Over 600 people watched the Mass live online
On November 20th, 1845, the first meeting of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, established that year in St. Louis, Missouri (USA) at the Basilica of St. Louis (formerly a little schoolhouse), popularly called “the Old Cathedral, was held. A group of nineteen Catholic laymen attended that very first meeting.
175 years later, on November 20th, 2020, on its anniversary and at the very same place where it began, a Holy Mass was held to commemorate the founding of the Society in the USA. The Eucharist was celebrated by Revd. Bishop Mark Steven Rivituso (Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis), co-celebrated by Revd. James Cormack and Fr Nick Smith. The homily was given by Revd Monsignor Michael J. Witt.
Monsignor Witt gave a brief historical account of the establishment of some Vincentian branches in Saint Louis from 1816, when the Congregation of the Mission started a seminary there, until 1845, when SSVP was founded in Saint Louis, only twelve years after its foundation of the first Conference in Paris. “That work continues, peacefully and steadily today, 175 years after the Society was brought to Saint Louis. Its members are called by the Holy Spirit to live their baptismal vocation”, stated Monsignor Witt.
Brother John Foppe, on behalf of the SSVP USA’s fellow members, gave a beautiful speech highlighting some concrete actions undertaken by the SSVP in the United States since 1845, such as mobilising and helping the poor during health crises and natural disasters. “I am very grateful to our Vincentians in the United States, who have been called to fulfill a purpose, as humble, unsung heroes, seeing Christ in those they serve; giving themselves heroically in service. Persevere in the love of our suffering brothers and sisters, as Jesus asked us to.”, said Foppe.
Around 600 people attended the online celebration. Fellow member Renato Lima de Oliveira, 16th President General, joined the Holy Mass online (YouTube). “It was a great privilege to join the SSVP USA’s Vincentians in celebrating this remarkable date. I have visited several cities in the USA since I became President General, and I can certainly say that our Society in the USA is doing an excellent job for the poor”, stressed fellow member Renato.
Click on this link to watch the Holy Mass: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SxNqDz6KGmM
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