Weekly Messages

      A year ago, Anthony Thornton, our new National President, told us of the sad ABC story of a 31 year old homeless, pregnant lady called Sara (privacy pseudonym) who, one week after getting temporary accommodation, was told by the NSW housing department to find a new place to live. She was unable to find a place to call home, ending up sleeping in her car with her baby in her jacket.  To make matters worse she fell sick with the flu. For the next few months Sara slept on the streets, in her car, or at her friends' places.  Sadly, she was told she was on a two years waiting list for a departmental home.  Sara said she felt scared for herself and her daughter, enough to think of doing something drastic. Mr. Thornton found her situation was hard to believe in a country like Australia. He said housing was a human right and no one should be turned away from a homelessness service. He also said that over 105,000 people were experiencing homelessness each night,a frightening number. 
      A letter from Robert, a homeless Tasmanian, to the editor of The Record praised the support he was given by Vinnies in his hour of need. He says he was sleeping rough for eight months, suffering from pneumonia and was given a warm bed and food.He was also, helped get medical attention and provided with a counsellor to help overcome his poker machine addiction. Now he is well, debt free and living in supported tenancy.


Reflections on Easter

        Each year, the St Vincent de Paul Society publishes a set of beautiful Spiritual Reflection Guides. This year, the front page of the Guide displays Rembrandt's Return of the Prodigal Son which our Spiritual Director and Guide writer, Leo Tucker says "captures the compassionate and unconditional love of the Father, a theme central to the year of Mercy and close to the heart of Pope Francis".

      The Guide for Easter 2016 is entitled "How do we recognise Jesus?" and has a picture showing three crucifixes of Calvary silhouetted against a cloudy, darkening sky. The main Guide text consists of a comparison of the differing Gospel accounts of Easter as written in the four Gospels.The reader is then asked the question "Which account speaks most to you of the joy of the Resurrection?". In addition, on the right side of the page is This Week's Message and a prayer, both about the sudden recognition of Jesus.

       The guide can be seen by visiting the website www.vinnies.org.au, clicking on the NSW menu item and then followiing the Publications link...

We wish you all a joyful Easter.


The Ache for Home

      Last Sunday night, Dr John Falzon, CEO of the St Vincent de Paul Society, announced on ABC radio that Vinnies had come up with a plan to address chronic homelessness and housing unaffordability in Australia, entitled "The Ache for Home". This title was taken from one of Maya Angelóú's autobiographies "All God's Children Need Travelling Shoes". Maya (1928-2012) was an American author and poet who made a great universal contribution to the struggle for the rights of the excluded and disadvantaged.

     Australia is in a Housing crisis with over 100,000 people experiencing homelessness and about 875,000 suffering severe housing stress. Vinnies' plan discusses the current situation and proposes three strategies which are briefly outlined below. The aim is to halve the housing problem by the year 2025. 

1. The government should establish a $10 million Housing Fund to provide loans for building social and affordable housing with low interest, strict guidelines for quality control and environmental efficiency. 

2. All governments should respect housing as a human right for housing policy and accept the concomitant obligations.

3. Housing policy needs to be reformed so as to sustain and adapt to meet needs of all in the community.

For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au


Increased Inequality

Just before Last Christmas, our National CEO, Dr John Falzon, took part in a Sky News Interview by David Lipson entitled “ Need to tackle increased inequality : Vinnies”. The topics he discussed were Christmas Appeal, Newstart Allowance and The Ideas Boom. 

Dr Falzon said a huge thank you to donors of this Appeal for their warm generosity and then to the thousands of part time volunteers who filled up and distributed Christmas hampers.

He went on to say it was now a time for profound reflection; we are a rich country but persist in having growing levels of inequality. We should be putting in place measures to arrest inequality rather than ramping it up.

He added that a report from the ATO revealed that just under 600 large organisations paid no tax while the young unemployed are forced to live on fresh air and sunshine for one month of each year.

As for innovative ideas, let’s have a bipartisan approach to solving the housing shortage and have a jobs plan which addresses the structural causes of underemployment and unemployment.


Interest Free Loans

" Our mission is to deepen the Catholic faith of our members and proclaim the Good News of Jesus Christ through the manner in which we respond to those we meet.

We recognise the centrality of our own relationship with Jesus Christ and we seek to bring the richness of this friendship to those with whom we walk in their troubles and need. We respect their dignity and empower them to take control of their own destiny.

We aim to co-operate in shaping  a more just and compassionate Australian Community …"

  -  Vinnies' Mission Statement.

The St Vincent de Paul Society, true to this statement, provides interest free loans for needy people living in Northern Beaches Region for the purchase of essential goods and services. Applicants for a loan need to have lived in the area for at least three months, are on a low wage and have the ability of making regular repayments. The maximum amount lent is $1,200 and repayments are  usually $20-$30 per fortnight, depending on the size of the loan.

For more, contact the SVDP Northern Beaches NILS Administrator  :  Phone 9415 1492 on Tuesday or Thursday 9.30 am- 4.30 pm. 



The St Vincent de Paul Society has a spiritual mission as well as charitable one. This shows up on its website www.vinnies.org.au. If you type "Advent" into the word searching textbox at the top right hand side of the home page, and then press the return button, you will be presented with a list of links to the various pages of information on Advent. Click on the second of these and a page headed " Reflection 9" will appear.

The first paragraph  on this page "Text Gospel Story" tells us about the second coming of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. The second paragraph "Sharing the Mission" starts "Waiting in joyful anticipation".  There follows Discussion among members, Action and a Prayer.

P.S. The Piety Stall is selling packs of 10 assorted Christmas Cards for $5 and Columban Calendars for $9 each.