August Highlights Pt. 1

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Sunday Ministries

Over the last few months, members of the Young Adult Vinnies group have heeded the call to assist in a number of ministries around Auckland. As a weekly occurrence, many have been able to create significant connections with those whom they serve.

Groups that visit the prison on Sundays facilitate a liturgy of the word alongside many other collectives. They also provide a space for those who are incarcerated to share a part of their story in relation to the reading. With hymn and prayer, the collective brings a sense of peace and calm within the confines of the correction facility walls. Hospital Ministry invites Vinnies members to assist in taking patients to and from morning mass at Auckland Hospital each week. Many patients have reflected that simply having someone to talk to along the way to Mass has made their time in Hospital much easier. Amidst the healing and recovery process, this provides an invaluable opportunity for all to connect in enjoy one another’s company.

Simultaneously on the other side of the city, Young Adult Vinnies assist in serving tea and coffee to people who come through Auckland City Mission. For those without a place to call home, the shelter afforded by the Mission provides a warm respite from the cold and wet weather outside. Aside from serving tea and coffee, those involved have steadily gained trust in one another – to the point where humor and bubbly greetings has become the starting point of every conversation. In each of the above service projects, people are held at the forefront. It is in this frame of mind that the Vinnies involved have come to a deeper understanding of the Vincentian charism and the significance of positive socialization through face to face contact.

Preparing for Upcoming Initiatives

Throughout the year Vinnies from Liston and St Dominic’s College have been fundraising for their annual Ranui Caravan Park Christmas Fun Day. Amidst their focus on different projects, events and initiatives, this preparation will allow them to ensure that families in need are able to celebrate Christmas. There has been a lot of feedback from the caregivers of the children throughout the years, and all of it is positive. Both Junior and Senior students have stepped up since and did the Colleges proud, with many leadership qualities coming to the forefront along the way.


West Area Vinnies

North Regional Gathering

Recently the Vinnies of Carmel and Rosmini College came together for a regional gathering. In the space of a few short hours, the collective shared with one another what drew them to the Vincentian charism and how they choose to live it out. The group also unpacked what home means to them, and how they can create a space of belonging for those they serve. This included an exploration of homelessness and the importance of mindfulness when planning projects for the community.

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School Visitations

As part of the Vinnies Youth Programme, schools that are involved receive regular input sessions for education and formative purposes. These are designed to inform their service works throughout the year. Recently, a series of schools have undertaken the exploration of Social Exclusion – one of many topics the Vinnies Youth Team unpack in schools. Teachings have been focused particularly around real stories of those we work with, the importance of upholding dignity and learning specific empathy tools. These are all promoted so as to provide students with a deeper understanding of how they can best serve those on the margins of society.

In addition, other schools have chosen to focus on homelessness, alongside participation in projects to support those who go without. During the input session students explore the three types of homelessness: Those who sleep it rough on the street, those moving from house to house such as couch surfers, and lastly those who are in temporary conditions such as boarding houses or hostels. These visits are important as they provide the backbone for Vinnies to see the situation and reflect upon it before acting.

Every Bit Counts: Students Assisting at Kingsland SVdP

Volunteering at the Vinnies Centre afterschool goes a long way in supporting the day staff and volunteers. Each week, four schools rotate to assist at the opshop and foodbank of Vinnies in Kingsland. Tasks that they may be involved in are maintaining the stock of clothing for the opshop, unloading donations from generous donors and creating food parcels for those in need. Without their assistance we would not be able to aid the hundreds of families who come through our doors. After a long day of serving clients and customers, these school volunteers provide a breath of fresh air and energy to keep the team going.

Gathering As One Family: AVSSC Meeting

Recently the Auckland Vinnies Secondary Schools Council (AVSSC) gathered for their second to last meeting for the year. These young men and women have been receiving leadership and formation over the past eight months, and so the evening was an opportunity to reflect on the journey so far. The collective viewed a short clip which detailed their actions for those in need.

Fatigued as the students were from juggling a number of realities, they were thankful for the opportunity to take a step back and look at their service works and its impact upon society. Through reflective process they were able to feedback the ways in which service resonated with them and how they hope to use the teachings in future.


Giving Thanks


Ignite Team Facilitators


“Together we are strong”


Reflecting on the Journey

United in Faith and Mission

We were privileged to connect in with Olivia, Youth Coordinator from Christchurch, Stephanie, Queensland State Youth Manager and Amanda, State Youth Coordinator from Australia over the course of four days. Though our time together was short, they wasted no time getting in and amongst the service projects and events that Vinnies Youth Auckland had to offer. They attended school visitations, AVSSC and regional Vinnies gatherings, and even put together an assortment of food parcels and toiletry packs for families.


July: Highlights

Together As One: A Concert by Vinnies Young Adults

The number of families seeking support from SVdP foodbanks over the last few months has continued to the rise in the wake of the winter season. It therefore continues to fall upon the generosity of the community and drive of our volunteers to help meet the need for nutritional food sources. Moved with a passion to express their talents and provide a platform for others to do the same; the Young Adults Vinnies hosted a concert Fundraiser for our winter appeal to support families in need.


Mother of Divine Mercy Youth Sharing their Story

Young men and women from across Auckland gathered for an evening of sharing talent. The acts were varied and plentiful – from strong ballads by Klapa Samoana to the gentle and heartfelt spoken word and dances by some of the younger students. Each in turn shared an aspect of what it meant to feel solidarity.

Students Make Recipes for Foodparcels

Following a successful school term with food drives and afterschool care support programmes, the Vinnies of Carmel College sought to go one step further and create personalised recipe ideas for food parcels. These recipes were based on the contents of a typical SVdP foodparcel, a package that contains enough food to feed a family of four for up to four days. This proved an insightful experience for the students involved as it taught them the reality of scarce resources and the differing needs of those whom they serve.

Staying Connected: A Vincentian Calling

Throughout the year each school connected to the Vinnies Youth Programme receive regular input sessions from the Youth Team. The purpose of these visits are to eprovide the neccessary tools for awareness of social issues within the community. Sacred Heart College gathered for their first meeting this term, this time with a focus towards Social Exclusion. This theme seeks to explore the importance of upholding the dignity others – whether on the sports field, the classroom, or service projects and other programmes involving people.


Sacred Heart Vinnies

In looking at the dynamics of their own everyday interactions, these young men become better equipped at looking at the wider community with a broader perspective. Following this school input session, the students plan to resume their afterschool programmes at the local primary school, as well as to run a food drive for the Auckland City Mission.

World Youth Day Auckland Experience

An annual event, the World Youth Day Auckland (WYD) Experience emmulates the international encounter with the Pope, which is typically celebrated every three years in a different country. The most recent WYD was celebrated in Krakow (Poland) in August 2016. This is a continuation of the reflections begun by Pope Francis for the last three World Youth Days: a focus on the Beatitudes from the Bible. Each year, the Auckland event is hosted by the Auckland Catholic Youth Ministry team of the Auckland Diocese.


Youth from across Auckland gather at St Patrick’s Cathedral

On this occasion, youth groups from across Auckland and abroad gathered for a weekend of activities, praise and worship. The weekend was a significant event for the Vinnies Youth Programme, as it provided a platform to link like-minded individuals with one another. As part of the journey, the Vinnies Youth Auckland took part in a regional gathering to learn about the needs of the community and the teachings of their faith on the first day.


Vinnies Youth group at WYDAKL’18

The second day was riddled with rain, but this did not deter hundreds of young men and women from taking part in a pilgrim walk and later experiencing a combination of youth testmonies of faith journeys, as well as a poignant mass celebrated by the Bishop Pat Dunn and priests of the Auckland Diocese.


June: Highlights

Community Fundraiser a Hit!

Going back in time, the Vinnies from Rathgar Road held a 90’s Themed Social at Holy Cross Henderson to raise funds for Timor Leste through the help of Caritas. The project aims to improve the well-being of rural Timorese women by supporting them to develop and make products for sale in seven districts in Timor-Leste. The night involved a wide variety of 90’s attire and music which bought over 150+ people for dancing and an opportunity to connect.


Kiwi Harvest Supporting St. Vinnies Foodbanks

We are truly grateful to receive regular visits from KiwiHarvest, an organisation that collects good food before it goes to waste and distributes it to those in need to nourish the wider community. The significance of these donations are that they allow the foodbank to remain well stocked; particularly in vegetables and dairy products that contain many essential nutrients to sustain the families we serve. We are thankful for this opportunity as they provide an innovative way for businesses to redistribute excess good food.


The team at KiwiHarvest preparing to distribute food

Serving the People: Vinnies Style!

As the year unfolds, the various ministries continue to grow across Auckland. Amidst university exams, employment and other commitments, many young men and women have heeded the call to serve their fellow brother and sister in need. These include weekly prison visitations to those who are incarcerated, supporting those in care at the hospital, as well as serving tea and coffee to those in care at the hospital. The bonds formed in each of these ministries have continued to foster a sense of belonging and community; an opportunity to learn from one another.

Prison Ministry

Each Sunday, a group of Vinnies Youth have the opportunity to visit those incarcerated within Mt Eden Prison. The group lead a Liturgy of the Word in up to two prison wings at a time. Though the time is short, the opportunity for conversation and connection provides a welcome respite from the harsh reality of isolation. Amidst the brokenness and vulnerability, all feel a sense of calm and welcoming when a safe space is created by the Vinnies.


The Prison Ministry Team, following a Liturgy of the Word Service

Auckland City Mission Drop-In Volunteers

On a Saturday and Sunday, the Vinnies serve tea, coffee and meals to those residing at Auckland City Mission. This venue is a haven for those sleeping it rough, or seeking repsite from the cold weather outside. The Vinnies work to develop face to face connections with the people who come through the door. What often begins as nervous shuffles and muted actions, soon turns into laughter and conversation with all who are present.


Vinnies Youth serving up tea and coffee at Auckland City Mission

Hospital Ministry

Though the journey is short between a patients’ room and the chapel, the conversations which take place in the corridor provide a sense of positivity that is well receieved by all. Before Mass on Sunday, Vinnies have the opportunity to guide patients at Auckland Hospital to and from their rooms. The simple act of being able to attend the Mass is significant for those that go as they seek to recover and rehabilitate themselves.


Patients at Auckland Hospital attending Sunday Mass

May, Week 3

Stepping into the Reality

Amidst the busyness of service projects, Vinnies youth have also partaken in retreats to take a step back and gain a sense of who they are in relation to themselves, others and God. Colleges each held a retreat in line with a specific theme, from which they could propel themselves towards making better informed service works. Students could choose whether the experience was an afterschool session, a whole day or overnight. No matter the length, these young men and women gained a deeper sense of their call to serve and how they can go about acheiving this in practical ways.

St Dominic’s & Liston College Homelessness Retreat

St Peter’s College Homelessness Retreat

Sancta Maria Afterschool Retreat

Turning Clocks into Food

A generous donation of electronic clocks were donated to the Op Shop at Kingsland on Wednesday from the staff at Sky City. The money raised from selling these clocks will be put towards stocking the food bank. Three clocks sold can make up one food parcel which is able to feed a family for 4 days.


May, Week 2


Serving Our Fellow Brother and Sister

Alongside learning about social issues through regular school visits, the youth team also find ways to connect students with local service projects. These include partaking in winter food and clothing appeals, assisting a local opshop, cooking bulk meals for foodbanks or running after school programmes for children in need. Each of these in turn provide an avenue for face to face contact, and for youth to develop long lasting connections with the community.

Winter Food and Clothing Appeals

Across the last few months we were truly grateful to receive over 10,000 canned goods on behalf of the many families in need within Auckland. Each year, the students of numerous colleges never cease to falter in their care for the community.  Through through this collection, St Vincent de Paul foodbanks across Auckland were able to remain well stocked; allowing the Society  to divert resources towards preventing food insecurity among families. This comes at a very important time, as the cold weather has led to many families needing our services. A total of 142 foodparcels were distributed from the Kingsland foodbank in the month of May alone.

Donations from:

  • Baradene College
  • St Peters College
  • Marist College
  • Liston College
  • Rosmini College
  • Carmel College
  • Sancta Maria College
  • McAuley High School

Opshop Assistance

After school, Marist, St Mary’s, St Peter’s and St Paul’s College each take turns assisting at the Kingsland Vinnies Centre. These are an opportunity to see firsthand where their donations go to, and what it takes to prepare food parcels for those who come through the door. Many who enter the opshop feel a sense of happiness as they encounter the students’ gentle yet energetic personalities; a welcome sight amidst the cold weather outside. The students spend a couple of hours each day sorting through donations, maintaining the opshop and packing food parcels in advance.

Bulk meals for foodbanks

As the winter season unfolds, the ability for families to source hot and nutritional food is often underestimated. In order to meet this need, the South Area Vinnies devised a plan to address it. At the St Vincent de Paul Centre in Otahuhu; Sancta Maria, De La Salle College and McAuley High School have opted to cook bulk meals to be included with regular foodparcels for individuals and families that need the added sustenance. This marks the beginning of a new relationship between the South Auckland schools and the Vincentians in the area. While learning how to cook, the students continue to forge new connections with the elder Vinnies and Vincentians who guide them along the way.


May, Week 1

Called to Love: Commissioning Mass 2018

Once a year, the Vincentian family from across Auckland and abroad gather to celebrate the service works and faith journeys of those who serve the community. This year over 100 Vinnies Youth leaders from across Auckland were commissioned at St Patrick’s Cathedral. These leaders were were joined by members of the Society, and friends, family and supporters.

The purpose of the celebration was to formally recognise and acknowledge those who will lead their Vinnies school groups, those who help and guide our school leaders in their role and also those a part of community projects such as Auckland City Mission and Sunday Prison Ministry. It was a poignant mass celebrated by Fr Sherwin, who presented candles to the junior members of the collective, sharing a message of love and service, particularly through face to face contact.


Student leaders Preparing for Commissioning Mass


“Go now, you are sent forth” – Fr Sherwin giving a blessing to the Vinnies leaders of 2018

Gathering as One Family

A number of VinniesYouth alongside friends and family from West Auckland gathered for a praise and worship night at Holy Cross Parish in Henderson. The night was organised and emceed by Liston College’sJeremy Chandra, a Vinnies student leader in his final year of study. The night was filled with songs and reflections with a special guest appearance by Father Pio who spoke on putting love in to work and studies. The night was made for a time to connect in with one another before the students return to the school term ahead.




March: Highlights

Bringing the Community Together

Building upon the relationships from previous years, a number of ministries have continued to flourish. These include services to the homeless, those who are incarcerated, the elderly and those in care at the hospital. Each weekend, Vinnies and Vincentians come together to serve and build a sense of community.

Auckland City Mission Drop-In Volunteers

On a Saturday and Sunday, the Vinnies serve tea, coffee and meals to those residing at Auckland City Mission. This venue is a haven for those sleeping it rough, or seeking repsite from the cold weather outside. The Vinnies work to develop face to face connections and provide an opportunity for growth.


New inductees for Auckland City Mission

Prison Ministry

On Sundays, a group of Vinnies Youth have the opportunity to visit those incarcerated within Mt Eden Prison. The group lead a Liturgy of the Word in up to two prison wings at a time, as well as some conversation and waita (songs).


Members of the Prison Ministry group, preparing for weekend services.

Elderly Visitation

Once a fortnight a number of Vinnies also visit Wesley Rest Home Hospital in Mount Eden to connect in with our elders. Those who attend lead the music for residents and engage in conversation. The residents are fond of music and enjoy meeting new faces and connecting in.


VinniesYouth preparing for their ministry at the resthome.

Hospital Ministry

Before Mass on Sunday, Vinnies also have the opportunity to guide patients at Auckland Hospital to and from their rooms. Though the journey is short the conversations which take in the corridor provide a sense of positivity that is well receieved by all. The simple act of being able to attend the Mass is significant for those that go as they seek to recover and rehabilitate themselves.


Members of the weekly Hospital Ministry team

St Pauls Homelessness Retreat 2018

On Holy Thursday to Good Friday, the young men from St Pauls College embarked on their annual homelessness retreat. They fought the cold and built cardboard housing so as to immerse themselves in the reality faced by many throughout Auckland City. The projected number of homeless within a 3km radius of the Sky Tower at the time was 240. This only accounts for those sleeping it rough or residing within emergency housing conditions. Throughout the night they learnt a number of empathy tools, and what it takes to make the ground your house.


In the morning, sore and stiff, the students proceeded to walk to notable locations where the homeless reside. These spaces included James Liston Hostel and Auckland City Mission – an emergency housing centre and support centre respectively. While visiting the students engaged in conversation with the community present, honoring the stories shared with a heartfelt song and college haka. The experience of this retreat provided a profound impact amongst the students, causing a significant shift in mentality and a longing to do more service so as to alleviate this harsh social reality.


Samoa and Tonga Appeal

In light of the Cyclone Gita aftermath, youth from across Auckland banded together to pack and ship resources to the islands of Samoa and Tonga. These resources included   boxes of clothing, blankets and items to help families get back on their feet. All proceeds were donated from across Auckland, with many schools conducting the appeal amongst their own communities.