St Vincent de Paul Society owed ‘great debt’ by society, says Archbishop

‘Your credibility comes because people trust you’, Martin tells organisation

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said   the “Vincent de Paul man and woman” had “the ability to identify the sign of the times of today and to respond”. Photograph: Joe St Leger

Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin said the “Vincent de Paul man and woman” had “the ability to identify the sign of the times of today and to respond”. Photograph: Joe St Leger

Mon, Apr 22, 2013, 06:00

Society and the church “owe a great debt of gratitude” to St Vincent de Paul members “not just for what they do, but for who they are,” the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said.

“They show what the church is and how communion with each other must be the mark of those who gather around the altar of communion,” he said.

Speaking at the weekend conference, he said that the “Vincent de Paul man and woman” had “the ability to identify the sign of the times of today and to respond, always remembering that the poor deserve the best and what we do for them in Jesus’s name aims to give them voice and hope on their own for the years to come.”

Addressing members of the St Vincent de Paul Society directly, he said the prestige it enjoys in Ireland “does not come from the sharpness of your social analysis no matter how important and competent that may be. Your credibility comes because people trust you. They trust you not to have vested interest or interest in personal gain either financial or in reputational.”

Its members “are known to be out there week after week close to people, with the people . . . giving without asking anything in return.”


Vulnerability
He asked: “Who would have thought just five years ago that we would have situation where precariousness and vulnerability touch so many sectors of the population here in Ireland; a situation in which men and women who generously gave to the society last year would today have to turn to the society for help?”

He continued: “The charism of the Society of St Vincent de Paul is to be out there among people not just with material help but with respect and love and even admiration for those whom they help.”