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SVP members risk lives during pandemic to help those in need

Members of the Society of St Vincent de Paul risk their lives during the COVID-19 pandemic to get food to persons in need and visit families because they were doing “God’s work”.

SVP National President Angelique Taylor last Sunday said members left their families at home wondering why they were taking the risk, “especially as some members are in the high-risk bracket but we are doing this for the love of God”.

Vincentians gathered online on Zoom and Facebook to view the Mass celebrated at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, Port of Spain September 27, feast day of St Vincent de Paul.

Speaking at the end of the Mass, Taylor said, “We are not in this for the image. We are doing this because we recognise it is God’s work and we have received the call to go out to His poor.” She quoted St Vincent’s words, “Go to the poor: You will find God”.

Taylor thanked Archbishop Jason Gordon for including the SVP in the Archdiocese’s pandemic relief project which allowed members across the Archdiocese to participate. They were on the forefront gathering food supplies. She said many persons in need of assistance telephoned or visited the SVP’s Duncan Street head office for food or help finding jobs.

“We were able to supply them as well as with a good word of encouragement which is what most persons need at that time”. The SVP partnered with the corporate sector for the supply of food to its shelters.

Presiding at the Mass was Cathedral Administrator Fr Martin Sirju. He said those who want to work in God’s vineyard have to be “disposed to ongoing conversion” but this was lacking in the Church today, society, private sector, and government. There were persons whose interest was image, authority, and position.

Fr Sirju said in the Gospel of Matthew 21:28–32, Jesus was using a parable to tell the chief priests and Pharisees they were no longer open to the grace of ongoing conversion. “In order to be open to ongoing conversion we have to be humble, we have to step down from the office, step down from the title…we have to put ourselves before God then we can see more clearly”.

Fr Sirju referred to a statement made by Pope Francis that serving the poor was first a theological task. “We see first with the eyes of faith. This is something godly we are doing and not simply doing humanitarian work and social service. We are doing something that God calls us to do,” he clarified.