do something about it’ this winter and donate to the Vinnies  Winter Appeal 2013 so that we can continue to change lives every day". The Mona Vale Conference will hold our Winter Appeal Collection next weekend.

Sorry Day

Sorry Day

Last Sunday, May 26,  was Sorry Day 2813 which commemorates the apology given by former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd to the Stolen Generations of aborigines. From that time Australia has taken on the process of healing,

  1. Viki Clark, from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne, wrote a thoughtful article for Vinnies' The Record 2008 which says the way forward is by means of the three R'
  • Reparation here means compensation for loss of human rights
  • Restitution is about returning to country, culture and language and its also about inheritance of the ancestral land.
  • Rehabilitation is about strengthening the Aboriginal person and Aboriginal family. It's about healing and social well being. It's about place in the family and 'in the community.
Last week was National Reconciliation Week commemorating the anniversaries of the successful 1967 referendum  and  people and the High Court Mabo decision. The former event gave the Commonwealth the power to make laws for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and recognise them in the census, He latter legally recognised that these indigenous people have a special relationship to the land. , paving the way for land rights called Native Title. This year's theme is Let's Talk Recognition.

Home visitation

Home Visitation

From the time of the foundation of the St Vincent de Paul Society, home visitation has been the core work of the Society. Members of the Society in a local Parish based community form a subset called a Conference. Members of a Conference, in pairs, visit needy people from the local district in their homes. They listen compassionately to the problems worrying their clients and try to find the most appropriate response to the person’s or family’s  material and emotional needs. They then offer support in whatever form is necessary.


Material help could take the form of food, supermarket cards, clothing, furniture, assistance with utility bills or back to school costs.  Listening to their problems with a compassionate ear will often do a lot of good for the emotional needs of the client. Through personal contact, our members provide comfort, hope and friendship. Also some members have background knowledge and skills that can be helpful in particular cases.


People who are living on the Northern Beaches of Sydney and need assistance should contact Vinnies' Brookvale Centre in person or by phone on  99050434. and Brookvale will relay information about the client to the relevant Conference which will respond to the call. Cases dealt with are usually discussed at the next bi-monthly  Conference meeting. The help given is designed as short term relief.. In some cases the client may be referred to Budget Counselling at Brookvale.


"I would like to see a Church that is poor and is for the poor" -Pope Francis
Pope Francis chose a name that reflects the humble ministry of St. Francis of Assisi, . St. Francis of Assisi  was born in Assisi, Italy, in 1181. He came from a wealthy family but gave up that wealth in order to to live with and serve the poor. He founded a new religious order of Friars Minor for men and with the help of St Clare established an order for women called the Poor Clares
There are some parallels between the life of St Francis and that of the patron of our Society, St. Vincent de Paul. Both men loved the poor and inspired their followers to do likewise. St Vincent was born in Gascony, France, in 1581 about 400 years after Francis.  He founded the Congregation of the Mission to supervise the formation of priests  to give support to the operands with the help of Saint Louise de Marillac, founded the order for women called the  Congregation of the Daughters of charity, well known for their aeroplane like headdress and charitable works.
P.S,  The Poor Box at the back of the church provides a good opportunity to support the poor.


I was a stranger and you welcomed me -
Matthew 25: 35
Western Sydney has been well covered in the media recently. Even Vinnies came to the fore with a non-political article in the Catholic Weekly entitled "SPARK  brightens the future of refugees in Sydney's west". SPARK is a Special Work  of the St Vincent de Paul Society which provides educational, social and cultural support to newly arrived refugee children and their families in partnership with primary schools in Western Sydney.

Earlier, Dr John Falzon, in a  Vinnies'  Media Release ( 10  June 2812 )  said  we have the capacity as a nation to welcome and care for the people who come here after having experienced de-humanising conditions in their country of origin. They have a right to seek asylum in our midst. We, in turn, have an obligation to ensure that they are not subjected to de-humanising conditions in the country they have come to.They come from a place of despair. Let us work together to make sure that they have come to a place of hope".

SPARK is designed to 

  • assist refugee settlement
  • raise awareness about refugees
  • promote understanding between communities and refugees
Fourteen schools are involved  in SPARK Western Sydney, together with 300 volunteers and 300 children of 34 nationalities.



Social Justice

Social Justice

 "As we seek to build the world we want, let us intensify our efforts to achieve a more inclusive, equitable and sustainable development path built on dialogue, transparency and social justice"  Ban Ki-moon


Last weekend, mention was made in this column to Vinnies' media statement in support of UN World Social Justice Day. The statement was designed to draw attention to the injustices faced by two groups of disadvantaged children in Australia: those from remote Indigenous communities and young refugees growing up in detention. 

In reference to Closing the Gap in education between indigenous and other Australians, Anthony Thornton, our National President, said the stalemate between the states and federal government put the education reforms in jeopardy. He called on Australian governments to heed the advice of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in his above quoted World Social Justice Day message.


Dr John Falzon, our National CEO, said that he was deeply saddened to learn of recent incidents where children in detention in Australia have self-harmed. He went on to say "We can improve the situation of young refugees who are currently locked up by dismantling the current no-advantage system of mandatory detention and off-shore processing, before more harm is inflicted, and we can put in place policies that ensure the timely processing of refugee applications." 


Archbishop  Adrian Doyle of Hobart recently received a personal message from Pope Benedict XV. The letter said that he was saddened to learn of the widespread destruction caused by the Tasmanian bushfires. His Holiness also commended the firefighters and emergency services for their efforts to protect the community and that he "prays that assistance and support will be speedily available to those who have lost their homes or are otherwise affected."

Vinnies was one of the charities that quickly responded to this disaster. In the area around Dunalley, one of the hardest hit, Vinnies setup a marquee for bushfire victims, providing them with essential material support together with someone to listen to them. In the long term  Vinnies will be there  to help people in need in whatever way we can, getting their lives back on track.

A recent article in the Catholic Weekly,, entitled  " ' Boat people ' renew thanks " which tells us that the Vietnamese Catholic Community donated $30,000 to Vinnies for victims of the Tasmanian Bushfire This donation was another expression of their appreciation of the support given to them byVinnies on their arrival  in Australia. We are also told that the Community has,over the past decade, donated over $150,000 to Vinnies' bushfire and flood disaster appeals and that they recently have  been recognised as a Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society.


If you are in a position to assist Vinnies' Tasmania Bushfire Appeal, you can donate online at www.vinnies.org.auor by phoning Vinnies' donation hotline 13 18 12 .

Single Parents' Protest

Single Parents' Protest
The Single Parents Action Group, mostly mums, recently organised a national day of action to take place in capital cities on February 5,  the first sitting day of the Federal Parliament. They were protesting against newly enacted legislation to shift them from the parenting payment onto the Newstart Allowance.
On the day before this rally the St Vincent de Paul Society issued a Media Statement supporting the single mums.  Dr Falzon, National Council CEO, said "We are now seeing the fallout from this legislation, which was supported by the major parties on the false basis that it encouraged workforce participation, Nothing could be further from the truth. Many of these women were already in paid work and were balancing the demands this involved. Now they have been simply pushed further into poverty."

National President, Mr Anthony Thornton added: "This is precisely the kind of injustice that we need to not only talk about but actually do something about. It is a deeply unfair situation that cries out to be corrected."

The inadequacy of the Newstart Allowance of $35 a day had previously been pointed out by Vinnies and the Australian  Council of SocialServices. Life on Newstart would be even harder for a single parent and his/her children.

For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au and www.acoss.org.au



Unemployment is a major cause of poverty in Australia.  Dr John Falzon, national CEO, in an article in the Catholic Weekly ( 27/1/13 ), was quoted as saying that the federal government should create more jobs otherwise the labour market would slide towards more and more casual employment. That would benefit some businesses but be detrimental to workers doing it tough.

Dr Falzon was also said to say that the level of unemployment is far greater than that represented by official figures. The Australian Bureau of Statistics ( ABS ) had reported that the seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for December 2012 was 5.4% ( up 0.1% ) . However, a survey by Roy Morgan Research estimated that 9.6% of the Australian labour force was unemployed in December 2012 and a further 9.6% underemployed making a combined total of 19.2% ( up 1.1% ).

A person is underemployed if he/she has a job but wants more hours of work.

This discrepancy in figures is due to the different methodologies used. ABS regards everyone who works for at least one hour or more for pay or profit is considered to be employed Only those who are ready to get back into work, and are taking active steps to find a job, are classed as unemployed. On the other hand, the Morgan Poll, regards a person as being unemployed if they are looking for work, no matter when. Which set of figures then can you believe gives a truer picture of the unemployment in Australia?

Second Chance

Second Chance

The Australian Institute of Criminology reports that about 60 per cent of those in custody in Australia have been imprisoned before. Current systems designed  to rehabilitate prisoners are generally not having a positive effect.
The St Vincent de Paul Society (NSW) is now trialling a new program called The Second Chance Initiativewhich will hopefully help reduce the rate of recidivism. This initiative will provide an exciting opportunity for volunteers to take part in the project to make re-entry of prisoners into society easier, encourage their sense of self-worth and assist them get back on their feet. The work of the volunteers includes:
  • walking with prisoners both before and after their release.
  • establishing a group of people to support the  prisoner when he/she leaves prison.
  • empowering the person exiting prison to be accountable for their own decision making
  • assisting them to effectively integrate into society and link them to various other professional and support agencies .
For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au and go to Events.

Housing Shortage

Housing Shortage

A recent report by the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, entitled Specialist Homelessness Services 2011-12, showed that
  • Specialist homelessness services assisted almost 230,000 clients.in 2011-2012.providing more than 7 million nights of accommodation,
  • 19% of homeless clients needed health and medical services.
  • Domestic violence is a major cause of homelessness in Australia. 34% of clients had experienced such violence.

The Catholic Weekly (6/1/13) contained an interesting news article, by Damir Govorcin, entitled "Vinnies urges Federal Government to solve housing shortage" which contains comments by Dr Falzon on the above mentioned report..Dr Falzon, CEO of Vinnies' National Council, is reported as saying "While the St Vincent de Paul Society acknowledges the Federal Government's laudable commitment to halve homelessness by 2020  we are deeply troubled by the persistence of homelessness demonstrated by these figures. We will never achieve this ambitious target unless we address the enormous shortage of social housing." .He said "Women and children should not have toface the prospect of sleeping in a car when they courageously take the steps to remove themselves from violent situations".

P.S. So far, Mona Vale Conference has received $6,600 in donations to our Christmas Appeal. Our thanks goes the all donors.

St Vincent de Paul Membership


St Vincent de Paul Membership
There are over a million members of the St Vincent de Paul Society worldwide and over 15,000 members in Australia. For various reasons e.g. old age, sickness and occupational demands some members drop out and new members are needed to fill their places.
Membership of Vinnies is open to all adults who wish to volunteer to help the poor and disadvantaged. Most of the Society's work involves person-to-person contact, usually through home visitation.  Our volunteers get to know our clients and offer them friendship and emotional support. 

They also help people to identify the causes of their problems and make suggestions to help them find solutions, Clients are often given material assistance in the form of food cards, utility coupons, furniture or clothing to tide them over a difficult period.
A  member of the St Vincent de Paul Society is a volunteer who joins a  local parish based Vinnies' group known as a Conference.. Mona Vale Conference meets  meets for a hour from 5 PM on the first and third Tuesday of each month. After opening prayers, there follows a Spiritual] reading. Clients and their needs are then discussed confidentially. General Business  then taken up followed by final prayers.
For more information visit www.vinnies.org.au. If you are interested in becoming a member, visit the Piety Stall at either Church  for advice.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Every year we all make a trip on planet earth in an elliptical orbit around the sun. It's a good time then at the beginning of each new cycle to reflect on events in our lives in the previous year and make resolutions for the New Year.

The St Vincent de Paul Society's mission is to follow the Christian ideal of  promoting love of our neighbours. Last year, wars in various countries resulted  in thousands of refugees fleeing from their homelands, some seeking asylum in Australia. Vinnies' National Council has called for a complete overhaul of Australia's attitude to refugees in the New Year and saying "It's time we welcomed refugees instead of punishing them".

Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon said: "We are saddened by the latest decision to re-direct international aid funding, especially while Australia continues  to subject asylum seekers to such cruel and punitive conditions. We had hoped that by the end of 2012 there would have been a shift in the approach to refugee policy. Each day, however, brings us more bad news." He added "We also remain deeply concerned with the number of children currently in Australian immigration detention and in Alternative Places of Detention."

P.S. Our Conference wishes that Fr George, Fr Sebastian, Bishop Bernard, all their helpers and all members of Pittwater Parrish have a verry, happy New Year.

Catalyst-Clemente Program


There is a groundbreaking Liberal Arts course for multi-disadvantaged and socially isolated Australians called the Catalyst-Clemente program.  It has recently been the subject of economic analysis.

The students studying under this program were all struggling with homelessness, mental illness or long-time unemployment.Interviews and in-depth surveys of 18 of these students showed the cost of the course has potential to offset three times its value in savings to the community,

Dr John Falzon, Vinnies' National CEO, said this result is amazing considering that on entry to study these students have medical and justice costs significantly higher than those of the general population, particularly in the health domain. He also said "The study also found that after 12 months Catalyst-Clementestudents had developed better time management, planning, communication and writing skills. Students report a significant increase in the skills development to cope with a crisis, and they are less socially isolated than on entry,"

The Catalyst-Clementestudy was funded through an Australian Research Council grant and involved academic partners from Australian Universities, in collaboration with Mission Australia and the National Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society.

P.S. Our Society wishes Fr George, Fr Sebastian, Bishop Bernard and all their helpers and all Pittwater parishioners a very happy Christmas 2012.

Recycled fashion Parade

Recycled Fashion Parade

Last Week's edition of the Catholic Weekly had a front page article entitled "Recycled Fashion a big hit". This article was about the inaugural fashion parade conducted by Mini Vinnies at St Aloysius Primary School, Cronulla. That fundraising event attracted an audience of about 200, consisting of parents, grandparents and parishioners and raised $250 plus donated clothing all for the The St Vincent de Paul Society..

The article  was headed by a picture of some smiling school girls standing on the catwalk. We are told that sixty students participated in the parade and that the recycled clothes they were wearing had been remodelled with the help of their teachers.

It was also mentioned that  Vinnies' NSW Op Shops are becoming more popular. This is probably due to improvement in the quality and variety of their pre-loved clothing displayed. Vinnies' Mona Vale op shop is now well stocked with very clean, fashionable clothes. Walk through, no-one is asked to buy. If however you do make a purchase you will be pleased all the more because you know that the money you spend will be going to a good cause. While you are in the store you will probably browse through the books, trinkets and toys on display and hopefully find a treasure,


P.S. We greatly appreciate your generous support of Vinnies' Christmas appeal and the beautiful hampers; Those who still want to make a donation can do so at the Piety Stall or drop it into the Poor Box

Mary Mackillop Outreach

Mary Mackillop Outreach

Last Monday was International Day of People with Disability It was the 20th anniversary of the United Nations sanctioned day that promotes an understanding of  disability issues and encourages support for the  dignity, rights and well-being of the disabled. Surprisingly, there are more disabled than one would expect. The World Health Organisation estimates that about 3 in 20 of the world’s population, or one billion people, are living with some form of disability (Fact sheet N°352) ..
The St Vincent de Paul Society has a number of Special Works designed to assist disabled people. One of these is Mary Mackillop Outreach (MMO) which offers training, education and recreation to disabled people living in boarding houses, group homes or privately in Sydney's inner west. MMO aims to provide a quality program enabling them to explore and fulfill their potential and to improve their overall quality of life;MMO also aims to create opportunities for individuals to assimilate into the community by providing them withfriendship and support.

Some years ago.twenty Vinnies' volunteers, retired men dressed as Santa, at the MMO workshop, built over 1000 wheelchairs from recycled bicycles . The recipients were disabled children, landmine victims injured in third world countries, such as Cambodia and Laos.

P.S. Those who still wish to donate to our Christmas Appeal can put their gift in the Poor Box or hand it in at the Piety Stall. All donations, no matter how small, will be gratefully received and those of $2 or more may be tax deductible.

Christmas Appeal

Christmas Appeal


Vinnies' website has a video for this year's Christmas Appeal saying "in every face of poverty, we see a face of promise. in every face of misfortune, we see a face of a new beginning. in every face of despair, we see a face of hope."

Concurrently with each statement a  picture of a sad face appears morphing into into a happy face.

Under the picture frame is some text referring to the above audio-visual messages. It implores us to think about those people doing it tough this Christmas and says some gifts such as hope can change the way they see the world and how they deal with it. It goes on to say that your generous donation towards the appeal will help Vinnies provide much-needed help and hope to those in need.


Vinnies' Mona Vale Conference will hold the Christmas Appeal this weekend, thanks to Father George.

P.S. The Piety Stall has Columban Calendars for $!0 and packets of ten Christmas Cards at $6 each.

Halving Homelessness

Halving Homelessness

Minister for Housing and Homelessness, Brendan O’Connor, gave a speech recently  at the National Press Club in Canberra telling how he hoped to halve the Australian homelessness rate by the year 2020. He announced a commitment by the federal government for a new National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness.He said that his  new partnership would be based on matched funding with that of the states and territories and "framed by the core principles of prevention, early intervention and breaking the cycle of homelessness".


Vinnies' National CEO, Dr John Falzon, in a Media Statement,  replied: "We welcome this development and sincerely hope the funding commitment will make a real difference to reducing the level of homelessness in Australia."


National President Anthony Thornton said  "The members of the St Vincent de Paul Society are following the issue of the future funding agreement closely. These are the frontline volunteers and staff, who help people experiencing homelessness and who know the enormous economic, social and human cost of homelessness and the devastation it causes in people's lives,"


Good News: Two days later the Minister issued a Media Release congratulating his State and Territory counterparts for agreeing to an ongoing commitment to work together to tackle homelessness.He said  “I am confident that we will continue to negotiate in a spirit of good will and cooperation to find the best ways to help vulnerable people get their lives back on track".

St Catherine Labouré

St Catherine Labouré

Catherine Labouréwas born in Fain-lès-Moutiers, France on May 2, 1806. Catherine  became very fond of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is said that after her mother's funeral, when she was only nine years old, she clasped a statue of the Blessed Virgin saying "Now you will be my mother."


At the age of 24, she entered the Daughters of Charity, a religious order co-founded by St Vincent de Paul. She was extremely devout,and served the poor and the sick with humility and compassion.


On November 27 1830, Mary appeared to Sister Catherine in the Chapel of the Motherhouse. The Blessed Mother showed herself  inside an oval frame, standing on a globe, Her hands were outstretched and rays of light emanated from colourful rings on her fingers. Around the margin of the frame appeared the words "O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee". The frame then appeared to rotate about a vertical axis revealing pious symbols inside the oval frame.


Mary then said to her " Have a medal struck on this model. All who wear it will receive great graces ".  With the help of her spiritual director this medal was made, distributed, and came to be known as the Miraculous Medal because of the number of conversions and healings..


Catherine Labouré died in 1876 (aged 70)  and was Canonized in 1947 by Pope Pius XII. Her Feast Day is on  28 November.


P.S, The Piety Stall has small Miraculous Medals for sale at only 50 cents.each.

Poverty in Australia

Poverty in Australia

"One in eight Australians lives in poverty. It is time to stop blaming people for being left out. It is time for bi-partisan courage instead of bi-partisan cruelty." Dr John Falzon

The Australian Council of Social Service has recently released a new report showing poverty in Australia remains a persistent problem with more than 2 million people living below the internationally accepted poverty line used to measure financial hardship in wealthy countries.

ACOSS CEO, Dr Cassandra Goldie said "This report reveals that despite years of unprecedented growth and wealth creation, we have made little ground in combatting the scourge of poverty with 1 in 8 people overall and 1 in 6 children living below the poverty line,"

Many of the poor are unemployed and find it hard to exist on Newstart payments. In Vinnies' Anti-Poverty Week 2012 media release, our National  President, Anthony Thornton,  said that the St Vincent de Paul Society supported the transition of Australians living on income support payments back into the workforce and acknowledged that the benefits of working were not just financial.

He qualified his remarks saying "But at present we have a policy that is simply punitive instead of giving practical support to people outside the labour market. To this end we are also calling for an expansion of training, support and advocacy programs to better assist individuals in securing employment. All too often we are seeing people who are forced to jump through hoops with no prospect of a job at the end."

Vincentian House

Vincentian House

St Vincent de Paul Society's Vincentian House is a crisis accommodation service for families and women. Residents are all assigned a case manager who works with them towards appropriate goals during their stay,

 There are many services that Vincentian House offers to the residents such as:
  •  Homelessness advice
  •  Counselling help
  • Centrelink information
  • Health Services
  • Parenting support
  • Playgroups and activities
An inspiring article in last week's Catholic Weekly, entitled " Self-esteem boost: blanket approach with a difference " describes a therapeutic art program, held at Vincentian House, which is aimed at building up the self esteem of young women caught up in the cycle of domestic violence and homelessness.
This six week program, called "Wrapped in Angels", involves a team.of residents making  blankets that contain pictures and symbols of importance to the makers, many of whom have suffered traumatic events. Such artful activity is good therapy as it relaxes the workers and engages them in friendly conversation and their finished blanket evokes a sense of achievement. That gives them support of their companions and builds their self esteem...

For more information, visit www.vinnies.org.au/vincentian-house
or Phone: (02) 9357 1533

Disability Services

Disability Services

Everyone admires the dedication, hard work and skill level of competitors in the Disabled Olympic Games. However, there are many more Australians living with an intellectual or physical disability who find life difficult It is extremely hard for them to find work as they do not have the required skills.

In order to  provide caring, supportive assistance for the disabled, the St Vincent de Paul Society has set up a number of disability services  which give them chance to learn useful skills.through meaningful employment, reach their potential, and take advantage of all life has to offer..Some of these services are described onVinnies website including;

  • Ozanam Enterprises, Mornington, tries to provides training and employment in packaging and assembly of timber products for over fifty people with disabilities. .
  • Ozanam Industries, Sydney and Coonamble, trains about 100 disabled in aspects of mail fulfillment,and packaging
  • Tastex Knitwear Tasmania, employs 15 people with intellectual disabilities in a safe and happy work environment.
  • Toowoomba Disability Services Program provides a number of houses each with a  live-in carer supporting 16 people living with a disability.

Volunteering for Vinnies is a rewarding experience!  Just befriending an elderly or disabled person in your neighbourhood can be a start.

Our Prayer

Our Prayer
Lord, You gave St.Vincent de Paul, a heart overflowing with love for You, grant us that same fervour of charity, that we too may see your image in those whom we assist and gladly give them a share of our time and possessions.
The above Prayer for Ourselves is one of the prayers said aloud by Vinnies' conference members at the beginning of each meeting. It guides us to be more than just a charitable institution but one that has Catholic spiritual underpinnings.
In last week's edition of the Catholic Weekly, Bill Johnson, our Society's spiritual advisor, is quoted as saying that Vincent told his followers that their material assistance must be a reflection of a genuine human relationship with those in need. Vincent said to his followers "It is not enough to give soup and bread.This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good willed
Greg Hogan of the Institute of Spirituality reflects on Frederic Ozanam's similar way of thinking. Our Founder said " For Charity to be healing, only one motive suffices, genuine love and respect for the person receiving it. There must be a match between the words of the giver concerning the goodness of the poor and the giver's inner attitude" .

Spring Cleaning

Spring Cleaning
During the week ending this Sunday all the op shops in Australia celebrated the inaugural "National op shop week".

Luke Foley, NSW Opposition spokesman for the Environment, recently stated via the media that the demand for used clothing had gone up, but public donations had fallen. He went on to say that charities like St Vincent De Paul, the Salvation Army, the Smith Family and the Red Cross do a great job distributing clothes to the needy, but many were reporting shortages and said it was a perfect time to donate them to a great cause


Jon Dee, the founder of community action group Do Something.said “Giving clothes is a great way to help out the community, These donations are a great way to clean up our cupboards and do something positive for those in need. By reusing clothes it also helps the environment.”

Do Something has setup a website, sponsored by ALDI, which returns the postcode whereabouts of about 2000 charity stores.Vinnies has about 500 Centres of Charity in Australia and the profit from the sale of their stock goes directly towards providing resources and support to people in need .with much of this money used to buy food for needy local families.

Of course you probably know the whereabouts of Vinnies Mona Vale and Brookvale. So if you have some clean, undamaged  clothes which have been neatly stored away for a year, please remember these opshops or Vinnies' clothing bins and the good they can do.

Special Works Fundraiser

Special Works Fundraiser

Vinnies' website has two events in its Event List. One of these is Anti-Poverty Week (14-20th October). mentioned last week in this column. The other is the for the annual fundraiser in support of Sydney Night Patrol and Mary MacKillop Outreach works which invites you to come to the Canada Bay Club, at 6pm, on Saturday 20th October 2012, the last day of Anti-Poverty Week.

The two Special Works receiving proceeds from this event are well worth supporting. Night Patrols provide a meal and the hand of friendship to those in need in both Sydney CBD. Mary MacKillop Outreach (MMO), at Lewisham, provides social, educational, recreational and prevocational programs and a Men's Shed to help people who have a mental illness and/or disability,

Tickets cost $50 for adults and $20 for children. A two course meal is provided and entertainment is supplied by Beat the Streets and the Australian Youth Choir. Valuable auction prizes include signed NRL jerseys (framed), travel accommodation stays, an 18 hole round of golf with cart hire, cinema tickets and restaurant vouchers. You can buy tickets via the website www.vinnies.org.au

For more information please contact Chris Hayter on 02 9568 0247 or Donna Boyd on 02 9818 4365 .


The Newstart Allowance

The Newstart Allowance


'The Chief Executive Officer of ANZ Bank, Mike Smith, whose annual salary converts to about $27,400 a day, thinks that people on unemployment benefits of $32 a day get too much."

AdeleHorin, SMH - OPINION 25-26/8/12


The Catholic Weekly ran front page article entitled "Cutting dole won't 'fix plight of jobless" by Brian Davies..It starts by saying that Catholic Social Services Australia strongly opposed calls from corporate Australia for welfare payments to be cut to encourage job seeking. The article then produces research results to back up its position.


More so, Vinnies is hoping for a catch-up increase in the allowance. saying in its latest Media Release:that after almost 20 years there has been no increase in real terms to the unemployment benefit.


Dr John Falzon, our National CEO, recently gave evidence to the Senate Standing Committee conducting an inquiry into the adequacy of the Newstart allowance. He argued for a $50 per week increase to the current unemployment benefit.He said that Vinnies and other charitable organisations had become de facto providers of social security to those outside the labour market.


P.S. The Piety Stall now has new Bibles for sale at $10 each as well as a Bible and encyclopedia for $20.

The Pacific Solution

The Pacific Solution

The Vincent de Paul Society has no political affiliations. However, sometimes controversial issues arise that are socially unjust and Vinnies speaks up about them by means of Media Releases, not intending to play politics.
For instance, in a recent Media Release Dr John Falzon, National CEO, said "Offshore processing is 'a mean-spirited formula for avoiding our obligations as a signatory to the UN Refugee Convention". Also he said "We need to embrace and improve onshore processing minus the cruel and unnecessary practice of mandatory detention, especially for children. We also need to work more effectively with our regional neighbours whilst increasing our refugee intake."
National President, Mr Anthony Thornton, added: "We gain nothing by playing games with the lives of those who are desperate for a place of safety and welcome.
Now, in the latest Media Release, Dr Falzon rejects the rehash of Pacific Solution saying " Offshore processing is not the answer. Neither is the punitive treatment of asylum seekers and their families. It is time for Australia to accept its international obligations and to respect the human rights and human dignity of the people who seek asylum in our country"
On a positive note he says “We welcome the recommended increase in our humanitarian intake. The St Vincent de Paul Society supports an approach that not only adheres to our human rights obligations but also sets a high standard in the exercise of compassion and human  solidarity.”

New members needed

New Members Needed

In the latest issue of Vision, our State President, Ray Reynolds, writes about  some of the challenges that are facing our Society in the next 10 years such as

  • the majority of members of our Society are in the age range of 61 - 80+. While Mini Vinnies members are plentiful in the schools and universities, men and women members aged 21 to 55 are scarce, Our challenge is "how can we revitalise ourselves sufficiently to encourage new members in this cohort to join the Society".
  • we have to compete with 600,000 charitable organisations snd clubs for funding, donations, members and volunteers.
However, he also thinks we have strengths and opportunities to meet these challenges such as
  • a strong commitment to assisting the needy
  • dedication of members and volunteers.
  • strong income  from Vinnies Centres
  • using our asset portfolio to deliver new services
A  plan is now being formulated for the Society to address these issues. It begins at the grass roots, gathering data by consulting with  members, staff, clients, the Church and so on. It is designed to provide clear strategic directions, objectives and tangible outcomes.

P.S. Many thanks go to the "Pittwater's Got Talent"  team who are donating all profits from their Final concert on Saturday, August 11 to Vinnies.

Mental Health

Mental Health
"The St Vincent de Paul Society is concerned with all areas of mental health but the primary focus is on the most disadvantaged, that is people with a severe mental illness."
The above quotation from Vinnies' website applies to Australia as a whole. However, the various State Councils of our Society often have different ways of caring for people with mental illness. Some of these are:
  • The Compeer Program.that uses the power of friendship to help people with mental illnesses live happier lives.
  • Mate Helping Mate that provides opportunities for farmers experiencing depression to release pent up emotions with peers who were often going through the same bad experiences.
  • The Helping Hands Program that provides the opportunity to directly partner supporters with the most marginalised in the community
  • Vincentcare that provides accommodation and ‘support with dignity’ to people living with mental illness and/or homelessness.   
For more, go to www.vinnies.org.au.Then click on the menu item "Mental Health". To access the home page of another State Council click on the small map of Australia alongside " In your area.".

Vinnies Youth Housing, Macarthur

Vinnies Youth Housing, Macarthur

In his Annual Report, our National President, Anthony Thornton, tells us that, last year, in Australia, 84,000 children tried to get help from a homeless service in Australia, but more than half of them were turned away. He added that the St Vincent de Paul Society regards housing as a human right and no one should be turned away.
What progress is Vinnies making to ameliorate the suffering of the homeless? Vinnies supplies a number of outreach services for the homeless such as the Matthew Talbot Hostel for men, Night Patrols and Street to Home. Another recent service designed for young homerless people in the Macarthur area of outer Sydney has been revealed in an article in a recent edition of the Catholic Weekly.
The article, entitled "Providing Safe, Affordable Housing for the Young", says that this new service caters for homeless people,aged 16-21. It provides safe accommodation for a maximum of two years for individuals, sole parents and young families. It also provides support by means of a case manager who assists the client to develop life skills, advance their education and eventually become independent.

The article also contains a sad story of a young woman who came from a broken home with a drug dependent mother who mentally abused her and ended up kicking her out. After living rough for some time she was rescued by Vinnies, being given a room of her own and privacy, for which she was extremely grateful.


Revisioning Our Society

Revisioning Our Society

The 2010 Ozanam Lecture entitled "Revisioning the St Vincent de Paul Society for the 21st century’" was presented by a scholarly Vincention Priest, namely Fr Richard Benson CM. His focus was on recapturing the enthusiasm, faith and thirst for good.  These features were hallmarks of the Society’s foundation and were came to be forgotten over the years.

Fr Benson said that Early in the 17th century Vincent de Paul founded the Congregation of the Mission, a community of priests and brothers with a single purpose  which wasto bring the good news to the poor. Frederic Ozanam, followed the lead of St Vincent de Paul, founding our Society with the same mission message. Time goes on and about 150 years later the world is a very different place.

Fr Benson listed some sad statistics about modern poverty:

  1. More than a billion people survive on less than $1 a day.
  2. The top 1% of the world’s richest people earns as much as the poorest 57%.
  3. More than 2 billion people do not have proper sanitation facilities and more than that die each year from diseases caused by polluted water.

He developed further arguments for revisioning our Society and in conclusion said " I would suggest that Australia is ripe for theVincentian vision:

"The Society can lead the way in preaching through its actions that every person is the image of God and has inestimable worth regardless of their social class, their skin colour or their country of origin. The Society needs to capture the energy of the Catholic Social Gospel, the good news that justice is a right and that systemic sin won’t be tolerated."

Our Patron

Our Patron

Some people do not realise that St Vincent de Paul was not the founder of our Society but he is our well admired patron. Vincent was a person who became dedicated to serving the poor and disadvantaged, a hero for us to honour and emulate. Highlights of his biography are: Vincent was born of a peasant family at Pouy, France, in about 1580, He studied humanities and theology, became a tutor and in 1600 was ordained a Priest. He was captured by Turkish pirates and sold into slavery in Tunis but escaped with his master whom he converted. He became a Parish Priest and chaplain to a wealthy French family but changed his life to serve the poor and disadvantaged.


He set up conferences to help the needy, established hospitals and seminaries, visited and assisted galley convicts and helps set up the Daughters of Charity. He was able to raise large sums of money to aid the unfortunate, particularly foundling who had been deliberately deformed to evoke pity and left to die. He also helped ransom 1200 slaves and assisted Irish and English Catholic refugees who had been driven from their country. Vincent died in 1660 and was canonised in 1737. For much more, visit the Catholic Encyclopedia website.


P.S. Thank you again for your generosity in contributing to Vinnies Winter Appeal. So far donations have reached about six thousand dollars. Envelopes for are available on the desk at the back of Sacred Heart Church Mona Vale and at the Piety Stall. Receipts for donations which may be tax deductible can also be provided via the Piety Stall.

CEO Sleepout Results

CEO Sleepout Results

"Joining the Vinnies CEO Sleepout reminds me that everyone needs a home, and that many people are only one illness, one domestic assault, or one paycheck away from becoming homeless. Too often CEOs and other people who make decisions that affect society take for granted the most basic things – like a roof and a bed. The CEO sleepout helps remind us each year to make better decisions. By meeting with people who have no place to live, experiencing the harsh conditions they face, and discovering how we can help, we can become part of the solution."

 - Jeffrey L. Bleich, U.S.A. Ambassador to Australia. (Facebook)

Vinnies CEO Sleepout 2012 was an outstanding success. It raised over 5 million dollars in donations but more importantly it raised awareness of homelessness among over 1,000 leading lights of Australian business and politics who slept rough on the longest night of the year. The participants were given a meal of soup, a bread roll and a cup of tea. They were also provided with a large piece of cardboard to sleep on and make a cover. Well known politicians Kevin Rudd  and Malcolm Turnbull experienced the sleepout as well as top fundraisers Mr Ian Narev from the Commonwealth Bank ( $169K ) and Mrs Gail Kelly from Westpac ( $135K ).

For more, visit www.ceosleepout.org.au

P.S. Many thanks for your generous support of Vinnies Winter Appeal 2912. Your donations are always greatly appreciated.

Services and the Winter Appeal

Services and the Winter Appeal
The St Vincent de Paul Society not just a welfare organisation. It is also an organisation that provides services to the disadvantaged and marginalised.
These services include:
  • aged care
  • migrant and refugee help
  • visitation to homes, hospitals, prisons and detention centres
  • care for the homeless
  • clothing and assistance centres
  • care for persons with psychiatric disabilities,
  • vocational services for people with a disability
  • counselling for people with drug, alcohol, gambling or financial problems
  •   disaster recovery services
  • night street vans for the hungry
Our annual Winter appeal helps us in raising funds so that our voluntary members can continue to provide assistance and offer friendship to those in need.
Please support us by donating to this appeal today. Envelopes which are on the Church seats can be filled in and then put on the collection plates, dropped into Vinnies' buckets or left at the Piety Stall. Alternatively, cash can be deposited in the buckets or the Pox Box. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated by the needy people we assist. Thank you.
For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au

CEO Sleepout

CEO Sleepout

There is another world but it is in this one.

Paul Eluard,

On Thursday 21 June 2012, the Vinnies CEO Sleepout will take place in every capital city across Australia . The event was created to highlight the plight of homelessness in Australia by challenging business and community leaders to experience homelessness first-hand on one long, cold winter night.

Vinnies' National CEO, Dr John Falzon, commenced the Media Launch of this Sleepout with the above quotation. He says "This other world is one in which no one is left out in the cold. It is the world that our CEO Sleepout is all about helping to create. But that demands a revolution in the way we look at things ".

Dr Falzon discusses the problem of homelessness in Australia: He says that of people experiencing homelessness more than 34,000 are children and young  people without a place they can call home". He argues that this problem is not only the problem of the homeless but it is also our problem. As long as we, as a nation, refuse to admit that it is ourproblem, we will continue to have the problem. He adds that  our problem is not the "idleness of the poor", rather it is inequality.

He concludes saying "the solution lies in the heart of the problem...If it could be summed up in one word, I suggest that this word would be dignity. It is what we can learn from the people who courageously face another night living beyond the zones of comfort and safety.It is what we want for each of our own children. It is what all children deserve; for their own sakes as well as for the sake of building a just and fair Australia. That’s the kind of society worth building.."

For more visit /www.ceosleepout.org.au/media/

Meaningful Silhouettes

Meaningful Silhouettes


The Matthew Talbot Hostel, a special work of the St Vincent de Paul Society, is the largest hostel for homeless men in the Southern Hemisphere
The Hostel has 98 crisis accommodation beds and its day services provide of meals, clothing, health and personal care for up to 600 men .

To advertise the effectiveness of Matthew Talbot Homeless services in getting people off the street and giving them a hand up, George Patterson Y&R, Sydney created life-sized silhouettes of rehabilitated men and placed them in the spots where they once slept or begged. Each silhouette displayed emotional stories of that man's circumstances and rehabilitation.
A typical example is the silhouette of Jacques. The white cursive writing painted on the blue silhouette tells us that Jacques isclose to 40 years old and had migrated from France to Australia at the age of 21. It also says he had astrong work ethic and worked as alandscape gardener and a truck driver.
Unfortunately a sequence of untimely events set his life off course.A terrible car accident and extensive injuries prevented him from workingfor some time. Later when the financial crisis hit he was first to be retrenched. Thenhis marriage fell apart. In addition hisfew remaining possessions were stolen.Eventually he found himself homeless.
The tough times continued for Jacques until he was referred to Matthew Talbot Home Services.His luck then changed. Helped by Talbot staff, hispassion for painting  ws reignitedand furthermore hejoined the choir.Jacques was also helped toapply for community housing and now he has a place to call home.

Federal Budget

Federal Budget

"ACOSS has praised the fairness of the overall Budget. However, it will not address the deep concerns we have about the adequacy of income support and family payments for people on the lowest incomes." -   Dr Cassandra Goldie, .ACOSS CEO

Dr John Falzon, our National CEO, has also criticised the Budget on is failure to deliver relief for sole parents and the unemployed. He said "Tonight’s Budget confirms one thing that both sides of politics agree on. And that’s their belief in the existence of an undeserving poor. Their message is that if you’re poor it’s because you’re just not trying hard enough. So the unemployed are left below the poverty line. Newstart has not received its much-needed boost of $50 a week. And a $700 million chunk of the surplus has been skimmed from the pockets of sole parents and their children".

Dr Falzon adds "The young unemployed bloke scraping by on $35 a day and we wonder why we he doesn’t get a haircut before going for a job interview, or the single mum who has just been forced down to $38 a day on Newstart. They remain unheard. The middle-aged mum or dad on low wages or no wages as they battle to re-enter a workforce from which they have been dumped like so much human garbage. They remain unheard."

Vinnies however hears their cry for help, especially the cries of the poor children, Children need food for their growth and well being; we supply the food cards.They also need a clean, warm environment at home; we supply the needy with energy Energy vouchers. You too can help by dropping a coin in the Poor Box at the entrance to the church.

New Council President

Our New Council President
The May 2012 issue of bbn ( the Broken Bay Diocese news magazine) contains an article by  Barry Finch, the incoming President of our Broken Bay Central Council. In this article he tells us of his previous work in Vinnies and ideas for the future development of the Society.
Barry Finch mentions that he has been a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society for over 30 years and has held various positions at the Conference, Regional and Council levels. He says that his most rewarding position to date has been that of President of Forestville Conference,
Apart from local visitations, Forestville Conference takes part in activities such as
  • helping at Talbot
  • Redfern Task Force
  • hospital visitations
  • fund raising BBQs.
Mr Finch now looks to the future. He thinks that due to a lack of funds and volunteers the process of assisting the poor and disadvantaged may need to be updated. He suggests that after one or two visits clients may be directed to a client support officer at the main office whose job is to solve their problems.
He also suggests that we should recruit more members, starting with mini-Vinnies in the schools and work our way up, advertising the great "Special Works" we are doing for clients.
Finally, he thanks John Donnelly, expressing appreciation for John's service as President over the last four years.

NSW Flood Appeal

NSW Flood Appeal

Recently, many towns in rural NSW have been devastated by floods caused by a slow moving low pressure trough and associated rain band. The statewide average of 123.9 mm of rain that fell equalled previous records and caused millions of dollars of damage to homes, farms, businesses and infrastructure. However, the community response was overwhelming, with neighbours wanting to help each other in any way they could.

According to an article on the website dailyadvertiser.com.au, the NSW Governor, Professor Marie Bashir, was shocked by the aftermath of the recent floods when she toured North Wagga. Marie Bashir was born in nearby Narrandera and so was already aware of the good spirit of the people she talked to, despite their adversity. Her sympathy was well evident in the accompanying video ( Ashleigh Gleeson 29/3/12 ).

Assistance to those suffering from disasters comes from the St Vincent de Paul Society in the form of food, clothing, shelter, medical expenses and help with utility accounts.Furthermore, the Society  takes account of the long-term effects of floods by helping communities to rebuild their homes and lives long after the water has receded.

To help Vinnies assist people affected by the floods to recover in the long term, make an online life changing donation on www.vinnies.org.au or phone the National Hotline on 13 18 12. Your generosity is always greatly appreciated.

Cycle Recycle

Cycle Recycle
Onshore Australian asylum seekers often need financial help while they are waiting for a decision on their refugee status. They often have no money, no  legal status, no work rights, nowhere to live and speak little English.

Fortunately, Vinnies comes to their aid with the Vinnies Asylum Seeker Allowance program (VASA) which helps find them somewhere to live and to survive day-to-day.


It is necesary for each asylum seeker's physical and mental well being to have social support from community groups or friends. However, an article in the Catholic Weekly with the catchy title "Pedal Power helps asylum seekers in wheel world" points out that even with a VASA allowance asylum seekers would find that travelling iacross Sydney on public transport would be too expensive for them.


The solution to this problem was worked out by Vinnies'  Migrant and Refugee Support Team. The idea is simply to recycle unwanted bicycles and distribute them to needy VASA clients. Donations of bikes are collected and sent to Cycle Recycle, a workshop where community members, assisted by mechanics, repair the bikes at no charge. Clients are then matched with a suitable bike, given a helmet and tuition on road rules for which they are extremely grateful.


Vinnies' Pedal Power is accepting good quality bikes without too much rust and without distorted frames/wheels at the Auburn Distribution Centre. Please note that some brands may not be suitable for this recycling program and will be rejected..

Struggle Street

Struggle Street

A recent Vinnies' Media Release entitled "Increased demand from Australians living on ‘Struggle Street’ "says that new statistics from ABS indicated that nearly a third of low income households reported they were late paying utility bills. Struggling to pay bills on time is a key indicator of financial stress and we will surely see more clients coming to us for help in the coming winter.


Dr Falzon, our National CEO, recently attended the 2012 Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) conference in Sydney. That conference entitled  "Sharing the Wealth of the Lucky Country" focused on rising poverty in Australia. The unemployed, for instance, can no longer exist on the Newstart allowance which is only $35 a day and hasn't changed in real  terms for many years. Furthermore it is the lowest unemployment allowance in the OECD. "You don’t help people get into jobs by forcing them to live in poverty. By leaving the unemployment benefit at this low level that’s exactly what the Government’s doing," Dr Falzon said.


President Anthony Thornton added"There’s no question that the current situation is undermining the ability of many Australians to fully participate in education, access healthcare, feel socially included and care for their families,"


For more visit www.vinnies.org.au and www.acoss.org.au

Happy Easter to Father George, his staff and all Pittwater Parishioners from all at Vinnies.

Child Detention

Child Detention
“I saw a small child hitting his head against the fence because he was so upset – he had been there for ten months and was asking for his father.”  - A young detainee

The policy of detaining unaccompanied children, in prison-like conditions, does not provide an environment for healthy growth and education. Evidence exists showing that asylum seeker children are at risk of developing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, depression, anxiety, or sleeplessness[ "A child in detention: dilemmas faced by health professionals", MJA, Sept. 2003]. Such disorders may be due to witnessing or experiencing traumatic events and being separated from their parents.

A recent Media Release of our National Council entitled "End Child Detention Now" says that cruelty is the unequivocal consequence of keeping children in detention and it calls on the Government to honour its 2010 promise to end child detention.

In this publication, Dr John Falzon, our National CEO, said that he was deeply saddened to learn that around 528 children remain in immigration detention centres or alternative places of detention in Australia.


Dr Falzon also said "The mandatory detention, especially of children, continues to be a serious abuse of human rights. The continued detention of people who pose no danger to the community is unjustifiable by any moral standard".

Freeman House

Freeman House

 Freeman House, located in Armidale, is a Special Work of the St Vincent de Paul Society  providing  residential rehabilitation services for adults who are homeless or addicted to alcohol or drugs. It has been operating since 1979 and is now being redeveloped by means of a goverment grant.

  A recent article in the Catholic Weekly entitled "Armidale program targets health,education, lifestyles" states that Freedom House had won a grant of $8 million from the Federal Government's Regional Development Australia Fund. This grant will allow construction of  a state-of-the-art facility which will provide a safe environment where the homeless and addicted can heal and achieve their goals.

Clients of Freeman House are required to participate in the compulsory elements of the rehabilitation schedule consisting of

  • counselling,
  • homelessness case management,
  • art, music and mindfulness sessions
  • physical activities: gym, yoga etc.
The new Freeman House facility will also include an Ozanam Learning Centre featuring an educational program with courses in vocational skills, computer literacy, health and nutrition. Current TAFE and UNE partnerships as well as community support maybe extended.
For more visit www.vinnies.org.au/freeman-house-nsw which contains a service overview and  links to relevant information such as brochures, forms and FAQ ( Frequently Asked Questions ). 

Waste Racycling

e-Waste Recycling
Electronic waste (e-waste) is a product of the computer age. More powerful user-friendly computers are coming out each year replacing the older ones that often find a path into landfill. However, computers contain lead, mercury, cadmium, and polybrominated flame retardants all of which may cause health hazards such as  cancer, nerve damage, reproductive disorders if used for landfill. Ozanam Enterprises is working to reduce e-waste landfill through e-recycling.

In a media release, last November, VincentCare Victoria announced that Ozanam Enterprises had started receiving computers and TV's which were then broken up into metal and plastic parts. These fragments were then sold to commercial recyclers.Not only is this work benefiting the environment but it is providing jobs for the disabled.

Glenn Hodgkin, General Manager of Disability Services at VincentCare Victoria, says "Over 35 million computers go to landfill each year in Australia with less than 14% being recycled"

He added "In the first year of operation, Ozanam Enterprises expects to process approximately 8.4 tonnes of e-waste per week.we have ten staff working on it at the moment"' and " For people with disabilities, having a job is a really important way of reinforcing their sense of self-worth”


P.S. An article in a recent issue of the Manly Daily mentioned that the Vinnies' Brookvale Centre is also taking small items of e-waste for e-recycling. They will accept small items such as mobile phones, ink cartridges, cameras and batteries.


Payday lenders

Payday Lenders

The lives of many Australians are often turned upside down by a catastrophe such as a job loss or serious sickness. They could then find themselves in debt, unable to pay their utility bills.To avoid disconnection of necessary services they might take out an easy-to-get loan with a payday lender who charges very high fees, some even over 48%, Many borrowers would find it difficult to make the monthly repayments, thereby forcing them to them take out another similar loan. This situation often leads to a debt spiral. They could end up losing their car, house or household goods which have been put up as security for these loans.


In a recent Media Release entitled "Time to stand up to payday lenders’ ‘vested interests’ "Vnnies' CEO, Dr John Falzon, said that genuine payday lending reform was a good opportunity for the government to take the side of the true battlers instead of the ‘vested interests’"


Dr Falzon went on to say "Significant payday lending reforms will offer some protection to the people who are vulnerable to unscrupulous lending practices, As a bare minimum, we support reforms that limit lenders to charging an upfront fee of 10% of the loan, plus a monthly fee of 2% of the balance outstanding. Before it finalises the details of the reforms, we urge the government not to pander to the wishes of vested interests in the sector, who are pushing for an upfront fee of 20% of the loan, plus a monthly fee of 4%".


P.S.  To help Vinnies assist people affected by the floods,  please donate at www.vinnies.org.au


"To the stolen generations, I say the following: as Prime Minister of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the government of Australia, I am sorry. On behalf of the parliament of Australia, I am sorry. I offer you this apology without qualification. We apologise for the hurt, the pain and suffering that we, the parliament, have caused you by the laws that previous parliaments have enacted. We apologise for the indignity, the degradation and the humiliation these laws embodied."- Kevin Rudd
We were reminded last Monday of the above welcome apology. However, In a recent Media Release entitled "Remembering the Apology", Vinnies'  National Council calls for action on the part of the Government to reverse its roll-out of damaging policies such as Compulsory Income Management and the School Enrolment and Attendance Measure.
Dr John Falzon, CEO, said  "Now it is the time for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples to be able to determine their own futures rather than suffering the indignity and degradation of policies that discriminate against them and take away control over their lives".
He added "We also continue to be deeply concerned by the disproportionate rate of incarceration of Indigenous Australians, especially the young."  The high rate of male youth suicide among the Indigenous population could have also been given a mention.
In conclusion to this call for action, National President, Anthony Thornton said: "We encourage everyone, including our politicians and policy makers in Canberra, to embrace the spirit of reconciliation so that we can continue on the journey of healing as a nation."



A recent issue of the Catholic Weekly contained a Vinnies' article entitled 'Actlocal, think global'- 'twins lend a hand' It describes some of the good works done by Vinnies' conferences for overseas needy people in addition to their regular home visitations in their local district.

Twinning is the term used by Vinnies to describe helpful partnerships between Australian conferences and those in the ASIA-Pacific region, mainly India, Indonesia and the Philippines.

The example given in article tells us about the latest twins - the St Joseph's Nyngan conference in NSW and the St Louis de Montfort Conference in Burns Creek, the Solomon Islands.The Nyngan twin recently raised money with a street stall to aid the latter twin build a rainwater tank.

Nyngan is situated on the Bogan River between Dubbo and Bourke". Its name is said to come from the aboriginal word nyingan meaning "long pond of water". Nyngan was almost washed away by the 1990 floods. It is also subject to long lasting droughts. Vinnies' conference there is acting locally and globally despite the hardships the town community has experienced.

The Burns Creek Conference is very active in its charitable work and well deserving of monetary assistance -  the high value of our dollar should help. One of their good works mentioned in the article is a house building project that employs young male alcoholics and helps rehabilitate them.

P.S.The Catholic Weekly supports Vinnies,so please support the Catholic Weekly.

New Meters

New Meters

"The St Vincent de Paul Society is particularly concerned about the rollout of smart meters and the impacts that this technology will have on low income and disadvantaged households" -.Dr John Falzon


The rollout of smart meters has recently commenced in NSW. A smart meter is a meter which records consumption of electrical energy each hour of the day, sending this information back daily to the electricity retailer for billing purposes.


The main purpose of this rollout is to provide users with Time of Use (TOU) pricing which will make make electricity more expensive when total demand is high and less expensive when demand is low. The objective is to get householders to reduce their consumption of electricity at peak times.


.A Vinnies' report entitled "New Meters, New Protections" reveals that its analysis indicates that "From an energy affordability perspective, TOU pricing will penalise many households that can ill-afford price increases". It  points out that households with people at home all day such as pensioners, people with disabilities, the unemployed and parents caring for young children are more likely to be severely financially disadvantaged by TOU tariffs because they cannot avoid the higher rates.


This report also makes numerous recommendations, an important one of these being"A customer protection framework should deliver universal provisions for billing, reminder notices, predisconnection steps and instalment plans that ensure customers on low-incomes or experiencing temporary hardship are not disconnected from supply".

Demands Skyrocket

Demands Skyrocket

It is pleasing for investors to see the Stock Market is recovering from the last international credit crisis. However, at the same time, welfare  demands on charitable organisations have skyrocketed..The Australian Community Sector Service Survey 2011 conducted by the Australian Council for Social Services (ACOSS) has revealed that not everyone in Australia has bounced back.

Those services experiencing greatest increases in demand  were:

  • Residential aged care  (128%)
  • Financial support services  (50%)
  • emergency relief  (22%)
  • Indigenous support (22%)
  • Housing support (21%)
Major factors contributing to financial stress experienced by welfare clients included inadequate income support, lack of affordable housing and rising costs of utilities e.g electricity.
Our National Council CEO, DR John Falzon responded to this survey saying on ABC's Radio AM program that "We have got to rethink the whole way we do social security in Australia, we have got to end blaming of people who remain unheard.


P.S. Our grateful thanks go to our generous parishioners who donated a total of $14,795 to our annual Christmas Appeal, which will enable us to give food cards, energy vouchers and other help. to those needing our support..

Another World

Another World
"Il y a un autre monde mais il est dans celui-ci."
[ There is another world but it is in this one ]
Paul Éluard

Dr John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council, used the above translated quotation as a preface to an article that he wrote for the Spring 2011 edition of the Record. In this article, entitled "There is another world", he points out that this quote from the surrealist French poet, Paul Éluard,  is really paraphrasing the words of Jesus of Nazareth who said "The Kingdom of God is among us".

Dr Falzon believes true charity involves changing this world, by fighting for a more just and compassionate society. Actually, Vincentians, are doing this now  in our visitations. "We ask how someone is hurting and we try to pour the oil of love on their wounds. We might do this through material assistance, a shoulder to cry on, simple human company and friendship, or even specialist services".

However, there is more to do and this he suggests is "advocating for a just and compassionate social security system that really does offer security instead of creating insecurity and anxiety".
He continues " Beyond this, it means advocating for,and helping to build, a society in which people are not condemned to live enclosed by massive walls that prevent access to jobs, education, health and housing".

Social Inclusion

Social Inclusion


"The Australian Government’s vision of a socially inclusive society is one in which all Australians feel valued and have the opportunity to participate fully in the life of our society" -  Australian Government's Social Inclusion Website

Last year, Vinnies' 4th annual Gerald Ward Lecture was delivered by Fr Frank Brennan SJ, AO who commented on Social  Inclusion in Australia. Father Brennan is a human rights lawyer and an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) for services to Aboriginal Australians(1995).

Fr Brennan introduced his speech on Aboriginal Justice by pointing out that Gerald Ward was an English Catholic priest who established  the St Vincent de Paul Society in Melbourne. He  then said "Had he been alive today, he undoubtedly would have applauded government initiatives for inclusion of the poor and unemployed in the labour market, but he would have espoused more than full employment for the sake of productivity. His starting point would have been the inherent human dignity of the person who happened to be poor, unemployed or excluded. And the key to that upholding of human dignity was the establishment of a relationship".


HE added " I want to insist that there is no substitute for relationships and respect for human dignity when designing welfare measures for the assistance of the poor and the excluded of our society, especially Indigenous Australians in remote communities*..


History of Vinnies

History of Vinnies

Recently the Catholic Weekly issued a 70th Birthday Souvenir Edition containing interesting extracts from from years gone by. It also contained a full page history of the St Vincent de Paul Society entitled "178 years of helping people in need". Some of these events on this timeline of growth are listed below:

  • 1833 : The Society was founded in Paris by a 20 year old  student Frederic Ozanam
  • 1831: Sydney Conference founded by a soldier and engineer, Charles O'Neill
  • 1891: Orphanage for boys set up
  • 1922: Birth of a Vinnies' Charity Centre
  • 1938: Matthew Talbot Hostel opened
  • 1955: Xavier House for young men opened
  • 1967: Women join the Society
  • 1975:Start up of Vinnnies Youth
  • 1990:  Over 500 Vinnies Centre active
  • 2005: 478 Conference in NSW/ACT serving 29,000 clients
  • 2008: Ozanam Learning Centre opens
  • 2009: Vincention House for families opens
  • 2011: 103 Special Works assisting poor people

P.S. Many thanks to Parishioners for the large number of hampers delivered at Christmas and also to the  Youth Group and St Augstine's as we able to deliver 40 Christmas hampers to the needy, Also please note that the New Missals will  soon be available at the Piety Stall.

The SEAM Program

The SEAM Program

The St Vincent de Paul Society and the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS)  have recently issued a joint Media Release in support of Northern Territory aborigines.This statement calling for a new direction in policies affecting Aboriginal Australians based on cooperation, not intervention.


Aboriginal leaders, community welfare and public health groups from around Australia are  concerned with the proposal to suspend welfare payments to parents whose children fail to attend school regularly. This proposal is known as SEAM (The Improving School Enrolment and Attendance through Welfare Reform Measure) .


Dr Cassandra Goldie,ACOSS CEO, says that  the proposed expansion of the SEAM program that withdraws income support payments from parents whose children aren’t attending school suggests that a punitive, top‐down approach to social problems is still being pursued,”


On the other hand, ACOSS and Vinnies think that these policies should be based on what communities and governments know actually work from the ground up rather than from the top down. “The Governments focus should be on positive approaches to engage families and that take into account the barriers to participation in school in remote communities. An important part of this is ensuring that there are qualified, culturally competent social workers on the ground in remotecommunities, able to assist parents to address causal factors as to why kids are not going to school",


For more, visit vinnies.org.au and www.acoss.org.au

Happy New Year

Happy New Year
"At the beginning of the New Year I offer good wishes to each and all for serenity and prosperity, but especially for peace. Sadly, the year now ending has again been marked by persecution, discrimination, terrible acts of violence and religious intolerance." --

Start of the Message of His Holiness POPE BENEDICT XVI for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace ( 1 January 2011 ).

The coming New Year may not be a happy one  for the unemployed, the marginalised and the homeless. Calls on our help may increase but we are ready for the challenge and your contributions to our Christmas Appeal will help sustain our efforts.

The three most critical problems for many families will be marginal housing, job losses and costly electricity bills. Many people may be unable to afford rent and will be forced to live with relations or friends in cramped accommodation. Some may end up in caravan parks or even on the streets.Those losing their jobs will find it hard to re-enter the workforce. We can help many of these with food cards and advice. For those with high energy accounts, we can often help them avoid disconnection if the supplier is made aware that they are being helped by Vinnies.

All at Vinnies thank you for your donations and wish you and your family a peaceful and prosperous New Year.

Happy Christmas

Happy Christmas

"For a son has been born for us, a son has been given to us, and dominion has been laid on his shoulders; and this is the name he has been given, 'Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace' ."
Isaiah 9:5 ( Catholic Life Bible )
Christmas Day in Australia is a time to rejoice with close friends and family members the birth of Jesus. Children are the focus early in the morning looking for their presents, perhaps heaped  below a Christmas tree. The family, friends and relatives have festive meal together. For them, Christmas is a happy occasion enjoying each others’ company, singing songs and exchanging gifts.
There is however a sadder side to Christmas when the parents are poor and/or sick. Their children may not have the joy of getting presents and there is no festive meal. Thanks to your support for our Christmas Appeal and hamper project, this an unlikely event in the Parish of Pittwater. Dickens thoughts are relevant to-day:
"At this festive season of the year, Mr. Scrooge," said the gentleman, taking up a pen, "it is more than usually desirable that we should make some slight provision for the poor and destitute, who suffer greatly at the present time.... We choose this time, because it is a time, of all others, when Want is keenly felt, and Abundance rejoices."
-- Charles Dickens (A Christmas Carol)

SVDP Christmas Appeal

SVDP Christmas Appeal

( + Sr Anna Warlow OAM )

Our St.Vincent de Paul Conference extends sincere thanks to you, our parishioners for your most generous response to the Vinnies Christmas Appeal.  We will publish in this column in coming weeks the final amount raised, as we will continue to receive donations over the Christmas / New Year period.  Money, cheques credit card details etc. may be deposited in the poor box, or left at the Piety Stall, where more envelopes are available ( Tick if you require a receipt ).


Several parishioners have expressed an interest in the wonderful work of Sr. Anna Warlow SGS, who this year, was awarded an O.A.M. for exceptional achievements in the Good Samaritan "Rural Outreach" program in W.A.  We would like to support her, should parishioners feel likewise.  Those who wish to know more about this remarkable nun, or make a tax deductible donation to her "Rural Outreach"  project, assisting under-privileged or orphaned Aboriginal Children in remote areas to achieve community acceptance and education opportunities, may leave name and phone number with the Parish Secretary, or at the Piety Stall and Reg Maher or Owen Pilon will contact you with information regarding Sr. Annas' work.


Thank you again on behalf of the Mona Vale Conference, and we wish you and your families every joy and blessing at Christmas.


Adrian Calleia ( President

Brookvale calling

Brookvale Calling
All of the clients visited by Mona Vale Conference come through Vinnies' Brookvale Centre. Many of these clients tell us a sad story of  how their poor situation has come about. We  listen sympathetically to their problems. Some are behind in their rent and electricity bills because they have been made redundant or are unable to work due to an accident or sickness. Others have had a marriage break up or have otherwise lost their partner. Many have children that need to be fed, clothed, educated and kept healthy.
The local St Vincent de Paul Christmas Appeal 2011 is being held here this weekend thanks to the support of Father George. Your gifts can help make tomorrow a better day for our needy clients. Envelopes can be found on the Church seats and can be filled with money or have credit/debit card details written on them. Then, just put them in Vinnies' buckets or on the collection plates. Those who wish to donate at a later time can put their gift in the Poor Box or hand it in at the Piety Stall. All donations, no matter how small, will be gratefully received and those of $2 or more may be tax deductible.
From everyone at Vinnies, we wish you a happy and safe Christmas.

Christmas Presents

Christmas Presents

"How will you spend this Christmas?" - www.vinnies.org.au .

Last year, the Australia Institute gave the results of a survey on the waste of money on unwanted Christmas presents.Executive Director, Dr Richard Denniss said " Giving thoughtful presents can be a real source of joy to those we love at Christmas time but the growing culture of obligatory giving only gives joy to the big retailers and the big banks whose credit cards are largely funding the annual splurge".

The survey  revealed that, in the previous year, six million Australians received one or more Christmas presents that they never used or later gave away.It was also reported that 4 out of 5 respondents said they wouldn't mind  with a donation to charity on their behalf instead of a normal present*.

Donations to Vinnies help provide services which make a real difference to people’s lives:

  • presents for children,
  • food and clothing
  • practical support for struggling families
  • emotional support for those who have no-one to turn to.

For more, see Australia Institute Media Release 14/12/2010

Best wishes to all for the Christmas Season.

Christmas Appeal

Christmas Appeal

The main news item on the front page of last Week's Catholic Weekly said that the recent increase in the cost of living in NSW is of concern to Vinnies. Dr Andy Marks, Vinnies' Senior Researcher, is quoted as saying " Multiple  increases in the cost of essentials like housing, food, transport and most notably, energy are hitting people hard" and "Parents in the grip of rising living costs fear they can no longer afford to feed their families are cutting back on the bare essentials in order to survive".
This Christmas, Vinnies will spend time helping over half a million people in NSW and you can help too by supporting Vinnies with a donation to the Christmas Appeal.  Your offering will help provide goods and services which make a real difference to people’s lives:such as
  • presents for children,
  • basics like food and clothing,
  • practical support for struggling families,
  • emotional support for those who have no-one to turn to.
Mona Vale conference will be holding Vinnies Christmas Appeal 2011 on the weekend of 10-11 December and envelopes will be provided for donations.

We wish you all every happiness for the Christmas season

Gambling Reform

Gambling Reform

The National Council of the St Vincent de Paul Society, in its latest Media Release stated that it believes the Federal Government has a rare opportunity to address the issue of problem gambling.

Dr John Falzon, CEO, recently attended a meeting of the Australian Churches  Gambling Taskforce which has a commitment to make poker machine gambling safer.

Afterwards,  he said  "The St Vincent de Paul Society supports the Gillard Government’s proposals for mandatory pre-commitment on poker machines. This is a sound measure to help minimise the harm especially associated with high intensity machines".


He added "Rigorous Productivity Commission analysis has found that players lose, on average, $1,200 an hour on these machines" and " the social costs of problem gambling include suicide, depression, relationship breakdown, lower work productivity, job losses, bankruptcy and crime,"


For more, visit http://gamblingreform.org/ and listen to Tim Costello and read relevant news items.


P.S. The Mona Vale Piety Stall has packets of 10 religious Christmas cards for $7 and beautiful Columban Calendars for $8.

Vinnies Logo

Vinnies Logo

The logo which appears on all Vinnies clothing bins and communications shows helping hands of love and compassion.
The top hand represents the hand of Christ blessing the work of Vinnies in bringing comfort, hope and love to those in need. Note the wound on the back of the hand.
The middle hand offers the cup. Your generous gifts and support enables 20,000 Vinnies members and volunteers in NSW to help people in every area of human need.
The lowest hand is the hand of suffering which receives the cup.. Last year 715,000 people in NSW were assisted through specialised care services of the homeless,marginalised and disadvantaged.
Thank you for making a difference.and may the Logo remind you of Vinnies good works when our annual Christmas Appeal comes along.
P.S. Just a reminder about the packets of  religious Chriistmas cards and 2012 Columban Calendars now available at the Mona vale Piey Stall. Put Christ back into Cristmas and the coming year.

No-Interest Loans

No-Interest Loans
The  St Vincent de Paul Society provides no interest loans to poor people who have been residents of the Northern Beaches region for at least the last six months.The aim of the scheme is to protect the rights of low income earners from loan sharks and high interest contracts.
Subject to conditions of residency, income and ability to meet repayments, the Society offers loans of up to $1,000 for essential goods and services from local businesses such as :
  • Household white goods
  • General and medical appliances
  • Water saving appliances, plumbing etc.
An application for the loan has to be filled in and  interviews take place.  If the loan is approved, a cheque is made out payable to the retailer or service supplier.
Loan repayments are related to individual circumstances. Usually they range between $20 and $40 per fortnight, by direct debit, for a period of 12-18 months The privacy and confidentiality of clients is respected at all times.
For more information,  ring 9905 0424
P.S. The Piety Stall now has Columban Calendars 2012 and packets of Christmas cards for sale at good prices.

Vinnies' Blog

Vinnies'  Blog
The anti-poverty message is now being spread by electronic communications in the form of blogs. A blog ( web log ) is a frequent chronological publication of thoughts on a website with web links to sites with related information.
The Vinnies Social Justice Blog( http://blog.vinnies.org.au/ ) is a brand new initiative to mark Anti-Poverty Week. It is designed to engage the public in societal issues such as social justice, mental health, poverty and homelessness.
The 5 most commented articles on it are:
  • 4th annual Gerald Ward Lecture onSocial Justice
  • Women speak out on income management
  • Admiring the homeless
  • Harm Minimisation A “Hand Up” ForProblem Gamblers
  • A lack of affordable housing hurtseveryone

  • On another recent interesting link there is a video interview by Just Salvos with Vinnies CEO. In this interview Dr Falzon explains how Vinnies got started, what we do to help the poor and he discusses social justice concerns such as the asylum seeker issue
    The blog also contains Dr Falcon's latest Tweet's from his conversations on Twitter. and there is even a space for your comments..

    Affordable Housing

    Affordable Housing

    "The basic human rights of many Australians are being compromised due to a lack of affordable housing"- St Vincent de Paul Society.

    Dr John Falzon, National CEO, explained the above statement by saying that "access to safe and secure housing is a basic human right which is is compromised when on any given night around 105,000 Australians are forced to experience homelessness."

    He added "Housing affordability is a problem Australia-wide. There are 173,000 people on public housing waiting lists and a shortage of 493,000 low cost rental properties that are available to low income earners,"

    To help remedy this sorry situation, the Society has joined a new campaign, Australians for Affordable Housing (AAH),together with many Australian housing, welfare and community organisations.

    National President, Mr Anthony Thornton said: "We support the campaign to encourage governments to take a more active role in improving access to affordable housing across the country."

    For more, visit www.housingstressed.org.au

    St Vincent de Paul

    St Vincent de Paul

    Go to the poor: you will find God.
    - St Vincent de Paul

    The Patron Saint of our Society is St Vincent de Paul who was born in 1580 in Pouy, in Southern France, and died in 1660. Vincent was born poor, his father being a farm worker, and he initially longed for a life of wealth

    In 1600, Vincent was ordained a priest. He had an aim of gaining security for himself and his family  On a return trip from Marseilles by boat in 1605 he was captured by Turkish pirates who took him to Tunis where he was sold as a slave. Two years later he escaped with his master whom he converted to Catholicism. Vincent went on to became chaplain to the Queen’s court and ;latter tutor to the wealthy de Gondi family .. In 1612 he became pastor of a parish church just outside Paris where helped the hungry,orphans and old people. He had a gradual change of heart, feeling a call from God to serve the poor and marginalised. After serving the country poor he reached out to help the galley slaves who were under the control of M. de Gondi, visiting them and setting up a hospital for them.

    This holy man also inspired many others, both men and women, to follow his example. He instituted an order of priests, now called the Vincentians, whose mission was to spread the Good News in the villages through preaching and living their lives in charity. He also co-founded the Daughters of Charity, a Catholic order of nuns who are often affectionately called.the flying nuns due to their winged headdress. Both religious orders are now active all over the world spreading the Gospel and helping the poor.

    Vincent was canonised in 1737, his Feast day falls on the 27 September

    Frederick Ozanam

    "The science of charity reform is not transmitted through books and at assemblies'  tribunes as much as by climbing stairs in the home of the poor, kneeling at his bed, suffering from the same cold as he does, and discovering the secret of a grief-stricken heart in the course of a friendly conversation" - Frederic Ozanam
    Blessed Frederic Ozanam, co-founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society, was born in France in 1813 and died in 1853.  During his short lifetime of forty years, Frederic worked as a journalist for two newspapers, studied for doctorates in law and letters, was appointed professor of law and later professor of literature. He also married yet still found time for charity work in the slum areas of Paris.
    Not only did he visit and comfort the needy but tried by his oratory and written work to change the current social order so as to eliminate the prevailing causes of poverty.
    Frederic Ozanam was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1997 and our prayers are frequently offered by the Society Conferences for his Cause for Canonisation.
    P.S. We would like to thank the classes of First Communicants for their thoughtfulness in providing hampers for poor families. The parcels of food were greatly appreciated by the recipients.

    Vinnies' Youth

    Vinnies' Youth
    The video promotion for World Youth Day 2011 was "clip of the month" on You tube and can be seen on www.vinnies.org.au/youth-home-nsw. This youth-orientated Catholic celebration, in rainy Spain, has recently concluded and we are looking forward to seeing pictures of it when attendees from our Parish return.
    Vinnies has a great interest in involving young people in charitable activities and  has set aside many web pages on its website site to let them be aware of how they can help.  A recent article in the Catholic Weekly entitled "Young involved in host of programs at Vinnies"
    gives additional coverage to these neighbourly programs. Some of Vinnies' volunteering activities for young people are:
    Sydney Events
    • Green Team: mows lawns for the elderly
    • Night Patrol:provides food for the hungry homeless
    • Sporting Programs: weekly fun activities for 6-12 year olds
    Broken Bay Events

    Buddies Day:
    mentoring 5- 12 year old disadvantaged kids
    For more information or to volunteer please contact the Broken Bay Youth Coordinator (02) 9495 8306 or by email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Housing Justice

    Housing Justice

    National Homeless Persons’ Week has just passed with the St Vincent de Paul Society drawing attention to the people who are locked out of Australian society and welcoming the Federal Government's commitment to halve the rate of homelessness and offer supported Housing by 2020.

    In the Media Release of the 2nd of August,. Dr John Falzon, CEO, said investment in social housing was a prerequisite to eliminating homelessness. He added that survival on the inadequate Newstart allowance of $34 per day increased a person's vulnerability to homelessness. He also said that it was unjust that one fifth of persons who needed specialist homelessness services last year were  First Peoples of Australia.


    National President, Mr Anthony Thornton, expressed the Society's gratitude for the wonderful community support for our efforts to address homelessness in Australia.


    His final remarks were: "People are pushed into homelessness because of domestic violence, poverty and social inequality. As a prosperous nation, we should at least ensure that all people are given the basic right to housing. This would provide the safe and secure base from which together we can address other problems."

    Energy Bills

    Energy Bills & Carbon Tax
    On the 14th July 2011, the National Council of the SVdP Society issued a Media Release calling for the proposed Government’s Carbon Tax compensation to be made fairer for all Australian households.
    Dr John Falzon, National Council CEO, said "We believe that the Government is making a genuine attempt to address climate change. We also believe that the Government is genuine in its attempt to ensure that most households are appropriately compensated.

    He went on to say "The current compensation package should be improved by allocating part of it through a direct compensation component on power bills rather than exclusively through the tax transfer system.

    Gavin Duffy, Vinnies' Victorian Manager of Policy and Research, added that the proposed package fails to capture some of the differences in impact on various groups of householders.

    He mentioned some factors that need more consideration, such as

    • house location
    • proportion of gas and power used
    • retired vs working householders.
    • income
    • owner vs tenant

    Mr Duffy said  "We are particularly concerned about very low-income households living in rental accommodation. These families have absolutely no room to move when it comes to choices about energy consumption, and little ability to manage the price shock of higher utility bills." .

    for more, visit www.vinnies.org.au.


    According to the United Nations World Institute for Development Economics Research,  the richest 1% of adults in the world owns 40% of the planet’s wealth.
    We in the St Vincent de Paul Society have embraced a vision for the global village in which dignity is the right of all rather than the preserve of the few. - The late Syd Tutton
    Twinning is a partnership between Australia and an overseas country. All Australian conferences are "twinned" with one or more overseas conferences and express neighbourly love to their twins by prayer, correspondence and a quarterly contribution of $80. In the financial year 2009-2010 they were twinned in partnership with more  than 2,000 conferences in more than 14 countries in the Asia Pacific region, mostly in India, Indonesia and the Philippines.
    In the July issue of BBN, John Donnelly, our Diocesan President, reports that $62,126 was granted by NSW conferences for approved twinning projects up to $2,000.
    Such overseas assistance projects sponsored by Vinnies include :
    • provision of goats, cows and poultry,
    • construction of homes and shelters,
    • provision of school meals
    • provision of water tanks and toilets
    as well as projects, of a developmental nature,
    such as:
    • literacy education,
    • technical skills,
    • nurse training
    • support for small enterprises.


    Assist a Student

    Assist a Student
    Millions of children in the Asia and Pacific regions come from very poor families. Most of these children are uneducated  and have little chance of getting work other than hard labour that pays a pittance. The Australian St Vincent de Paul  Society runs an Assist a Student program to help some of them to develop self esteem and skills to make them self sufficient. Education is a major factor in helping their families break out of the vicious cycle of poverty.
    In Pakistan, nearly half a million brick workers are bonded in slave like manner to kiln owners of the brick kilns. Many children of the workers are under 14 and work as labourers alongside their parents. Selected children receive Vinnies' scholarships.
    In poor East Timor these scholarships pay for uniforms, shoes, bags, stationery, fees and transport for farmers' children. A Gallery of photos on Vinnies' website shows children who  have been assisted and their gratitude for this assistance.

    For donation of only $70 to this scheme you will be matched with a student from one of our partner countries who will be given a scholarship for one year. Administration costs are kept to a bare minimum and funded by the Society. So the whole $70 goes to the educational need of the student.A certificate of Appreciation will be sent to you giving the name of the student, country and course of study.

    For more visit www.vinnies.org.au

    Evangelical Simplicity

    Evangelical Simplicity
    The bread which you hold back belongs to the hungry, the coat that you guard in your locked storage chest belongs to the naked, the footwear mouldering in your closet belongs to those without shoes. -  St Basil the Great
    The late Syd Tutton, as National President of Vinnies, wrote an article for the latest issue of The Record which contained the above heading, a picture of St Francis of Assisi and the above challenging quotation.
    This thought-provoking article said that St Francis, unlike his fellow churchmen, chose to be unencumbered by earthly goods. Instead he radiated a simple love of the world, particularly the poor and the natural environment.
    Mr Tutton stated he was astounded by the number of modern day prophets who embody the same Christ-like simplicity that St Francis displayed. In particular he mentions the Aboriginal leader, Patrick Dodson, whom he refers to as "the Father of Reconciliation in Australia", a man with a passion for justice and healing.
    Syd went on to urge Vincentians to think of things we can give up such as possessions and attachment to status or power. He further questioned the emphasis of the Society on fund raising rather than calling other people to join us in our mission, bearing in mind money serves a useful purpose.
    P.S. We could not survive as an organisation without receiving  donations from generous people who support our appeals and deposit clothes in Vinnies' bins. Thank you all.
    Please also note our call for new members.

    My School

    My School


    myschool.edu.aus a website administered by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority that allows parents and students to compare the profiles of Australian schools. It reports data from the annual Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN) tests. There has been a great deal of discussion on the merits of this website.


    Some think it has the benefit of providing information that allows parents to make a better choice of school for their children while others think it discriminates against schools in disadvantaged areas. Dr Andy Marks, Senior Research Officer of the St Vincent de Paul Society, recently wrote an article in the Catholic Weekly on this issue as education is a means of overcoming disadvantage.


    This article entitled "Parents must be given full picture on school outcomes" points out that a comparison of schools on the basis of a few statistical tables does not provide enough information for parents to make optimal decisions for choosing schools. There is more to education than academic studies. As Dr Marks points out, the Catholic School System provides excellent spiritual, ethical and moral values but these can't be given a rating in the My School model. The Catholic Weekly supports Vinnies so please support the Catholic Weekly ( value at only $2 an issue ).

    Asylum Seekers

    Asylum Seekers

    The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia recently urged the Australian Government to stop punishing asylum seekers, bearing in mind its responsibility to protect our borders

    Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon. said "We are deeply troubled both by the Government’s Malaysian Solution as well as by the continued detention of children".

    The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission also says that the Government cannot guarantee that those sent to Malaysia will receive  prompt and transparent processing of their claims for protection; it cannot guarantee that they will have access to work, education, health care or welfare; and it cannot guarantee their physical safety while awaiting a determination.

    Dr Falzon added "We  call on the Government to live up to its international obligations and to observe its own 2008 commitment to use detention in an Immigration Detention Centre only as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time and to end the detention of children.

    The full text of this Media Release 6 June2011 can be found on www.vinnies.org.au

    P.S. Thank you for your generous donations to our Winter Appeal.The people we visit will greatly appreciate your generosity.


    Asylum Seekers

    Asylum Seekers

    The St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia recently urged the Australian Government to stop punishing asylum seekers, bearing in mind its responsibility to protect our borders.

    Chief Executive, Dr John Falzon. said "We are deeply troubled both by the Government’s Malaysian Solution as well as by the continued detention of children". The Catholic Justice and Peace Commission also says that the Government cannot guarantee that those sent to Malaysia will receive prompt and transparent processing of their claims for protection; it cannot guarantee that they will have access to work, education, health care or welfare; and it cannot guarantee their physical safety while awaiting a determination.

    Dr Falzon added "We call on the Government to live up to its international obligations and to observe its own 2008 commitment to use detention in an Immigration Detention Centre only as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time and to end the detention of children. The full text of this Media Release 6 June2011 can be found on www.vinnies.org.au

    P.S. Thank you for your generous donations to our Winter Appeal. The people we visit will greatly appreciate your generosity.

    Indigenous Australians

    Indigenous Australians

    If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.  -Lilla Watson
    National Sorry Day was commemorated on the 26th May by the Sacred Heart Primary School Mona Vale with a liturgy featuring a song "One people, One Land".
    Vinnies is more than a charitable organisation. It has programs to supports the marginalised and disadvantaged. School based Mini Vinnies introduces children to social justice issues,
    Resources in the form of fact sheets are provided for  Mini Vinnies on Vinnies website (www.vinnies.org.au). They include information on
    • the environment
    • disasters
    • spirituality guide
    •  homelessness
    • migrants and refugees
    • Indigenous Australians
    The fact sheet on Indigenous Australians talks about the traditional owners of the land and their strong spiritual attachment to it. Then it talks about the colonisation of Australia, sorry day and the gap between indigenous and non-indigenous Australians. There is also a column of interesting statistical information concerning the first Australians.

    The Federal Budget

    The Federal Budget


    "Please, sir, I want some more." - Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens


    St Vincent de Paul Society National Council CEO, Dr John Falzon, responded to the 2011 Federal Budget In a recent Media Release

    He said “A harsher welfare compliance regime and the extension of compulsory income management are measures that assume that if you are disadvantaged your problem is idleness. Idleness is not the problem. The problem is entrenched inequality". He added “The Government has stated its good intention to train Australians. We support this investment unreservedly. But you don’t create a smart and confident Australia by taking to people with the stick".

    Dr Falzon also says that Vinnies encourages the Government to seriously analyse the actual causes of unemployment and Vinnies applauds initiatives that support people who have lost their jobs. He welcomes the boost to mental health spending. He concludes with "But we cannot condone the Dickensian rhetoric of needing to take a stick to the backs of the poor."

    P.S. The Piety Stall has a stock of items suitable for Confirmation presents which will be available for sale after each Mass at each Church.

    Water and Energy Bills

    Water and Energy Bills

    Members of our Society, in visiting the homes of people who are crying out for help, are often shown energy or water bills which are overdue. Some times there are threats of disconnection. We are usually limited by the number of energy and water vouchers that are provided for us, so we give them food vouchers so they can save money on food to pay their bills. Gavin Duffy, Victorian SVDP Manager of Policy and Research, says, in a recent National Media Release, that the cost of water production using desalination plants must increase if a carbon tax is introduced since desalination can be likened to turning electricity into drinkable water. He goes on to say that, regarding the federal government's proposed compensation, it should consider indexing all pensions and benefits as well as providing direct compensation for essential energy and, where appropriate, water accounts. You can help fill the gap between what the government offers the needy and what it takes tor them to survive by donating to our appeals such as our coming Winter Appeal. For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au

    Prices of Essentials rise

    Prices of Essentials Rise
    Due to the high value of the Australian Dollar, wealthy Australian families can afford to buy relatively cheap non-essentials such overseas holidays, electronic goods, new motor vehicles and designer clothing. However, many Australian households are forced to spend a high proportion of their low income on essentials such as electricity, water, food, transport, health services and rent which are increasing in price.

    "The indications are that more people are hitting hard times and falling into poverty," said Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO of the Australian Council of Social Service in a recent ACOSS Media Release. She adds that " at last count it was estimated that over 2.2 million people in Australia were living in poverty and 105,000 were homeless, but we believe these numbers are likely to be higher ". Victims of the floods would be among the worst hit.

    John Donnelly, our  Diocesan President, says that the Broken Bay Diocesan Office of the St Vincent de Paul Society has forwarded $169,254.40 to the various state offices for the recent flood appeal. Our thanks goes to all contributors to this worthy cause. For more information on the part played by Vinnies in disaster relief please read his article "The Flood Appeal" in the latest issue of the BBN magazine.

    Our New National President

    Our New National President

    Shanghai‐born Canberra man, Anthony Thornton, has recently been elected as the new President of the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council of Australia.

    Mr. Thornton was earlier awarded an MBE for his service in the Royal Australian Air Force. He  has been a member of the St Vincent de Paul Society for 17 years and has held positions of President of the Society's Canberra‐Goulburn Central Council and the Society's National Secretary.

    On his election, Anthony Thornton said that he looks forward to listening to the people on the ground and working closely with them to build a more just and compassionate Australia.

    Mr. Thornton also said: "We are ordinary people lending a hand to anyone in need. We've never done this with any fanfare and we're not about to start. We will, however, continue to be a strong voice for the people who have been pushed to the edges of Australian society: people doing it tough on pensions and benefits, people in low‐paid work, people who are homeless, people who live with a mental illness, asylum seekers and members of the First Peoples who have been dispossessed and excluded."

    We welcome our new National President and hope that, over the next four years of holding office, he will inspire more Catholics, young and old, to become members of our charitable institution.

    Asylum Seekers

    Asylum Seekers

    The St Vincent de Paul Society has for many years helped asylum seekers who have fled war, persecution, injustice or intolerance. Some parish conferences even visit those incarcerated in Detention Centres. The Society has also made a number of social justice statements relevant to the treatment of the new arrivals.

    In a Media Release ( 5 Jul 2010 ) National CEO, Dr Falzon, said "the Society urges the Prime Minister to show true leadership rather than pandering to the racism and rhetoric of those who raise the alarm over the miniscule number of people seeking asylum in our great country. We host only 0.2% of the global refugee population. For every one asylum seeker there are 20 new permanent immigrants to Australia.”

    On 24 Sept 2010, the Society issued another Media Release calling  on the Federal Government to use detention in an Immigration Detention Centre only as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time and to end the detention of children.

    Such advocacy has had good results. The government has taken steps to speed up processing and will gradually release many unaccompanied minors and family groups with children from immigration detention.

    .For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au

    A daughter of Charity

    A Daughter of Charity
    "Love the poor and honor them as you would honour Christ Himself" Louise de Marillac
    Born out of wedlock, in France in 1581, Louise de Marillac was raised by her father and later an aunt who was a nun. She married and became widowed early. Louise socialised with the nobility but, at prayer, had a vision of serving the poor while living as a nun in a community.
    In 1633, St Vincent de Paul in collaboration with Louise de Marillac, founded the Daughters of Charity, a group of nuns who can be remembered for their distinctive winged headdress - remember The TV series "The Flying Nun"..
    This Catholic organisation carried out many charitable works including
    • Setting up hospitals
    • Opening up orphanages
    • Managing soup kitchens
    • Teaching women to read
    • Assisting for the elderly
    • Helping the mentally ill
    • Visiting prisoners,
    • Aiding the wounded in war
    In 1934, Louise de Marillac was canonized by Pope Pius XI and.in 1960 she was declared Patroness of Christian Social Workers by Pope John XXIII .Her feast day is March 15.

    New Members Needed - Please Help.

    New Members Needed - Please Help.
    The Mona vale St. Vincent de Paul Conference is appealing to anyone who may be able to devote a little time to inject "new blood" into our membership and commitment to assist the poor and disadvantaged in our parish and beyond.
    Young to middle-aged members are especially needed and our experience is that active semi-retired or recently retired women and men find the Society's work stimulating and rewarding.  You may devote as little time or more as you wish - there is no pressure whatsoever - just come along to a meeting, held on the 1st and 3rd. Tuesdays of every month at 5 PM in the Parish Centre, and discover what St. Vincent de Paul is all about.  Meetings last about an hour (or less) and you will be made very welcome.
    Younger members may be inspired by a special "Prayer for Youth" recited before our Conference meeting
    For Youth -Lord we pray especially for the young people of Australia that they will be inspired by the Spirit and example of Blessed Frederic Ozanam and St. Vincent de Paul, that their voices will be heard and thus bring renewal to our great work of neighbourly love.
    Should you wish to enquire further about the Society, please leave your name and phone number at the Piety Stall after Mass, or ask to talk to any one of our members.
    Thank you - Adrian Calleia  ( President ).

    Krank'n Studios

    Krank'n Studios

    Last December, ARIA Award winner Diesel opened Krank’n Studio for Vinnies' Youth Reach in Brookvale. This professional music studio will provide local youth and young adults with the opportunity to develop skills which could turn into professional careers.

    Krank’n Studio is a fully equipped and sound-proof recording and rehearsal space which comes with an extensive range of equipment including

    • an electric piano,
    • electric and standard drum kits,
    • electric and acoustic guitars,
    • Jam Hub, ‘Snake’, amps,
    • speakers and microphones,
    • an IMac computer,
    • Cubase music software,
    • a mixing desk.
    This Studio is an initiative of Youth Reach that aims to support young people, aged 13-24, who are affected by factors such as homelessness, family breakdown, substance abuse, domestic violence, and unemployment.

    Disadvantaged youthful musicians can use the Studio free of charge. ‘Older’ performing or amateur musicians can also use it at a very reasonable fee. Bookings can be made through Youth Reach on 9907 2604.

    Rosalie House

    Rosalie House

    “You will go and visit the poor ten times a day, and ten times a day you will find God there".
    St Vincent de Paul

    Sr Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity, had the above thoughts in her mind every day, Frederic Ozanam, our founder, often came to her office to seek help in giving assistance to the poor of Paris in the first half of the19th century.
    Rosalie House, a newly-established accommodation facility for  middle aged women who have escaped from domestic violence, has been named in her honour. It is interesting to note that her family also gave refuge to priests who suffered religious persecution.
    There is a story in last week's Catholic Weekly about how "Rosalie House helps Daisy put her life back together". Daisy, a migrant from South Africa, one day was "bashed up so badly" by her ex-partner that she was forced to get to hospital. She is now living at Rosalie House in the company of two other women all of whom have been offered up to two years subsidised accommodation to give them time to heal and find a real home. Without this help they would be sleeping rough and lucky to survive.

    Sydney Tutton

    Sydney Tutton

    Syd gave himself completely in the cause of people who are pushed to the margins of society,  both globally and locally
    Dr. John Falzon
    Dr Falzon, National CEO of Vinnies' National Council, wrote the  obituary of Syd Tutton which appeared in the Catholic Weekly and in SMH Timelines. He described Syd as a man of action who was a fighter for social justice and as a charity worker who fought for the needy.
    Syd Tutton grew up in a working class Richmond, left school at fourteen and continued his studies at night to become a certified public accountant, He was involved in cricket and football associations and also collected paintings. He  loved classical music, even asking taxi drivers to change the radio station to ABC Classic FM.
    Syd served the St Vincent de Paul Society for more than forty years. including five as the Victorian State President, two as National Secretary and four as National President. He was also on the board of our Society's International Council General in Paris.In 2009, he was awarded a Papal Knighthood. Being uninterested in personal recognition, he jokingly threatened to ask the Vatican for a horse to go with it
    Mona Vale Vincentians offered their prayers for Syd and his family at their last meeting.

    Flood Relief Appeal

    Thank you for a wonderful response, last weekend, to the Vinnies Flood Relief - results will be published in this column in coming weeks.
    A reminder  that parishioners can continue to donate to the appeal this weekend.  (Jan. 29/30) as all monies placed in the Poor Box at Mona Vale will again be allocated to the Flood Relief. Donations can also be left at the Piety Stall after masses - Please leave your details if a receipt is required for Tax purposes
    Thank you again on behalf of all those we will now be able to assist at this tragic time, when many have lost everything, even loved ones.
    We pray that God will sustain and comfort them.
    Adrian Calleia - President - Mona Vale Conference.
    Result Christmas Appeal - Parish of Pittwater.

    Congratulations  - Avalon and Mona Vale Parishioners.  The final total for the Vinnies Christmas Appeal was $12,845 - an excellent result - THANK YOU.

    Flood Victims

    Flood Victims

    We have all been saddened by the tragic loss of life and property in the recent floods particularly the devastation in Queensland. Everyone wants to do their bit and you can donate to the Vinnies Flood Appeal as follows 

    1.  All monies placed in the Poor Box or Disaster Appeal Envelopes at back of Churches for the next 2 weekends (22/23 Jan. 2011) will be applied to the Flood Appeal. With Fr.George's permission, our conference members will stand outside the Church after masses this weekend (22/23 Jan.) with buckets marked "Qld Flood Appeal" to accept your donations.

    2.  Donations can be left at the Piety Stall after Mass as amounts over $2 are tax deductable; please leave your name and address with us if a Receipt is required - if preferred, leave your details along with your donation/cheque in the Poor Box this weekend or next and we will post a receipt.

    3.  Donations can be made online at www.vinnies.org.au

    On behalf of the Flood Victims who have lost so much - THANK YOU and God Bless You for your generosity.

    Reg Maher
    Mona Vale Conference

    Paul Miller
    Avalon Conference

    Shop for Life

    Shop for Life

    On Vinnies' website  you will now find a link to a YouTube video entitled Shop for Life - Visit Vinnies. This video was sourced from Kerri-Anne, Nine Network. It shows an avid Vinnies' customer displaying goods he bought from Vinnies' stores, allowing him to completely decorate his home. The video ends with Kerri-Anne being presented with an LP record of Bette Middler songs bought at Vinnies for $5.

    The smaller Vinnies' op shops, like the ones in Mona Vale and Dee Why, usually contain fashionable clothing, glassware, jewellery, books, toys, records and antiques while the larger stores like Brookvale also have items of furniture, pictures, whitegoods and musical instruments. Seek and you will find small treasures for low prices.

    When you shop at Vinnies' Centres of Charity you’re helping us to provide services for the needy in the community. You can also help by providing goods that can be sold or provided to our needy clients.

    P.S. The St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland has opened its online Vinnies Christmas Flood Appeal (see www.vinnies.org.au)


    At the beginning of the new year I offer good wishes to each and all for serenity and prosperity, but especially for peace.
    From the message of His Holiness for the Celebration of the World Day of Peace, 1 January 2011.
    Our Founder, Frederic Ozanam, well knew the connection between love and peace and the importance of peace for human development.All individuals, communities, nations and governments need to work hard to end and avoid conflict.
    Last year, St Francis Xavier Primary School, Ballina Year 2  had an interesting  ‘Peace Day’. They came to school dressed as hippies, made up a list of compliments that they could give each other, designed posters to promote peace in the school, wrote prayers for peace and sang peace songs.
    P.S. The Piety Stall has beautiful 2011 Columban Calendars on sale for $7.

    Young Volunteers

    Young Volunteers
    Frederic Ozanam was only a 20 year old university student when he founded the St Vincent de Paul Society in Paris. Many young people in Australia now follow his example by giving up their time and energy to improve the lives of disadvantaged people.
    Vinnies'Young Adults, 18-35 years olds, are involved in the following activities :
    • home visitations in pairs
    • refugee tutoring programs
    • befriending the mentally ill
    • visiting detention centres
    • serving on Night Patrol vans
    • kid's camps and Buddy days
    For more, visit the Vinnies Youth website  www.vinnies.org.au/youth-home-nsw.

    The last verse of a poem entitled A Child's Joy by FR Kevin Conin SJconveys the season's best wishes to you and your families.

    At Christmas,as through the coming year
    may you find warm,enfolding love
    Lifting you with Father's strength
    Sustaining you in gifted peace


    On International Volunteers Day ( December 5 ), the St Vincent de Paul Society National Council  saluted the generosity of volunteers across Australia.

    The comments made by our National President, Mr Syd Tutton, included the following:

    "The St Vincent de Paul Society is one of the largest global volunteering organizations with 950,000 members in some 132 countries worldwide. In Australia there are around 40,000 people involved in volunteer work for the Society."

    "Every day the grassroots members of the St Vincent de Paul Society stand in solidarity with people who have been pushed to the margins and who personally suffer the impacts of growing inequality. :

    "I salute the spirit of volunteering in Australia. At a time when we are encouraged by consumerist culture to think only about ourselves, the spirit of volunteering sends a strong message that real inner peace and a powerful sense of purpose come from the willingness to do something for each other." "

    For more visit www.vinnies.org.au

    Many thanks

    Many Thanks

    Our sincere thanks goes to all parishioners who contributed to our Christmas Appeal 2010. Your gift will help make tomorrow a better day for a needy family or individual;
    Altruism, like mercy, is twice blessed. It blesses both the giver and the receiver. Furthermore, according to recent scientific research, giving to less fortunate people increases the happiness of the donor and even may improve the donor's health. So with some confidence, Vinnies wishes you all a happy and healthy Christmas.
    Christmas giving, inspired by the Three Wise Men and St Nicholas, rises above the commercialisation of the season which substitutes Xmas for Christmas. Perhaps $mas would be more appropriate!
    On the other hand, Vinnies' Christmas cards are designed to put Christ back into Christmas, bringing out the real meaning of this holy anniversary. These religious cards are available at the Piety Stall for the reasonable cost of $5.50 for a pack of 10 cards.
    Anyone who missed out on the Christmas Appeal last weekend can still get envelopes from the Piety Stall. We will be grateful to accept donations over the Christmas period. Please return the filled-in envelopes to the Piety Stall or drop them in the Poor Box. Receipts are available - please tick the appropriate box.

    The three wise men

    The Three Wise Men

    The Three Wise Men that journeyed a long way to visit the newborn Jesus brought valuable gifts for Him. Today, you too can emulate their generous actions by giving money to the poor, the homeless and the marginalised via our 2101 Christmas Appeal, particularly if you can see Christ in the needy as Mother Theresa did.
    Many of the clients that our volunteers visit tell us a sad story of  how their poor situation has come about. We  listen sympathetically to their problems. Some are behind in their rent because they have been made redundant or are unable to work due to an accident or sickness. Others have had a marriage break up or have otherwise lost their partner. Many have children that need to be fed, clothed, educated and kept healthy.
    Your gifts can help make tomorrow a better day for our needy clients. Envelopes can be found on the Church seats and can be filled with money or have credit/debit card details written on them. Then just put them on the collection plate or the Poor Box or hand them in at the Piety Stall. All donations, no matter how small, will be gratefully received and may be tax deductible.

    From everyone at Vinnies, we wish you a happy and safe Christmas.
    P.S.     You can also support Vinnies by buying your Christmas Cards at the Piety Stall for the reasonable price  of 10 cards for $5.50.

    A confused man called Peter

    A Confused Man Called Peter

    Peter is a confused, homeless man whose mental illness has separated him from family and friends, His story, entitled "A jumble of thoughts and carefully tended clothes". is written up in Vinnies' section of a recent issue of the Catholic Weekly Most likely, his real name is not Peter which is given in order to protect his privacy.

    We are told Peter lives in a corner of a disused, rat infested and graffiti decorated building in Sydney, with other homeless men and women. He rarely sleeps due to his illness and during the day he walks aimlessly, except for his visit to Matthew Talbot Homeless Services where he washes and carefully irons his clothes. However he does not seek a bed there..

    We are told he used to have managerial status, perhaps in the rag trade and that was probably why he was so fastidious about his appearance.

    This is but one of the sad stories from the passing parade, stories that Vinnies' volunteers are accustomed to hear.

    This story is a reminder that Vinnies' Christmas Appeal entitled "Make Tomorrow a Better Day" is coming soon (5-6/12/10) giving you a chance to help people in need at this charitable time of year. For now, please support the Catholic Weekly. It only costs $2.

    Pittwater International Festival

    Pittwater International Festival


    I would like to express my sincere thanks to so many people, all of which I hope I am able to mention, for a truly wonderful day at our 2010 Pittwater International Festival.


    I hoped we created an opportunity for all our Parishioners to engage in and participate as a Parish Community in a practical and meaningful way, and together we raised approximately $15,000.


    To start we were blessed with a wonderful sunny day.


    Thank you to each of you, the Parishioners, who donated thousands of books, pre-loved items, cakes, lollies, wine , gift vouchers , prizes, and volunteered so much of your time.


    We had groups sewing, painting, gluing, wrapping, packing lolly bags, sorting through rooms full of pre-loved books and items, baking, transporting items from the Parish Centre and Office to the School, attending numerous meetings (that often went till very late), and remaining positive throughout many months of planning.


    To all the local businesses that supported our Parish Community –

    Hyland Beauty, Matthew Hyland & Fox Sports, Jennifer & Thomas Hoolohan, Pittwater Cellars, Retravision Mona Vale, Produce to Perfection, Mezza Grill, Pandora , Waterfront Store, A Bientot & Bakers Delight.

    Your participation in this event is much appreciated.



    To Julie Caldwell – The Principal of Sacred Heart Primary School Mona Vale for providing such a wonderful venue for the Parish, for all your time, and for all the promotion of our festival in your school newsletters


    To Kathy Gee – the Principal of Maria Regina Primary School Avalon – for all your, and your staff’s support within your school community. For all the promotion of our festival in your school newsletter – thank you.


    To Mater Maria College for providing entertainment and supervision.

    To our schools for your wonderful students who entertained us with their bands. Thank you for your participation in this, it was so lovely to see so many children on stage and their families joining in.


    For all the stall holders : Miranda Papandrea, Anna Smyth, Pam Alexopolous, , Julie Ann Tindall, Di Oedendall, Sally Egan, Dee Donlan, Felicity Dennis, Lisa Williamson, Michael Gallagher, Tamara Harding, Tony Macri, Julie Tyler, Laura Ee, Maureen Suggitt, Stefan Wasinski, Mark Horton, Kay Kenny, – and to their numerous helpers who so willingly spent many hours on their feet manning these stalls .


    Thank you to Simon Hyland and the soul team – Lauren, Luke, Michael and Kieron for your stage presence and performance. The soul team, who supported in many areas - Danni and Lauren, Jordan, Rianne , Hannah, Clare, Joe, Holly, Adam, Matt, Sean and to Chloe and Luke for their wonderful entertainment.

    Thank you to the Senior Servers for their many hours spent on the bbq – hundreds of sausages were cooked.


    Thank you to the Italian Food stall – Pam Malone students of Mater Maria and her wonderful team of helpers. To Adora Barbacetto , Putri Rosati and Adele Ramos on the Asian Food stall . Hundreds of servings of food were prepared during the day .

    For all my staff here in the Parish - thank you for all you’ve contributed – particularly many extra hours of your time in the preparation leading up to Saturday. I would like to also thank their spouses and families for all the generous time they gave for setting up for the day, and packing away.


    For the numerous other volunteers who worked tirelessly for months.


    To Tony Macri - who introduced the concept of an International Festival within the Parish many months ago and to the amazing organizing committee:

    Tony Macri, Nicole Ovens, Miranda Papandrea, Suzy Caruso, Adora Barbacetto, Fr Sebastian.


    Fr George.

    Vinnies' Sydney Congress

    Vinnies' Sydney Congress
    The November issue of BBN contains an interesting article on the St Vincent de Paul Society Congress held at St Scholastica College, Glebe, last September. The author, John Donnelly, Vinnies' Broken Bay Diocesan President, comments on four Social Justice issues raised by Dr, Andy Marks, Chief Research Officer, in the opening Forum presentation.  Questions raised included the following:
    • Trust : How do we establish trust with the clients we visit?
    • Communication ; How can members get information about the workings of the Society?
    • Politics:  How do we give a voice to the voiceless?
    • Mental Health:Should more protection be given to those with mental illness?
    John went on to say that Fr Frank Bennett SJ OA spoke at the Conference giving figures showing specific disadvantaged groups in Australia, in particular, Mental Health. He added that Mental Health received much comment and discussion throughout the Congress.
    For more, read the article on page 20 of the Broken Bay News - Issue 140.
    P.S. Graham West MP, the former Minister for Juvenile Justice, Youth and Volunteering, and a member of the Society for 20 years has been appointed the new CEO.of NSW commencing early next year.

    The Emigrants' Friend

    The Emigrants' Friend
    Caroline Chisholm, known as the emigrants' friend, for her tireless work in helping  poor, homeless, single girls and  families who migrated to Australia in search of a better life but found there were no jobs for them or places to live.
    Caroline Chisholm; like Mary Mackillop, was also a migrant, with a great love of the poor and an organising ability which was put to work to help them. Caroline, unlike Mary, was married, not a nun, and was a convert to Catholicism,  brought up in an Evangelical family, not a Catholic one.
    In 1841, Carolyn, on seeing the destitute, at-risk girls living on the filthy streets of Sydney, decided to shelter some of them in her home. She then persistently lobbied Governor Gipps for a place to house them. Eventually he gave her the use of a rat infested, wooden building in the Immigration Barracks in Bent Street where she established the Female Immigrants Home. She went further on with her charitable plan, meeting every migrant ship coming into the harbour, interviewing the girls and seeking employment for them on farms.
    Riding on a white horse, she escorted parties of girls on drays into the interior. These girls were terrified of the bush as they had heard stories of blacks, bushrangers and bunyips. It did not take long for her to set up resting stages and employment agencies at a dozen rural centres and gain public support. Over the following years, her diligence helped her find jobs and homes for thousands of immigrants, single girls and families.
    There is much more to her story which can be found in her biography by Margaret Kiddle, available at Avalon Catholic Church Library after Sunday Mass.

    Asylum Seeker Children

    Asylum Seeker Children
    "Mandatory Detention, especially of children, must end." -  St Vincent de Paul Society 24 Sept 2010
    The above statement was the heading of a National Council media release calling on the Federal Government to fulfill the commitment it made in 2008 to use detention in an Immigration Detention Centre only as a last resort and for the shortest practicable time and to end the detention of children.
    Dr John Falzon, National Council CEO, said: "The continued detention of people who pose no danger to the community is unjustifiable by any moral standard " He added that we are particularly dismayed by having 645 children in detention arrangements in Australia. He also referred to a remark by Professor Patrick McGorry that immigration detention centres were "factories for producing mental illness".

    Professor McGorry is 2010 Australian of the year and a world-renowned expert in mental illness. He says that detainees often suffered anxiety, depression, trauma symptoms and behavioural withdrawal. He warns that mandatory detention centres run by private prison operators as well as being surrounded by razor wire could exacerbate mental illness in the third of detainees who have already suffered war trauma or torture before seeking refuge in Australia..

    The good news is that the Government is now taking steps to release many asylum seeker children and their families from detention. Lobbying by the St Vincent de Paul Society and others has been worthwhile.

    For more, see vinnies.org.au and SlowTV on the net.

    Mother to the poor

    Mother to the Poor

    Seek first the poorest and most neglected parts of God’s vineyard. Mary McKillop

    Mary MacKillop. soon to be canonised, loved the the poor as a mother loves her children, giving them a level of dignity and compassion. Mary established a Catholic school system for children in poor circumstances, many from Irish immigrant families.She also cared for the neglected in the society of her time - orphans, the homeless and the elderly.

    The St Vincent de Paul Society recognises Mary as a holy mother to the poor and puts some Special Works under her patronage. For example,MacKillop Lodge is a property used as holiday accommodation for disadvantaged families and individuals, providing a much-needed break and rest for those under severe stress and unable to afford any sort of holiday.

    Then there is Mary Mackillop Outreach which provides social, educational, recreational and prevocational programs for people who have a mental illness and/or disability by means of bus outings, activities on site and the  Men’s Shed.

    Mackillop Family Services is another Vinnies' good work which bears her name. It provides specialist support for Victoria's most vulnerable young people.and their families as well as advocating for social change.

    The poor in Western Sydney

    The Poor in Western Sydney

    Caroline Chisholm Centre For Social Justice is a work St Vincent de Paul Society offering residents in the Mt Druitt area the opportunity for community support and development. Many of the  residents are severely disadvantaged due to homelessness, unemployment especially youth unemployment, lower than average wages and poor health, particularly poor mental health  - some having suicidal thoughts.
    The Centre also offers services such as
    • help in accessing legal aid
    • probation and parole support
    • budget and financial counselling
    • liaising with housing department
    • help with employment needs
    • anger management
    • parenting skills
    • transpersonal art therapy
    The work of the Centre adopts a holistic approach aiming to educate their disadvantaged clients to help themselves make right decisions. Transpersonal art therapy uses art as the process of healing.. Images that the clients create can reveal to them new insights. This process can help them verbalise overwhelming emotions and trauma leading them to positive change and growth.
    For more see an article by Dr Andy Marks in The Catholic Weekly which is entitled "War on poverty: a dispatch from the western front".

    Mental Illness

    Mental Illness
    The St Vincent de Paul Society wants to help disadvantaged people, in particular those with  severe mental illness. These, our neighbours, are often stigmatised and ostracised due to ignorance and fear.
    In NSW,  the Society's State Council's has set up a department of Care of People Living with a Mental Illness in order to get greater acceptance of the mentally ill so that they can live happier lives.This department  provides relevant education /advice for conference members and for other works of the Society e.g. homeless services and centres of charity.  It also liaises with government and key professional people about the welfare of individuals and groups of people living with a mental illness.
    Our Society also provides the following programs to support the mentally ill:
    • Compeer : a volunteer social program that uses the power of friendship to help lonely people with mental illnesses live more satisfying lives.
    • Mary MacKillop Outreach which provides social, educational and recreational  programs for mentally ill people residing in licensed boarding houses and group homes in Sydney’s inner west.
    • Mate Helping Mate that provides a recreational community environment  that encourages farming men to open up and discuss stressful issues which are depressing them such as drought, floods or the economy.
    For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au


    The above title is a cute acronym for " St Vincent de Paul Society Assisting Refugee Kids ".  This Special Work takes place in a dozen primary schools in Western Sydney, helping over 200 young refugee children, from many different countries to adapt to life in their new culture.
    There is an after school homework and activities club for infants and primary school refugee children called Bright Sparks. There is also a child minding group called Little Sparks for preschoolers who have brothers or sisters attending Bright Sparks. Teachers and local community volunteers run the Bright Sparks activity while professional care is provided for the Little Sparks groups.
    Both these activity groups are aimed at giving the children confidence in themselves in developing their learning and social skills while they are taking part in interesting creative and recreational activities. At the same time, parents can take part in a English language Family Group activity which gives them  support from each other and the volunteers. There are also chances for them to get together to discuss topics such as housing, parenting, education and nutrition in Community Forums.

    .The system is working well and more schools are becoming involved. It is interesting to note that Clare Thompson, an organiser of Spark, has recently  been awarded a Churchill Fellowship to travel overseas to investigate similar refugee services.

    The economy means everyone

    The Economy Means Everyone

    In a recent Press Release,  National President of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia, Mr Syd Tutton,, has urged both sides of politics to focus on  people who have been pushed to the edges of Australian Society. 

    Mr Tutton says that members of the St Vincent de Paul Society, who see the Australian face of exclusion every day, long for an Australia free from entrenched disadvantage and  they stand with all the maginalised, including

    • aged pensioners
    • young people
    • the disabled
    • the unemployed
    • low-paid families,
    • sole parents,
    • the homeless,
    • the First Peoples of this country
    He also thinks that asylum seekers should be given a fair go as they are acing legitimately in applying for asylum here.
    For more, see www.vinnies.org.au
    P.S. . The combined  contributions of over sixteen thousand dollars to the Winter Appeal 2010 shows the generosity of Pittwater parishioners. Our conferences and and clients greatly appreciate your thoughtfulness.

    The Good Word

    The Good Word

    God walks among the pots and pans. - Saint Teresa of Avila

    When members of the St Vincent de Paul Society first meet up with clients they are often surprised to learn that the client thinks that the Society is a charitable organisation without any religious affiliation. They just know us as Vinnies.

    There is however a dimension of spirituality to the Society of which we make them aware. We can give them a picture card of our founder, Frederic Ozanam, that tells them about the Catholic origins of our organisation. If they are connected to the internet, we can direct them to Vinnies' website where there is a page about Vincentian Spirituality which summarises the mission of the Society well.

    Also on this website are copies of a newsletter called The Good Word which makes interesting reading about life and social justice. The above leading quotation is quoted in the latest edition of this newsletter under the heading "Living Life Simply".

    This edition also contains a recommendation of the  book Holy Simplicity, The Little Way of Mother Teresa, Dorothy Day and Therese of Lisieuxby Joel Schorn,who says that "they all found holiness in letting God’s love flow into the most ordinary tasks”.

    Asylum Seekers

    Asylum Seekers

    Put People before Polls on Refugees:St Vincent de Paul Society

    Media Release5/7/2010

    Two leaders of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia have recently suggested that asylum seekers should be treated as our neighbours not political footballs.

    In the above Media Release, Mr Syd Tutton, National President said  “The St Vincent de Paul Society urges the [ new ] Prime Minister to show true leadership on this matter rather than pandering to the racism and rhetoric of those who raise the alarm over the miniscule number of people seeking asylum in our great country. We host only 0.2%  the global refugee population. For every one asylum seeker there are 20 new permanent immigrants to Australia.”

    Dr John Falzon, National Chief Executive, added: “....The St Vincent de Paul Society calls on the Government to deal calmly with hysterical claims from the Opposition that our national security is threatened by vulnerable people seeking asylum.

    " The Prime Minister knows that these people are not acting illegally in seeking asylum in this manner and that Australia has an international obligation to deal with their applications fairly...."

    Contact: Dr John Falzon 0421332247

    Fresh Start

    Fresh Start

    There has been some recent media coverage of the placement of the NSW State Council under temporary administration of the National Council by Mr Syd Tuttonn, National President of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia.

    To clarify the situation, the National Council has released a statement entitled "Fresh Start for Vinnies NSW State Council". In this release, Mr Tutton said: "This is a move to return the Society in NSW to the grassroots members, out of respect for their magnificent dedication to the Mission on the ground to people on the margins".

    Mr Tutton thought that a culture of over – corporatisation had developed within the senior administration of NSW and this needed to be changed so as to ensure that the Society could fulfil its mission of support for the most marginalised members of society.

    The National Council has now appointed a committee of management to oversee the process of cultural change. It is to be assisted by a National Reconciliation Committee and a committee of investigation to allow members and staff to tell their stories as part of the healing and changing process.

    For more, read the Media Release onwww.vinnies.org.au or see the relevant article in last week's Catholic Weekly.

    Mini Vinnies

    Mini Vinnies
    Mini Vinnies is a group of children in a primary school who get together to help the needy within their school and local community. It gives the children insight into the the workings of and history of St Vincent de Paul Society, allows them to discuss social justice issues and helps them put what they learn about Religion into practice.
    See, Think, Do’ is the learning model used by Mini Vinnies:
    • 'See'involves making members of the group aware of some of the social ills in the community and helps them to develop empathy for the poor and marginalised.
    • 'Think' involves group participation in spiritual activities and discussions so that they will come to understand some of the causes of social problems in the world and how these problems might be alleviated.
    • ‘Do' involves support of our Society in its good works by community service and fundraising.

    Sacred Heart Catholic Primary School Mona Vale has a Mini Vinnies group which will be participating in the "Wrap Your Love" knitting project.

    For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au , click on Publications -> Youth Resources.

    P,S. Our grateful thanks goes to all Pittwater Parish donors to our Winter Appeal 2010 which, so far, has raised $15,000. We will still accept any donations - envelopes can be obtained at the Piety Stall.

    Matt Talbot

    The Venerable Matt Talbot
    Matthew Talbot lived in poverty in Dublin from 1856 to 1925. He left school to work in wine and whiskey stores where he became a chronic alcoholic at twelve years of age. Later on, he frequented hotels, spending most of his money on drink and he even stole a fiddle from a busker to convert it into cash in order to satisfy his addiction
    When he became broke, aged 28, he took the pledge to give up drink and was always sober from then on. With the guidance of Dr Michael Hickey, a Philosophy Professor, he became as devout as a monk, wearing chains and cords for penance, becoming a member of a number of Catholic lay societies and attending daily mass.
    Throughout his life he worked hard as a builder's labourer and was respected for his charity towards his poor neighbours. He lived in a small flat and slept on a board with a wooden headrest.
    After he died he was declared to be Venerable by Pope Paul VI. He is sometimes known as the patron saint for alcoholics although he is still waiting for a couple of miracles for canonisation. The Matthew Talbot Hostel in Sydney, which has an association with Alcoholics Anonymous, is well named.


    Our Homeless Services

    Our Homeless Services
    Matthew Talbot Homeless Services is a special work of the St Vincent de Paul Society in NSW. John Donnelly, our Diocesan President, has written an excellent article about this service in the latest Broken Bay News (bbn).
    Mr Donnelly describes the four Centres that belong to this service:
    1. Matthew Talbot Hostel ( The Talbot )
    2. The Ozanam Learning Centre
    3. Vincentian House
    4. Frederick House
    The first of these, The Talbot, is a hostel for homeless men providing meals, showers, clothing, laundry, recreational activities and overnight accommodation. The second is a an educational centre for city people. The third provides crisis accommodation for homeless families with children and single women. The the last is a palliative care facility for men.
    He goes on to discuss the history of The Talbot premises and the good work of volunteers, particularly those from the Broken Bay Diocese. He mentions one group of volunteers who recently attended a training course in Pastoral Care to assist with Sunday Mass Ministry and help the social and spiritual needs of The Talbot homeless.
    P.S.  The Winter Appeal 2010 is still going on. Envelopes are available the Piety Stall and may be returned there or put in the Poor Box.

    Winter Appeal- thanks

    Winter Appeal Thanks
    Many thanks to those compassionate parishioners who listened well to our Mona Vale Conference President's talk about Vinnies' Good Works after Mass last weekend and who generously opened their wallets to the bucket or envelope collections.
    Vinnies' Winter Appeal 2010 has the title "No One Should Have To Know This"where "This" refers to the survival techniques that the down and out have to know in order to survive throughout the cold, long and often lonely winter months.

    How to keep warm, How to avoid violence on the streets, How to find a cheap place to sleep, How to save on food, How to mend torn clothes are questions that those in crisis have to know about. Charity can also help the needy survive.

    There are many appeals from various worthy charitable organisations at this time of year but Vinnies' Winter Appeal stands out because Vinnies has experienced volunteers who visit the homes of poor people, listen to their troubles and dispense help according to their needs.
    To make a donation now, use the envelopes provided and place them on the collection plate, in the Poor Box or leave them at the Piety Stall. Your generous support is greatly appreciated by our Conference and our clients.

    Ten things

    Supporters of the St Vincent de Paul Society may have found a small booklet with the above intriguing title in last week's mail. Vinnies recently asked some struggling people how they survive on a daily basis. Ten of their Reponses were published in the booklet. A brief summary appears below.
    1. Cheapest rent : storage space @ $300 p.m. ( Unemployed person )
    2. It's safer sleeping rough if you are in a group ( Homeless person )
    3. Pick up the kids' toys before he gets home ( Survivor of domestic violence )
    4. Shower at the beach if no one is around ( person living in a car)
    5. Everyday cheap meal : cooked sausages ( Farmer in a drought zone )
    6. Ring 000 if mummy falls down unconscious ( Daughter of a drug addict )
    7. Find places to hide your belongings by day ( Homeless )
    8. I  spend cash sensibly as soon as I get it ( recovering alcoholic )
    9. I drive my child around to stop him screaming ( Mother of a child with a mental disability )
    10. Learn to shallow breathe for busted ribs ( Victim of domestic violence )
    Help the thousands that know these things. Donate to our Winter Appeal on 5-6 June

    Charity Race Day

    Charity Race Day
    VinniesHomeless Services have arranged a Charity Race Day event at Rosehill Gardens Racecourse on Saturday, 22nd May 2010.  Funds raised by this event will support ‘Our Lady of the Way’ refuge.
    This refuge is located  privately in outer western Sydney and accommodates older single women who are often victims of domestic violence. For thirteen years, over seven hundred women have called this place home, allowing them to take their first steps towards independence.
    Vinnies has appointed Kim Waugh as Ambassador for the Race Day. On her website,  Kim says   "Its always been a passion of mine, and a real worry the amount of people out there living homeless, not just in our society but worldwide. This is a way in which I can help raise awareness of the problem and do some fundraising for this organisation to help less fortunate people out."
    Kim invites like minded people to a fun and colourful day out featuring horse racing, auctions, prizes for the best dressed, lucky door prizes and sumptious food.  

    For more information or to make a booking  visit
    www.vinnies.org,au orwww.kimwaugh.com.au.
    The Mona Vale Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society wishes Sr. Matilde,Sr.Rosalinde and Sr Alvira all the best for their move to Melbourne.

    CEO Sleepout

    CEO Sleepout
    This year, the CEO Sleepout event has the motto "Rise to the challenge". As usual it will be held on one of the longest nights of the year ( June 17) and it will challenge business and community leaders to experience how the homeless survive in the cold of winter.
    This annual event will raise money for Vinnies' homeless services,The event can be followed on Twitter and Facebook. You will be able to read on Twitter how much money has been donated and how different participants are coping with the cold and uncomfortable sleeping conditions.
    Facebook will contain pages of event information, a gallery of photos and links to news articles such as the article in SMH entitled "Snoring is downside of charity sleepout". In Sydney the event will have humorous side to it, as the venue is Luna Park.
    Last year, it rained but the attendance level was high and $600,000 was raised for the homeless. This  year, the aim  is to beat that record.
    Prospective participants in the sleepout can sign up on www.vinnies.org.au.On behalf of 100,000 homeless Australians Vinnies says " thank you" to those who volunteer..

    Financial Stress

    Financial Stress

    "If a person’s financial situation prevents people from engaging in the community then they are in financial stress."

    Dr Andy Marks ,Vinnies' Chief Research Officer

    The above  definition  illustrates how financial stress is not just an economic problem. It also has complex social implications. Domestic violence, family breakup and mental or physical ill health could result from such stress. Single parents appear to suffer the most.

    Unfortunately, financial stress is worsening. Higher mortgage rates and rents, increased interest rates on credit cards as well as higher food prices make it hard going for those on low incomes. Sickness and unexpected mishaps make matters worse.

    Many who are in financial stress do not seek help because they are too ashamed of their situation. Also, people in financial stress have difficulty in  making rational decisions  to remedy their sad situation.

    Vinnies' members, in their visitations,  are compassionate with those having monetary problems and stress. Sometimes  we recommend some clients to go toBudget Counselling. They are then helped to plan ahead, regulate their expenditure and are given assistance in locating sources of financial help.

    Social Justice

    Social Justice

    "Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, protect the rights of those who are helpless. Speak out and pronounce a sentence of justice, defend the cause of the wretched and the poor." (Proverbs 31:8-9)

    The St Vincent de Paul Society follows the above teachings by doing social justice research which identifies unjust structures that are the causes of poverty.

    Topics of this research include areas such as homelessness, migrants, rural problems mental health and financial stress.
    Following up this research, the Society makes government submissions that present ways of improving the lot of the disadvantaged.

    Vinnies' Newsletters

    Vinnies' Newsletters
    Vinnies produce a number of newsletters which would interest supporters and members of the St Vincent de Paul Society.
    The newsletters, One Voice and Frontline, which contain inspirational stories about the people we assist, are the Society's main means of communication with donors who regularly support the Society. They show supporters how collected money is spent in helping the poor and disadvantaged.
    Copies of these publications can be downloaded from www.vinnies.org.au/
    Free online newsletters can also be sent direct to your email by subscribing to them at this website. They embrace the following areas of interest:
    • Children & Families
    • Education & School Resources
    • Homelessness
    • Mental Health
    • Migrant & Refugee Services
    • Overseas Partnership
    • Social Justice
    • Spirituality
    • Volunteering
    • Youth

    Easter Immersion

    Easter Immersion

    “What a stormy but instructive era! We may perhaps perish in it, but let us not complain for having entered into it. Let us learn much from it. Let us principally think differently than we do, to recognise there are Christians in all camps, and that God can be served today as always.Bl Frederic Ozanam

    The St Vincent de Paul Society runs an annual Easter Immersion Program to the Indigenous Community of Nganmarriyanga in the Northern Territory. The programgives six members or volunteers of the St Vincent de Paul Society the opportunity to experience how it feels to live in a remote community and to understand what it means to be Indigenous in present day Australia .
    The attendees are given a 3-day orientation program in Darwin and then transported by light aircraft to the Community. They will find life there to be:basic : simple food, sleeping on camp mattresses and no TV, Guidance will be provided by a spiritual director and a program co-ordinator.
    The group that went there this year has spent some time in the local school and running activities for young people during the school holidays. They also had the opportunity to attend Easter Church services with the Community.
    For more, see the brochure, containing pictures, which can be downloaded from vinnies.org.au
    Happy Easter to all.

    Winter school 2010

    Click below for the short video telling you more about the exciting Winter School!



    Hi everyone.


    After the success of last year, our winter school is happening again! Here is some detailed info on what it's all about, what's happening when and some of the cool stuff we have planned.


    You definitely need to come and check out this week. It's going to be huge!

    Make sure to register online by clicking this link.


    Click here for the schedule.


    What is the winter school?

    The winter school is a training retreat/camp focusing on youth ministry. It will have a great balance of formation, faith and fun! In 2010, we will be focusing on the document "Annointed & Sent" put together by the Australian catholic bishops conference.
    The key elements covered in 2010 are:

    Evangelisation, Catechesis, Music, Prayer & Worship, Community life and Pastoral Care.


    Who is it for?

    The week will provide training for current youth ministers, youth ministry volunteers and people looking at becoming youth ministers. The winter school is designed for all young people (16-35) who want to learn more about their faith. There will be lots of free time and heaps of great activities!

    What is actually happening in the week?

    There are loads of events, activities, workshops, games and lectures. There will be great music led by the SOUL band and there's lots of time to chill, pray and hang out with other young people. The full schedule will be ready soon. www.pittwaterparish.org

    Who is speaking or presenting?

    We have a fantastic line up of guest speakers and lecturers who will provide tertiary level education for each of the key areas.
    Associate Professor Gerard Moore (United Theological College); Janiene Wilson (Catholic Institute of Sydney); Dr Anne Tuohy (ACU National); Dan Fleming, Fr George Kolodziej, Kelly Paget (Croll), Simon Hyland.

    Continue Reading

    Electricity Bills

    Electricity Bills
    "Government action to introduce Smart Meters, in combination with other pending policy shifts, will add hundreds of dollars to Australian energy bills each year,"
    Dr John Falzon,

    Smart Meters are a new technology that allows the introduction of a system that makes electricity more expensive when total demand is high and less expensive when demand is low.

    Afternoons would be peak periods, raising the cost of electricity to about double the flat rate. This situation would adversely affect people who stay at home such as pensioners, single mums, the unemployed and the sick.

    Dr Falzon, Vinnies National CEO,said."Specifically, there are inadequate consumer protection frameworks for financially vulnerable and other disadvantaged households."

    Even now, before any future increases, we are seeing some clients who can't pay their energy bills. Sometimes we can stop their power being turned off by giving them a coupon for part payment of their bill.

    Policies and Respect


    "We’re on the susso now, We can’t afford a cow, We live in a tent, We pay no rent, We’re on the susso now."  Anon

    Recently, Dr. John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society, has both praised and criticised the Federal Government for its social policies.

    He welcomed the Federal Government’s move to allow people wgo are doing it particularly tough to access their Centrelink payments on a weekly, rather than fortnightly, basis.Dr Falzon said "This puts some of the flesh on the bones of the Government’s Homelessness Strategy,"  He added ".We congratulate Ministers Macklin, Plibersek and Bowen on this move".

    On the other hand, he condemned a Senate Inquiry’s findings on compulsory income management. He said that evidence from all over Australia showed that income management can be a useful tool when it is voluntary and backed up with supports and services but It also can bedegrading and stigmatizing - like the humiliating "susso", sustenance payments, of the Great Depression Era.

    For more see www.vinnies.org.au and last week's Catholic Weekly.

    The French Connection

    The French Connection

    If you happen to visit the French Masterpieces Art Exhibition at the Canberra National Galley you may be moved sympathetically by the painting entitled "The Poor Fisherman" by Pierre Puvis de Chavannes.

    This work of art depicts a sad faced fisherman standing prayerfully in his boat with his children in the background, but no fish in sight. It is meant to be a social commentary on the dreadful poverty faced by theunderprivileged French in 1881.

    In earlier years, St Vincent de Paul becameaware of the misery that existed in France and sought to alleviate it. He worked with the saintly Louise de Marillac to found the Daughters of Charity, a community that helped relieve the sufferings of the disadvantaged.

    Later on, when Frederic Ozanam was starting up the Society of St Vincent de Paul in Paris, he was helped by another Daughter of Charity, Rosalie Rendu, who provided him with names and addresses of poor people who needed help.

    In more recent times, the good works of the above French pioneers for the poor have been an inspiration for members of Vinnies in Australia.

    N.B. St Louise de Marillac's Feast day is on Monday, 15 March,

    Kid's camps

    Kid's Camps

    The St Vincent de Paul Society conducts residential care and respite programs, called Vinnies Kids Camps, to help children aged 5-12, from  lower socio-economic backgrounds.

    TheseKids Camps are  run by Vinnies Youth and Young Adult volunteers who receive extensive training and support.
    The attending children are from a wide range of backgrounds such as domestic violence, grieving a loss, or just plain old poverty  Sometimes, both parents and children are in need of a break from each other.

    Kids Camps,  which take place on weekends or school holidays give the attendees a chance to enjoy activities such as sporting events, games, swimming, art and craft,  and perhaps nature walks.

    All these fun-filled activities take place in a safe, supportive environment and are aimed at building the child’s confidence and self-esteem as well as helping them learn tointeract socially in a friendly, cooperative manner.

    For more information, visit vinnies.org.au or contact: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

    PPC Update

    Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) Update


    Hello fellow parishioners! Just a quick note to let you know that the council and the executive have each met once in February this year to continue work in defining the parish Vision,Core Values and Mission Statements. These are important definitions that we need to recognise if we wish to develop the kind of parish we all want now and in the future. The outcomes will become tenets that we can all embrace and follow confidently together in support of all parish activities. Father George and the PPC will continue this work in March with the aim of producing draft versions of these important items for the whole parish to review and comment on. We have been guided by the work done by Bishop David and his team in defining the Vision for the Broken Bay Diocese and other examples of christian groups who are determining the direction they wish to travel in the future. We will keep you updated on progress, please pray for our guidance as we continue this important task.


    The Good News

    The Good News
    The Catholic Weekly is a newspaper which supports the good works of the St Vincent de Paul Society. Last week, it presented a front page story concerning the ban by Bowral shopkeepers on the proposed relocation of the local Vinnies charity store to bigger premises in Bong Bong Street.
    The Weekly quoted Dick Smith's criticism of the retailers for their lack of compassion. The report added that Fr. Sean Cullen, the local Parish Priest, believes that the protesting business owners were "out of touch with reality".
    Another article in the same paper was inspired by Blessed Mary Mackillop's recent progress to canonisation. It indicates that her mission was to educate the poor and this first Australian saint has been appointed patron of Mary MacKillop Outreach (MMO) which is a Vinnies program that helps people who suffer form a mental illness and/or disability - .
    This article adds that the MMO Centre at Lewisham contains a kitchen for helping clients with their food preparation, an art room for creative painting and a men's workshop where clients make furniture, wooden artifacts and wheelchairs using old bicycle wheels.
    Buying the Catholic Weekly helps the St. Vincent de Paul Society. It costs just $2 for a great deal of Catholic news and comment.

    Disaster Recovery

    Disaster Recovery

    " I stand in awe of the resilience of human nature in situations of personal tragedy. Just to see people retaining their sense of humour and a sense of camaraderie, and the public responding so generously - it's something that makes me proud to be an Australian."

    Bishop Pat Power, 2009 Canberra Citizen of the year

    The St Vincent de Paul Society responds as quickly as possible to help people suffering the effects of major disasters such as the Ash Wednesday bushfires, Queensland floods and Cyclone Tracy.
    In NSW, Vinnies' disaster recovery role comes under the umbrella of the State Disaster Welfare Plan as implemented by the Department of Community Services. The Society’s role at an Evacuation Centre is to provide those affected by the disaster with blankets, mattresses, essential clothing and toiletries.

    After people are back home or living in temporary accommodation, the above Department would establish a Disaster Recovery Centre, a community "one stop shop" where disaster-registered people can get information and advice on such matters as Insurance, Centrelink and Health. It would also have a place for Vinnies to assist people who need  material support.

    For more, visit community.nsw.gov.au, culture.gov.au and vinnies.org.au

    Volunteering and Membership

    Volunteering and Membership

    By volunteering for Vinnies' good works, you can make a difference for those in need. It provides an opportunity to give something back to the community, by using your skills and experience in ways that make a difference in the lives of people who need a helping hand.

    There are a wide variety of volunteering opportunities such as:
    • Working in a Vinnies' retail centres
    • assisting in homeless shelters
    • Tutoring refugee families
    • Taking disadvantaged children out on outings
    • Befriending an elderly or disabled person
    • assisting with fund raising

    Members of St Vincent de Paul Society are volunteers who belong to a local Conference and visit people in their homes. The Society has over 15,000 members in Australia alone and over a million throughout the world.
    Conference meetings in Mona Vale are held from 5 - 6 PM on the first and 3rd Tuesday of each month, in the Parish Centre. Anyone interested in become a member would be more than welcome to come to one of our meetings.

    For more information about membership or volunteering with the St Vincent de Paul Society, Email:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    or Telephone: (02) 9560 8666

    Vision Magazine

    Vision Magazine

    The St Vincent de Paul Society, NSW publishes a colourful magazine called Vision which keeps members up to date about the Society's activities ( see www.vinnies.org.au ).
    As an example of the type of article in Vision is a description of "Release", an art exhibition, at the Ozanam Learning Centre,Release has many different representations such as arelease from boredom and arelease from a life of limitations, frustrations and hopelessness.The aim of the exhibition is to help participants express themselves in the theme of "Release" by means of painting, photography or film.
    Another article describes St Joseph's Workshop at West Gosford. Volunteer workers, known as "Santa's helpers", make wooden furniture, toys, ornamental wheelbarrows and religious artifacts for the local Centres of Charity and clients. Bruce Dent, the Workshop Chairman says "I think the thing you know is that you are doing something for the community".
    Our best wishes go to Fr Zygmunt Smigowski SDS, who has just left for Perth. At his farewell functionlast Sunday, we heard about his good work at the hospital and hostels for the ageing. We also enjoyed a cappuccino and a slice of a farewell cake with chocolate icing.

    The New Year begins

    The New Year Begins
    In this new year, television and newspapers displayed visions of horror in the aftermath of the Haiti earthquake.Although some help is given to overseas countries through "Twinning",  the St Vincent de Paul Society  does not have the infrastructure for large scale international relief, and leaves such tasks to Catholic charitable institutions such as Caritas.
    Vinnies mainly supports victims of Australian natural disasters such as the recent bushfires, cyclones and floods. Unfortunately, these catastrophes also lead to death,  homelessness, loss of wealth and great sorrow..
    On a brighter side of the news, you may have seen that the Wiggles have been recognised in the Australia Day Honours List 2010 for their charitable work, in particular their support of Vinnies.
    Also, we are very pleased to announce that more than $13,000 has been donated, so far, to our Christmas Appeal by Mona Vale Parishioners. Your generosity is greatly appreciated by our Conference members and our clients.Thank you all.
    Please remember Joe O'Connor, in your prayers. Joe, a past member and keen supporter of Vinnies, has recently been admitted to hospital.
    Finally, our thanks go to Cheryl who is leaving the position of Parish Secretary. Cheryl has helped our Conference with typing our submissions for the Bulletin and other clerical matters over the years. Best wishes Cheryl for your future endeavours.

    Our Vision Magazine

    Our Vision Magazine
    The St Vincent de Paul Society, NSW publishes a colourful magazine called Vision which keeps members up to date of the Society's activities.
    As an example of the type of article in Vision is a description of "Release", an art exhibition, at the Ozanam Learning Centre,Release has many different representations such as arelease from boredom and arelease from a life of limitations, frustrations and hopelessness.The aim of the exhibition is to help participants express themselves in the theme of "Release" by means of painting, photography or film.
    Another article describes St Joseph's Workshop at West Gosford. Volunteer workers, known as "Santa's helpers", make wooden furniture, toys, ornamental wheelbarrows and religious artifacts for the local Centres of Charity and Conference community.clients. Bruce Dent, the Workshop Chairman says "I think the thing you know is that you are doing something for the community".
    The Vision magazine can be freely downloaded by interested readers from Vinnies' website (www.vinnies.org.au).

    Spiritual Works of Mercy

    Spiritual Works of Mercy

    "My prayer is that this Parish of Pittwater is going to be a community of HOPE providing spiritual nourishment to ALL"
    Fr George Kolodziej SDS, Parish Priest

    It is pleasing to learn that The Parish Bulletin can now be downloaded from the Parish Website( www.pittwaterparish.org ). So, if you were away on holidays last week, you will be able to read Vinnies column concerning the way the St Vincent de Paul Society does Corporal Works of Mercy.

    Our Society also tries to carry out some of the Spiritual Works of Mercy such as


    * To comfort the afflicted
    * To instruct the ignorant
    * To pray for the living and the dead

    When our volunteers do visitations we find that many of our clients are depressed, some are sick and many have no friends or relations to look after them, We listen to their troubles and comfort them.

    Matthew Talbot Homeless Services runs educational courses for the disadvantaged. Our Society also helps refugees and migrants with learning English and how to mix in with the Australian community.

    Finally, at each Conference meeting, prayers are offered for our members, clients and donors, those living and those who have passed away.


    Saints in our prayers

    Saints in our Prayers
    The closing prayers of each Society of St Vincent de Paul conference meeting contain supplications to the following holy souls who, in their lifetime, helped the poor and marginalised :
    • St Vincent de Paul:patron of our Society, and co-founder of the Daughters of Charity.
    • St Louise de Marillac: the other co-founder of the Daughters of Charity.
    • Blessed Mary MacKillop: Co-founder of the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart and now, happily for all Catholic Australians, very close to canonisation.
    • Blessed Frederic Ozanam, main founder of our own Society, who is awaiting another miracle due to his intercession.
    You too can support the poor indirectly through your donations and you will feel  the joy of helping someone needy.
    We will continue to take donations to our Christmas Appeal over the holiday season.Gift envelopes are available at the Piety Stall, as are receipts for donations of $2 and over.Envelopes and cash can be left at the Piety Stall or in the Poor Box at the main Church entrance.
    Best Wishes to all for this season of joy.

    Migrants and Refugees

    Migrants and Refugees
    Mary and Joseph were migrants when they moved from Nazareth to Bethlehem and refugees when they fled to Egypt. They faced homelessness with the birth of Jesus immininent.  However, the innkeeper was willing to help them find a stable  for accommodation and the Three Wise Men brought gifts for the Baby. Vinnies wasn't around to help in those bygone days.
    Then and now, movement from one country to another often involves numerous problems such as
    • finding a home and a job.
    • learning a new language and culture,
    • lack of money
    • ill health due to traumatic experiences.
    • fitting in with the community
    The St Vincent de Paul Society works with migrants and asylum seekers, giving them food coupons and clothing, helping them learn English and assisting them get a home and employment. .
    We wish all parishioners a Merry Christmas and`hope all new Australians will celebrate the season happily in their new country.

    Daughters of Charity

    The Daughters of Charity


    In 1693, St Vincent de Paul in collaboration with Louise de Marillac, founded the Daughters of Charity, a group of nuns who can be remembered for their distinctive winged headdress. This Catholic organisation set up hospitals for the poor, opened up orphanages and soup kitchens, taught young women to read and carried out many other charitable works.

    Sister Rosalie Rendu, a Daughter of Charity, inspired the rich to donate in order to help the poor and marginalised. She had a great knowledge of the locations of poor in Paris and was responsible for guiding Blessed Frederic Ozanam, when he established the Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

    St Catherine Laboure was another sister in this order who is well known for her apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary and having the Miraculous Medal struck.

    The poor are often in need of small miracles and these may come about with your help. Please remember them when our Christmas Appeal envelopes come around next weekend.




    We must strive to be deeply involved in the cares and sorrows of our neighbours and pray to God to inspire us with compassion and pity, filling our hearts and keeping them full.
    St Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) Epistle 2546
    Our Patron, St Vincent de Paul,  was a trailblazer, an initiator of assistance to the poor,
    abandoned children, prisoners, refugees, the sick and the marginalised. He showed governments and welfare agencies that true charity is more than distributing alms, but of helping the abject to regain their dignity and independence.

    Vinnies' members try to follow his advice and hope that parishioners will lend us their support, particularly over the Christmas period, in order to give cheer and hope to those that we serve.

    This year Vinnies' Christmas Appeal at Mona Vale will be held on the first weekend in December. Our thanks goes to Fr. George for allowing  the distribution and collection of our envelopes for the appeal..

    Please be as generous with your donations as you have been in the past.. Gifts of two dollars or more to the Society are tax deductible for the donor (some conditions apply).

    Asylum Seekers

    Asylum Seekers

    In a recent media release, Mr Syd Tutton, St Vincent de Paul Society National Council President said:

    Our members feel strongly that Australia must adopt a humanitarian position. We are always at the ready to contribute to the care and support of recently arrived asylum seekers. In doing so we are simply putting into practice the proud Australian tradition of welcoming people in need, especially those who have come from situations of great suffering. We stand ready to work with the Government to make this a reality.”

    Christmas is coming and there are young Australian families who cannot pay their household bills or who are in danger of losing their home. For some people, there will be no Christmas dinner to share with their family or gifts for their children on Christmas morning. You can help us put merriment into Christmas for these needy people, by giving to the St Vincent de Paul Society’s 2009 Christmas Appeal or by contributing food and presents in hampers.

    The Piety Stall is well stocked with First Communion mementos including pendants, crosses and a beautiful book for this holy occasion. Columban Calendars for 2010 are also now on sale there.

    A New Service for the Homeless

    A New Service for the Homeless

    In October, this year, the Governor of NSW, Professor Marie Bashir, opened Vincentian House, a inner-city facility for homeless families with children.

    Vincentian House has 23 self-contained, fully-equipped family units which can accommodate families of up to seven members. It also has 10 single women's beds.The building is of a bright and modern design. Both indoor and outdoor play areas are provided for children, while a separate media room entertains the teenagers. For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au or phone 0417 446 430

    Please remember the Piety Stall when buying First Communion souvenirs.The Stall as been restocked with new goods including pendants and Crosses as well an excellent gift book entitled "My First Communion". This book contains stories from the Old and New Testament with colourful illustrations. It also has spaces for hand written entries. These goods will be on sale at the practice and at all Masses on Communion Days (14 and 15th November).

    Please note that Columban Calendars are also now on sale at the Piety Stall.


    Caritas Aids Our Close Neighbours

    Caritas Aids Our Close Neighbours

    Some parishioners have been enquiring about how to make a donation to directly support the communities in crisis in the Asia Pacific region.

    Tsunamis have ravaged the islands of Samoa, American Samoa and Tonga, earthquakes have shaken Sumatra while typhoons have afflicted people in The Philippines, Vietnam and Cambodia. Thousands of the survivors are homeless, injured and in need of food, water, blankets, tents and many other essentials.

    The Australian St Vincent de Paul Society has helped twinned conferences in these suffering regions but the major helping role is left to our sister Catholic charity, Caritas Australia. Vinnies is more local than global in its charity work. Caritas on the other hand has the infrastructure to provide large scale relief internationally .

    Caritas website supplies statistics concerning deaths, those affected, the damage and what is being done to help in each country. Separate appeals are being carried out for victims of natural disasters.

    You can support the Caritas Australia Communities in Crisis - Asia Pacific Appeal by calling 1800 024 413 or visiting www.caritas.org.au

    Matthew Talbot Homeless Services

    Matthew Talbot Homeless Services

    The St Vincent de Paul Society has a strong commitment to the range of issues concerning homelessness . They recognise that the homeless will sometimes suffer from mental illness and can also become physically ill .

    Vinnies offers the following:

    a.. 13 services for single homeless men, including the Matthew Talbot hostel and outreach services in the inner city.
    b.. 10 services specifically for women and children, catering for women ( and children ) escaping domestic violence / homelessness .
    c.. a range of alternative services designed to assist men and women to address issues of alcohol and other drug dependencies.
    d.. education for breaking the cycle of homelessness and domestic violence.
    This year's Matthew Talbot Homeless Services Race Day, at Royal Randwick Racecourse on 17 October, will raise funds to support the new Vincentian House which will provide all the above offerings.

    For more information, please contact Matthew Talbot Homeless Services, Homeless Persons' Team:on 9357 1533 or visit http://www.vinnies.org.au


    Human Rights

    Human Rights

    Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of their self and of their family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care...

    Article 25 (1) Universal Declaration of Human Rights

    ABC's Four Corners story, last Monday, entitled " Last Chance Motel", dealt with the struggles facing homeless families in Australia. Several families were shown putting up with unsuitable cramped accommodation, being moved to a motel room for seven days, then having to find somewhere again. The vicious cycle continues.

    Some comments on the Four Corners Forum spoke of the increasing rate of homelessness, migration, the effect of instability on the children, the look in the eyes of the old and the disabled and what the Federal Government is doing.

    One of the letters commended the good work of the St Vincent de Paul Society for the homeless in Melbourne, with 200 properties having an average of 5 persons per month. The author also called for a national response for a national problem.





    Vinnies defines twinning as a partnership between a local conference and a conference in a neighbouring overseas country. Twinning gives material support to the latter, helping them move to self sufficiency.

    In 2007-2008, the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia had a total of 2379 twinned conferences in 14 countries including India 1443, Indonesia 290, Philippines 235, Papua New Guinea and East Timor 1..

    The overseas conferences are sent a basic quarterly contribution of $80, Christmas and Easter grants and some money for an occasional project. Our help is very much appreciated.

    Correspondence between partners relates to telling everyday activities, parish life and conference activities. Sometimes photographs are exchanged and these overcome the difficulty of understanding each other's language. In the future, electronic mail will probably be the means of communication.

    Extracts of letters from "twins" can be viewed on http://www.vinnies.org.au. One letter from India says that their conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society provides books and uniforms to children of deserving families. Another tells how, at the time of their National Festival,.they gave food grains and vegetables to 125 families which included all castes.

    Please give some thought to our needy overseas brothers and sisters during this Mission Month.

    Our best wishes go to Fr George on his journey to East Timor.


    Poverty in Australia

    Poverty in Australia

    The reading of the letter of St James at Mass, last weekend, showed how differently people of that time would treat a well-dressed man and one with shabby clothing. Time has not changed social attitudes; often the rich are treated with respect and the poor are denigrated.

    Poverty in Australia now is to live on the margins of society; to have unreasonably low living standards compared with others; not being able to afford to buy necessities. Some can't afford a refrigerator, dental services, and even worse are sleeping rough.

    Research by Vinnies indicates some of the effects of poverty to be:


    a.. Poor health + higher mortality rate
    b.. Solace in substance abuse
    c.. Hopelessness and antagonism
    d.. Loss of self esteem and motivation
    e.. Family breakdown

    Vinnies, with your donations, supports the poor and helps restore their dignity.


    Mental Health

    Mental Health

    The St Vincent de Paul Society is concerned with all areas of mental health but the primary focus is on the most disadvantaged, that is people with a severe mental illness. The Society actively works to achieve greater acceptance for people living with mental illness by challenging community attitudes which stigmatise and ostracise people through ignorance and fear. (http://www.vinnies.org.au)

    Vinnies' NSW State Council has a department, called Care of People Living with a Mental Illness, which is involved in:

    a.. The education and support of conference members.
    b.. Supporting special works of the Society which involve clients with psychological disorders.
    c.. Advocating with the government for the welfare of the mentally ill .
    d.. Liaising with peak bodies involved in mental health.

    Care of People Living with a Mental Illness also helps promote and support the Compeer and Mate Helpng Mate programs.

    For more contact Graeme Fear, Coordinator
    Phone: (02) 9560 8666
    Mobile: 0404 851 940
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    Budget Counselling

    Budget Counselling


    Budget Counselling assists people in need to use improved ways of managing their money. It also helps them to develop practical living with the aim of improving their self-esteem and becoming independent of social welfare and charitable handouts.
    A article in last week's Catholic Weekly tells the story of Eliza and Bill who found themselves in deep debt and called on Vinnies for help. They received temporary relief in the form of a food parcel and an electricity payment voucher. When offered Budget Counselling, Eliza agreed to talk to a trained counsellor. Over several sessions they worked together on her financial plan.

    Shopping carefully at the supermarket, avoiding lottery tickets and fast food were all part of the plan. Bill also agreed to moderate his expenditure. They then estimated that their debts could repaid in two years.

    This article is brought to life with compassionate conversational snippets; another reason for reading the Catholic Weekly.




    SPARK is a Vinnies' special work aiming to :


    • aid settlement of newly arrived refugees.
    • raise community awareness about refugees
    • promote mutually respectful social contact.


    Spark provides support to refugee children in five primary schools in West Sydney. After school, children attend activities that build their academic, artistic and social skills. Over 100 children and volunteers are involved.

    Bright Sparks is a club for K-6 refugee children, run by teachers and local community volunteers. Children develop confidence in themselves as they are helped to understand and complete school work.

    Younger siblings attend a group with professional child care, called Little Sparks. Fun games and activities introduce the children to the school environment, helping them develop learning skills and relationships.

    At the same time, parents attend a Family Group. They can practice English, gain support from each other and volunteers, and establish relationships with other parents and the teachers.


    Looking Ahead


    Overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity, It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental right to dignity and a decent life.
    Nelson Mandela

    The National President of Vinnies, Syd Tutton, has recently spoken about the new forms of poverty and disadvantage that are emerging particularly those that involve mental illness and the feeling of powerlessness. He also refers to the growing cohort of the working poor.

    Vinnies response to these new forms of poverty is an exciting project called "The Foundation for Social Innovation" which will fund national projects providing help for the poor and the marginalised. Young adults are encouraged to propose such projects.

    Funding will be sought as gifts from Company Foundations and wealthy, philanthropic individuals. Bequests in wills shall also be invited. All gifts will be have tax deductible implications.

    But today, please remember our sister charitable organisations that help the needy in the Broken Bay Diocese. Envelopes are on the Church seats.



    Vinnies and the environment

    Vinnies and the Environment

    "International action to preserve the environment and to protect various forms of life on Earth must not only guarantee a rational use of technology and science, but must also rediscover the authentic image of creation."
    Pope Benedict at the UN

    Pope Benedict XVI thinks we are morally obliged to care for the environment. Vinnies is heeding his message and is improving its environmental outlook.

    Vinnies has developed ten posters for helping to make offices environmentally friendly. They cover strategies such as reducing paper use, recycling, water conservation, not wasting electricity, avoiding disposable products and using email to reduce the energy costs of transport. These posters may be downloaded freely from http://www.vinnies.org.au.

    Vinnies is also going green in future purchases of office equipment. The emphasis will be on high star energy conserving equipment and paperless technology. These innovations will have the added advantage of saving money.

    By the way, a number of Vinnies volunteers were present to enjoy "Opera at the Heart" at Sacred Heart Church Mona Vale, last Saturday. Congratulations must go to Fr. George, his staff, the musicians and singers for an excellent night's entertainment.


    Opera Success

    Opera Success

    "Opera at the Heart" drew a capacity crowd on Saturday night, August 1st. The Church was  full and we were treated to a night of excellent music  from Opera and stage shows. (You can click on photos to enlarge them and see the photo gallery for more photos).

    She is a soprano from New Zealand and has recently returned from Vienna where she was chosen as one of 150 out of 3,000 opera singers worldwide to qualify for the Wien Kammeroper singing competition.
    The principal soloist was Sarah Ann Walker and her beautiful voice was wonderful to hear.


    Simon Hyland and Caroline Mulvenna performed entertaining solos and duets of a very high standard, all to the accompaniment of the highly accomplished  Lindsay Gilroy on our new baby Grand Piano.

    Excellent  food and drink was served before the event and at intermission while the pre-show entertainment was provided by a Jazz trio (Josh Willard on sax, Michael Watkins on drums and Simon Hyland on piano).


    The temporary resetting of the Church as a tastefully decorated performance venue was very successful.


    Our very own Simon Hyland came to us in Pittwater Parish after a very successful musical career on the International Stage and we were treated to a range of his talents on Saturday.


    There was a raffle with diverse prizes (painting, angle grinder, wine, handbags...).

    The programme promised "A Musical Night to Remember" and indeed the night lived up to the prediction.


    A big "Thank You" is extended to the many people who planned the night and made it a reality. Likewise, "Thank You" to all those who generously supported the event through generous contributions and attendance.





    Child Care Cocoon

    Child Care Cocoon

    Until recently, not many people have heard of the Vinnies' Mt Druitt Day Care Centre in Western Sydney. However, last week in the Catholic Weekly, an inspiring article appeared describing this centre as "no ordinary child care centre " but a "cocoon from the big,harsh world outside".

    This particular centre feeds, cares for and educates over 40 children aged from two to five. These children come from disadvantaged homes. Some have special needs. Many are under the care of DOCS.

    The well written article zooms in on the activities of some of these children having fun, playing, making friends and learning. They enjoy discovering new ideas and solving problems. It also praises the devotion of the staff who sometimes work closely with the families. Preparing the older children for school can be very demanding challenge.

    The article also indicates that some of the children have impaired language skills; their poorly formed words are hard to decode. To help them, the Centre employs a speech pathologist for twenty hours a week.

    For more, interesting information on Vinnies' good works, read The Catholic Weekly, available at the Church entrance for only $2 an issue.


    Get Involved

    Get Involved

    "Volunteering gives you experience, you are helping others less fortunate than yourself, and it makes you, and the person you are helping, feel good." http://www.vinnies.org.au

    In Winter time, the number of calls to Vinnies for assistance usually increases. Unfortunately, the number of volunteers available for visitations drops off due to colds and influenza. Vinnies needs more helpers, particularly young adults.

    Being a volunteer means dedicating some of your time to being involved in a Vinnies' activity such as:
    a.. home visitation,
    b.. assisting with soup vans,
    c.. helping in hostels,
    d.. tutoring refugee children
    e.. helping in Vinnies' shops.

    Those who are not volunteers can also help the poor and needy by donating to Vinnies' appeals. The total response to our Winter Appeal from both Avalon and Mona Vale Conferences was, at 21/7/09, a very pleasing $13,782.00 . Thank you all for your generosity in these hard times. We would also like to thank Fr George for his support in allowing speakers to promote the appeal at weekend Masses.


    Homelessness in Winter

    Homelessness in Winter

    Homelessness is just not lack of permanent housing. It also refers to lack of family or community support. There are various levels of the problem:

    1.. People sleeping rough in parks, under bridges etc.
    2.. People on the move among temporary shelters e.g.. friends, hostels etc.
    3.. People in boarding houses without tenure.
    4.. Marginal residents of caravan parks

    According to the recent Census update there are over 100,00 homeless in Australia and about half are under 24 years of age. The number of homeless is increasing as people lose their jobs or can't meet increasing costs of rent and utilities.

    In winter, those in the first category, are worst off because of the cold and seasonal illnesses. The St Vincent de Paul Society provides night food vans, hostel and refuge accommodation with meals for many needy people. Our Winter Appeal helps support these services. Your generous donations to this appeal are thankfully appreciated.

    The Sacred Heart Mission ( St Kilda Vic.) has just started a trial called The Journey to Social Inclusion as a radical new approach to the problem of 'chronic homelessness'. Hopefully it will show a way of breaking the homelessness cycle.

    For more about this project, listen to ABC Radio National on http://www.abc.net.au.


    Youth Volunteers

    Youth Volunteers

    More than 170 years ago, the St Vincent de Paul Society was founded by a 20 year old student named Frederic Ozanam. In the spirit of youth he provided a compassionate outlook and enthusiasm in his charitable work. Thousands of young Australians have been inspired by his vision giving up their time to help make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged people.

    Vinnies Youth consists of volunteers in the St Vincent de Paul Society Australia and involves Young Adults, College Conferences (High Schools) and Mini Vinnies (Primary Schools). For example, Sacred Heart School Mona Vale has a Mini Vinnies Team ably led by the Social Justice Coordinator, Mrs Lisa Ess. This team recently collected clothing and blankets for our Winter Appeal. Their kind, praiseworthy efforts will keep some needy families warm during the chilly days and nights ahead.

    Volunteers aged 16 -17 years sometimes assist in our retail centres (Op Shops) and in other volunteer roles. For more information visit our website http://www.vinnies.org.au which has a listing of Vinnies' current volunteer needs within the metropolitan area of Sydney.

    For more information about volunteering, please contact:Jedi Karanja
    Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Telephone: (02) 9560 8666


    The CEO Sleep out

    The CEO Sleepout

    Can you imagine sleeping rough on one of the longest, wettest, coldest nights of the year? Thousands of homeless Australians know all about this scenario. So too now, do 220 CEO's who attended the recent sleepout at Luna Park.

    Each of these executives were given a bowl of soup and a bread roll for their evening meal. The slept in sleeping bags on cold, hard paving while the brave, such as Dick Smith, chose to sleep on a mere sheet of cardboard beneath a rain-soaked tarpaulin.

    Tony Chamberlain, CEO of Staging Connections, produced a video diary of the night which can be viewed on www.ceosleepout.org.au together with his Twitter diary and a gallery of participants.

    The CEO's not only suffered the experience of sleeping rough but raised over $550,000 for the Society's Winter Appeal. Comments on the success of the sleepout received unexpected media attention on radio and TV. Hopefully listeners and viewers will be inspired by the thoughtfulness and short-term suffering of these business leaders.

    The Winter Appeal Box

    Please place envelopes containing Winter Appeal 2009 donations in the Winter Appeal Box at the back of the Sacred Heart Church, Mona Vale or hand them in at the Piety Stall. All donations, large and small, will be gratefully received. Thank you all for your continued support..


    Today I am

    TODAY I AM...

    An online journal of those in need can be found on Vinnies' website (http://www.vinnies.org.au.). A few of the short text entries in this journal are listed below:

    a.. I've been 3 days without food.
    b.. I make up stories in my head to try and hide from what my real life is like.
    c.. I slept all day so I don't get hungry.
    d.. I'm so far from happy, I don't know how to be happy any more.
    e.. Today I am cold and hungry...Tomorrow, I will find a way.

    Some of the entries are accompanied by drawings or pictures that cry out for help. With a little help from our Society and donors, tomorrow can be different for these poor and needy persons.

    Winter Appeal 2009

    This weekend and next, Mona Vale Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society will be taking up a collection for our Winter Appeal 2009. Father George has kindly allowed us to place envelopes for the Appeal on the seats of the Church.

    Please take an envelope and drop in your donation or fill in your card details, then place it on the collection plate. All donations no matter how small will be gratefully received.

    Gifts of two dollars or more to the Society are tax deductible for the donor (some conditions apply).




    St V de P in Broken Bay

    The St Vincent de Paul Society in Broken Bay

    John Donnelly, Broken Bay Diocesan President, said in 2007-08 Annual Report that "The Society in Broken Bay continues with its emphasis on the spiritual formation of its members so that we can go out into our nation to work for and in the place of Christ".

    John Donelly also said that, last year, Conference members in the Broken Bay Diocese made over 20,000 visits assisting 50,000 Clients. There are many other Good Works of the Society in Broken Bay such as Youth Reach, Louise House (Wyong) and Rosalie's Gardens (Woy Woy). Compeer programs and Budget Counselling services.

    He reported that, in 2008, Broken Bay Youth services were greatly involved in World Youth Day. These Services also supported kids' holiday camp, school education programs and night patrol services. He also noted that Twinning and Assist-A-Student programs last year doubled in Broken Bay Diocese's overseas assistance

    Training continues to be offered to members of the Society in the Broken Bay Diocese. The recent publication and distribution the biography of the Society's founder in NSW, Charles O'Neill, has been an inspiration to members.


    Winter School Schedule 2010


    SOUL PittwaterWinter School of Ministry 2010

    'I chose you' (John 15:16)

    Supported by the Society of the Divine Saviour (Salvatorians)





    4th July


    Monday 5thJuly


    Tuesday 6thJuly


    Wednesday 7thJuly









    Yoga & Meditation (Joanna)


    Morning prayer

    (Simon Hyland)







    meet at church courtyard


    Morning mass


    Morning mass





    Surf & Scripture

    (at the beach)

    Simon Hyland


    Free time / coffee


    Free time / coffee








    Dan Fleming

    'Anointed and sent'

    (back at the Parish)



    Janiene Wilson

    Pastoral Care



    Gerard Moore

    What is the mass?






    Lunch & Free time




    Lunch & Free time






    Small groups

    1 - 4pm

    'The amazing race'

    team adventure

    Ben Talbot


    Small groups


    SOUL mass






    Gerard Moore

    What is reco?


    Travel back to church



    Fr George Kolodziej

    Community life











    Overview of the week/ Prayer




    Praise & Worship

    (SOUL band)



    Sacred Space

    Kelly (Croll) Paget


    Praise & Worship

    (SOUL band)




    Prayer & finish


    Prayer & finish


    Prayer & finish




    SOUL PittwaterWinter School of Ministrycont…

    Supported by the Society of the Divine Saviour (Salvatorians)




    Thursday 8thJuly





    Saturday 10thJuly






    Yoga & Meditation (Joanna)








    Morning mass


    Morning mass






    Free time / coffee


    Free time / coffee







    Dr Anne Tuohy

    'Catholic identity - Catholic outlook'


    Janiene Wilson

    Pastoral Care


    Dan Fleming

    'Annointed and sent'





    Lunch& Free time


    Lunch & Free time









    1:30 - 3pm

    Simon Hyland





    Small groups


    Small groups


    Kelly (Croll) Paget

    Creating the liturgy




    Dr Anne Tuohy

    'Human BE-ings - what are they?'




    Simon Hyland

    Music and Drama


    Final preparations for mass







    Final mass








    Final celebration dinner & presentation




    Games Night

    (Mater Maria gym)

    7:30pm –midnight


    Adoration til midnight! Holy Spirit, Prayer, Praise & Worship. Coffee Shop open!


    Prayer & finish




    Prayer & finish


    Prayer & finish









    This front page section is intentionally blank, today Sunday, while we do some upgrading. Sorry for the temporary inconvenience.

    Tomorrow Can Be Different

    Tomorrow Can Be Different


    Vinnies website heralds the advent of the 2009 Winter Appeal with this informative, introductory paragraph:
    "The current economic climate, coupled with the cold weather and dark nights now upon us, will find many people in a situation that they are unable to cope with alone. The Society is already seeing an unprecedented increase in the number of people turning to us for help. Families are suddenly finding they can't afford to pay for simple things like food and clothes, and people are losing their homes due to spiraling debt."

    Instead of providing statistics on poverty in Australia, the site provides an online journal with contributions from those who have been overwhelmed by life's hardships. The aim is to show you, through their eyes, what today means to them, hoping that you'll help us show them that tomorrow can be different.

    The pages of the journal contain photos, drawings and text with sad overtones. To view the journal, visit http://www.vinnies.org.au and click on the blue box with the heading "Today I am...", then click on the corners of the journal to turn the pages.

    How you can help
    "Monetary donations are the best way you can directly help those in need! " Envelopes will be provided at Mona Vale Church, next weekend. Please be as generous as you have been in the past.


    The forgotten people

    The Forgotten People

    Frank Quinlan, the Executive Director of Catholic Social Services, has welcomed the benefits for some pensioners in the 2009-10 Federal Budget but said that the disparity that exits across benefits was not addressed.

    In a recent Vinnies' Media Release, Mr Syd Tutton, National Council President of the St Vincent de Paul Society , showed his concern about the message that the Budget sends to many Australians: "Sole Parents and Unemployed People together make up a significant proportion of those we assist. They have now been left out in the cold, failing to receive the income increases they badly needed. This Budget sadly reminds us that they continue to be forgotten."

    Dr John Falzon, National Council CEO, said "Those who were demonised in the past have emerged as the Forgotten People again. This Budget fails to learn from the past, when the Forgotten People were systematically left out of this nation's prosperity".

    He went on to say that Sole Parents  have once again been excluded from the income increase and desperately  need an increase  to cover essential items. He was no doubt referring to items such as medical expenses, power bills, telephone bills, groceries, transport, and rent.

    Piety Stall Notice

    The Piety Stall is fully stocked with gifts for Confirmation participants such as holy cards, books of the saints etc..  The Stall will be open on theday of the practice as well as the day itself. .

    Bede Murray

    St Vincent de Paul Society in Broken Bay

    The St Vincent de Paul Society in Broken Bay

    John Donnelly, Broken Bay Diocesan President, said in 2007-08 Annual Report that "The Society in Broken Bay continues with its emphasis on the spiritual formation of its members so that we can go out into our nation to work for and in the place of Christ".

    John Donelly also said that, last year, Conference members in the Broken Bay Diocese made over 20,000 visits assisting 50,000 Clients. There are many other Good Works of the Society in Broken Bay such as Youth Reach, Louise House (Wyong) and Rosalie's Gardens (Woy Woy). Compeer programs and Budget Counselling services.

    He reported that, in 2008, Broken Bay Youth services were greatly involved in World Youth Day. These Services also supported kids' holiday camp, school education programs and night patrol services. He also noted that Twinning and Assist-A-Student programs last year doubled in Broken Bay Diocese's overseas assistance

    Training continues to be  offered to members of the Society in the Broken Bay Diocese. The recent publication and distribution the biography of the Society's founder in NSW, Charles O'Neill,  has been an inspiration to members.

    Please remember today our sister charities supported by the Broken Bay Diocese. Bede Murray

    Honour your father and your mother

    "Honour your father and your mother..." (Exodus 20:12)


    All mothers occupy a special place in the hearts of Vinnies' volunteers. In our visitations, we listen to mothers telling us about their children. We often hear tales of sickness and misfortune concerning their offspring. Sometimes we can help, other times we can just sympathise with them.

    Dr John Falzon, St Vincent de Paul Society National CEO recently said that sole parents and unemployed people are coming to us to help them stay afloat and in some regions are the greatest proportion of our clients.

    Single mothers are a large subset of sole parents. These people have special needs. They do not have a partner to assist them to bring up their children and financial support is not always forthcoming from the father. Vinnies responds to their call for assistance by offering them food.vouchers and sometimes telephone or energy vouchers

    Working mothers often lose their jobs when companies close down or outsource work to another country with cheaper labour. They have to chase around seeking new opportunities for employment and budget carefully. Vinnies offers Budget Counselling Services and other help to them

    Vinnies also provides needy new mothers with a parcel of baby supplies, suitable furniture as available and advice when it is asked for. Mothers and their children are especially remembered in our Christmas Hamper list.

    Mona Vale Conference wishes all mothers in Pittwater Parish a Happy Mother's Day.

    Bede Murray


    Vinnies relies on having members and donors

    Vinnies relies on having members and donors. The poor will always be with us.


    The Society of St Vincent de Paul is a lay Catholic organisation which operates in 130 countries throughout the world and has almost one million members. All together, they could fill a city about the size of Adelaide.
    In Australia, Vinnies has 40,000 hard working members and volunteers who assist people in need and help combat social injustice making it one of the largest charitable providers in our country at the present time, .

    The NSW and ACT region has 600 conferences consisting of approximately 8,000 full members and 12,000 auxiliaries and conducts an average of over 4,000 home visits per week. Many of the other Charities, unlike Vinnies, do not visit people in their homes.

    Mona Vale Conference now has fourteen members. Calls for help from the Brookvale Centre are increasing lately due to people losing their jobs. Some of our clients are sick and/or often behind in rent and telephone / energy accounts. However, they are sometimes just as much in need for someone to listen compassionately to their story as for the food vouchers give them.

    Your generous donations empower us to provide assistance for those in need. Thank you.

    Bede Murray


    St Vincent de Paul web site

    Vinnies web site

    Vinnies NSW website can be accessed by visiting www.vinnies.org.au , going to the bottom of the page, then clicking on NSW/ACT on the State Links line.

    There you will find an advertisement for the 2009 CEO Sleep-out at Luna park on the 18th June Click on this ad and you will be taken to a new page entitled "Rise to the Challenge".

    Annually, our Society invites people to experience life on the streets, first hand, by sleeping rough on one of the coldest nights of the year. Here is your chance for brave business and community leaders to put themselves out to help the homeless.

    Participants are advised to wear warm casual clothes, gloves and a hat and to bring their own sleeping bag and a pillow. Cardboard will be provided to sleep on; airbeds will not be allowed.

    Warm food including soup, bread rolls, tea/coffee, will be served on the night while breakfast will be provided in the morning. Note that the venue will be an alcohol free zone..

    A list of participating business and community leaders, together with photographs and the amount they have raised in sponsorship has been given space on the website and will be kept updated. Some of he well known names include Dick Smith, Peter Wilkinson (Media) and Linda Burney (minister for Community Services).

    If you registered your boss, you will go into the draw to win one night's luxury accommodation at the Shangri-La Hotel Sydney, including breakfast for two people.

    Bede Murray



    St V de P Committees

    St V de P Committees

    Vice President, Beverley Kerr, has also given an account of the progress made by her committees during the 2007-2008 financial year. Some of these activities are outlined below :

    Rural Task Force: ‘We See'; ‘We Hear'; ‘We Help'. This dedicated Task Force visited NSW farmers and rural businesses that were suffering from the drought. Also, isolated schools were assisted financially for excursions, swimming lessons and Christmas parties.

    Disaster Recovery: The Society has signed a ‘Memorandum of Understanding' with the State Government to provide, blankets, mattresses and toiletries in the case of a disaster such as the 2007 Maitland /Newcastle floods.

    Migrant and Refugees: New arrivals often speak little English and have no place to live while asylum seekers have no legal status, money or work rights. Helping them find work, housing and survive from day to day is Vinnies' main concern.

    Aboriginal Partnership: Committee work aimed at helping the Aboriginal community face problems of housing, health, education and disability.

    Disability Vocation Services: Ozanam Industries is committed to improving the lives of people with disabilities. their disabled workers service a number businesses etc. with mail and packaging work.

    Family Services: They provided temporary housing; care and assistance to families in need. Some such services operate in Northern Beaches..

    Budget Counselling: A total of 34 fully trained budget counsellors worked continually across NSW.

    Care of the Mentally Ill: Over 4,000 DVD's entitled ‘Mate Helping Mate' were distributed to make people aware of the effect of social isolation and depression on those living in remote and rural drought affected areas.

    For more, visit http://www.vinnies.org.au

    Bede, Mona Vale Conference Publicity Officer


    Reflections from SVP


    Michael Callaghan, one of Vinnies' Vice Presidents, recently gave an account of the progress made by Committees in his Portfolio last year. Some of his reflections are as follows::

    Spirituality: Spiritual Reflection Guides were produced during the year and various spiritual reflection days held throughout the State.

    Literature: The highlight of the year was the publication of the Steven Utick's book on Charles Gordon O'Neill, principal co-founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society in Australia and NZ..

    Social Justice: Dr Andy Marks, Senior Researcher, has been undertaking a number of studies on homelessness and the cost of living as well as producing numerous articles for the media.

    Learning Services: Training sessions for members were conducted state-wide on an extensive range of topics.

    Overseas Partnerships: A number of new projects have been instigated.

    Volunteer Development: Kate Scholl has been travelling to various regions of NSW to present recruitment sessions. These have been well received.

    Caroline Chisholm Centre For Social Justice: This centre offers residents in the Mt Druitt area the opportunity for community support and development. A willing group of volunteers and professional people carry out interviews, training and support to a wide variety of clients. Overall responsibility for this work has been transferred to State Council.

    Michael's full account can be found in Vinnies NSW Annual Report 2007-2008 which can be downloaded from www.vinnies.org.au


    More from the SVdP Annual Report

    Annual Report


    "In many ways, the past year can be characterised as a period of intense change and renewal. This is a healthy process, one that is fundamental to the St Vincent de Paul Society's capacity to effectively carry-out its good works. Importantly, it is also a process faithful to the vision of our principle founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam."

    Barbara Ryan, NSW State President of St Vincent de Paul Society NSW

    The above statement by our State President can be found in Vinnies 2007-2008 Annual Report. Barbara went on to outline the global and local issues that are changing the nature of our work with disadvantaged and marginalised people. Typical of these issues are the ongoing housing affordability crisis, the drastic increases in the costs of essentials like food and petrol plus the worst drought on record and the global financial crisis .

    Barbara Ryan also said that our "Society's ability to effectively anticipate, adapt and respond to the array of changing conditions hinges on our capacity to change and renew". Barbara thinks that the key to making our work more effective is by improving the way the Society communicates internally as well as with the government, the social services sector and, most importantly, our clients.

    The President went on to indicate that she has been working to realise goals for our Society such as :
    1. a renewed commitment to the ethos of our Society;

    2. a deepening of our Catholic faith;

    3. a renewed confidence in our governing body;

    4. a renewal of communication across all levels.

    Barbara Ryan ended her message by praising the 1000 employees and 19,000 or more volunteers that make up the Society : "Our community would be in a much poorer situation without them and on behalf of the many thousands assisted I gratefully acknowledge their support.".

    The Annual Report can be downloaded from www.vinnies.com.au


    Annual Report

    Annual Report, 2007-2008

    "The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic organisation that aspires to live the Gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice and joy, and by working to shape a more just and compassionate society."

    The St Vincent de Paul Society NSW/ACT Annual Report 2007-08

    The first article in the report is message from Cardinal Pell , Archbishop of Sydney, praising the Disaster Recovery Team. He said that the Team increased its readiness to respond to major events and expanded its capacity to assist people caught up in disastrous events.

    Cardinal Pell also stated that the Centres (shops) had become more efficient and public recognition of them had increased. In addition, he said that Matthew Talbot Homeless Services were responding to emerging trends in homelessness and the public's awareness to this social problem was aroused with Vinnies' Winter Appeal.

    In his message, he also gave recognition to the Rural task Force for their support of struggling communities in drought stricken areas . He also praised the Society's help for the mentally ill, in particular the DVD entitled "Mate Helping Mate" designed for rural people in depression.

    The Cardinal also commended Buddies' Days for disadvantaged children, the Spark Program for refugee Children and the involvement of Vinnies Youth in World Youth Day.

    Finally, Cardinal Pell thanked the Society for their service to the marginalised and disadvantaged and said his prayers and good wishes go with the Society for the year ahead.

    The Report can be downloaded from www.vinnies.org.au.



    Vinnies Youth

    Vinnies Youth

    "All my life I have followed the poetry of love in preference
    to the poetry of anger."

    Frederic Ozanam

    The name Vinnies Youth describes the thousands of inspiring young people who every day share their time and and energy to make a difference in the lives of disadvantaged people around Australia. Many exciting programs and activities are provided for these volunteers such as:

    • Kids' Camps which provide holidays for disadvantaged children.

    • Home Visitation which provides company for the socially isolated.

    • Retreat which provides the opportunity for members to reflect.


    • Night Patrol which provides food and friendship for the homeless..

    • Centres which involves serving customers and sorting clothes.

    For more, visit Vinnies website (www.vinnies.org.au/youth) or contact Broken Bay (02) 9495 8306 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

    Mona Vale Conference of the St Vincent de Paul Society has just had a change in leadership. Having completed a very successful 3 year term in the time-consuming office of President, our hard working and popular Owen Pilon has handed over the reins to Adrian Calleia, our former Treasurer. We wish them both well in their new roles. We also wish to thank their wives, respectively Suzanne and Karen, for their patient support.

    Our conference has recently collected about $1,600 in donations for Victorian Bushfire Relief and $250 for Queensland Flood Relief. Your generosity will be greatly appreciated by those who have suffered in some of Australia's worst natural disasters. Many thanks.


    Project Compassion 2009

    Project Compassion 2009

    The St Vincent de Paul Society is not in competition with other Australian charities, but often works in cooperation with them. For instance, Caritas Australia and Vinnies are very closely associated. Last year, Vinnies' Ozanam Lecture w as given by the International President of Caritas, Cardinal Rodriguez.

    It is interesting to note that Caritas is telling donors to direct donations for bushfire relief to our Society, while Vinnies has, in the past, advised people to send donations to Caritas in order to help people in other countries whose lives had been devastated by other natural disasters.

    The development programs of Caritas take many forms including health care, water supply, housing, education, agriculture, ecologically sustainable development and support for refugees.The video, recently shown in our Parish Churches, illustrated many of the good works done by this international charitable organisation

    In third world countries, both urban and rural poor face worsening conditions. The former must purchase food at increasingly inflated prices because they have little access to land. The latter now find their ability to farm the local land has been reduced by such factors as climate change and poor management.

    As Caritas believes that everyone has the right to enough food to eat and a healthy environment in which to live, Caritas Australia runs an appeal called Project Compassion in Lent each year. This year, the appeal is entitled "An environment to grow in".

    Packages of envelopes can be found at the Church entrance. Your contribution will make a difference.

    For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au and www.caritas.org.au


    Ash Wednesday advice

    Ash Wednesday Advice : "Remember, man, that thou art dust, and unto dust thou shalt return"

    Wills and Bequests : Extracts from www.vinnies.org.au

    The St Vincent de Paul Society in NSW resources a Bequest Team which is based at Lewisham, Sydney. All funds from bequests are used to further the assistance and care provided to the poor and marginalised, those who have become victims of disaster or abuse, the frail-aged, people living with mental illness and struggling families.

    Publications include:

    * Your Will for the Future
    * Executors and Probate - your questions answered
    * My Personal Information Register

    Vinnies NSW encourages and facilitates Bequests to all aspects of the Society's good works, including the Matthew Talbot Hostel - not just bequests to the Society's State Council and refer intending benefactors, if requested, to one of 225 Honorary Solicitor's. Wills are done free of charge (subject to some limitations) where a Bequest to the Society is to be included.

    Vinnies also supports active friendship and visitation program to members of the Society's benefactors group known as Forever Friends.

    For more Information on how to support the St Vincent de Paul Society through a Bequest, contact the Bequest Team:

    Ms Jan Pavey (02) 9568 0260 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
    Mr Rob Lennon (02) 9568 0272 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


    The St Vincent de Paul Victorian Disaster Appeal

    The St Vincent de Paul Victorian Disaster Appeal

    "Since mounting the St Vincent de Paul Society Victorian Disaster Appeal the response from across Australia has been overwhelming. Our State counterparts have given us unprecedented support facilitating and organising shipments of material aid which is being transported to us by semi-trainers, sea freight and even horse floats." (Vinnies.org.au)

    Although Vinnies has received less media attention for their helping hand to survivors than that given to other Charities, you only have to go to Vinnies website to see images of the work going on.
    Just click on the images to view the love and support offered from around Australia

    The site shows pictures of hundreds of volunteers unloading truckloads of goods in the enormous warehouse at Rowville. This hub has been inundated with material donations for bushfire survivors which have to be sorted and distributed through our Vinnies Centres network.

    Vinnies has also developed a Disaster Training Package to help our volunteer disaster-recovery teams. The work of these teams is to assist in the long term recovery of the affected communities who, in order to rebuild lives, need financial and material aid as well as emotional support and friendship

    For more, see Dr Andy Mark's article in last week's Catholic Weekly entitled "Selfless courage by those who 'have done their bit' ".

    You can help too. Just drop your donation in the Poor Box at the entrance Mona Vale Church, this weekend. If you need a receipt for taxation purposes, place your donation and personal details in an envelope and drop it in the Poor Box or hand it in at the Piety Stall.


    Victorian Bushfire Appeal


    Victoria is facing an unprecedented disaster due to the devastating Bushfires which have razed entire communities to the ground.

    Please donate now.

    All money left in the Poor Box at Mona Vale church, this weekend and next, will be sent to provide assistance for the many families who have lost their homes, family members, friends and livelihoods. If you need a receipt for taxation purposes, place your donation and personal details in an envelope and drop it in the Poor Box or hand it in at the Piety Stall.

    Other Donation options are:



    Click Here


    Call 13 18 12


    Print the donation form from this link:



    Then forward donations to:

    St Vincent de Paul Society
    Victorian Disaster Appeal
    Locked Bag 4800
    Box Hill Vic 3128

    (Please make cheques/money orders payable to the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria Inc.)


    We see, We hear, We help.

    We see, We hear, We help.

    Two natural disasters have hit Australia simultaneously, floods in Queensland and bushfires in Victoria Many people have lost their family members, houses, and belongings. Apart f'rom financial loss, victims of natural disasters are often affected by depression, mental illness or social isolation.

    The St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland recently announced the launch of its North Queensland Flood Appeal to help raise funds for the hundreds of families affected by devastating floods. State President, John Campbell, remarked "whether people need help or willing to give help, the St Vincent de Paul Society welcomes them with open arms"".
    As well, the St Vincent de Paul Society Victoria has mounted its VICTORIAN DISASTER APPEAL. This branch of Vinnies has promised to "assist in the long-term recovery of the communities affected by this tragedy, helping them to rebuild their homes and their lives with financial and material aid. Ongoing assistance will include emotional support, counselling and friendship".


    The Society prefers financial donations as they are easier to distribute and manage, and do not incur distribution costs. To donate to either or both of these appeals, go to www.vinnies.org.au or phone our Donation Hotline on 13 18 12. A Form is provided on Vinnies website for secure online donations. Donations of $2 and over are Tax Deductible.


    Catholics dig deep

    Catholics dig deep

    Headlines of last week's Catholic Weekly said "Catholics dig deep for needy in time of crisis". The excellent article by Sharyn Marchant examines the message from various Catholic charities that donations have increased despite the current economic downturn.

    In particular, Sharyn quotes Dr Andy Marks, Vinnies' Senior Research Officer, saying that donations to Vinnies' recent Christmas Appeal were up on last year and that people who do not usually give have come forth with contributions.

    In his own article in the same newspaper, Andy leads with the headline "Crisis hits people least able to cope.". He starts off by saying "the St Vincent de Paul Society continues to monitor and proactively respond to the impact of the global financial crisis". He adds that the main concern of Vinnies is the growing level of unemployment which is much worse in some areas than others.

    Many of those who become unemployed, lose their sense of self esteem and are prone to psychological illnesses. Their families also can be affected by stress. Vinnies tries to help individuals and families who face the shock of job loss. Not only are they given financial help but they are given compassionate advice.

    Our Society appreciates your loyalty and the support of the Catholic Weekly in these troublesome times. The Catholic Weekly is available at the church entrance at the low cost of $2.




    The story of Nullah, a mixed race Aboriginal boy, in the movie "Australia" reminded viewers of the Stolen Generation. The hurtful injustice delivered to that group of children was further brought back into our minds by the appointment of Lorraine Peeters as NSW Senior Australian of the Year 2009.

    Lorraine Peeters, who was forcibly transferred from her family to an institution at the age of four years, established a healing program to overcome the trauma suffered by stolen generation survivors. You may remember her presenting Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, with a glass coolamon [Aboriginal carrying vessel] in thanks for his apology.

    "Sorry" has been said, but what happens now? Vicki Clark from the Aboriginal Catholic Ministry Melbourne expresses her views on that in the Spring edition Vinnies' publication THE RECORD.

    Vicki Clark says that " Reparation, restitution and rehabilitation are the way forward." Reparation is about compensation for harm done, restitution is about restoring lost culture and rehabilitation is about their place in society.

    First, however, there is the need to close the gap that lies between the indigenous and non-indigenous Australians in health and life expectancy as well as educational and employment opportunity.

    Many thanks to all donors who gave so generously to our 2008 Christmas Appeal. An amount over $7,000 was contributed.


    What is the St Vincent de Paul Society?

    What is the St Vincent de Paul Society?


    The St Vincent de Paul Society is a lay Catholic society which depends on the contributions of caring people in order to carry out the following good works as listed on Vinnies' website:

    # Home visitation to 5000 people every day
    # Support for homeless men, women, children, families and young people
    # Programs to break the cycle of homelessness
    # Domestic violence refuges for women and children
    # Support for people living with a mental illness
    # Help for rural communities struggling through natural disasters
    # Supported employment for people with disabilities
    # Kids Camps for disadvantaged children
    # Vinnies Centres
    # Night Patrol/Soup Vans giving assistance on the streets
    # Children's Educational Funds
    # Migrant and refugee assistance
    # Overseas development programs
    # Aged Care facilities including hostels, homes and day therapy centres

    Matthew Talbot Homeless Services can help many homeless men break the cycle of homelessness. Matthew Talbot Homeless Services 2008 appeal ends on 17 Feb 2009. Your donation could change someone's life. To donate visit www.vinnies.org.au (NSW/ACT site).

    The Forgotten Ones

    The Forgotten Ones

    The St Vincent de Paul Society has great compassion for the homeless. Their sixteen page brochure entitled "The Forgotten Ones" describes the plight of
    homeless people in pictures and is available as a download from Vinnies' website (http://www.vinnies.org.au).

    The text starts by saying "each homeless person is someone's brother, sister, mother, father, friend or loved one, and each one of them is homeless or in danger of homelessness for a different tragic reason".

    It also says that "one of the main precursors to homelessness is housing stress - one in four Australian households is just three pay packets away from homelessness".

    The first picture in the brochure shows a young unemployed man who is living in his car. He is looking for work but that won't be easy as he appears to
    be a little mentally slow.

    Other cases described include an invalid pensioner evicted on the sale of his unit, a New Zealand family bereft of financial or housing assistance, a
    lady with five children living in a tent and a single mother unable to afford an accommodation bond..

    The St Vincent de Paul Society not only helps the homeless with temporary accommodation, food and clothing but works to prevent it through financial



    The Homeless

    The Homeless


    The coming New Year may not be a happy one for the unemployed,and the homeless. Calls on our help may increase but we are ready for the challenge. Your contributions to our Christmas Appeal will help sustain our efforts.

    The possible increase in poverty is being anticipated by Vinnies' research officers so that the appropriate response can be provided. The effects of the global credit crunch have been monitored for the past year and contingency plans are being implemented e.g. upgrading the Budget Counselling service.

    Dr Andy Marks, senior research officer, tells us that no single factor triggers need in disadvantaged groups. Instead it is a combination of forces. Also, he says that the two most critical problems for many families created by the global credit crisis will be job losses and marginal housing.

    Those losing their jobs will find it hard to re-enter the workforce. Government investment in infrastructure will give some relief to those capable of industrial work. Others will need training.

    Many people will be unable to afford rent and will be forced to live with relations or friends in cramped accommodation. Some will end up in caravan parks or even on the streets.

    Prime Minister Rudd has promised a large amount of money to halve the number of homeless in Australia by 2020 is a praiseworthy plan. However, Charities, including Vinnies, will be left to look after the other half.

    Christmas Joy

    The coming of Christ


    As we celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Christ in Pittwater Parish, we think of those less fortunate than ourselves.


    As we give gifts to those who are close to us, we think of those who will have no gifts this Christmas.



    Hampers from Mona Vale and Avalon distributed by Centacare


    As we observe the commercialism around us, we try to recollect the true meaning of Christmas and to celebrate Christ's arrival among us.


    Re-enactment of the first Christmas


    As we get together with friends, let us remember the elderly in Nursing Homes, Hospitals and other places. May they too have visitors to bring them comfort and joy.


    As we eat and drink with family, may we come together with family members who have perhaps become estranged. May we listen, care and forgive.


    Images and the crib remind us of the first Christmas


    We wish you all a holy, peaceful, safe and joyful Christmas in 2008.

    Special Works

    Special Works


    John Donnelly, Diocesan President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, has a very informative article in bbn ( Broken Bay News - December 2008). The article is entitled "The Society's Special Works in the Diocese of Broken Bay. Special works supplement the major work of the Society which is home visitation of the poor and needy.

    These Special Works include

    The Compeer program: befriending adults who have or are recovering from a psychiatric disorder.

    Disaster Recovery
    : helping victims of bushfires and floods.

    Budget Counselling : assisting people manage their money.

    NILS Scheme
    : offering a no interest loans scheme.

    Temporary Housing: providing short term accommodation at minimum rental.

    Youth Reach
    : helping young people in crisis.

    For more information and other interesting reading take home a copy of the bbn magazine. The magazines are freely available at the entrance to the churches.

    Mona Vale and Avalon St Vincent de Paul Society Conferences extend our Best Wishes for a Happy Christmas to all our generous supporters.

    Ethics and Climate Change

    Ethics and Climate Change


    An article entitled Ethics and Climate Change by Fr. Sean McDonagh, in the Summer 2007-08 edition of St Vincent de Paul publication The Record, was given a highly commended award by the Australian Religious Publishing Association.


    The author is a well informed advocate on environmental issues. In this article he provides a concise analysis of the ethical issues at the heart of climate change. Unfortunately, the world's political leaders are only now starting to take the matter seriously.


    Fr Sean points out that, as the global temperature rises, Australia will be hit by more intense heat waves, bush fires, droughts, storms, floods and landslides. Furthermore, as glaciers melt, our coastline and neighbouring islands could be inundated by rising sea levels, creating a torrent of refugees.


    He goes on to present a basic ethical principle : " a nation cannot use the excuse of minimising the cost to its own economy as an ethically acceptable excuse for failing to take action on greenhouse gas emissions that effect the whole planet ".


    Finally, he says that as climate change will cause horrendous pain to hundreds of millions of people, it ought to be one of the priorities of the St Vincent de Paul Society.


    Please note that, next weekend, our Mona Vale Conference will conducting our Christmas Appeal. All donations will be thankfully received.


    Parish Pastoral Council

    Pittwater Parish Pastoral Council

    Our two communities (formerly Avalon and Mona Vale Parishes) are served by a single Parish Pastoral Council (PPC) made up of our Parish Priest and a number of representative parishioners from each community, several of whom are voted onto the Council, with the remainder being invited members chosen by a consensus of the elected members and the Parish Priest (thus allowing us to address discrepancies in such areas as age or gender, as well as being able to co-opt people because of special skills needed on the Parish Pastoral Council). The Principals of our two Parish Schools are ex officio members of the PPC as is the Youth Minister. With the recent change in Parish Priest, the composition of the Council is being re-evaluated with the possibility of new elections in approximately July 2009.

    The first Parish Council in the area was at Maria Regina to assist the ailing Parish Priest, Mons Ian Burns. You can read about it by clicking here.

    The role of the Council is to provide advice and support to the Parish Priest in the areas of pastoral planning, parish administration and ministry, and parish mission.

    From time to time, Committees and Sub-committees have been established, the membership of which is made up of members of the PPC, working together sometimes with members of the wider Parish Community. Examples are Finance and special Parish Projects such as that to fund Solomon Island Pilgrims to World Youth Day 2008.

    The role of the Committees is to review broad areas of parish life and ministry and to suggest areas where new developments and growth need to take place.

    The Council welcomes ideas and issues from parishioners.

    The Parish Priest is President of the Parish Pastoral Council, reflecting his role as President of the community, while Council meetings themselves are chaired by a chairperson, currently Susan Berg, elected by the members of the PPC.

    The current members of the Pittwater Parish Pastoral Council are (in alphabetical order):


    • Susan Berg (Chair-person)
    • Julie Caldwell (Principal Sacred Heart Primary School)
    • Sr. Matilde Chia (Sacramental Programmes)
    • Kathy Gee (Principal, Maria Regina Primary School)
    • Kathy Gray
    • Simon Hyland (Youth Minister)
    • Michael Knapton
    • Fr. George Kolodziej (Parish Priest)
    • Erich Ott
    • Len Papandrea
    • Harvey Rose
    • Maureen Suggitt
    • David West

    Recent major achievements of the Parish Pastoral Council are:

    • A wonderful and much needed music program
    • A vibrant program for the youth
    • A beautifully refurbished Maria Regina Church
    • Improvements at Sacred Heart Church
    • A greatly enhanced pastoral program
    • Up grade of pre-school premises and better contract