Today the Church celebrates the memorial of Saint Vincent de Paul, whose life was given to the service of the poor and the development of the clergy.
Vincent was born in Gascony in France in 1581 of peasant parents who were farmers. He was the third of six children, and showed an ability to read and write at an early age. His folks sacrificed to sent him off for schooling to a seminary at the age of fifteen and he applied himself with such resolve that he was ordained a priest at the age of nineteen on September 23, 1600. He continued his studies and through a very convoluted but interesting series of events began his ministry to the poor and needy in Paris. He established an orphanage for the countless abandoned children that he found in the streets of Paris, he established a group of wealthy women from the parish in which he served into the Ladies of Charity in 1617, with the help of Saint Louise de Marillac founded the Daughters of Charity of Saint Vincent de Paul, and founded the Congregation of the Missions who are known as "the Vincentians". After a life of service and inspiration, he died in Paris on September 27, 1660. An interesting note that I read is that his feast of celebrated on this day not only in the Roman Church. but also in the Church of England and the Episcopal Church.
His mission was to see in every human being a Child of God, and thus deserving of love and respect, dignity and assistance. His love of the poor and needy echoed the works of mercy that the Church, through the example of Christ, places before us. And his example has become a tremendous gift to the Church.
Recently within our diocese, the Diocesan Central Council of Greensburg held its annual dinner. There were 240 members attending from our 33 parish conferences and ten retail stores established within the diocese, and they represent the countless hours of service given in so many ways by so many people to so many people. The love and compassion and the Spiritual and Corporal Works of Mercy shared in the name of the Lord and in the spirit of Saint Vincent de Paul touch lives in dramatic ways. Among our local parishes the Saint Vincent de Paul Society does much, and spearheads our local Food Bank distribution. To them, and to all who embrace the charism of charity found in Saint Vincent de Paul, we are most grateful.