Vinnies News Weekly

October Highlights

Giving Thanks for the Journey

A number of High School Vinnies groups are gathering for the last time this year to reflect and celebrate their journey for 2019. The Youth Team alongside a number of Vincentians have been visiting each of these groups in turn to present awards of service recognition. These awards acknowledge the countless hours spent in projects, awareness programmes and connections made with those around them. Staff of these school groups were also acknowledged as they were invaluable in ensuring that these young men and women reach their full potential in the work of service.

It has been a fulfilling journey for these young men and women as they have journeyed with many different people throughout their community. In addition to this they have taken part on many awareness workshops where they have been challenged about their views on society. The Youth Team brought these experiences to the forefront in their final reflections; providing a space for the students to feedback the insights of their volunteering. On behalf of all whom these students seek to assist, the Society of St Vincent de Paul give thanks. 

Long Service Acknowledgement at Sacred Heart College

The Society also gives special thanks to Margaret Ward of Sacred Heart College  who has been the teacher in charge of the Sacred Heart Vinnies group for over 10 years. She will be stepping down from this role and will be sorely missed. Margaret has been an invaluable source love and care. As a Vincentian she has guided many students on their service journey, many of whom have continued this long after high school.

Cooking and Connecting

Homelessness is complex and results from multiple factors. Recent studies show that the most at-risk groups include those with mental health issues or alcohol and drug addictions, as well as those experiencing family violence. The reality of this social issue is that it is increasingly affecting groups who have not traditionally been at risk. At the Auckland City Mission a number of young women have been leading the way in creating space spaces for cooking and connecting in with those without a place to call home. Each week the collective host a dinner at Auckland City Mission for women. They take the time to prepare the meals by hand and spend time with the women who come in for the dinner. The Young Vinnies involved recognise the gift that comes from face to face interaction, as well as the power of sharing in stories, laughter and song. This project alongside others throughout Auckland are designed to ensure that people feel a sense of welcome and belonging wherever they be on their life journey.

A New Season

Recently the staff of Vinnies at the Newton centre bid farewell to Mary Masters who has journeyed alongside the team since February 2019. She has been helpful and skilled in her role as the financial administrator. Mary has been a wonderful addition to our team and will be sorely missed. The Society of St Vincent de Paul gives thanks for her work, her love and presence.

A Year of Service

As a way to end their academic year before entering the exam season, the Vinnies of Carmel and Rosmini College gathered for one final service project. In the space of a couple of hours, these young men and women whipped up a meal to feed over 150 people. This meal will soon be distributed to local families in need. The school groups have learnt throughout the year about the significance of food insecurity, as well as the impact of their service projects. The students involved hope to inspire those in younger years to follow their lead and care for the community as lovingly as they have.

Journeying with Those who are Incarcerated

At times, the volunteers who lead prison ministry at Mt Eden Corrections are overwhelmed by the range of problems they hear of New Zealanders who speak of their encounters with the criminal justice system. Time and time again there are narratives of pain, brokenness and intergenerational suffering. The Vinnies who lead this ministry recognise that finding solutions to the problems they have heard are not simple. This is a reality that is acknowledged and where hope of the ministry stems from. Amidst the narratives of brokenness, there has been an equally powerful presence of whānau, understanding, love and a growing sense of belonging that comes through healing past hurts. This ministry has invited people from all walks of life to work together and have trust in one another’s ability. With delicacy and care, the Vinnies involved hope to provide a space of spirituality and peace for others. These allow for the taking up of responsibility for past wrongs and to begin to deal with a legacy of social neglect.