Friday, August 30, 2013


Photo: Americans Gina Leal, Alejandra Murillo and Eric Cousin sharing Vincentian spirit.

An Everlasting Bond
By: Eric Cousin
Member of St. Brigid Conference - Los Angeles  

From the August 2013 Youth and Young Adult Newsletter, National Council of the United States-Society of Saint Vincent de Paul
On July 18, 2013 a group of 16 people, including myself, arrived in Brazil representing the Society of St. Vincent de Paul USA. After two plane rides, we were greeted by members of the Vincentian Family and escorted to a bus for our ride to Belo Horizonte. Cidade dos Meninos, a camp sponsored by the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and various churches, became our home for four days. Cidade dos Meninos houses, provides an education and trade for 1,600 students ages 6-18.
We had the opportunity to meet many new people from 22 countries around the world with the Vincentian spirit. Every day at 9:00 a.m., we gathered for Morning Prayer after finishing a hearty breakfast of bread, cheese, ham, fruit and café. The three days in Belo Horizonte provided an opportunity for us to attend classes to improve and learn more about our mission as Vincentians. We also went on field trips to visit the works of SSVP in Belo Horizonte and the neighboring towns and cities. Everything about this part of the trip was amazing. I would love for it to happen more often.

On the 21st of July, everyone left Belo Horizonte for Rio to get ready for the extravaganza that was going to happen once Pope Francis arrived. Our trip on coach buses from Belo Horizonte to Rio de Janeiro was supposed to be a 7-8 hours ride, but to control the traffic inside we waited three hours outside the city before we were allowed in. To us, Americans, it seemed like poor planning and a big inconvenience but we learned that the Brazilian culture does things differently.Rio is a big city and is very nice. My group and I were led by Sister Christian Price who made the arrangements with a travel agency for us to see different places in Rio to add to our memories. The greatest site, for me, was going to see Christ the Redeemer at the top of the Corcovado Mountain. We took an electric train to travel up the mountain through trees and wildlife living on the highest point in Rio de Janeiro; where Christ the Redeemer stood, watching over the city. It was not a dry day, there was a mist and strong winds blowing, however there where hundreds of people at the site creating memories and having fun with their groups. On other occasions, we walked through the city and caught buses and subways to visit some very beautiful, old churches in Rio, as well as attended daily catechesis.

Copacabana Beach was so packed with people it was unbelievable. I never imagined so many people on one beach. Pope Francis sure knows how to gather people together. At one point, when it was raining on the beach during the Opening Mass, our group huddled together to stay warm; just as other groups where doing. Every day our group's bond grew stronger and I know I made some lifelong friends. It was amazing to experience all the people there for the same spiritual reason as well as their own personal reasons. It was an experience of a lifetime.
After five days, we packed our belongings and carried away our experiences to home to the USA to share with everyone waiting for us. The amazing thing for me is remembering all the experiences I had and how they will influence my life and the works that I do to help others. This trip turned into paradise, because to me paradise does exist. It is not a place you can look for, because it does not matter where you go to experience paradise. It matters how you feel from the moment of your life when you are a part of something great and able to share it with others. When this moment happens it will last a lifetime!

The Vincentian Gathering and World Youth Day were the greatest experiences of my life and I appreciate all those who made it possible for me to attend.  

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


St. Ignatius of Loyola Conference has a fund-raising event this coming Saturday, August 31st.

Breakfast at Maui's
8:30 am - noon
Saturday, August 31st
4952 Lincoln Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90042

Only $5.00 (suggested donation) will get you a full breakfast, with pancakes, eggs, fresh fruit, machaca, and more!

Tickets need to be ordered before Saturday.  Anyone interested may contact Susana Santana at 213-434-2216 or, or Maui directly at 323.228.8245.

Hope you can join us. :)

Friday, August 23, 2013


The 2013 Black and White Dinner Dance fund-raiser committee met Wednesday, August 21 at St. John's Hospital in Oxnard.  Preparations are underway for the November 9, 2013 fund-raiser for western Ventura county's Society of St. Vincent de Paul winter homeless shelter. Committee members now seek live auction items for the event.  If you can offer an item, please call Becky Morales at 805-450-4486.

Photo: (left to right) Society deputy executive director David Garcia and the Black and White Committee.


Photo: St. Andrew's Deacon Fausto Sanchez, conference president Eugenia Furukawa, pastor Reverend Paul Sustayta and past-conference president Davide Colleoni enjoy Cafe Andrea.

Forget donuts!  At Cafe San Andrea at St. Andrew's Catholic Church in Old Pasadena, after mass or anytime on Sundays, you can dine on delectable salads and sandwiches not to mention a cappuccino or espresso.  All proceeds go to benefit the Society of St.Vincent de Paul conference at the church to help the poor and homeless.

The coffee bar was designed and built by immediate past conference president Davide Colleoni, who is leaving the parish to return to Italy. "We partnered with the Cordon Bleu  in Pasadena and they're making the pastries, salads and sandwiches for us," said new Society conference president Eugenia Furukawa.

"I am very proud of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul ministry for their vision to make this possible and all their hard work," said deacon Fausto Sanchez, a former Society conference president at the parish. Sanchez said the conference started in the parish in 1926 and was the first in the San Gabriel Valley. The cafe will sell its wares after all masses on Sunday in the piazza next to the church once a month. Join them!

Photos: Cappuccino, salads and other delicacies at Cafe San Andrea.

Friday, August 16, 2013


Photo: More than 175 pictures cover the walls and windows of St. Vincent de Paul’s thrift store.

‘Inside Out/11M’ at St. Vincent de Paul

Written by R. W. Dellinger Friday, 16 August 2013 00:00 
On this late Friday morning at the Society of St. Vincent de Paul’s expansive thrift store in Lincoln Heights, people inside are shopping for bargains on everything from dishes to men’s suits, computers to refrigerators, toys to TVs.

But the real action is happening outside in the front parking lot.

Some of the 300-plus customers are waiting in a snaking line leading to a gray RV to have their picture almost automatically taken and immediately developed in the mobile studio. Others are carrying rolled-up 35-by-53-inch prints of their headshots to workers on a metal scaffold, whose job is pasting up the enlarged portraits on a side wall of the 200-year-old Society’s office. More workers are also covering the adjacent store’s front windows with prints.

This beehive of activity has to do with a public project called “Inside Out/11M,” a nationwide participatory art tour that began last month in Northern California and will end in New York City Sept. 23-26. Its timely goal is to create a portrait of America, celebrating the nation’s rich heritage of immigrants. The hope includes not only to raise awareness but to advocate for reform.

Inside Out is the brainchild of “photograffeur” JR, who fly-posts blown-up black-and-white photos of human faces “to pay tribute to the power and dignity of individuals by displaying their portraits in public spaces around the world.” His work has been on walls in the Middle East, on the broken bridges of Africa and in the favelas or shanty towns of Brazil that Pope Francis just visited during World Youth Day.

“I think they picked us because the Society supports a very diverse community,” said David Fields, executive director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Council of Los Angeles. “Our membership is very, very diverse. And this community of Lincoln Heights is very diverse. Our customer base is very diverse. And we’re extremely fortunate to have this program here.”

He said the more than 175 portraits, which will remain up for about a week and then removed by power washing, dramatically show that prodigious diversity.

One photo is of an African American middle-aged man with a stone-serious expression across his handsome face. Another shows a first- or second-grade boy in a white T-shirt with his mouth wide open. The weather-beaten, wrinkled face of a Hispanic man staring intensely is counter-balanced by a nearby aging Latina with gray hair down to her waist and the hint of a smile.

“I think that immigration is a topic that is very relevant,” said Alejandra Moreno, who lives in the neighborhood and came to the innovative outdoor exhibit with her mother, Maria. “And as of now, it’s still a battle for America. But I feel that we all come from diverse backgrounds. And this project is a great way to speak out and make relevant that we’re here and we’re all from the same country.

“If you notice among the pictures, it’s different colors, ages, young and old,” the 22-year-old Moreno pointed out. “And they all stand to make a statement that we are together.”

Photo: Workers post photos at the Society.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Inside Out/11M: A Portrait of America, was hosted by the Society's Los Angeles thrift store Friday, August 9, 2013. International street artist JR's national project celebrating American immigration wrapped the Society's offices and thrift store with temporary, giant portraits of Los Angeles residents who flocked to the store to have their photos taken.  To see ABC 7's news story:

Friday, August 2, 2013


Young adult Vincentian Isabel Granados, president of Cal State LA's John Paul II Conference, attended World Youth Day with young Vincentians from all over the United States. Granados' trip was sponsored by the Los Angeles council of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.  "The Pope said our mission is to make disciples of everyone," said Granados.  She created a blog to share her trip: