As we near the 2019 National General Assembly of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul in June I would like to share and reflect upon the mission statement of the Society here in Canada. Our mission is:
To live the Gospel message by serving Christ in the poor with love, respect, justice and joy.
I believe in this message and find it to be a great reminder of why we do what we do as Vincentians. To serve those in need with LOVE means to take every opportunity we have to interreact with our friends in need and to make each “visit” one that is more than giving some form of assistance. The visit also allows us to listen and develop a true friendship with each person and family. This engagement should be done with LOVE.
We should always RESPECT those we visit with and not judge them, but rather look at their situation and consider ways we may help them meet the challenges they face every day. Listen first and then discuss their needs and possible solutions.
JUSTICE is also something every human being deserves and while it can mean many things, we should look at ways we may be able to advise or assist those we serve to advocate for any needed changes in the social assistance they receive or how we may help them find existing resources that can help their families.
JOY is a term Vincentians can easily forget. We should always remember that we are blessed to be able to offer love, respect and justice to our friends in need. We should always engage with those in need in a real sense of joy at being able to share our Vincentian charism with others. It is easy to forget how much a smile or kind word can make the day a little brighter for others.
We call this a mission statement as it truly reflects the fact that we do have a mission as Vincentians. If we can always remember our mission is to demonstrate Love, Respect, Justice and Joy, we will find the satisfaction of having lived the Gospel message.
About the author:
Jim Paddon lives in London, Ontario, Canada and is past president of the Ontario Regional Council of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul. He is currently chair of the National Social Justice Committee of the Society in Canada. He is married to his dear wife Pat and they have six daughters and eleven grandchildren. Jim has been a member of the Society since the 1970’s.
Opinions expressed are the author’s own views and do not officially represent those of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.