Happy St. Joseph’s Day

A St. Joseph’s Day message from the SVdP-Chicago Volunteer President, Harry Ohde:

St. Joseph’s Day

Celebrating the Greatest Father Figure

We gather together at the table to feast in celebration of the greatest step-father known to mankind; St. Joseph, Jesus’ step-father.

St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers, who was a life long partner of Mary, watching over both Mary and Jesus. No questions asked, he answered God’s call to be a father to our Savior. His example of a father figure is celebrated throughout the world on St. Joseph’s Day.

Amidst the mass, wearing red, and the over abundance of food presented at St. Joseph’s tables, let’s take a moment to consider the meaning of a father, or step-father as you will.

Many of us know the experience and feeling of getting married. Together with this person we love and are dedicated to, we witness the joy of bringing a child into the world. Watching that child grow, and at times seeing yourself in that child. Whether it be the same eyes, the whimsical look or common gestures, you see yourself in this child. This miracle that is a part of you. How can you not love and protect them? You spend many years teaching them, watching over them, and making them a priority. Afterall, that is what being a parent is all about.

Now, imagine a young woman with child and you take on the responsibility to be her husband, and help raise her child. You escort her across the dessert and settle on a manger as the birthplace. Helpless in some ways, yet called to love and protect, you witness the birth of a child you did not create. From before the moment this child is born, you love them. You spend the rest of your days putting this child first, guided by God’s wisdom, you remain attentive, loving and caring to this child and his mother. That is the true meaning of a father – unconditional love.

As we prepare for our St. Joseph’s Day celebrations, let us keep in mind, and maybe rethink the phrase step-father. Maybe step is not intended to “remove” the connection, maybe it is meant to mean “stepping up to the plate”. Dedicating yourself to someone else for the greater cause of all mankind.

May you be blessed always, and may your hearts always be thankful for St. Joseph answering his call – stepping up to the plate.

#svdp #svdpchicago #feastofstjoseph #charity

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

Celebrating St. Patrick 

We all have a little Irish in us! As the corned beef cooks, the beer flows freely, and the Chicago River turns green, the celebration of St. Patrick’s day is paramount. For one day a year, we are all Irish! As we gather with friends and family, attending religious services, feasting with food and drink and watch one of the most attended parades, we celebrate life! We celebrate the goodness God has bestowed upon us all from an Irish perspective.  

St. Patrick, a 5th-century missionary to Ireland brought Christianity to many parts of Ireland. Simply put he spread the word of God. St. Patrick is known for his protection from evil. As we prepare to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day, let us all remember his prayer:  

May the strength of God pilot us.

May the Power of God preserve us.

May the wisdom of God instruct us.

May the Hand of God protect us.

May the Way of God direct us.

May the Shield of God defend us.

May the Host of God guard us.

Against the snares of the evil ones,

Against temptations of the world.

May Christ be with us!

May Christ be for us!

May Christ be in us.

Christ be over all!

May Thy Salvation, Lord

Always be ours,

This day, O Lord and evermore. Amen.  

A very blessed St. Patrick’s Day to ALL! 

God Bless,

Harry Ohde, Volunteer President – SVdP Chicago

In Remembrance of Fr. Bill Gubbins

It is with a heavy heart that we share the passing of Fr. Bill Gubbins, Spiritual Advisor at the St. Elizabeth Seton Conference in Orland Hills. 

Fr. Bill will be waked at St. Elizabeth Seton Church tomorrow, Friday, March 18, from 3:00pm to 9:00pm, with funeral services Saturday morning at 10:00am. The conference has elected to mourn in private and no prayer service will be held at the wake. We were blessed to have had Fr. Bill as a Spiritual Advisor.

Please keep Fr. Bill, his family, and the St. Elizabeth Seton Conference in your prayers. May he Rest in Peace. 

Please click on the link below for Fr. Bill’s obituary:

Wishing You Nothing but the Best Lorraine!

As many of you are aware, Lorraine Parisi, our Director of Operations, is leaving SVdP. Today is her last day. We cannot thank her enough for all that she has done for the Society in helping us reach some of our goals and expand what we can offer to our friends in need. Lorraine has been the “key” to keeping things running flawlessly. She will be missed.

Take care Lorraine and all the best from your friends at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul-Chicago. Don’t hesitate stopping by to pay us a visit or giving us a call!

God Bless,

Harry Ohde
Volunteer President
St. Vincent de Paul Chicago/ADC

Below is a message that Lorraine has asked us to share with everyone…
To My St. Vincent de Paul Family,

Sometimes in life, God places us in a certain position with certain people for the sake of His plan. I am so grateful that God called me to serve the Society. My intention was to work hard to help others. Knowing from personal experience as a child how it feels to be in need; food and clothing, I felt I would really understand and make a difference. 

Funny how things turn out. After 5+ years of working for the Society, and the privilege to help our friends in need, in the end, I realized that I was the one being helped. What I have learned about life, spirituality and myself is priceless. Simply put, I am leaving a better person than when I first came on board. 

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul is not just a place that people go to get assistance, it is a place where hearts are healed, minds are expanded, friendships are built, and God presents miracles each and every day. It is a place where if you are quiet and listen, you can hear God whisper and give you guidance. It is a place where an inner peace will rest in your soul. 

It has been my humbled privilege to work with the most amazing people I have ever met. Dedicated, hard working employees. A team of kindred spirits that work from their heart and not their pocketbook. A place where all are welcomed into the SVdP family. Dignity and respect are at the core of the culture. 

My next chapter is yet to be defined. But what is defined is the blessings I received from the Society. 

May God bless the Society and all those that enter through its door always. 

Kindest regards, 

Lorraine Parisi
Director of Operations
Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago ADC

Weekly Lenten Reflection Series

The Weekly Lenten Reflection Series is a great way to educate ourselves on Catholic Social Teaching, our Vincentian vocation and homelessness. Below is a list of upcoming events.
Please make special note that on March 16, Pam Matambanadzo and Dave McNaughton from the Chicago Council District IV will be presenters.

Weekly Lenten Reflection Series

Join the National Formation Director and the Voice of the Poor for a series of Lenten reflections on Wednesday evenings beginning March 9, on Catholic Social teaching, homelessness, and our Vincentian response. We will explore how we are collaborating with other organizations to serve the whole person as well as unmet needs. 

CLICK HERE to register

·         March 9: Reflection: Catholic Social Teaching and Our Vincentian Vocation

·         March 16: Presenters: Pam Matambanadzo & Dave McNaughton – Chicago Council District IVGuest: Alderman Cappleman (46th Ward), Presenter: Miguel Santos – Buffalo NY

 ·         March 23: Presenters: Elmira Roque – Diocese of San Diego, Gloria Hyden: Ozanam Center – Food Mission, District Council of Memphis, TN

·         March 30: Presenters: Sally Wolfe – Denver, Co, Alicia Reyes – St Vincent de Paul Planada, Sacred Heart, Plana, California

·         April 6: Reflection: The Good Samaritan: Who Was the Neighbor? 

CLICK HERE to read more

Vincentian Reflections on the Stations of the Cross

Please join our Vincentian family in the Vincentian Reflections on the Stations of the Cross during this Lenten Season. Please click on the link below for the English version.


Únase a nuestra familia Vicentina en las Reflexiones Vicencianas sobre las Estaciones de la Cruz durante esta Cuaresma.
Por favor, haga clic en el enlace de abajo para la versión en español.


In Remembrance of Marjorie (MacDonald) Robinson

Please keep Holly Robinson and her family in your prayers on the passing of her mother-in-law, Marjorie R. (MacDonald) Robinson on March 5, in Ridgway, PA, after a lengthy illness.

For more information on her service, please click on the link below.

God Bless,

Harry Ohde

Volunteer President

Society of St. Vincent de Paul/ADC

International Women’s Day – Blessed Rosalie Rendu and The Daughters of Charity

In recognition of National Women’s Day, I would like to talk about Blessed Rosalie Rendu who was an empowering woman in her time and has continued on even today.

Blessed Rosalie Rendu was a Daughters of Charity who served the most impoverished areas of Paris. While in boarding school she came across a hospital where the Daughters of Charity cared for the sick. After discovering the Daughters of Charity and learning of their work, she believed this is what she was called to do. She gained experience caring for the sick working side-by-side with the Sisters. She was 17 years old when she joined the Daughters of Charity. At the age of 22 she made her vows to serve God and the poor. She remained there for 54 years.

She was involved in the training of the young sisters at the Daughters of Charity. She worked with those that were somewhat difficult or fragile. One day she shared advice to a Sister in crisis. Her advice was: “If you want someone to love you, you must be the first to love; and if you have nothing to give, give yourself.” The congregation of Sisters grew and they became a house of charity that had a clinic and school.

Over time, Sr. Rendu opened a free clinic, pharmacy, school, a child and maternal care center, young club for young workers and a home for the elderly without resources.  For young girls and needy mothers, she organized courses in sewing and embroidery. She soon had a network of charitable services.

Today, the Daughters of Charity serves many internationally. There are approximately 17,000 Daughters serving in 90 countries around the world. Little did she know that her influence and determination in helping in a charity capacity would expand internationally throughout the Society. 

God Bless,

Harry Ohde, Volunteer President – Society of St. Vincent de Paul/ADC

Lent. What we Give, What we Learn.

A Lenten Message from Harry Ohde, Volunteer President – SVdP Chicago/ADC

Someone outside of the Catholic faith, with limited knowledge, may have a pretty hard time understanding Lent.

We start with ashes on our forehead, we give up things for the duration of lent, things that we like to show a small sacrifice. We attend longer masses. From the outside world of being catholic, the run down may look like:

We have dirt on our head, we are not eating chocolate, and have chosen to increase the Catholic Calisthenics (stand, sit, kneel, sit, stand). Without knowledge, this may seem bizarre behavior in praise of God.

The truth of the matter, the ashes begin our Lenten journey to remind us from ashes we came and ashes we shall return. God in all his Glory and power created us from the earth, the earth he created. Symbolically He is letting us know that we will return to Him one day.

Giving Up – or is it gaining? Yes, many of us give up a favorite food, hobby, thing, to show a sacrifice to God, letting God know He is most important. What we gain from this “giving up” is far more fulfilling than any box of chocolates, or hobbies we love. I believe the giving up brings us closer to God as we peel away the layers of materialistic temptations and come face to face with the core of who we are and what we represent. We find a sacred place within our soul that allows us to listen better to God, listen better to ourselves, and helps us in becoming the best version of ourselves.

Catholic Calisthenics

During Mass we pray. We pray together as a community of God. It is not just the words; it is the songs that are prayer. It is also our actions. We kneel to bow to God, we stand to unite with him, we sit to listen closely to the words he left us. Jesus endured a persecution that ended in a slow painfilled death. In return we are asked to perform a few simple positions to demonstrate our dedication to God, our appreciation for the ability to physically move about, and a strict discipline of knowledge that praying means we are completely committed: mind, body, and soul.

This year for Lent, let us reflect on the Good. The Good things in life that God has blessed upon us. Things may not be perfect, but there is a lot of good. Let us reflect on the good in others. Let us be kind. Let us offer a smile to strangers, take a minute to talk to someone who may be lonely. Offer a meal to a neighbor who you know may need a little brightening to their day. Let these acts reflect that we are first and foremost our brother’s keeper. We live by what we were taught by Jesus.

When our Lenten journey brings us to Good Friday, let us attend services and reflect that during lent we took the opportunity to live as Jesus taught us. Let us have a deeper connection to God. Let us come face to face with the realization that Jesus, knowing his fate, took up His cross, carried it, suffered, and died. All of this for ONE reason and ONE reason only – Because no matter what, HE LOVES US! HE BELIEVES in US!  

God Bless,

Harry Ohde – Volunteer President SVdP Chicago/ADC

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