Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Friday, February 19, 2016

February 28, 2016
Gospel: (Luke 13: 1-9)
Jesus said, "Those eighteen people who were killed when the tower of Siloam fell on them-do you think they were more guilty than everyone else who lived in Jerusalem? By no means! But I tell you, if you do not repent, you will all perish as they did!"  And then he told them this parable: "There once was a person who had a fig tree planted in his orchard, and when he came in search of fruit on it but found none, he said to the gardner, 'For three years now I have come in search of fruit on this fig tree but found none. So cut it down. Why should it exhaust the soil?' The gardner said to him in reply, 'Sir, leave it for this year also, and I shall cultivate the ground around it and fertilize it; it may bear fruit in the future.  If not, you can cut it down.'"
The parable of the non-fruit-bearing fig tree describes the fate of those who do not repent. Even though God gives us everything we need for our journey toward salvation, we ourselves need to "cultivate and fertilize" our spiritual lives.  We "grumble" our way through life-we judge others, fail to live up to our baptismal commitments, do not heed all the warnings given us.  Jesus is quite clear in his message: "bear fruit or be "cut down."  The "fertilizer" is the charity, fasting, and prayer of our Christian penance.  Repentance is "cultivating" the soil so we can bear fruit.  Repentance is changing one's mind, letting go of the narrowness of our own perception of how life should be and embracing the expansiveness of God's plan for salvation. Repentance is really conversion. And God waits everyday of our lives for us to bear fruit. (Living Liturgy, p.78)
Vincentian Meditation:
Conversion for us as followers of Vincent and Frederic will mean allowing Jesus and the poor to invade the citadels of our minds and of our hearts.  Our minds and hearts are like fortresses.  We live within them, but are reluctant to admit Jesus and his poor into the very center of them.  We will allow Jesus in just so far, but we often by our action or inaction show him that we don't wish Him to take us over completely.  He is continually asking us to surrender to him.  He is asking us continually to let go, and we insist on holding on. Conversion or repentance is about surrender.  (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.698)
Discussion: (Share your thoughts after a moment of silence)
What conversion do you need, so that you can "bear fruit?"
Closing Prayer:                                                                                
The discipline of Lent calls us to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, 
-may your love guide us to conversion.
Lord, you came to give sight to the blind,
-open our eyes to see beyond our own selfishness.
Lord, you came to bring good news to the poor,
-may our actions bring hope to those we serve.
Lord, give us the grace to "fertilize and cultivate" our spiritual life,
-so that we may bear fruit. Amen

Please click the link below for information on an estate sale that will be taking place the first week of March.  The property of where this is taking place is one that SVDP inherited from a bequest.

*If your Conference can host one of the training sessions and for ALL RSVP's, please contact either Mary Esther Jockers at or B.J. Polk at  


Classes will be CANCELLED
if no one hosts or RSVPs for the classes.

  rummage sale
SVDP St. Dominic's Conference is preparing for its semi-annual Rummage Sale on the church's grounds, slated for SATURDAY , MARCH 05, 2016, 09:00 - 03:00 p.m.
Spaces will be made available for $15 each.  Please call Mario Hernandez at (210)
748-2540 to reserve a space(s).
 Variety of booths will be available. All are welcome to come and enjoy a day of shopping or selling!
SVDP St. Dominic's Conference hours of operation are
Tuesday & Fridays, 09:00 a.m.-12 noon.  

Please note that all proceeds go to support the SVDP Conference at St. Dominic's! 
 St. Ann's Conference is need of toiletries products to give out to their Brothers and Sisters in need. 
They are currently given out once a week, but the their homeless population is growing rapidly.  
Currently,  they arr buying deodorant (men and women) body soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, mouthwash, shavers, combs, washrags.   They also buy large boxes of detergent, which is put into smaller bagged portions, so Brothers and Sisters can wash their clothes.
If any Conference has extra toiletries that they can provide to St. Ann's, please call the Conference at 734 5404 and leave message, and the St. Ann Vincentians can pick up the items.
Thank you all very much! 

Two Wheelchairs and Folding Walker Available from St. Francis of Assisi

St. Francis of Assisi has 2 wheelchairs and a sturdy walker available.  If your Conference has any Brothers and Sisters who can use these items, please contact the St. Francis of Assisi Conference at 210-492-4600 ext. 217.  Please leave a message if no one answers, and someone will call you back.

Printer Available at St. Anthony Mary Claret

We, at St Anthony Mary Claret Conference, have upgraded to Windows 10 and had to replace our office printer.  We have a nice Cannon PIXMA MX330 series all-in-one printer, copier, fax, and scan machine that is in great shape. We also have two black ink cartridges to go with it. It works with Windows 7 and 8.1. If Interested, contact me, Harold Shields at 210 688-0070 (leave a message) or email . It was bought with SVdP money so it's available at no charge to any conference or council that has use for it.

Mr. Jesse Camacho, President of our St. Timothy Conference, has received the honor of The Lumen Gentium Award.

Diana Marmolejo served as St. Vincent de Paul President of the St. Helena Conference for six years, has also been honored.
Diana is a Eucharistic Minister and serves as a minister to the sick.

The Lumen Gentium Award was initiated by Archbishop Gustavo to honor deserving lay people who are deeply devoted to and actively engaged in their parishes. 


Friday, February 19- St. Conrad of Piacenza

Born of a noble family in northern Italy, Conrad as a young man married Euphrosyne, daughter of a nobleman.

One day while hunting he ordered attendants to set fire to some brush in order to flush out the game. The fire spread to nearby fields and to a large forest. Conrad fled. An innocent peasant was imprisoned, tortured to confess and condemned to death. Conrad confessed his guilt, saved the man's life and paid for the damaged property.

Soon after this event, Conrad and his wife agreed to separate: she to a Poor Clare monastery and he to a group of hermits following the Third Order Rule. His reputation for holiness, however, spread quickly. Since his many visitors destroyed his solitude, Conrad went to a more remote spot in Sicily where he lived 36 years as a hermit, praying for himself and for the rest of the world.

Prayer and penance were his answer to the temptations that beset him. Conrad died kneeling before a crucifix. He was canonized in 1625.

Saturday, February 20 - Blesseds Jacinta and Francisco Marto

Between May 13 and October 13, 1917, three children, Portuguese shepherds from Aljustrel, received apparitions of Our Lady at Cova da Iria, near Fatima, a city 110 miles north of Lisbon. At that time, Europe was involved in an extremely bloody war. Portugal itself was in political turmoil, having overthrown its monarchy in 1910; the government disbanded religious organizations soon after.

At the first appearance, Mary asked the children to return to that spot on the thirteenth of each month for the next six months. She also asked them to learn to read and write and to pray the rosary "to obtain peace for the world and the end of the war." They were to pray for sinners and for the conversion of Russia, which had recently overthrown Czar Nicholas II and was soon to fall under communism. Up to 90,000 people gathered for Mary's final apparition on October 13, 1917.

Less than two years later, Francisco died of influenza in his family home. He was buried in the parish cemetery and then re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1952. Jacinta died of influenza in Lisbon, offering her suffering for the conversion of sinners, peace in the world and the Holy Father. She was re-buried in the Fatima basilica in 1951. Their cousin, Lucia dos Santos, became a Carmelite nun and was still living when Jacinta and Francisco were beatified in 2000. Sister Lucia died five years later. The shrine of Our Lady of Fatima is visited by up to 20 million people a year.

Sunday, February 21- St. Peter Damian

Maybe because he was orphaned and had been treated shabbily by one of his brothers, Peter Damian was very good to the poor. It was the ordinary thing for him to have a poor person or two with him at table and he liked to minister personally to their needs.

Peter escaped poverty and the neglect of his own brother when his other brother, who was archpriest of Ravenna, took him under his wing. His brother sent him to good schools and Peter became a professor.
Already in those days Peter was very strict with himself. He wore a hair shirt under his clothes, fasted rigorously and spent many hours in prayer. Soon, he decided to leave his teaching and give himself completely to prayer with the Benedictines of the reform of St. Romuald (June 19) at Fonte Avellana. They lived two monks to a hermitage. Peter was so eager to pray and slept so little that he soon suffered from severe insomnia. He found he had to use some prudence in taking care of himself. When he was not praying, he studied the Bible.

The abbot commanded that when he died Peter should succeed him. Abbot Peter founded five other hermitages. He encouraged his brothers in a life of prayer and solitude and wanted nothing more for himself. The Holy See periodically called on him, however, to be a peacemaker or troubleshooter, between two abbeys in dispute or a cleric or government official in some disagreement with Rome.

Finally, Pope Stephen IX made Peter the cardinal-bishop of Ostia. He worked hard to wipe out simony (the buying of church offices), and encouraged his priests to observe celibacy and urged even the diocesan clergy to live together and maintain scheduled prayer and religious observance. He wished to restore primitive discipline among religious and priests, warning against needless travel, violations of poverty and too comfortable living. He even wrote to the bishop of Besancon, complaining that the canons there sat down when they were singing the psalms in the Divine Office.

He wrote many letters. Some 170 are extant. We also have 53 of his sermons and seven lives, or biographies, that he wrote. He preferred examples and stories rather than theory in his writings. The liturgical offices he wrote are evidence of his talent as a stylist in Latin.

He asked often to be allowed to retire as cardinal-bishop of Ostia, and finally Alexander II consented. Peter was happy to become once again just a monk, but he was still called to serve as a papal legate. When returning from such an assignment in Ravenna, he was overcome by a fever. With the monks gathered around him saying the Divine Office, he died on February 22, 1072.

In 1828 he was declared a Doctor of the Church.

Monday, February 22- Chair of St. Peter

This feast commemorates Christ's choosing Peter to sit in his place as the servant-authority of the whole Church (see June 29).
After the "lost weekend" of pain, doubt and self-torment, Peter hears the Good News. Angels at the tomb say to Magdalene, "The Lord has risen! Go, tell his disciples and Peter." John relates that when he and Peter ran to the tomb, the younger outraced the older, then waited for him. Peter entered, saw the wrappings on the ground, the headpiece rolled up in a place by itself. John saw and believed. But he adds a reminder: "...[T]hey did not yet understand the scripture that he had to rise from the dead" (John 20:9). They went home. There the slowly exploding, impossible idea became reality. Jesus appeared to them as they waited fearfully behind locked doors. "Peace be with you," he said (John 20:21b), and they rejoiced.
The Pentecost event completed Peter's experience of the risen Christ. "...[T]hey were all filled with the holy Spirit" (Acts 2:4a) and began to express themselves in foreign tongues and make bold proclamation as the Spirit prompted them.

Only then can Peter fulfill the task Jesus had given him: "... [O]nce you have turned back, you must strengthen your brothers" (Luke 22:32). He at once becomes the spokesman for the Twelve about their experience of the Holy Spirit-before the civil authorities who wished to quash their preaching, before the council of Jerusalem, for the community in the problem of Ananias and Sapphira. He is the first to preach the Good News to the Gentiles. The healing power of Jesus in him is well attested: the raising of Tabitha from the dead, the cure of the crippled beggar. People carry the sick into the streets so that when Peter passed his shadow might fall on them.

Even a saint experiences difficulty in Christian living. When Peter stopped eating with Gentile converts because he did not want to wound the sensibilities of Jewish Christians, Paul says, "...I opposed him to his face because he clearly was wrong.... [T]hey were not on the right road in line with the truth of the gospel..." (Galatians 2:11b, 14a).

At the end of John's Gospel, Jesus says to Peter, "Amen, amen, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to dress yourself and go where you wanted; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands, and someone else will dress you and lead you where you do not want to go" (John 21:18). What Jesus said indicated the sort of death by which Peter was to glorify God. On Vatican Hill, in Rome, during the reign of Nero, Peter did glorify his Lord with a martyr's death, probably in the company of many Christians.
Second-century Christians built a small memorial over his burial spot. In the fourth century, the Emperor Constantine built a basilica, which was replaced in the 16th century.

Tuesday, February 23 - St. Polycarp

Polycarp, bishop of Smyrna (modern Izmir, Turkey), disciple of St. John the Apostle and friend of St. Ignatius of Antioch was a revered Christian leader during the first half of the second century.

St. Ignatius, on his way to Rome to be martyred, visited Polycarp at Smyrna, and later at Troas wrote him a personal letter. The Asia Minor Churches recognized Polycarp's leadership by choosing him as a representative to discuss with Pope Anicetus the date of the Easter celebration in Rome-a major controversy in the early Church.

Only one of the many letters written by Polycarp has been preserved, the one he wrote to the Church of Philippi in Macedonia.

At 86, Polycarp was led into the crowded Smyrna stadium to be burned alive. The flames did not harm him and he was finally killed by a dagger. The centurion ordered the saint's body burned. The "Acts" of Polycarp's martyrdom are the earliest preserved, fully reliable account of a Christian martyr's death. He died in 156.

Wednesday, February 24 - Blessed Luke Belludi

In 1220, St. Anthony was preaching conversion to the inhabitants of Padua when a young nobleman, Luke Belludi, came up to him and humbly asked to receive the habit of the followers of St. Francis. Anthony liked the talented, well-educated Luke and personally recommended him to St. Francis, who then received him into the Franciscan Order.

Luke, then only 20, was to be Anthony's companion in his travels and in his preaching, tending to him in his last days and taking Anthony's place upon his death. He was appointed guardian of the Friars Minor in the city of Padua. In 1239 the city fell into the hands of its enemies. Nobles were put to death, the mayor and council were banished, the great university of Padua gradually closed and the church dedicated to St. Anthony was left unfinished. Luke himself was expelled from the city but secretly returned. At night he and the new guardian would visit the tomb of St. Anthony in the unfinished shrine to pray for his help. One night a voice came from the tomb assuring them that the city would soon be delivered from its evil tyrant.

After the fulfillment of the prophetic message, Luke was elected provincial minister and furthered the completion of the great basilica in honor of Anthony, his teacher. He founded many convents of the order and had, as Anthony, the gift of miracles. Upon his death he was laid to rest in the basilica that he had helped finish and has had a continual veneration up to the present time.

Thursday, February 25 - Blessed Sebastian of Aparicio

Sebastian's roads and bridges connected many distant places. His final bridge-building was to help men and women recognize their God-given dignity and destiny.

Sebastian's parents were Spanish peasants. At the age of 31 he sailed to Mexico, where he began working in the fields. Eventually he built roads to facilitate agricultural trading and other commerce. His 466-mile road from Mexico City to Zacatecas took 10 years to build and required careful negotiations with the indigenous peoples along the way.

In time Sebastian was a wealthy farmer and rancher. At the age of 60 he entered a virginal marriage. His wife's motivation may have been a large inheritance; his was to provide a respectable life for a girl without even a modest marriage dowry. When his first wife died, he entered another virginal marriage for the same reason; his second wife also died young.

At the age of 72 Sebastian distributed his goods among the poor and entered the Franciscans as a brother. Assigned to the large (100-member) friary at Puebla de los Angeles south of Mexico City, Sebastian went out collecting alms for the friars for the next 25 years. His charity to all earned him the nickname "Angel of Mexico."

Sebastian was beatified in 1787 and is known as a patron of travelers.

Does your Conference have any news, events, or any other information that you would like to share in the Friday Five? **Please note, that events can be advertised if they ONLY support the SVDP Conference.  Any events that are put on by a parish can no longer be advertised.**

If so, please email Rachel Esposito at to be include in the next edition of the Friday  Five! All information must be submitted by 3:00 pm on Wednesday. Thank you. 

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Please pray for Sister from St. Brigid Conference, Nell Sharrock.  She has been a Vincentian for many years.  She has provided service in many of the offices in the Conference and Council Office.She is currently in Hospice at home.  We thank you for all of your prayers. 

Thanks to all who prayed for one of our Vincentian's spouse, Adan Polanco, from St. Stanislaus Parish.  Praise God the family received wonderful news last week and he is now cancer free.  Praise the Lord and thanks to all for your prayers.
Please continue praying for Yolanda and Ramiro Ramirez, Angela Angel and Gloria de Luna,  all from St. Ann's Conference  who are experiencing health issues.