Society of St. Vincent de Paul
Friday, May 20, 2016

May 29, 2016

Gospel:  (Luke 9:11-17)
The Twelve approached Jesus and said, "Dismiss the crowd so that they can go to the surrounding villages and farms and find lodging and provisions; for we are in a deserted place."  He said to them, "Give them some food yourselves." They replied, "Five loaves and two fish are all we have, unless we go and buy food for all these people." They numbered about five thousand.  Then Jesus said, "Have them sit down in groups of about fifty." They did so and made them all sit down. Then taking the five loaves and two fish, and looking up to heaven, he said the blessing over them, broke them, and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. They all ate and were satisfied.  And when the leftover fragments were picked up, they filled twelve wicker baskets.
There is perhaps no more heart-wrenching sight than the malnourished and starving. These sights demand a response from us.  We know there is food in abundance; we know we are a nation that generally overeats.  We know that often the world hunger problem is tied into politics.  We know all these facts.  And so when we celebrate this particular feast and hear these readings we are once more prodded to respond.  Our own share in God's abundant gifts to us demands that those gifts spill out for those in need. The gospel moves from the practical, tangible level to the mystery of God's abundance and excess; from our being in control to surrendering ourselves so that God provides all we need. (Living Liturgy, p.150)
Vincentian Meditation:
Jesus was not only compassionate with his heart, but he was compassionate also with his hands, and he willed that the compassion should reach the people until the end of time. There are millions who watch pictures of poverty on our television screens and feel generous towards the poor.  Their reaction, so often goes no further than feeling.  Vincentians, however, imitate Jesus in that they are not content to feel generous, they show their generosity by being a sign of God's love, a sign of God's generosity, and a sign of God's service, of his service in a special way to the poor. The most unfortunate people in society are those who have not had the experience of being loved. Before loving others, we must come to the realization that we are at every moment of our lives being loved by God.  (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p. 669)
Discussion:(Share your thoughts after a moment of silence)
How have you experienced God's love, God's generosity and God's service?

Closing Prayer:                                                                               
Jesus, you are the bread that fills the longing of our hearts,
-may we be the sign of your love.
Jesus, you are the wine that satisfies our thirst for holiness,
-may we be the sign of your generosity.
 Jesus, your food strengthens us for the journey,
-may we be the sign of your service. Amen
  Project Cool  

Project Cool 2016 is getting ready to kick off on Friday, June 3rd!  
Here are the guideline for this year's Project Cool Program:
  • ALL participating Conferences MUST enter ALL required information into SMS.  If a Conference does not have a computer and/or is unable to use SMS, please contact your District Council President and they will partner you with a Conference within your district to assist.
  • Fans are to be given to those seniors who are 60+ years or older and/or disabled.
  • If an individual is unable to come pick up the fans themselves, a family member is able to pick up the fans in their place.
  • If there are 2 seniors or 2 disabled persons in the household, 2 fans will be given to them both.
  • Anyone who meets the requirements and comes to your Conference for a fan, will be given one.  No one is to be turned away if they are not in your Conference Boundaries.
We do require that the Conference President or a designated representative of your Conference sign the attached MOU before we can approve you for this season.  Please return to Rachel Esposito at no later than Friday, May 27th, for ALL participating Conferences.
Once we received the MOU, we can approve you in SMS and you will be able to place an order for fans.  We do have fans in inventory and should be prepared to distribute fans to each site in preparation for the kick-off.  Please note that fans will be picked up at the Catholic Charities Guadalupe Center located on1801 W. Cesar Chavez Blvd, San Antonio, TX 78207.  Please note that The Guadalupe Center has addressed the parking and scheduling issues that took place last year.
If you have any questions at all, please contact Rachel Esposito at or (210) 220-2452.

  Thank You United States Army Reserves Career Division!

Thank you VERY to the United States Army Reserves Career Counselors for the incredible lunch on Tuesday, May 17th, that we were able to serve to our friends in the Courtyard.  They let us borrow a meat smoker, so that we could serve a meal of  BBQ smoked brisket, home style baked beans, cole slaw and macadamian nut cookies for 462 friends!
The brisket was excellently prepared by Executive Chef, Lorris Gibson and Sergeant Adams!  We appreciate both of them coming in very early Tuesday morning, to make sure the brisket was cooked to perfection.

We are so grateful to welcome the 
12th BN ARCD to the St Vinnys Bistro family!

A Camp for Children of Active and Retired Military Families

A program of the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and  Drug Abuse (SACADA)

Summer is less than a month away and the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Abuse (SACADA) is getting ready for our annual Little Warriors Camp. Little Warriors Camp is a FREE fun, energetic camp for children of active and retired military. Children participate in games that teach team building and communication while also taking in lessons on life skills such as goal setting. Lunch and snacks are provided and the children take a field trip at the end of the week.
Camp dates are: 

June 13th - June 17th for ages 8yrs - 10yrs. 
June 20th - June 24th for ages 11yrs - 13yrs. 

Registration is open! Please contact Denise Smith at (210) 225-4741 or

A Pay it Forward Moment from Our Lady of Perpetual Help Conference in Selma:

On May 9th,2016, the volunteers witnessed an example of "paying it forward." A brother received assistance from St Vinny's in Selma and then, without anyone's knowledge, proceeded to mow, trim and blow debris from our lawn. This act of kindness was truly appreciated, and not expected. He received assistance, and although poor, gave back what he could. A remarkable example of receiving and giving God's love in this Year of Mercy.

Friday, May 20 - St. Bernardine of Siena

Most of the saints suffer great personal opposition, even persecution. Bernardine, by contrast, seems more like a human dynamo who simply took on the needs of the world.

He was the greatest preacher of his time, journeying across Italy, calming strife-torn cities, attacking the paganism he found rampant, attracting crowds of 30,000, following St. Francis of Assisi's admonition to preach about "vice and virtue, punishment and glory."

Compared with St. Paul by the pope, Bernardine had a keen intuition of the needs of the time, along with solid holiness and boundless energy and joy. He accomplished all this despite having a very weak and hoarse voice, miraculously improved later because of his devotion to Mary.

When he was 20, the plague was at its height in his hometown, Siena. Sometimes as many as 20 people died in one day at the hospital. Bernardine offered to run the hospital and, with the help of other young men, nursed patients there for four months. He escaped the plague but was so exhausted that a fever confined him for several months. He spent another year caring for a beloved aunt (her parents had died when he was a child) and at her death began to fast and pray to know God's will for him.

At 22, he entered the Franciscan Order and was ordained two years later. For almost a dozen years he lived in solitude and prayer, but his gifts ultimately caused him to be sent to preach. He always traveled on foot, sometimes speaking for hours in one place, then doing the same in another town.
Especially known for his devotion to the Holy Name of Jesus, Bernardine devised a symbol-IHS, the first three letters of the name of Jesus in Greek, in Gothic letters on a blazing sun. This was to displace the superstitious symbols of the day, as well as the insignia of factions (for example, Guelphs and Ghibellines). The devotion spread, and the symbol began to appear in churches, homes and public buildings. Opposition arose from those who thought it a dangerous innovation. Three attempts were made to have the pope take action against him, but Bernardine's holiness, orthodoxy and intelligence were evidence of his faithfulness.

General of a branch of the Franciscan Order, the Friars of the Strict Observance, he strongly emphasized scholarship and further study of theology and canon law. When he started there were 300 friars in the community; when he died there were 4,000. He returned to preaching the last two years of his life, dying while traveling.

Saturday, May 21 - St. Crispin of Viterbo

Crispin, who lived during the Age of Enlightenment, showed the enlightenment that gospel living provides.

Born in Orvieto, he was apprenticed to a shoemaker. In 1693 he received the Franciscan Capuchin habit and the name Crispin. After serving as a cook at Tolfa and Albano, he was the official beggar of the friary in Orvieto for almost 40 years.

He developed a reputation for curing the sick and catechized those he encountered in his work. The poor and needy recognized him as their friend. One of Crispin's favorite sayings was, "God's power creates us, his wisdom governs us, his mercy saves us." He was canonized in 1982.

Sunday, May 22 - St. Rita of Cascia

Like Elizabeth Ann Seton, Rita of Cascia was a wife, mother, widow and member of a religious community. Her holiness was reflected in each phase of her life.

Born at Roccaporena in central Italy, Rita wanted to become a nun but was pressured at a young age into marrying a harsh and cruel man. During her 18-year marriage, she bore and raised two sons. After her husband was killed in a brawl and her sons had died, Rita tried to join the Augustinian nuns in Cascia. Unsuccessful at first because she was a widow, Rita eventually succeeded.
Over the years, her austerity, prayerfulness and charity became legendary.

When she developed wounds on her forehead, people quickly associated them with the wounds from Christ's crown of thorns. She meditated frequently on Christ's passion. Her care for the sick nuns was especially loving. She also counseled lay people who came to her monastery.

Beatified in 1626, Rita was not canonized until 1900. She has acquired the reputation, together with St. Jude, as a saint of impossible cases. Many people visit her tomb each year.

Monday, May 23 - St. Gregory VII

The 10th century and the first half of the 11th were dark days for the Church, partly because the papacy was the pawn of various Roman families. In 1049, things began to change when Pope Leo IX, a reformer, was elected. He brought a young monk named Hildebrand to Rome as his counselor and special representative on important missions. He was to become Gregory VII.
Three evils plagued the Church then: simony (the buying and selling of sacred offices and things), the unlawful marriage of the clergy and lay investiture (kings and nobles controlling the appointment of Church officials). To all of these Hildebrand directed his reformer's attention, first as counselor to the popes and later (1073-1085) as pope himself.

Gregory's papal letters stress the role of bishop of Rome as the vicar of Christ and the visible center of unity in the Church. He is well known for his long dispute with Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV over who should control the selection of bishops and abbots.

Gregory fiercely resisted any attack on the liberty of the Church. For this he suffered and finally died in exile. He said, "I have loved justice and hated iniquity; therefore I die in exile." Thirty years later the Church finally won its struggle against lay investiture.

Tuesday, May 24 - St. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi

Mystical ecstasy is the elevation of the spirit to God in such a way that the person is aware of this union with God while both internal and external senses are detached from the sensible world. Mary Magdalene de' Pazzi was so generously given this special gift of God that she is called the "ecstatic saint."
She was born into a noble family in Florence in 1566. The normal course would have been for Catherine de' Pazzi to have married wealth and enjoyed comfort, but she chose to follow her own path. At nine she learned to meditate from the family confessor. She made her first Communion at the then-early age of 10 and made a vow of virginity one month later. When 16, she entered the Carmelite convent in Florence because she could receive Communion daily there.

Catherine had taken the name Mary Magdalene and had been a novice for a year when she became critically ill. Death seemed near so her superiors let her make her profession of vows from a cot in the chapel in a private ceremony. Immediately after, she fell into an ecstasy that lasted about two hours. This was repeated after Communion on the following 40 mornings. These ecstasies were rich experiences of union with God and contained marvelous insights into divine truths.

As a safeguard against deception and to preserve the revelations, her confessor asked Mary Magdalene to dictate her experiences to sister secretaries. Over the next six years, five large volumes were filled. The first three books record ecstasies from May of 1584 through Pentecost week the following year. This week was a preparation for a severe five-year trial. The fourth book records that trial and the fifth is a collection of letters concerning reform and renewal. Another book, Admonitions, is a collection of her sayings arising from her experiences in the formation of women religious.

The extraordinary was ordinary for this saint. She read the thoughts of others and predicted future events. During her lifetime, she appeared to several persons in distant places and cured a number of sick people.

It would be easy to dwell on the ecstasies and pretend that Mary Magdalene only had spiritual highs. This is far from true. It seems that God permitted her this special closeness to prepare her for the five years of desolation that followed when she experienced spiritual dryness. She was plunged into a state of darkness in which she saw nothing but what was horrible in herself and all around her. She had violent temptations and endured great physical suffering. She died in 1607 at 41, and was canonized in 1669.

Wednesday, May 25 - St. Bede the Venerable

Bede is one of the few saints honored as such even during his lifetime. His writings were filled with such faith and learning that even while he was still alive, a Church council ordered them to be read publicly in the churches.
At an early age Bede was entrusted to the care of the abbot of the Monastery of St. Paul, Jarrow. The happy combination of genius and the instruction of scholarly, saintly monks produced a saint and an extraordinary scholar, perhaps the most outstanding one of his day. He was deeply versed in all the sciences of his times: natural philosophy, the philosophical principles of Aristotle, astronomy, arithmetic, grammar, ecclesiastical history, the lives of the saints and, especially, Holy Scripture.

From the time of his ordination to the priesthood at 30 (he had been ordained deacon at 19) till his death, he was ever occupied with learning, writing and teaching. Besides the many books that he copied, he composed 45 of his own, including 30 commentaries on books of the Bible.

Although eagerly sought by kings and other notables, even Pope Sergius, Bede managed to remain in his own monastery till his death. Only once did he leave for a few months in order to teach in the school of the archbishop of York. Bede died in 735 praying his favorite prayer: "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. As in the beginning, so now, and forever."
His Ecclesiastical History of the English People is commonly regarded as of decisive importance in the art and science of writing history. A unique era was coming to an end at the time of Bede's death: It had fulfilled its purpose of preparing Western Christianity to assimilate the non-Roman barbarian North. Bede recognized the opening to a new day in the life of the Church even as it was happening.

Thursday, May 26 - St. Philip Neri

Philip Neri was a sign of contradiction, combining popularity with piety against the background of a corrupt Rome and a disinterested clergy, the whole post-Renaissance malaise.

At an early age, he abandoned the chance to become a businessman, moved to Rome from Florence and devoted his life and individuality to God. After three years of philosophy and theology studies, he gave up any thought of ordination. The next 13 years were spent in a vocation unusual at the time-that of a layperson actively engaged in prayer and the apostolate.

As the Council of Trent (1545-63) was reforming the Church on a doctrinal level, Philip's appealing personality was winning him friends from all levels of society, from beggars to cardinals. He rapidly gathered around himself a group of laypersons won over by his audacious spirituality. Initially they met as an informal prayer and discussion group, and also served poor people in Rome.
At the urging of his confessor, he was ordained a priest and soon became an outstanding confessor, gifted with the knack of piercing the pretenses and illusions of others, though always in a charitable manner and often with a joke. He arranged talks, discussions and prayers for his penitents in a room above the church. He sometimes led "excursions" to other churches, often with music and a picnic on the way.

Some of his followers became priests and lived together in community. This was the beginning of the Oratory, the religious institute he founded. A feature of their life was a daily afternoon service of four informal talks, with vernacular hymns and prayers. Giovanni Palestrina was one of Philip's followers, and composed music for the services.

The Oratory was finally approved after suffering through a period of accusations of being an assembly of heretics, where laypersons preached and sang vernacular hymns! (Cardinal Newman founded the first English-speaking house of the Oratory three centuries later.)

Philip's advice was sought by many of the prominent figures of his day. He is one of the influential figures of the Counter-Reformation, mainly for converting to personal holiness many of the influential people within the Church itself. His characteristic virtues were humility and gaiety.

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 continue prayers for Council Treasurer, Langston Rodge, during his difficult illness. 

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.