Weekly Messages

Protecting Children
September 7-13 this year was Child Protection Week. In its National News section of its website, Vinnies strongly supports the theme of that week " Protecting children is everyone's business". Our Society always advocates for the dignity of children, believing all children deserve freedom from abuse and neglect as well as decent housing, health care and education. Vinnies' researchers have provided numerous submissions to relevant organisations. These can be.accessed by links from Vinnies' website..Also extracare is given to poor and disadvantaged children by means of such good works as
  • The Breakfast Club in East Maitland which provides cereals, toast, fruit and fruit  juice to about 60 hungry pupils of St Joseph's.Primary School. At many homes, the cupboard might be bare or their mother might be sick or lacking knowledge of nutrition.
  • Kid's Camps, for 5-12 year old', which consist of 2-5 days recreational or educational activities with lots of laughter. Such activities and those on Buddies Days, provide disadvantaged children with self confidence and social skills.
  • SPARK,,which gives newly-arrived migrant or refugee children help with homework.
          For more, visit www.vinnies.org.au.


Poem by Dr Falzon
we don't tell our stories,
sure as hell
someone else will tell them for us.
we live as if we were alone
we might as well surrender.
But if we fall,
when we fall,
we will have all the more reason
rise up
This short inspirational poem from the Winter 2014 edition of The Record was written by our National Council CEO, Dr John Falzon. Apart from poetics he has been educated in sociology, theology and politics. He is the author of many articles on social justice and has served on the ACOSS Board and many Government advisory committees.
 Last month, Dr Falzon appeared as a panellist on ABC's Q&A program.. For those who missed listening to his well structured answers, they may catch up by going to www.vinnies.org.au then clicking successively on :  News, National News,and the item headed " Vinnies in the"News in August 2014". Finally,start up the video clip "An art form of cruelty to the unemployed" or " Don't hit the poor to fix the budget".  .


"Be very gentle and courteous toward your poor....love them tenderly and respect them deeply".
- St Louise de Marillac
Respecting the Poor
    In 1633, Louise de Marilla, together with St Vincent de Paul. co-founded the Company of the Daughters of Charity. Her ideas of respecting the poor are relevant now as then, However.the meaning of poverty has changed since it now takes into  account the factor of exclusion, For instance, the Australian aborigines, immigrants and the disabled are often treated like financially poor outsiders. The have their pride and their feelings are hurt by such rejection
     We, Australians, are supposed to be a multicultural society but we are often hearing  derogatory remarks about those with differently coloured skin or different religious beliefs.. Jesus showed us the right  way by meeting and helping Samaritans, lepers, the blind and the disabled. The St Vincent de Paul Society makes an effort to follow His example.  Vinnies tries to pull down the walls of discrimination and assist any of our needy neighbours. 
P.S. The parishioners of Pittwater Parish, are always willing to lend a helping hand to people who are struggling, Many thanks goes to donors of our Winter Appeal 2014. The result of the collection broke the record.


The 2014 Ozanam Lecture

The 2010 Ozanam Lecture entitled "Go and do likewise: Revisioning the St Vincent de PaulSociety for the 21st century with enthusiasm for the mission, faith and thirst for good which were the hallmarks of the Foundations "was presented by Fr Richard Benson CM.

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 later suggested that Australia is ready for the Vincention 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 wont be tolerated. 
  •  the Society needs to make it clear that it serves every human life from the moment of conception until the moment of natural death".


Social Media
     Social Media is, roughly speaking, a set of internet tools that allows people and organisations to share information. The St Vincent de Paul Society uses social media to spread the word about its good works and receive posts from followers using Facebook or Twittter.
     Although social media often does good for society, its use has often been criticised  for uncharitable content such as brazen bullying, racist remarks, pornographic pictures and violent videos. Simon Caldwell's article in  the Catholic Weekly (6/4/2014) entitled "Bishop: Repent social media sins" tells us that Bishop Philip Egan of Portsmouth said in a pastoral letter that using social media for abuse or to attack the reputations of other people was a direct sin against the Eighth Commandment, forbidding people from 'bearing false witness against their neighbour. "We must exercise discretion, respect their privacy and not engage in slander, gossip and rash judgment".
      Last Monday night, Kerry O'Brien hosted on ABC 4 Corners a PBS film entitled Generation Like. He introduced this episode as " The power of one simple word "like" - redolent of.Bryce Courtenay's novel " The Power of .One". This film gives us insight into a new use form of marketing based on sampling the likes and dislikes of teenagers, 90% of whom have access to the internet. It asks if the manipulation of children by big corporations be classed as a new form of slave labour.


Serving our Country
     The St Vincent de Paul Society recently joined in with other Australians in celebrating NADIOC Week 2014. This year the theme of NADIOC Week was honouring the aborigines and Torres Strait Islanders (ATSI) men and women who served our country in conflicts or peacekeeping operations that Australia has been involved. In the past, the  ATSI [people have received little recognition for  their valour and efforts.To remedy this situation a research  project entitled "Serving Our Country" has been set up with Professor Mick Dodson AM as the Chief Investigator..
     Warning: Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people should be aware that the websites mentioned below may contain images or names of people who have since passed away.
     Visit www.ourmobobserved.com  for pictures of ASTI people and click them to learn about their wartime stories of bravery against high odds. The Project's Logo appears in the top left hand corner of thhe page. Click on it for the meaning of its elements.
     For more visit National News, July 7, on www.vinnies.org.au. and please note "Vinnies principally supports recognition of the first Australians in our founding document of law and government. As such, we support moves to establish a referendum, leading to ultimate Constitutional recognition".