VINNIES COMMISSIONING MASS 2015
On Saturday 2nd May 2015, St Vincent de Paul Society, family and friends in Auckland came together to celebrate the commissioning of around 50 Vinnies Youth leaders from across 13 Secondary Schools and various, tertiary, Parishes and community. This took place at St Patrick’s Cathedral.
The theme of the Mass inspired by the words of Mother Theresa was ” We belong to each other”.” This Mass was celebrated by the most Reverend Bishop Patrick Dunn. We wish to congratulate these youth leaders and all the Vinnies Youth throughout Auckland and we pray for their journey of service for 2015.
SERVIENS IN SPE – TO SERVE IN HOPE
Every night across Auckland, hundreds of young men, women and children will go to sleep wishing they had a permanent place to call home. It is a lifestyle that is sadly challenging and stressful.
Too often this issue is reduced to being the fault of the individual. Statistical research tells us that homelessness is the result of many incremental factors. Increasing rental prices, shortage of housing, social issues and chronic illnesses are just a small number of here factors.
The issue is a big one and often may seem quite daunting. For young people who want to make a difference, opportunities are few and far in between. As part of mobilizing young people to learn more about Homelessness and experience what it is like, the Vinnies roster on different youth volunteers at the James Liston Emergency Housing Facility twice each week.
In the past weeks St Paul’s College put themselves forward to volunteer at the local homeless shelter with the hope of connecting and learning more. This experience has taught them more about the lives of those who do not have a place to call home and inspired them as young people to be a part of the solution to the problem.
As the theme of ‘Homelessness’ continues to be unpacked, the Vinnies of McAuley High School are becoming connected and informed about about the reality faced by many in our community.
These young women have been exploring the representation of homelessness in the media, and how stereotypes that shape our society’s perception. They also looked at the cause and effects of homelessness.
Volunteering at a local Emergency housing facility that caters for families has provided a platform for these students to integrate their learning. At this project they run a Positive Socialization programme with the children . This program consists of educational games, performances and sporting activities.
HELPING OUT IN THE COMMUNITY
As the youth programme continues to be rolled out amongst the secondary schools in Auckland, many school conferences have started to volunteer in their local Society of St Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Centres.
These have become unique opportunities for students to get to know more about their local community and also about the work of the Society of St Vincent de Paul.
The Vinnies of Liston, Marist, Sancta Maria, St Mary’s and St Peter’s College recently volunteered at their local SVDP centres.
The staff of these centres have been most appreciative for the extra help.
In the upcoming weeks, Carmel and Rosmini College will start volunteering at the SVdP Centres based on the North Shore.
SACRED HEART PROVIDING FOOD FOR FAMILIES
Given the current the statistics on poverty in New Zealand, many families struggle to put decent nutritious meals on the table.
The students of Sacred Heart College decided early on the year to do something about this. Over the past few months, they have been growing a vegetable garden. The hope was to donate all the crops to the local foodbank.
In addition to this they have spent the term collecting funds during their school breaks. The money they have raised has been used to purchase bulk food to top up the supplies at St Pius School to donate to the families.of students needing the food assistance.
LEARNING ABOUT FOOD INSECURITY
The Vinnies at Rosmini College have been learning about Food Insecurity. During their recent session they discussed the factors that can hinder the ability of a family to put food on the table.
The students learnt about the statistics in New Zealand and also how this inability stems from a range of different factors including illnesses, job insecurity loss, social issues amongst many others.
Over the next few weeks they will be looking into practical actions in which they can make a difference.
SACRED HEART COLLEGE – TAKE COURAGE
Sacred Heart students’ Homeless Sleepout.
In solidarity with those who are homeless in Auckland City, orphans in the slums of Honduras and also struggling students in the Pacific, the Sacred Heart Vinnies organised a Survive A Slum Sleepout event.
They began the night with Mass. This was followed by dinner which consisted only of a small plate of rice, they took part in group activities and workshops organized by the teachers and the Vinnies staff.
Later on in the night students retired to their makeshift shelters. It was a struggle for many to sleep through the night as it continued to get colder. Having only a plate of rice for dinner did not help.
During their dawn reflection the participants shared honestly about the struggle, how much they had taken for granted, how much they were impacted through what they had learnt and how sad and overwhelmed they felt.
The retreat ended with a poignant liturgy of the Washing of the Hands. This signified a special blessing for the participants to signify their journey of service, their brotherhood and connection with those less fortunate.