Help Our School!

School Supplies

 

The teachers at our school Sts. James and John need school supplies for the kids.  They especially need 2-pocket folders, composition books, pencils, glue sticks, liquid glue, and spiral notebooks. Other things like children’s scissors, rulers, crayons, etc. will also help. To donate supplies bring them to Mass and put them in the marked box in the Gathering Space until Sept. 11.

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Find Your Inner St. Vincent!

This is the Feast Day celebration theme we’ve chosen in this our 175th anniversary year. It speaks to finding the ways that we can serve others while stretching a bit outside of our comfort zones, as St. Vincent did when he gave up his comfortable life for serve the poor. In preparation for this event, there are many ways all of us can serve our parish and community.

A Day of Service – Saturday, Sept. 24

The Social Action Committee is organizing several service opportunities. Choose any or all as we serve and share the gift of Christ’s love.

  • Harvest apples at a local orchard from 9-11 AM. Transportation provided. Cost is $5 per family.
  • Return to church to make applesauce with the imperfect apples. (Perfect apples go to local food programs.)
  • Make mats from recycled grocery bags for those who sleep on the ground (Instruction provided.)

We will serve the applesauce the next day at our Feast Day picnic in our park.

Picnic in the Park – Sunday, Sept. 25

We will mark the feast of St. Vincent de Paul with a single Mass at 10 AM and then a picnic for parishioners and our neighbors in our park.  Volunteers are essential to making this a success! Contact Laureen Brunelli at laureen@stvchurch.org to learn how you can help.

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St. Vincent’s New Bulletin

This month, St. V introduces a new, two-part format for our bulletin. The monthly issue (pictured) augfeatures at least one longer article as well as general information about the parish, while a weekly insert focuses on news and information for the current week.

The monthly version will come out the first Sunday but will be available all month in the Gathering Space. During the first week of the month, the weekly sheet (where you will find hymns, ministries and upcoming events) is stuffed inside the bulletin. In subsequent weeks, the two will be available separately.

Deadline for Submissions: Weekly issue is Wednesdays by 10 PM; monthly bulletin is the third Sunday of the month.

See bulletins online here:

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God Is Living in Our Cities

Flickr/Let Ideas Compete

Photo credit: Flickr/Let Ideas Compete

The Pope said so. The quote is hanging on our wall.

God is living in our cities. Really? Don’t the theologians say that God is everywhere? And if we were looking for someplace in particular to find God, most of us would think places of quiet natural beauty, like a stream in the forest or the sun reflecting off the surface of the Chesapeake in the early morning.

What makes Francis think that God is living in our cities in any special way?

Well, our cities are where our culture is. Whether you want pop culture such as a rock concert or high culture such as an art museum, you find it in the city. The ballpark, the stadium, the orchestra hall, the sculpture garden, all are in the city.God is Living summer 2016a

And our cities are where humanity makes progress. Granted, the internet has made location a little less important in this regard, but proximity and personal interaction still matter in the interplay of ideas that creates progress, whether in philosophy or in medicine, in technology or in business. It is no surprise, therefore, that most of the great universities, the great research institutes, the great teaching hospitals, are in our cities.

And, quite simply, our cities are where our people are. Over the past few centuries, as the population of our planet has grown, it is our cities that have grown even as our rural populations have declined. If God loves people, God has to love our cities, because that’s where the people are.

But I think that above all these reasons, Francis would say, God is living in our cities because that’s where the poor are. Of course poverty exists in our rural areas (Somerset County, on the Eastern Shore, not Baltimore City as many might think, has the lowest per capita income in the state). But far and away the largest numbers of the poor live in our cities.

Our cities are where our poor come seeking a way out of poverty, if not for themselves, then for their children. Whether it was an Irish farmer fleeing the oppression of British rule and the ensuing potato famine, or an African-American sharecropper thrown off his land during the Depression, or a Latino indocumentado who could no longer make it at home because of the violence created by the US-fed cartels, they have come to our cities in a last, almost desperate journey of hope. And despite the oppression and the violence they find in ghettos and barrios our society tries to confine them to, they still cling to that hope.

And God is with them, living in our cities.

Richard Lawrence, Pastor

Thank you to Let Ideas Compete, who made this photo available for use through Flickr with a Creative Commons license.

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Last Weekend! St. V Summer Series

The Mass: Our One Great Act of Worship

summerseries3St. V’s Annual Summer Series goes on this month. This year instead of exploring books of the Bible or writings of the Pope, we will delve into the special nature of the Mass. Each week we will examine the Mass from a different angle.

The Special Nature of the Mass
The story is told that some people decided to use the empty cathedrals of Europe to offer an experience to the city’s spiritually hungry people. They thought it would be important to include something inspirational, to have some music, something social, and some kind of food. Then it dawned on them that they had re-created the Mass. They called it the Thomas Mass because it was designed for those who had doubts but craved meaning.
The Mass, as they discovered, meets human needs on many levels. But it is infinitely more. In the bustle and grind of daily life, it is easy for us to fall into a pattern of Mass attendance and miss the meaning of what we are invited to do and to be when we come together. The 2016 Summer Series will look in depth at three aspects of this invitation.

The first week we explored Community in the homily, Call to Worship, Prayers of the Faithful and with this PowerPoint presentation by Audrey Rogers. The next weekend (July 16-17), we explored Transcendence with a presentation by Anne Maura English. The last weekend of our series will by this weekend July 30-31, and we will delve into Solidarity.

And, here is a way to stand in solidarity with the poor…

The Affordable Housing Crisis in Baltimore City means that 53% of renters and 40% of owners pay more than a third of their income on housing, putting them at risk for housing instability and homelessness. Over 750 cities, counties, and states have housing trust funds to support the preservation and production of affordable housing and increase access to decent affordable homes. Baltimore City needs one too. This will take a charter amendment. Please consider signing a petition to place this on the ballot. 10,000 signatures are needed by Aug. 8. We will have petition forms at Masses next weekend, July 30-31. You must be a registered voter and Baltimore City resident to sign. For more info or to see its full text now, go to housingforallbaltimore.org.

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Faith Fun Fellowship Is Coming Soon!

Now is the time to sign up for FFF, St. V’s formation classes for pre-K to 12th grade. Classes meet on the 2nd and 4th Sundays (with a few exceptions) after 9:30 Mass from September croppedkidspictwith Anneuntil May. This program is a great way for kids to build the knowledge and practice of their faith while at the same time forming social bonds with their fellow parishioners. Download a registration form here.

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St. V’s Restoration Continues

St V front facade winter 2015Say goodbye to this old, worn look.

Starting Monday (June 20)  our exterior restoration continues. We have been so pleased with the renewal of the west and south sides of the church, and now work will begin on the front side. It will conclude in July.

Be assured that on Sundays the accessibility ramp door and another will always be open. Weekday Mass entrance will be through the rectory (Ring the bell). After the façade is complete, the steps will be refurbished with new mortar and a good cleaning. All work will be finished summer’s end in time for our 175th anniversary celebration in the fall.

Special thanks to the Baltimore National Heritage Area which awarded us $14,000 toward the project.

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Be Missionary Disciples Survey

LightBrightlyVisible_MenuIn his pastoral letter, A Light Brightly Visible, Archbishop Lori invites us to “be missionary disciples” and to consider what being a “missionary disciple” calls you to do personally and what it calls our parish to do.

Last fall each parish in the Archdioceses was asked to reach out to those who come to its services, including those who attend occasionally with a survey. The survey was not a demographic one but one that seeks to understand the spiritual needs of Catholics.  We had a great response rate and now have the results of this survey for St. Vincent. In addition to the survey data the Archdiocese sent an executive summary of St. V demographic data compared to other parishes in our region and to the Archdiocese as a whole.

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Breaking Bread With the Hungry

breakingbreadEvery Friday for more than a decade, St. V in partnership with Our Lady of the Fields (OLF) parish has hosted a huge dinner for all comers in our undercroft. Usually aroud 200-300 people show up. OLF organizes the food, and St. V provides the space.

While all involved would agree this ministry has been a wonderful success, there has been little agreement on its name. People have called it everything from the undignified “Friday Night Feeding” to the undescriptive “Friday Night Ministry.”

This month the organizers have officially named it “Breaking Bread With the Hungry.” This reflects the true nature of the event. As Deacon Ed Stoops of OLF says:

The term breaking bread is used in Acts to refer to the Eucharist. Our mission statement explicitly says our mission flows from the Eucharist.

The term the hungry excludes no one. We are all hungry. We are born hungry. In addition to hunger for food, we all hunger for acceptance and love. The term also includes Jesus who said, “I was hungry and you gave me to eat.” Whether we prepare the food, serve it or eat it, we are all the hungry.

Father Ronchi in his retreat for the Pope and others in the Vatican, recently said “Some people are so hungry that for them God cannot but have the form of a loaf of bread.”

For both volunteers and diners, the meal is typically a joyful commotion, where the ups and downs of the lives of our guests surface as they enjoy dinner out after a long week. Every week has a little different vibe. OLF has produced a video for its website that captures the essence of Breaking Bread With the Hungry. Check it out.

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Amoris Laetitia: The Joy of Love

This week Pope Francis released his apostolic exhortation, which draws on the SynodPope_Francis_in_March_2013 of the Family in 2015. The document  is intended as “an aid to reflection, dialogue and pastoral practice, and as a help and encouragement to families in their daily commitments and challenges.”

Though the exhortation is aimed at the clergy, lay people will certainly find much of interest in the Pope’s words. Here at St. Vincent will have hard copies when they become available. In the meantime,  you can find it online here.

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