Regional seminars to revitalise Vinnies


A series of regional seminars is being run throughout New Zealand focusing on spiritual renewal and the recruitment of new members to join the Society of St Vincent de Paul.

The seminars, run by the Society’s National Spiritual Adviser Fr Jeff Drane, are being held in the coming months in response to requests from Vincentians at the grassroots level.

The theme of the seminar series is: There’s work to be done – renewing the Society’s vision in New Zealand.

“The seminars will provide an opportunity for people to be inspired once again by the vision of the Society and to be re-motivated in putting their faith into action,” says Jeff.

“Together we will re-look at the mission of the Society and re-evaluate what we are doing locally to meet the needs of the disadvantaged, particularly those on the fringes of society.”

At the seminars, there will be a strong focus on recruiting new members and pooling members’ experience of what works well in attracting new and younger members.

“The membership of the Society is ageing and we need fresh blood,” says Jeff.

“We need to invite people from a range of faith communities – Maori, Pasifika, Filipino, Indian, Korean for example – to set up Vinnies groups in which they feel comfortable.

“There is a great opportunity to harness the vitality of these communities in the service of those most in need in society.”

The Society’s Youth Adviser to the National Board, Paolo Minehan, says there is huge potential to attract young people to the work of the Society.

The challenge for the Society is to be flexible enough to engage with them, says Paolo.

“We need to come up with projects which young people can do and which fit in with their schedules.

“Young people have lots of skills and talents and they can offer those to the Society if you give them the opportunity.

“The way the Society is organised, meetings can be hard for young people to get to and it can be a bit of a closed shop.”


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