A Father’s Day Message

Father’s Day Message.

As the old gentleman sat watching his son holding his newborn, he felt the tears swell in his eyes. Not wanting his son to see the tears, he carefully lifted his hand underneath his glasses as to adjust and clear the lens. It was at that moment he thought back as to when he started needed the glasses to see, when did the bristles in his close shaved beard turn so grey? At what point did his mid-section expand, giving him the perfect look in a cardigan sweater? Mostly he thought, when did he go from the new father holding the baby to the proud grandfather in awe of this new life?

Just three days old, the newest generation to carry on the family name was there. Dark hair, curious eyes, no bigger than a butterball turkey, the future of the world, perfect in every way, waiting for his grandfather to hold him for the very first time.

As the old gentleman carefully cuddled his new grandson, he dismissed all thoughts of holding back the tears. A moment to treasure. A moment in life he would cherish forever. As he slowly rocked his new grandson, and spoke softly muttering the words “Welcome little one, I am your grandfather. You and I are going to get to know each other very well!” The old gentlemen’s son watched and snapped a picture. As the son, the new father reviewed the picture on his phone, his own tears swelled in his eyes, and he did not hold back the joy, the precious meaning of this moment. He then asked his father, “Dad, when I was born, did you feel this way? Were you excited, humbled, and nervous about how you would know how to raise me?”

The old gentleman laughed, looking down, his new grandson had fallen asleep. Knowing they had undisturbed time and no rush he began to tell his son: “Son, when you were born, I was young like you and life seemed like a forever moment. I had no idea how fast time would go by. How much I would miss the moments with you when I had to work late. How quickly our Sunday time would pass.”

“I also remember feeling disappointed that I did not have the skills to teach you sports. My job provided well for our family, but not well enough for us to travel the world on Spring and Summer breaks. What I had to offer you was the knowledge to know how to treat others, how to follow your heart, how to not sway from your values, and how to put priorities on people and not material things. Sometimes I wished I could have been a better father and provided the things you missed out on. I hope you are not disappointed in me. Now that you have your own son, you can teach him sports, take him on extravagant vacations, buy him the things I never could.”

As the son leaned over and put his arm on his father, he looked down at his newborn son and looked his father in the eye and said, “Dad, growing up, I had many friends. They were the ones who participated in sports, traveled all the time, had a new car at sixteen, the best of everything that money could buy and you know what? They used to tell me they would trade it all to have a dad like you! I want to raise my son the way you raised me. Money will not make my life better, but the values you gave me will allow me to teach my son what is important in life.”

As God our Father loves us unconditionally let us remember the gifts he gave us in our life; the opportunity to love others, to uphold our values, to teach others, and remember what is really important in our world.

May your Father’s Day be filled with love, laughter and a peace in our heart that life is a gift!

God Bless,

Harry Ohde, Volunteer President/CEO

Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Spring Tote Event

St. Elizabeth of the Trinity Conference held a Spring Tote event on May 14 in which we provided the homeless in the area of the Jefferson Park Terminal tote bags that contain clothing and toiletries that are needed in the spring and summer. 

It was a wonderful event with Vincentians connecting with our brothers and sisters who suffer from a lack of housing. In addition, Ron Polanecki of Chicago Shares awarded our conference with a grant of $2,000 to continue our works in the Jefferson Park area.

Food was provided by the CaddyShack Restaurant that is owned by the famous Chicago actor Bill Murray and his brothers. God is good! 

We would like to thank Michael Avella and the Murray Bros CaddyShack restaurant for donating delicious sandwiches. Thank you to Andrea DeVince, Toni Coletti, Maria Winter and June Fredlund for dessert. We were also able to provide fruits, cold water and distribute Spring Totes which contained essential items such as t-shirts, underwear and toiletries needed this time of the year. 

Thanks to our Vincentians for being there and providing company to our Friends in need: Dave McNaughton, Maria Winter, Mark Stemper, Deacon Greg, Monica Dillon, Len Strauch, Linda Zdebski, Joe and Delia O’Connor, Andrea DeVince.

Most of all thanks to all our benefactors who believe in the work that we do. Thanks to you we are able to make events like these happen.

God certainly blessed us with wonderful weather and wonderful Friends!! 

SVdP Partners with American Red Cross to Assist Families Displaced in Calumet City Fire

You may have seen on the local news, that on May 30, 2022, a fire broke out around 7:00 pm on the second floor of a 312-unit condo complex in Calumet City. This fatal fire left 150 families homeless. Winds drove the flames all the way up to the seventh floor. The fire killed an 85-year-old woman and seven others were injured, including three firefighters.

On May 31, Calumet City Mayor Thaddeus Jones had an emergency City Council meeting and a citywide State of Emergency was approved. This local state of emergency allows the Mayor to access resources from other governmental agencies to help the nearly 200 residents who were left displaced. Most of them Seniors. This is where SVdP Chicago comes in.

On Saturday, June 4, SVdP Chicago received a call and we will be partnering with the American Red Cross, Salvation Army and others to help these residents in any way we can.On Tuesday, June 7, SVdP Chicago had staffed a table at the Sandbridge Community Center to assist those with immediate needs such as clothes, undergarments, shoes, socks, etc. We had some supplies on hand and input information into our Care Card Voucher Program so that in the future should they need something, we will be able to assist them without any hesitation. During this event, we assisted 143 Friends In Need.

We are fortunate that we have the capabilities to support others during this difficult time and in the future with their needs to start over in a new home. Please keep all those who have died, been injured, or displaced from this horrible fire in your thoughts and prayers.

Donation Drives – June 11 & 12

There are several Donation Drives scheduled this weekend at:

St. Francis of Assisi – 15050 S Wolf Road – Orland Park

St. Monica – 5136 N Nottingham – Chicago

St. Mother Theresa of Calcutta Parish at St. Barbara – 2859 S Throop – Chicago

St. Thomas the Apostle – 5472 S Kimbark Avenue – Chicago

Prince of Peace – 135 S Milwaukee Avenue – Chicago

Please remember to donate with dignity gently used items. To see upcoming Donation Drives please visit our website at

Thank You Bristyn & Daisy for your Donation

Earlier this week our St. Vincent de Paul Libertyville Thrift Store received a surprise donation from Bristyn and Daisy, Ages 10 and 6. These young ladies donated handmade keychain charms.

Unfortunately, they did not provide any contact information so that we could thank them personally, but we want them to know how much we appreciate their donation to the Society and what beautiful charms and gesture this was.

Thank you Bristyn and Daisy. Have a great summer break from your friends at St. Vincent de Paul.

Prayers for Robb Elementary School – Uvalde, TX

Good Evening Vincentians,

As we are sitting around the kitchen table this evening or maybe sitting out on the back porch enjoying listening to the children playing outside, I can’t help but think of the tragedy that unfolded today in Uvalde, Texas at Robb Elementary School.

This evening, there are 14 children ranging from 2nd through 4th grade who won’t be having dinner with their families, or doing their homework, or playing in their back yards. There is a teacher who will also not be going home to her loved ones. For all these families our hearts are broken.

We never know when it will be our time, but as adults, we know that it’s not natural for our children to leave this earth before us. We believe that when we drop our children off at school that they are in a safe place. We believe that those who are there teaching our children are loving them as much as we do as parents. This morning, those 14 families dropped their children off at school. They were looking forward to seeing their little ones after school to hear about what they learned today, who they played with at recess and any other exciting imaginative story their child would tell them on the ride home. Sadly, those 14 families will never hear those stories again.

We know that there was a teacher who loved her profession and would have done anything to help her class succeed. That teacher would be the ear to listen. That teacher would be their friend when they needed someone to talk to. That teacher was there for them. Every. Single Day. Now, that teacher is gone.

As a parent, how do you explain to your children what happened to their friends or their teacher today? How do you explain to a terrified child that when they go back to school in the fall things will be ok. How? It is hard for any of us who are parents to even comprehend what these families are going through this evening.

God has a plan and none of us know what that plan is. Right now, today, at the dinner table, before we go to bed, when we wake up tomorrow morning, we need to say a prayer. A prayer of thanks. A prayer for all those who left this earth. A prayer for comfort for these families so that they will be able to move forward after this tragic day. A prayer for love. A prayer for peace.

Whether your children are still living at home, or maybe they’re on their own, or maybe you have grandchildren, nieces, nephews … hug them a little tighter. Please keep all those involved in today’s horrific shooting in Texas in your thoughts and prayers. May they Rest in Peace.

God Bless,

Harry Ohde, Volunteer President CEO – Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC

IJP Hosts Successful Bundle Weekend

The IJP Conference hosted a drive for home goods and clothing on Saturday, May 7, 2022 from 8 am to 1 pm. The effort drew people from across the South Suburbs as it filled the SVDP trailer to the brim. 

Father Kris Paluch, the soon to be pastor of the new parish of Infant Jesus of Prague, St. Ireneaus, and St. Lawrence O’Toole stopped to meet Conference members. 
The drive offered the opportunity for Conference members to gather in-person for friendship and service.

Pictured above from left to right are Mike Hoffman, Karen Kristofik, Mike Lamb, soon to be Pastor – Fr. Kris Paluch, Brenda Wallace, Leslie Dudley, Denise Mandichak, Bernie Hoffman, and Pam Bartusiewicz.

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