Friday, July 31, 2015

“Have you noticed that there is no rejection of (St.) Martha,
no suggestion that she should not have been engaged in preparing the meal? Jesus merely underlines a truth that St. Luke records earlier, namely, that they are blessed who hear the word of God and keep it. He is putting emphasis on a sense of attention to the word of God, if we are to offer that service to others which is the fulfillment of the second great commandment of the law. Hearing the word of God in prayer through reflection is a condition for true selfless loving service of the body of Christ.”
–Fr. Richard McCullen, CM,
former Superior General of the Congregation of the Mission (Vincentian priests & brothers) and Daughters of Charity (Vincentians sisters), and spiritual head of the extended Vincentian Family (in Deep Down Things)

“¿Ha notado que no hay rechazo de (Santa) Martha,
ninguna sugerencia de que ella no debe ha participado en la preparación de la comida? Jesús simplemente subraya una verdad que San Lucas cuenta de antes, es decir, que ellos son bendecidos que oyen la palabra de Dios y la guardan. Él está poniendo énfasis en un sentido de atención a la palabra de Dios, si vamos a ofrecer ese servicio a los demás que es el cumplimiento de la segunda gran mandamiento de la ley.  Escuchando la palabra de Dios en la oración a través de la reflexión es una condición para el verdadero
servicio de amor desinteresado del cuerpo de Cristo."
–Padre Richard McCullen, CM,
ex-Superior General de la Congregación de la Misión (padres y hermanos vicentinos) y las Hijas de la Caridad (hermanas Vicentinos), y patrón espiritual de la Familia Vicentina extendida (en Deep Down Things)

Loving God,
may we realize that we need to be fed ourselves if we are to feed others, and that it is through feeding others that we are ourselves nourished.

Dios Amaroso,
damos cuenta de que tenemos que ser alimentado a nosotros mismos si hemos de alimentar a otros, y que es a través de la alimentación de los demás que somos nosotros mismos nutrida.

Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

"Let us accustom ourselves to entreat rather than command;
to instruct more by example than by precept."
- St. Louise de Marillac

“Acostumbrémonos todos a alentar en vez de ordenar;
a instruir más por el ejemplo que por preceptos.”

- Santa Luisa de Marillac

Heavenly Father, may my influence for good
be felt more by my example than by my words.

Padre Celestial, ayúdame para que mi influencia para el bien
sea transmitida más por mi buen ejemplo que por mis palabras.

Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

"There are very few for so much work! Our Lord will have to labor with you."
- St. Vincent de Paul

“Hay tan pocos para tanto trabajo!  Nuestro Señor tendrá que trabajar contigo.”
-San Vicente de Paul

When the volume of work overwhelms me and I am discouraged because of shortages of staff,
remind me Lord, that it only takes a small piece of yeast to leaven dough and you never ask more of me than I can give.
Be with me to carry the load, my ever present Lord!

Cuando el volumen de trabajo me abruma y me siento abatido por la falta de ayuda,
Recuérdame, Señor, que toma solamente un poco de levadura para fermentar la masa, y que tu nuca me pedirías más de lo que yo pueda dar.
Quédate conmigo para llevar la carga, ¡mi Señor siempre presente!

Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

ABC7 News – Special Olympics at SVdPLA Video

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Special Olympians to SVdPLA

Willkommen! 97 Special Olympic athletes from Team Germany arrived at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Los Angeles thrift store July 22, 2015 for a welcome celebration of free food, dancing, and fun. The German and American flags were held high by volunteers as the athletes came out of their bus and walked between rows of applauding fans to their tables.
After getting dinner from the Habit food truck, the athletes sat with coaches and volunteers for hamburgers and conversation. Andi, an athlete on the German cyclist team, said, “I have never been to America. I like it. It is fun.”
After taking the final bite of his burger, Andi joined many of the other athletes who were already dancing. The live DJ set a happy and energetic tone for the night. Kristoff, one of the German athletes on the dance floor, stopped dancing to whisper, “I love American music,” with a smile that never left his face. The St. Vincent de Paul Society happily welcomed Team Germany to Lincoln Heights and will be cheering them on at the Special Olympics.  
As one of the banners stated, “If you tire running with your legs, run with your heart.”

By Jessica Legaspi

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Eagle Scout Supports Vincentians

Saul and his parents

Saul Velasquez, son of Saul Velasquez and St. Elizabeth of Hungary SVdPLA Conference member Martha Solano, recently advanced to the rank of Eagle Scout, an honor achieved by only 4% of all Boy Scouts.  For his Eagle Project Saul chose to refurbish the St. Elizabeth Conference's food pantry and did an excellent job organizing and executing the project. Congratulations Saul and family!

New Bishops in Los Angeles

Bishops-elect Robert Barron, Joseph V. Brennan and David G. O'Connell embrace new roles 

BREAKING: Pope Francis appoints three auxiliary bishops to LA:

Pope Francis has named Father Robert Barron, Msgr. Joseph V. Brennan and Msgr. David G. O’Connell as auxiliary bishops for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.  The three bishops will join Archbishop José H. Gomez, other auxiliary bishops, priests and deacons in serving the largest archdiocese in the United States.

Msgr. Brennan and Msgr. O’Connell are priests already serving in the archdiocese, while Father Barron is rector of Mundelein Seminary in the Archdiocese of Chicago and founder of Word on Fire, a global media ministry.

Msgr. Brennan has been serving the archdiocese as vicar general and moderator of the curia since 2012, while Msgr. O’Connell just began serving as pastor of St. Frances X. Cabrini Church in South L.A.  “It was a complete surprise,” Father Barron said in an interview with The Tidings. While the priest is a sought after speaker and offers Catholic commentary regularly on television, he said his main responsibility will be to serve as auxiliary bishop.  “I have to be present to the people of the archdiocese,” he said.

The appointment came as a surprise to Msgr. Brennan as well.  “It was like a punch in the stomach,” he said. “I had an immediate gut reaction that my life was going to be very different. We make our plans, but God has other ideas.”

Msgr. Brennan, who identifies mostly as a pastor, has brought that pastoral sense to his role as vicar general.  “It’s a laying down of your life on a daily basis,” he said. “I think this episcopacy will be the same.”  Msgr. Brennan said he, like Pope Francis, makes it a point to bring joy into his ministry. “I try to bring a real sense of gratitude for the day,” he said. “Even in the midst of difficult decisions and the problems and situations that need to be dealt with, without being flippant, I try to be joyful. I try to bring some humor to it.”

Msgr. O’Connell, who has been serving in parishes in South L.A. for more than 25 years, has ministered to communities that have suffered through gang violence and drugs. “I do believe what’s really important is for us to be out in the neighborhoods, to be out with the people,” he said, explaining that his parishes always did Posadas and Stations of the Cross in the neighborhoods, not on church grounds. “That’s how we can change South L.A. is to be out there and work with the people in the neighborhoods,” he said.  “I’ve always loved them.  I’ve always loved being in these parishes.”  Msgr. O’Connell, who serves on the Archdiocesan Finance Council, works with community leaders and law enforcement on gang intervention efforts.

While a date hasn’t been set, Msgr. Brennan, Msgr. O’Connell and Father Barron are expected to be ordained bishops this fall. A press conference announcing their appointment is scheduled for 10 a.m. July 21 at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. The press conference will be livestreamed here:

July 21, 2015 - J.D. Long-García

NASA Engineer Instills Curiosity At SVdPLA's Circle V Ranch Camp

Amen Johnson, 9, left, jumps high to launch a "stomp rocket" with air pressure while Jessie Hernandez, 10, steadies the experiment during a special program led by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Circle V Ranch Camp near Lake Cachuma.

Tom Nolan, operations engineer for NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory launches a watermelon into the pool during a special program led by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Circle V Ranch Camp near Lake Cachuma.

Campers launch "straw rockets" during a special program led by NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory at Circle V Ranch Camp near Lake Cachuma.

During the 25-minute session, kids asked a slew of questions. Can the robot’s lenses get scratched? How do robots mine? Can they climb the Empire State Building?

A group of campers in a classroom are learning about Spirit, Curiosity and Opportunity, three of the robots sent to Mars.

Before a crowd of campers sitting poolside, Tom Nolan hoists a pineapple above his head.
“It’s pretty heavy,” Nolan said.  
The kids, ranging between 7 and 13 years old, gawk at the fruit.
“Some things that are heavy will sink, and some things that are heavy will float,” Nolan tells them.
He passes it around the pool as the kids inspect it, judging the weight.
“Scientists ask questions right? I’m curious. I gots to know,” Nolan shouts before heaving it into the shallow end and splashing a row of campers. “Let’s find out.”
The pineapple drops a foot into the water before bobbing on the surface.
It floats.
“Isn’t science fun?” Nolan asks the kids. “We get to ask questions. If you are at all curious, you’re a scientist.”
The experiment in buoyancy was just one of eight learning stations NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory Operations Engineer Tom Nolan set up for 175 kids Thursday at Circle V Ranch Camp & Retreat Center in Los Padres National Forest.
Nolan, who spent his summers at Circle V Ranch 50 years ago, came to the camp with eight of his colleagues to help celebrate the center’s 70th anniversary, and to inject a sense of curiosity into the campers in the same place he was first turned onto science.
“It all started with going to summer camp where I learned about nature. Going out and hiking, doing arts and crafts and being at camp was so important to me and it’s a huge part of who I am. Then my mom taught me to always look around and be aware of my surroundings … My life has been full of curiosity. That led me to be a scientist,” Nolan said.
Kids darted around the 30-acre campground building paper rockets, simulating the solar system with camp mates, and learning about robots like those sent to Mars.
Nine-year old Francisco Veliz rolled a piece of paper tight around a short PVC pipe to construct a paper stomp rocket that would soar across a field.
“Not too much tape. Remember, the more weight you put on it the less it’s going to fly,” said Bob Anderson, a NASA JPL group supervisor who assisted with the Mars Exploration Rovers.
Veliz lifts up his rocket, sans fins.
“I’m done,” he said.
“You aren’t finished yet. You ever seen an arrow fly without fins?” Anderson asked.
“Yeah,” Veliz said, his hat tipped sideways.
“We’ve got to work on you,” Anderson said.
After pasting some fins to his rocket, Veliz was first in line to shoot it off. He jumped into a corral filled with empty cola bottles attached to rubber hoses and PVC pipes. Veliz slips his rocket to the end of the pipe. When he stomps on the bottle, the rocket should soar into the air.
“I got mine pretty far. You’ve got to reach the hill to beat me,” Anderson said, pointing to a slope about 50 yards away.
Veliz stomps on the bottle, misfiring. Anderson blows into the pipe, pushing more air into the bottle.
He stomps five more times. Nothing.
“We’ve got to get some more oomph in these knees,” Anderson said.
Veliz stomps again as a counselor holds onto the pipe, guiding the trajectory. This time it soars 30 feet down field.
“Now you’re getting the hang of it,” Anderson said as Veliz dashes to retrieve his rocket.  
Across camp, a group of kids in a classroom are learning about Spirit, Curiosity and Opportunity, three of the robots sent to Mars.
When their images flash across the screen, a few kids yell out “WALL-E.”
“That’s close. WALL-E was modeled after it. Disney came to JPL and said, ‘show us what robots look like,’” Christine Fuller, a robotics mechanical engineer at NASA JPL, told the kids.
During the 25-minute session, kids asked a slew of questions.
Can the robot’s lenses get scratched?
How do robots mine?
Can they climb the Empire State Building?
“There’s no question, they’re going to solve the questions we don’t even know we have yet. They’re going to be the explorers and discoverers,” Linda Chilton, of University of Southern California’s Wrigley Institute said.
That sense of curiosity, however, diminishes over time.
On a recent trip to the park, Nolan’s grandson wandered around pointing out butterflies, rolly pollies, helicopters, trees and owls.
“I’m thinking ‘swings,’” Nolan said. “But my 3-year old grandson is the perfect scientist because he’s curious and observant about what’s around him. Along the way, he has an adventure, and I’d miss that if I weren’t with him,” Nolan said. “That’s’ what I hope to teach these kids. If I teach them to be curious, I’ve got them for life.”
Its part of the reason introducing hands-on science experiments at an early age is important, Nolan said.
When kids get to school, they are usually taught to sit in a desk, read from a textbook and learn how to pass a test, he continued.
“My grandson will be crushed when he starts school,” Nolan said. “There’s an emphasis (on STEM), but we’re not teaching the passion for it. Just the facts. They want the answer in the back of the book to get an “A” on the test -- I don’t want the “A.” I want the “C” student who struggles really hard and drives at it and just has dogged determination. The one that never gives up.”
If instilled with a sense of curiosity, the next generation of scientists could cure cancer, Nolan said. 
"When I'm an old man in my rocking chair, I'm going to be the one cheering these kids on saying, 'go, baby go,'" Nolan said. "I'm proud of what our generation has done, but this generation? What are they going to do?"
Harold Pierce covers the Santa Ynez Valley as a reporter for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @RoldyPierce

Monday, July 20, 2015

Community Bank Donates to the Society of St. Vincent De Paul

Community Bank recently partnered with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul to help the homeless on Skid Row in Los Angeles by assembling hygiene kits that the Society will then distribute. Employees from all 16 of the Bank’s Business Centers collected items including deodorant, tooth paste, tooth brushes, combs, mouthwash, razors and shaving cream. These items were sent to the headquarters in Pasadena and hygiene kits were assembled by employee volunteers during their lunch time. In total, 360 kits were created and donated to the Society along with many boxes of hygiene items. David Misch, CEO of Community Bank, presented the donations, which were loaded on the St. Vincent de Paul truck, to the Society’s Executive Director David Fields.
“The Bank was delighted to have the opportunity to partner with The Society to give back to Los Angeles in this worthwhile manner. It is what being a community bank is all about.”
Dave Misch commented, “The Bank was delighted to have the opportunity to partner with The Society to give back to Los Angeles in this worthwhile manner. It is what being a community bank is all about.”
Community Bank is an independent and family-owned regional business bank with assets of $3.6 billion and 16 locations throughout Southern California. Founded in 1945, Community Bank utilizes its experience, suite of financial services and unique Partnership Banking® approach to help its clients grow and succeed. For more information on Community Bank, log on to Member FDIC.


Community Bank
Sue Cornejo (626)568-2129
Vice President Marketing Manager

Love Mends Broken Children

Matthew’s father has been in and out of prison. That’s why the 12-year-old responds to the message that he often hears at this summer camp: God loves people no matter what they’ve done. Last summer, Matthew sat in front of a sycamore altar in an ancient oak grove at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Circle V Ranch Camp as Fr. Peter Banks OFM Cap. celebrated Mass. 

“God is here,” Fr. Peter said in a soft voice. “May this altar always remind us of our prayers rising up to heaven, especially prayers from children. Remember, Jesus said, ‘Let the little children come to me.’” The 30-acre camp tends not only to the souls of 1,200 children- the majority of whom are on scholarships- every summer. Deep in the heartland of the Los Padres National Forest in the Santa Ynez Valley, the camp offers activities such as swimming, cooking, arts, and crafts, hiking, archery, and face-painting.

Tiffany, 12, walked to the Olympic-sized pool for girls’ swim time. “I come back every year, because it is fun,” she said, “I meet new people and get to know the counselors. I’ve gotten really close to some of the counselors.” In quiet moments with counselors and new friends, the children often learn lessons that are truly life-changing. They meet role models who show them the way. The campers learn that they are not alone in their challenges, and that they can prevail over them.

“It’s a profound experience for 1,200 kids every summer,” said the Society’s executive director, David Fields.
“Broken children are mended here by getting some love,” Fr. Peter said.

Your compassion as a friend of St. Vincent de Paul gives these children, not just a fun summer camp experience, but a new perspective on life.

By Bob Dellinger 

"If the love of God is a fire, zeal is its flame;
if love is a sun, zeal is its ray."
- St. Vincent de Paul

"Si el amor de Dios es un fuego, el celo es su llama,
Si el amor es un sol, el celo es su rayo."

- San Vicente de Paul

O God, may the work of my hands be done with enthusiasm
as well as efficiency.  Help me give all my work today
that extra touch of fervor.

 Señor, que el trabajo de mis manos sea realizado con entusiasmo
y también con eficiencia.  Ayúdame a darle a mi trabajo hoy
ése toque extra de fervor.

Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

SVdPLA Recognized by Community Action Network

The Society of St. Vincent de Paul was recognized last Friday night by the Community Action Network of Ventura County for operating the Winter Shelter for the homeless in Ventura County. We received their Community Partnership Award.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

"I ask God to be the heart of your heart."
- St. Vincent de Paul

“Le pido a Dios que sea el corazón de tu corazón.”
-San Vicente de Paul

Lord, I confide to you the needs of my family and all those I love.
Protect them with your strength and keep them safe in your heart of hearts. Amen.

Señor, confió en ti las necesidades de mi familia y todos aquellos a quienes amo.
Protégelos con tu fortaleza y mantenlos fuera de peligro en tu corazón de corazones.  Amén.

Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

Seen in the Store

Carry Yourself with Style.

Relax with a Good Book.

A Vase Unlike Any Other.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

"You will help others more by the peace and tranquility of your heart
than by any eagerness or care you can bestow on them."
- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

“Tu ayudarás a otros más a través de la paz y tranquilidad de tu corazón
que por el afán o cuidado que presentes sobre ellos.”
-Santa Isabel Ana Seton

Use me, Lord, as an instrument of your peace today. I want to extend your love to those I meet,
especially those who are ill or grieving the loss of a loved one.

Úsame, Señor, como un instrumento de tu paz este día.  Quiero extender tu amor a aquellos que hoy encuentre,
especialmente quienes estén enfermos o sufriendo la pérdida de un ser querido.

Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

Friday, July 10, 2015

Local leaders meet Pope Francis for Buddhist-Catholic dialogue

July 9, 2015

David and Eleanor Fields and Father Alexei Smith meet Pope Francis at the Vatican.

Buddhists and Catholics joined Pope Francis for an ecumenical dialogue on “Suffering, Liberation and Fraternity” in Rome June 23-27.

The participants came from the papal meeting agreeing to work together to create youth outreach programs, collaborate in prison ministries and provide resources to address the immigration crisis, among other initiatives.  

Representing Los Angeles at the papal meeting were David Fields, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul of Los Angeles, and the Father Alexei R. Smith, ecumenical and interreligious affairs officer for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles.

“It was the start of great collaboration between the Buddhists and the Catholics,” said Fields.

Forty-five Buddhists and Catholics attended the meeting, flying in from New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Washington, D.C. The American Buddhist leaders represented the countries of Sri Lanka, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Tibet, China and Korea.

Among the Catholic participants were representatives from Catholic Charities, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, the Focolare Movement, Monastic Interreligious Dialogue, and the Catholic Association for Diocesan Ecumenical and Interreligious Officers.

Thursday, July 9, 2015

"To correspond to the grace of the moment means a wonderful union
between you and God all day."
- St. Elizabeth Ann Seton

“El concordar con la gracia del momento significa una maravillosa unión
entre tú y Dios todo el día.”
-Santa Isabel Ana Seton

It is hard to comprehend how much you are concerned with all the details of my life, Lord.
I will consult you often in the course of my day.

Es difícil comprender cuan preocupado estás tú con los detalles de mi vida, Señor.
Te consultaré a menudo a través del curso de mi día.
Vincentian Services Department
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

Community Bank Donates to Homeless

Community Bank  employees from 16 branches and their headquarters participated in a drive to raise 320 hygiene kits for homeless men on Skid Row at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s Cardinal Manning Center.  Bank employees took time from their lunch hour to assemble the kits, which were presented to the Society’s  executive director David Fields by Community Bank CEO David Misch.  Special thanks to the bank’s Lizette Vargas for organizing this drive.

Summer Camp: More than Fun

Summer is here. For many of us, warm weather brings happy childhood memories of summer camp fun. For many of the children the Society serves, however, summer camp is not just a matter of fun- it’s a matter of survival. When you grow up in an inner city neighborhood that may be dominated by gangs, quality time among living camp counselors in a lovely natural environment can be a lifeline.

That’s why each summer the Society gives 1,200 children the chance to spend a week at its Circle V Ranch Camp in the mountains north of Santa Barbara. 94% of these children are on scholarship.  Luis, age seven, is such a child. He was abandoned by his mother and physically abused by his father. Resettles with his grandparents in Los Angeles, he struggles at his inner-city school. The society and a social-service agency enabled him to attend our camp last summer with financial assistance from kind donors like you.

Luis blossomed under the unconditional love. Positive reinforcement and spiritual guidance from our camp staff, all of them highly-dedicated role models. “This is the best summer I’ve ever had,” Luis said. He is eager to return next year.

Thank you for your compassion for children like Luis. Have a great summer!

By Claire Padama

Wednesday, July 8, 2015