Sunday Fun Day at the Windy City Thunderbolts “Fun”raiser!

Dear Vincentians & Friends,

We are the Co-Chairs for the upcoming SVdP “Sunday Fun Day” outing at Windy City Thunderbolts, Ozinga Field, 14011 S. Kenton Avenue, Crestwood, Illinois 60418. 

Advance game tickets are $10.00 per person. Tickets the day of the game can also be purchased at the SVdP “Will Call” Table at the Tailgate Party for $12.00 per person. 

For those interested, there will be a Tailgate Party with food, beverages and beer for $15.00 per person (children 14 and under $10.00). Join in the fun of a friendly corn-hole bags game, chow down while enjoying a cool beverage, and visit with fellow Vincentians before the game. Also, there will be a 50/50 cash raffle benefiting the SVdP National Friends of the Poor Campaign. 

Those planning on attending the Tailgate Party must complete and submit the attached form so that we are able to plan accordingly, especially for ordering the food.

Pick up your game tickets at the SVdP “Will Call” Table at the Tailgate Party.

We would love to have a little fun competition between the Districts and/or Conferences as to who will have the biggest attendance!

Please email us if you have any questions. 

Jim ( and Jackie (


Happy Birthday Frederic Ozanam

Blessed Frederic Ozanam

My brothers, what good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and you say to them, “Good-bye and good luck! Keep warm and well fed,” but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that? So it is with faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless.

You must perceive that a person is justified by his works and not by faith alone. Be assured, then, that faith without works is as dead as a body without breath.

(James 2:14-17,24,26)

The Life of Frederic Ozanam

Although a patriotic Frenchman, Frederic Ozanam was born on April 23, 1813 in Milan, Italy. His parents were Jean-Antoine and Marie Nantas Ozanam. He was the fifth of fourteen children. He was raised in Lyons, France where his father served as a doctor.

“From his earliest years Frederic was brought into close contact with human misery and suffering, and a realization of the claims of Christian Charity. In one biography of Ozanam, it is recorded that in later years he thanked God that he had been born into a middle class family, neither rich nor poor, so that he was spared the moral dangers that lie both in the luxury of wealth and in the discouragement of poverty.” (FOS,p.3)

He was always an exceptional student. This was reflected throughout his time in various schools and afterward in his career as a university professor. He suffered through some very disturbing religious doubts in his sixteenth year. Strong guidance brought him through it. In fact, during his university studies in Paris, he and his fellow Catholic students became a strong voice for Catholicism in an increasingly non-Catholic society.

These students chose Joseph Emmanual Bailly as their mentor, their guide to their intellectual discussions, their mature advisor in other matters. Bailly provided them with a location and support for their historical debate society. He was selected to be the first president of the conference of charity formed in 1833. And, it was under his influence that St. Vincent de Paul was later chosen as the patron saint for their works of charity. 

Frederic and his friends were challenged during a debate in the spring of 1833. “We agree that at one time your Church was a great Church and was a source of great good…What is your Church doing now? What is she doing for the poor of Paris? Show us your works and we will believe you.” It was as if the letter of James was open before him: “faith without works is as dead as a body without breath.” Some weeks later, under the guidance of Monsieur Bailly, Frederic, Francois Tallier, Paul Lamanche, Felix Clave, Augusta La Tallandier, and Jules De Vaux formed the Conference of Charity (later to be known as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul).

Frederic spent most of his life lecturing at Universities and establishing conferences of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Wherever he traveled, he would either work to found a new conference or be sure to visit an existing one. The Society which he founded to benefit his beloved Church, to serve his loving God, was ever dear to him.

Frederic was a family man. He married late in life and had one child, a daughter. He was very devoted to his wife and child, he would never let other matters draw him away for long. “He retained the youthful amour of his marriage, observing each month the wedding anniversary with a thoughtfully-chosen remembrance. In a busy world and life, he found time for his only daughter, regaling her at his knees with tales and imagery of the past he knew so well.” (AMM:9,p.248)

From early childhood, his health had been a burden to him. He had always been sickly. A few months after his 40th birthday he died in Marseilles. On September 8, 1853, he died peacefully in the presence of his family, while members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul prayed for him.

On January 12, 1954, Pope Pius XII signed the decree of introduction for the beatification of Frederic Ozanam. On August 22, 1997, Pope St. John Paul II presided over his beatification. His official title is now “Blessed Frederic Ozanam” and his feast day is September 9.

(The above excerpt was taken from Mike Syslo’s Book, Vincentian Spirituality)

Back by Popular Demand our Mother’s Day Card Fundraiser

May 14 is Mother’s Day …. A yearly celebration where we celebrate that special woman in our lives who has loved us unconditionally

SVdP Chicago is excited to offer once again our Mother’s Day card for that special woman in your life. Someone’s mother could be an Aunt, Grandmother, Friend, etc. Whoever this special person is, let her know that you’re thinking of her this Mother’s Day and appreciate everything she has done for you with this unique, one-of-a-kind card.

Proceeds from the sale of these cards will go towards providing clothing, food and other necessities to help our friends in need.

We will hand address and sign the card/s from YOU! This is a 5×7 double sided full color professionally printed card (see above) that we will mail on your behalf. The cards are $10 each.

If you prefer, cards are available at both our Orland Park Thrift Store at 7010 W 159th Street in Orland Park and Libertyville Thrift Store at 168 Peterson Road.

Let’s work together to to eliminate homelessness in Chicago and Cook and Lake Counties in Illinois in 2023.

Thank you in advance for your kindness and support.

Feeding the Hungry: A Story from the SVdP Christ Our Light Catholic Church Conference in Hegewisch

Christ Our Light Catholic Church (formerly St. Florian) Helps Feed Their Neighbors In Need in the Hegewisch Community

Approximately 90 families per month in the Hegewisch Community visit Christ Our Light Catholic Church in need of food assistance for their families. Christ Our Light Catholic Church is a combination of St. Columba, Mother of God and St. Florian with St. Florian the only parish to have a SVdP Conference. Joan Gibbons, SVdP Conference President, has been a part of the food pantry for around 10-15 years. Kathy has been volunteering for 25 years. Besides Joan, Kathy is the next longest volunteer with the food pantry. With Joan’s group of 15-20 volunteers (all seniors) they have their food pantry set-up and distribution down to a science. The food pantry has been in operation since 1992 and in November 2022 they celebrated their 30th Anniversary!

When the pantry first opened, they started with 5 ladies serving 12 families. In the late 90s/early 2000s they were serving as many as 200 families. Joan felt it was because many of the steel mills and industry closing. When their Friends in Need stop in, they are given a number, they register, a table with literature is set up. Then they begin getting their items in the gym, into the hallway, into a back room where there are several freezers/refrigerators. They receive enough meat for at least a week (or more). They also have tables filled with baked goods that are donated from Food Rescue, who partners with the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Food Rescue sends trucks to Walmart, Target, Jewel, etc., and brings surplus baked goods. The majority of their donations come from the Greater Food Depository, Food Rescue, the donation drive held by the post office, Scouts, and they always accept donations from their neighbors.

With Easter around the corner, they plan on distributing a ham/turkey for the larger families and chicken for the smaller families or individuals.

The Christ Our Light Catholic Church delivers to six shut-ins who are either handicapped or have no means of transportation. These deliveries are made before the pantry opens.

Henry and Ken have been volunteering with the food pantry for several years. Henry began when his brother-in-law, Bob, who lived nearby, talked him into helping out. Henry’s brother-in-law has since passed, but he still makes the commute from New Lenox. As much as he says every November it’s time to stop and take it easy, he’s still year a couple of years later.

Ken has been with the pantry for several years now. As his parents were getting older, Ken and his siblings took care of them. He used to help at a Soup Kitchen in Hammond years ago so he is all too familiar with volunteering and helping others. He said that is what he enjoys the most is helping others. He started helping out at St. Florian when an ad in the paper caught his eye that they needed volunteers. Here he is now, seven years later.

On Wednesday, March 22, the SVdP every St. Florian Pantry Volunteer received a Certificate of Appreciation from the Office of the Governor Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service. Each volunteer received a certificate for their countless hours of dedication and service to their community.

Needless to say, SVdP Chicago-ADC is very proud of all the hard work and effort that goes into the Christ Our Light Catholic Church food pantry. God bless you for all you have done and continue to do for our Friends in Need.

Congratulations Elvia – SVdP Chicago Central Office Administrator

Congratulations Elvia Rojas, Office Administrator, for SVdP Chicago ADC. Elvia has a long history and has been very dedicated to charitable, non-profit organizations.

Elvia began working with charitable, non-profit organizations in 1985 when she started with Catholic Charities. Then in 1990 she began her career with St. Vincent de Paul Chicago ADC, and today we celebrate her dedication and devotion to SVdP ADC for 33 years!

Elvia, congratulations and THANK YOU for all your hard work you have done for the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago ADC. You are sincerely appreciated!

John Berry Elected SVdP National President – Effective 10/01/2023

Dear Vincentians,

The SVdP-Chicago Council congratulates and extends their thanks and well wishes to John Berry who has been elected the new SVdP National President succeeding Ralph Middlecamp who has served 6 years as the current SVdP National President. John’s position will become effective October 1, 2023.

John has been an active member since 1996. He has been very active within the Society for many years and has also been involved in other civic, cultural, community service, and church activities.

Valentine’s Day Cards to Help the Homeless

NOW AVAILABLE! Valentine’s Day Cards for your Special Someone …

Dear Vincentians & Friends,

SVdP Chicago is excited to offer you the opportunity to send a Valentine’s Day Card/s to those special people in your life during this season of love and kindness.

We have found a unique way to Put a Little Love in Your Heart and also in the hearts of our friends in need who are homeless. Proceeds from the sale of these cards will go towards providing winter clothing and other necessities to keep our friends in need warm during the brutally cold Chicago winter months and beyond.

We will hand address and sign the card/s from YOU! This is a 5×7 double sided full color professionally printed card (see above) that will be mailed in a red envelope. The cards are $10 each.

During this season of love and kindness we hope you will join us in “Putting a Little Love In Your Heart” and helping our friends in need. Let’s work together to to eliminate homelessness in Chicago and Cook and Lake Counties in Illinois in 2023.

To order your card/s, please click on the link below:

He Had a Dream …

Today we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr., who was Inspired by both his Christian faith and the teachings of Mahatma Gandi. He led a nonviolent movement in the late 1950s and 1960s to achieve legal equality for African-Americans in the United States. Dr. King was a social activist who played a key role in the American Civil Rights movement until his assassination in 1968. He wanted equality and human rights for African-Americans, the economically disadvantaged, and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest.

Dr. King … “had a dream”. As he stood on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, a monument to the president who a century earlier had brought down the institution of slavery in the United States, he shared his vision of a future in which “this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’

Those who are homeless, hungry or lonely … they have dreams too. There are countless numbers of men, women, and children in our neighborhoods, state, and country that have a dream. A dream to have a roof over their heads, not to be hungry, and the need for a job so that they can have the life that you and I have.

As a country, we still are a work in progress when it comes to what Dr. King sought: equality and human rights for – African-Americans, the economically disadvantaged, and all victims of injustice through peaceful protest. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul offers assistance to all regardless of creed, ethnic or social background, health, gender or political opinions. Through our prayers and the servant work of the Society we strive every day to help our Friends in Need. We will continue as a Society to be an integral part of the community by doing our part of being there for those in need. By providing food to those that are hungry. By helping those who are homeless. By feeding those who are hungry. By helping those who also “Have a Dream”.

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