St. V’s Year in Review

As 2016 winds down, radio and TV programs remind us it’s been eventful year in our country and our world. Here at St. Vincent this, our 175th year, has been a big one as well.

What’s Happened?

Before

After

We began 2016 by welcoming Colleen McCahill as our new pastoral associate. We were fortunate that, as a long-time parishioner, she was able to transition quickly into the position.

As the year began, the parish was already involved the Archdiocesan planning process that addresses how Catholic parishes will continue to, and in fact grow in, our efforts to evangelize given the increasing shortage or clergy. This process will eventually yield new configurations for all parishes, called pastorates, which typically will be two or more parishes operating together.

Meanwhile, this 175-year-old church got a spiffy new look as our multi-year restoration of the exterior continued. The Front Street side’s brick was repointed and painted; woodwork scraped and painted; steps reset and realigned; windows repaired and protective glass installed. Continue reading

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Coming Up at St. V

Save the Dates!

Lenten Half-Day Retreat on Saturday, March 18, at the Shrine of St. Anthony will delve into mysticism with retreat directors Gerry Fialkowski and Peggy Shouse.
St. Vincent’s Family Retreat will be on May 19-21 at Camp Nawakwa near Gettysburg.  Our retreat director, Dr. Monica Weis of the Sisters of St. Joseph, will use the work of Thomas Merton, a Catholic monk, writer and mystic, to guide the retreat.

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St. Vincent’s Bulletin

Each month, St. V produces a monthly issue (pictured) that features at least one longer article as well as general information about the parish. Weekly a one-page insert focuses on news and information for the current week.

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

Christmas 2016 Bulletin

Previous Month’s Bulletins

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Another Anniversary at St. Vincent!

Our ministry The Resource Exchange (TRE) celebrates its fifth year of furnishing the homes of people who have experienced homelessness. More than 400 people have been helped through this joint program with Healthcare for the Homeless!

Many thanks to all who have made this possible by donating furniture, gently used necessities, or funding; shopping for household goods; packing household starter kits; picking up furniture or helping to deliver items and decorate apartments.

tre-before-afterLearn more about how you can be a part of this wonderful ministry.

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Find Your Inner St. Vincent!

findyourThe theme for the parish’s Feast of St. Vincent celebration this year is “Find Your Inner St. Vincent!”  This slightly hippy-dippy theme statement might seem simplistic, even flighty, at first glance.  That is until you ask yourself what “finding your inner St. Vincent” might look like, which was directly inspired by the life of St. Vincent de Paul’s life.

Born into rural poverty in 16th-century France, St. Vincent thought his path out of poverty and into a comfortable “middle class” life might be the priesthood.  This was fairly common in those days.  There were a few bumps along the way (such as being kidnapped by pirates and sold into slavery!), but all in all, he landed a pretty sweet gig ministering to rich folks. (See more of St. Vincent’s story on the reverse page.)

End of story, right?  Mission accomplished?  Pension and a high yield investment portfolio?  He probably just packed it in and put his life on cruise control.  Not St. Vincent!  After an encounter with the servant of one of his wealthy patrons, his eyes were opened to the spiritual and physical needs of the poor. The rest is history.

Finding your inner St. Vincent means getting uncomfortable, unsettled, and unsatisfied with status quo in our lives.  This will look different for different folks, and each of us will find this inspiration in a different place.

In this community there is any number of opportunities to take that step—meeting the people who visit and stay in St. Vincent’s Park, serving dinner at Breaking Bread With the Hungry in our undercroft on Friday evenings. We also might stop to look up from the frantic pace of our busy lives to see those in need around us—an elderly neighbor in need of company or assistance, a child struggling in school who could use a tutor.  We ask God to help us follow St. Vincent’s trajectory from comfort to discomfort in the service of all people. Lee Krempel

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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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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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