Monday, August 31, 2009

Labor Day Mass

"Exploitation occurs when the master considers his worker not as a partner nor even as an assistant, but as an instrument out of which he must extract as much service as possible at the smallest possible price. Yet the exploitation of a man by another man is slavery. The worker-machine is nothing more than part of capital like the slaves of the ancients. Service becomes servitude."
~ Blessed Frédéric Ozanam
Founder, Society of St. Vincent de Paul

Dear Young Vincentians & Friends,

Monday, September 7, is Labor Day. To celebrate the day, please consider joining Cardinal Roger Mahony at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels. Information is given below.

Labor Day Mass: September 7, 2009

Join workers who struggle for a living wage, better working conditions, justice and dignity for all. Cardinal Roger Mahony will be the principal celebrant.

When: Monday, September 7th at 10 a.m.

Where: Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 West Temple, LA

Sponsors: Office of Justice and Peace and Commission, Archdiocese of Los Angeles, Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, SEIU, L A Cty Fed of Labor, SEIU-ULTCW, CASA NICARAGUA, SEIU-USWW, Midvalley YELLOW CAB, CLEAN Carwash Campaign, SEIU Local 99, SEIU-Workers United,CHIRLA, SEIU-UHWW, Teamsters Local 396, SEIU Local 721, UNITE HERE Local 11, Hermandad Mexicana Nacional, Casa Nicaragua, Dolores Mission Choir, CLUE LA and LIUNA So Cal District Council

For more information, please call Sr. Gail Young, S.S.S., at the Office of Justice and Peace (213) 637-7690.

Yours in St. Vincent de Paul & Blessed Frédéric Ozanam,

Manuel A. Sánchez
Youth/Young Adult Conference Coordinator
Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles

Friday, August 28, 2009

Beginning next week, Council to receive additional air time

If you watch KCBS-TV 2 and listen to 710 AM ESPN Radio next week, you'll notice the Council's presence over the air waves.

A special 'Leading the Way in L.A. County' :30 spot will air throughout September about the Society's L.A. thrift store and its impact on the Council's local outreach. This spot encourages the public to shop at and donate to St. Vincent de Paul (Note: For a sneak preview of the ad, please click on the TV link on the right side of this blog).

The Council also recorded two new one-minute ads that will air on ESPN Radio. One spot talks about the Cardinal Manning Center (includes a testimonial from a client) and how the listeners can help homeless individuals during this bad economy, while the second ad features a young girl talking about how her family donates to SVdP and the fact that the Council has three thrift stores in Long Beach, Oxnard and L.A.

We pray that this TV spot and both radio ads will help increase the Council's visibility to those seeking to purchase household items at reasonable prices (and) donors who want to donate to a good cause.

Photos (l-r): The TV ad will include this exterior shot of the L.A. thrift store; Makayla Rosales, 8, lends her voice to the Council's new store donation ad at the 710 AM ESPN studio.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Saint Vincent de Paul quotes to ponder

Saint Vincent de Paul (April 24, 1581 - September 27, 1660) was a Roman Catholic priest who helped found many charitable organizations. Today, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is named in honor of this priest who fought to improve the quality of life for the poor.

Here are a couple of his quotes:

"The most powerful weapon to conquer the devil is humility. For, as he does not know at all how to employ it, neither does he know how to defend himself from it."

~ As quoted in A Year with the Saints (1891) by Anonymous

"You will find out that Charity is a heavy burden to carry, heavier than the kettle of soup and the full basket. But you will keep your gentleness and your smile. It is not enough to give soup and bread. This the rich can do. You are the servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humored. They are your masters, terribly sensitive and exacting master you will see. And the uglier and the dirtier they will be, the more unjust and insulting, the more love you must give them. It is only for your love alone that the poor will forgive you the bread you give to them."

~ As quoted in Homelessness in America: A Forced March to Nowhere (1982)

The Society's L.A. Council, which serves the counties of L.A., Ventura and Santa Barbara, have more than 2,000 dedicated 'Vincentian' volunteers of all ages and backgrounds who continue St. Vincent de Paul's mission to this day. We thank God for their kindness and tireless efforts.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

184 days and counting...

184 days and counting...

That's how long this Council has been accident-free! The previous high? 59 days. This number accounts for the Society's following locations:

* Main office in Los Angeles
* Three thrift stores in L.A., Long Beach and Oxnard
* Cardinal Manning Center (shelter) on Skid Row
* Emergency winter shelter in Ventura County
* Circle V Ranch Camp in Santa Barbara

However, the bulk falls on the Council's large store in L.A., which includes the production department for all three stores.

When the Society reached 100 days without an accident, the employees were rewarded and thanked with a pizza party. With less accidents, the Council's workman's comp rates are modified, which is a positive for everyone.

The Council's Human Resource Specialist, Valerie Salazar, indicates that the employee safety meetings and education about the sharp rise in costs of accidents and the impact it has on the company has been well received.

Valerie credits her various safety captains for their outstanding work, especially Salvador Salgado.

"He is a real team player, a company person and someone who genuinely cares for the people he works with here at the Society. Salvador is my right-hand man because he is out in the store and working with his fellow employees."

And what if the employees reach 200 consecutive days without an accident? How will they celebrate? Valerie wouldn't say, except that it would be big!

Photo: Safety Captain Salvador Salgado at work helping the Society help others.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Council now sells in bulk, stretching your dollar even further

Are you looking for bulk? Are you seeking items at reasonable prices? Then the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is YOUR place.

You can NOW purchase items in bulk at the Council's thrift store at 210 N. Avenue 21 in Los Angeles. The Society has 4x4 boxes of the following:

* Clothing
* Shoes
* Stuffed Animals
* Toys
* Books
* Videotapes
* Baskets
* Miscellaneous Items

Get more for less. Your patronage will help support the Council's various programs for the poor in the counties of L.A., Ventura and Santa Barbara.

Information: 323-224-6280 or 800-974-3571.

Monday, August 24, 2009

August $ales continue at Council's Oxnard Thrift Store

Residents in Ventura County have just one week left to take advantage of BIG $ales at the Council's Oxnard Thrift Store at 1258 Saviers Road. And, who doesn't want to save money during this difficult economy?

All clothes, except purple tag items, and houseware will be discounted 50%, while furniture and televisions will be marked down 20%, Monday through Friday until August31. And on Saturday and Sunday, items are 50% off (except purple tag items, mattresses, box springs, bed frames and large appliances). Items change daily.

Directions to the store can be found on the right side of this blog.

Information: 805-487-1500.

Friday, August 21, 2009

A Saint and Compassion Fatigue

By Rev. Ronald Rolheiser, OMI

There is a story told about St. Vincent de Paul. Perhaps it's partly myth, but its challenge is real nonetheless.

Vincent once gave an instruction to his religious community that sounded something like this:

"When the demands of life seem unfair to you, when you are exhausted and have to pull yourself out of bed yet another time to do some act of service, do it gladly, without counting the cost and without self-pity. For if you persevere in serving others, in giving yourself to the poor, if you persevere to the point of completely spending yourself, perhaps someday the poor will find it in their hearts to forgive you. For it is more blessed to give than to receive, and it is also a lot easier!"

That might sound curious. Why do the poor need to forgive us? For what do we need to be forgiven? Shouldn't we feel good about serving others?

All of us, I suspect, have a pretty good sense of what he means. We all know that there is a certain humiliation in needing to receive, just as there is a certain pride in being able to give. The things we often complain about are really our greatest blessings:

What is worse than being too busy? Having nothing to do. What is more painful than having to give away something we own? Having nothing to give away. What is harder than being dragged out of bed to minister to someone in need? Being the person who is in bed and who needs someone to help him or her.

What is harder than being brought to our knees by the demands of those around us for our time and energy? Being on our knees asking someone else for his or her time and energy. It is more blessed to be able to give than to receive, and it is easier. But there's more.

There is a certain divine power, literally, in being able to give. The one who gives gets to be God, or, at very least, to feel like God. That's not an overstatement. God is the source of all that is, the source of all gift. When we are in a position to give, we mediate divine power and we get to feel that power. Whenever we act like God, we get to feel like God.

Yet, the irony is that our very gifts and strengths, if not given over with the proper attitude, can easily make others feel inferior. It is important to understand this so that we are more careful to not serve others in ways that demean them. It is not automatic, nor easy, to give a gift in a way that does not shame the recipient. Vincent de Paul's counsel highlights this caution.

But there's a second lesson here as well. Vincent de Paul meant this, too, as an antidote to self-pity. For anyone who is in a giving role (a parent, a minister, a teacher, a nurse, a social worker, an advocate for justice, a philanthropist, a politician), there is the temptation to fall into self-pity: "Look all I am doing! I do all this for others, but nobody is doing anything for me! I am so tired! Is there no end to this? Am I the only one who cares? This is asking more of me than is fair! I have my own problems that I should tend to!"

It is easy, especially when one is tired and frustrated by lack of support, to lose heart, to begin to feel sorry for oneself, and to eventually feel that we are being unfairly used by others, that we are being asked to give more than our share.

That is very common. Care-givers often feel victimized by those to whom they are giving of themselves. We've even coined some terms for this: "compassion fatigue," "compassion burnout." Not surprisingly, many good people resent the demands of the poor: the welfare system, the push by various groups for their rights, the pressure for more immigration, the drain that the sick put on the energy and money of our society, the cost of repairing the damage done by youthful vandals, and so on. The temptation is to give up and give in; give up on going the extra mile and give in to the temptation to resign and take care of ourselves.

And so, St. Vincent de Paul's counsel should be told and retold: If we do not continue to serve the poor, despite our tiredness and self-pity, the poor will never find it in their hearts to forgive us. We need to remember that it is more blessed to give than to receive, and it is also easier.

Portraits of Vincent de Paul show him with a strong, warm face, a face that everywhere suggests a comfortable friendliness. He looks like a man you would want over for dinner. But if you had him over for dinner, you might want to make sure that you didn't complain about the unfairness of life.

Oblate of Mary Immaculate Father Ronald Rolheiser is a specialist in the field of spirituality and systematic theology. His website is

~ courtesy of The Tidings

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Mini YARD $ALE in Los Angeles TODAY!

Clothes for the entire family, kitchenware , picture frames and electronics at ridiculously low prices! This is what you will find from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. TODAY at the Council's mini yard sale in the parking lot of its Los Angeles thrift store at 210 N. Avenue 21 (down the hill from Dodger Stadium in Lincoln Heights).

For directions to the store, please click on the L.A. Thrift Store photo on the right side of this blog.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

$ave big while helping the Council help others!

Help yourself while supporting the Society of St. Vincent de Paul's outreach to the poor! $ave today by shopping at one of the Council's three thrift stores in Long Beach, Oxnard or Los Angeles. Besides everyday low prices, each store also has various savings throughout the week on items YOU need and want. Store proceeds help support the Society's work with the homeless, disadvantaged and working-poor.

For the store nearest you, please visit the right side of this blog.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cardinal Manning Center receives funds through a special event

The Council's Cardinal Manning Center (CMC) in Skid Row raised more than $1,000 through a raffle at yesterday's 'Lunch with a Legend' event that honored former Los Angeles Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser.

This monthly ESPN lunch, which the Council is the title sponsor, not only helped raise money for the shelter, but it gave the Society an opportunity to inform the the men and women in attendance about the CMC and what it means to so many individuals, especially during this economic downturn.

In addition, Justin Mammen, M.S.W., women and children's program coordinator for the Council's shelter, pre-recorded a two-minute interview about Cardinal Manning that aired twice at no cost during the LA Sports Live show, which was held live from the site of the lunch, Morton's the Steakhouse in downtown L.A. The hosts were former L.A. Laker Mychal Thompson and Andrew Siciliano.

Photos (l-r): ESPN's Andrew Siciliano interviews former L.A. Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser live; Andrew Siciliano calls out the lucky number for an official MLB autographed baseball from Orel Hershiser, being held by Ruby Horta, a case manager at CMC.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Cardinal Manning Center to receive air time today on 710 AM KSPN Radio

A star will be born today! Well, kind of.

During ESPN's 'Lunch with a Legend' event in downtown Los Angeles, a two-minute interview with Justin Mammen, M.S.W., women and children's program coordinator for the Council's Cardinal Manning Center (shelter), will air twice at 12:08 pm and 12:36 pm on 710 AM KSPN during the Mason & Ireland radio show, which will be broadcast live from the event site - Morton's the Steakhouse - from 11 am to 3 pm.

The spot will focus on the programs offered at Cardinal Manning, how they can help change the lives of homeless children, women and men, and the support that is needed from the general public during this difficult economy.

Mammen recently recorded the spot at ESPN's studio near Staples Center, as the Council is the title sponsor for this monthly gathering that honors sports heroes. Today's honoree will be former Dodger pitcher and 1988 World Series MVP Orel Hershiser.

The prayer of the Council is that this radio spot will help increase the visibility of the Cardinal Manning Center, its services and how the public can help make positive changes in the lives of those less fortunate.

Photos (l-r): CJ Newton (right) preps Justin Mammen before recording the interview-style spot; Justin Mammen records one of two radio spots.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Reserve your seat today for Monday's event; Portion of proceeds benefit Council's shelter!

Only a few days remain...

Hear and meet former Los Angeles Dodger pitcher and World Series MVP Orel Hershiser at ESPN's 'Lunch with a Legend' on Monday, August 17 at Morton's the Steakhouse, 735 S. Figueroa St., # 207, Los Angeles, CA 90017.

Hershiser is the only player to receive the Cy Young award, the League Championship Series MVP award and the World Series MVP award in the same season (1988). He also received both The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year and Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year awards for his accomplishments that season.

Los Angeles Dodgers memorabilia also will be raffled, with ALL the proceeds benefiting the Council's Cardinal Manning Center (shelter) in Skid Row. The items include framed autographed photos of Hall of Fame pitcher Don Drysdale; the hero of Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, Kirk Gibson; former second baseman Steve Sax; and an official MLB autographed baseball from the guest of honor himself, Orel Hershiser.

To reserve a seat, or for more information, please click on the Lunch with a Legend link, featuring Orel Hershiser, on the right side of this blog.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

In these trying times, please help a homeless person

During these difficult economic times, consider the following:

* Have you ever met a man who planned to live (or retire) on Skid Row?
* Could you imagine your wife and children living in a shelter on Skid Row?
* Have you ever been turned down from a job because you didn't have a home address?

Please help the Council's Cardinal Manning Center by donating $50 to help a homeless child, woman or man who has fallen victim to the bad economy. Your gift is tax-deductible, and it will help make a positive difference in a life today.

Checks earmarked 'Cardinal Manning Center' can be sent to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of L.A., 210 N. Avenue 21, L.A., CA 90031.

For more information, please call 213-229-9970.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Council's new office area is blessed

Earlier today, Father Pedro Villarroya, C.M., Council spiritual advisor, blessed the Council's new office area.

Prior to the blessing, he prayed that this new facility would serve as an extension of the staff's love for the poor and those facing difficult situations due to the economy.

The future is now, as this Council now has the capability to expand to meet the ever-growing needs in today's economy. The Society thanks God for this beautiful new office area.

Photos (l-r): Father Pedro blesses the Council office area; Father Pedro says a prayer prior to the blessing.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Final Day to Apply for 2009 Summer Camp; Financial aid available

TODAY is the FINAL DAY you can sign up your son and/or daughter for summer camp at the Council's Circle V Ranch near beautiful Santa Barbara. The eighth and final camp session will begin tomorrow, August 12. Financial aid is available.

Besides enjoying 'Wild, Wild, West Week,' which will include a unique western feel through games, entertainment and a special BBQ, all children, ages 7-13, will participate in swimming, hiking, games, arts & crafts, music, drama and much more.

Information: 323-224-6213.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Hear and meet World Series MVP and former Dodger pitcher Orel Hershiser; Proceeds to benefit Council's shelter

One week from today!

Come hear and meet former Los Angeles Dodger pitcher and World Series MVP Orel Hershiser at ESPN's 'Lunch with a Legend' on Monday, August 17 at Morton's the Steakhouse, 735 S. Figueroa St., # 207, Los Angeles, CA 90017.

Hershiser is the only player to receive the Cy Young award, the League Championship Series MVP award and the World Series MVP award in the same season, when he did it in 1988. He later received both The Sporting News Pitcher of the Year and Sports Illustrated magazine's Sportsman of the Year award for his accomplishments that year.

Sports memorabilia pieces also will be up for raffle, with ALL the proceeds benefiting the Council's Cardinal Manning Center (shelter) in the Skid Row area of Los Angeles.

For more information, please click on the Lunch with a Legend link, featuring Orel Hershiser, on the right side of this blog.

Friday, August 7, 2009

$ave money this weekend by shopping at St. Vincent de Paul's Thrift Store in L.A., Long Beach or Oxnard

The weekend is here! If you are in need of clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics or more, then visit one of the Council's three thrift stores in Los Angeles, Long Beach or Oxnard. You'll find what you need at very reasonable prices. And, with this economic downturn not changing anytime soon, who doesn't want to $ave money on everyday items. Most of the clothing items can be found from between .99-$4.99.

Besides $aving money, proceeds from the store sales help improve the quality of life for local children, women and men through the Council's various outreach programs. It's a win-win situation! $ave dollars, while helping others in need.

The Council's store locations can be found on the right side of this blog.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

'Friends of the Poor' grants awarded to three Council Conferences

The Society's National Council recently awarded 'Friends of the Poor' grants to benefit Conferences with their local projects and needs in the community. Of the six grants that were awarded in the Western Region, three were received by Conferences in the L.A. Council - Holy Name of Jesus, L.A. ($3,000); Santa Clarita, Valencia ($3,500); and St. Frances of Rome, Azusa ($3,500). The amount of the grants were determined by the needs in each Conference area, based on proposals that were submitted from throughout the country.

In these difficult times, some of the ways in which our Council's three Conferences will allocate the funds to help the poor include: school uniforms, rent and mortgage, prescriptions, utilities, food, lodging for the homeless, and storage for the items that are distributed to the homeless, disadvantaged and working poor.

May God bless Holy Name of Jesus, Santa Clarita and St. Frances of Rome as the 'Vincentian' volunteers from each Conference use these funds to help improve the lives of children, women and men in their communities.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

HURRY! Only two summer camp sessions to go; Financial aid available

Has the economy forced you to take a stay-vacation instead of a real vacation this summer? Have the limited funds impacted your child's summer vacation? If you answered 'yes' to either of these questions then listen up!

Space is still available for your daughter and/or son to enjoy all that the Council's Circle V Ranch Camp has to offer: swimming, hiking, games, arts & crafts, music, drama, a beach trip and lots of FUN! And, financial aid is available.

Hurry, though. Time is running out! Children, ages 7-13, can still attend the final two camp sessions of the summer: Session 7 from August 7-12 (and) Session 8 from August 12-17. Each week has a theme. Session seven's theme is 'Flashback Week,'which will include Circle V Idol, where the campers can showcase their creativity and talents in a special show. Meanwhile, session eight is 'Wild, Wild, West Week,' which will include a unique western feel through games, entertainment and a special BBQ.

Information: 323-224-6213 or e-mail

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Before and After...

What a difference five months make. The left photo shows what used to be floor space at the Council's Los Angeles Thrift Store, which the L.A. Times has called the 'Granddady of the Los Angeles Thrift Store Scene.' Today, that same space is now part of the Council's new office area. Due to the enormous size of the store prior to the office expansion (46,700 square feet), the lost space will not negatively impact the operation. The new office area is 10,500 sq ft, which is 3,500 sq ft. larger than the old office.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's Moving Day!

After five months of calling three mobile trailers home, the Council's staff is finally moving into its new office area today. Complete with a new state-of-the-art-boardoom, offices, cubicles and more, the Council now has space to handle the current needs of the economy, as well as those that come its way in the future. The Council thanks God for His many blessings!
Photos (clockwise, l-r): Council Executive Director Jose Rossier, Deputy Executive Director David Fields, Youth/Young Adult Conference Coordinator Manuel Sanchez and Conference Director Catalina Miller.