I grew up in a large Catholic farm family in Michigan. My mother went to college (which was rare in those days), but my father had to work the farm during WWII and never had the chance for college. Nevertheless he always read and thought a lot about all sorts of things. Though his world was mostly constrained to his family, community and friends, he tried to understand all the other lives his children experienced in their education and careers. One of his favorite sayings was “Too soon old and too late smart,” a situation he hoped never to be in. He knew that life-long learning was important and that one was never too old to learn.
Life-long learning is something we strive for, too, at SVdP Indy. With the addition of our new Spiritual Advisor for the Council, Fr, Jeff Godecker, we will begin a renewal process to enhance the spiritual growth of the Council and Conferences. Most Conferences have Spiritual Advisors now. We are reconstituting our Ozanam Orientation training teams and will begin sessions soon. Formation is a key part of our work as Vincentians, so I ask that you approach this opportunity with open minds and hearts.
As we move forward with our new Love You Neighbor initiative for unsheltered neighbors, we have the opportunity to learn from other Councils who have addressed this need. The Dayton Regional District of the Cincinnati Council is just such a site. In Dayton, the local Society has six facilities to serve those suffering homelessness in the Dayton area, and they have been doing this for decades. Recently, several of us traveled to Dayton for a day of site visits and discussions about process and procedures, funding and expenses, and highs and lows of this work. Certainly we learned a lot, as our eyes were opened to both the promises and pitfalls of the work we are taking on.
Please take advantage of the training and insight available on the SVdP National website. We are so fortunate to have dedicated Vincentians who share what works well as we serve those in need.