Date of publication: 11/09/2023

Rebirth of the SSVP in the Czech Republic

Council General International

The new Conference is made up of young members

With the grace of the Good Lord, the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is back in the Czech Republic. The rebirth of the SSVP in the country came about after several Conferences became sadly inactive due to the advanced age of their members.

A group of Catholics interested in the SSVP decided to form a Vincentian Conference during the Feast of Divine Mercy last April. From then on, there were several weekly preparatory meetings, with Bible reading, prayers, and Vincentian formation.

In August, the group became the OUR LADY OF FATIMA Conference, operating on the premises of the Shrine of the Infant Jesus of Prague in the Czech capital. The spiritual advisor will be nominated soon, and the Vincentian Family is giving its full support to the new Conference.

The group has already 20 members, most of whom are young brothers and sisters. Brother Tomas Rajnoha, born in the Czech Republic and married to a Filipina, is the President of the Conference. The members are very enthusiastic because they see great potential for the growth of the SSVP’s charitable activities in Prague and region.

The main activities of the new Conference are the maintenance of parishes and the promotion of social projects focused on the homeless (systemic change), seeking to give those assisted decent living conditions so that they can take charge of their own lives.

A bit of history

It’s worth noting that the first Vincentian Conference was founded in 1876 by a few priests of the Czech Republic at St. Francis Parish in Prague. According to reports sent by the Superior Council to the Council General: in 1931, there were 71 active Conferences; in 2007, there were 42 and in 2021, there were around 25 Conferences.

In 2021 and 2022, due to the advanced age of the members and the effects of the pandemic, all the conferences were sadly closed. At present, with the founding of Our Lady of Fatima Conference, the SSVP is again present on Czech soil. It is estimated that by the end of the year, another three Conferences could be created in that country.

When the Council General International heard that the Czech conferences were to close in 2021 and 2022, it became extremely concerned about this situation and thanks God for sending workers into the harvest, including Karl and Mary Hila who have served on the CGI board in the past.