Vince LaBarbera
Freelance Writer
December 9, 2015 // Local

Mass, breakfast with Fort Wayne St. Vincent de Paul Society held

Vince LaBarbera
Freelance Writer

Prior to giving the Vincentians a final blessing, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades recognized Cheryl Mowan, right, for her outstanding work as district president for the past two years. Father Tim Wrozek applauds.

By Vince LaBarbera

FORT WAYNE — “Like Jesus in today’s Gospel, St. Vincent de Paul, Blessed Frederick Ozanam, and members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society have been moved with pity, filled with compassion, at the sight of ‘the troubled and abandoned,’” said Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades in his homily at a Mass with the Fort Wayne District St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) Society.

The annual Mass and breakfast near the feast of the Immaculate Conception was held Dec. 5 at St. Mary, Mother of God Catholic Church. Father Tim Wrozek, pastor of St. Joseph Church and spiritual director of the SVdP Society, Fort Wayne, concelebrated the Mass.

“Jesus went about healing the sick and bringing hope to those whom the Gospel says ‘were like sheep without a shepherd,’” Bishop Rhoades continued. “Our Lord not only personally reached out to the poor and the suffering, He also sent the Twelve Apostles to do the same. He sent them to announce the kingdom, not only with words, but with their actions. He told them: ‘Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons.’ The Church has also received this mandate from Jesus, a mandate that you as Vincentians seek to obey as you serve the poor, the suffering, the marginalized and the forgotten.”

Bishop Rhoades mentioned the words of the Gospel that Jesus’ heart was “moved with pity” for the crowd. “This is an important detail for our reflection,” the bishop said. “Some biblical translations say that His heart was ‘moved with compassion.’ The Greek word in the original text is ‘splagchnizomai.’ It comes from ‘splanxna,’ which means the inward parts of the body, the heart, lungs, liver and kidneys. In other words, Jesus was moved deep within at the sight of the troubled and abandoned, the poor and the suffering. He wasn’t just moved with a little pity, but deep in His soul. He had pity and compassion, mercy and love for them. …  We, who are disciples of Jesus, need to cultivate this compassion of Jesus in our hearts,” Bishop Rhoades said. “This was the compassion felt by St. Vincent de Paul and St. Louise de Marillac, by Blessed Frederic Ozanam and Blessed Rosalie Rendu, and by all the Vincentian saints. Moved with this compassion, they acted, they went out to help the poor, to serve the people who were suffering. You know the great works of mercy of these saints,” he said.

Top Hat award winners stand with Bishop Rhoades.

In his homily Bishop Rhoades emphasized, “We are on the threshold of the Jubilee Year of Mercy. This is a special time for the whole Church and a year that touches upon your life as Vincentians. Pope Francis wrote: ‘How much I desire that the year to come will be steeped in mercy, so that we can go out to every man and woman, bringing the goodness and tenderness of God!’ The Holy Father is reminding us that ‘mercy is the very foundation of the Church’s life.’ Notice that mercy includes the compassion, the pity that we heard in (the) Gospel. The Holy Father says that ‘the Church’s very credibility is seen in how she shows merciful and compassionate love.’ He calls mercy ‘the beating heart of the Gospel.’”

Bishop Rhoades said the motto of the Jubilee Year is “Merciful like the Father.” He said, “Jesus shows us the mercy of the Father, as we see in (the) Gospel. This year we are to reflect on this incredible mercy of Jesus and the Father, and then, moved by the Holy Spirit, go forth to be merciful. The pope says: ‘Day after day, touched by God’s compassion, we also can become compassionate toward others.’ Pope Francis is particularly asking us to reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy, to rediscover them. He says that this will be a way ‘to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy.’”

“I invite and encourage you as Vincentians to enter deeply into the Jubilee Year of Mercy,” Bishop Rhoades continued. “Concretely, I suggest that you read the Holy Father’s beautiful papal bull for the Year of Mercy. It is entitled ‘The Face of Mercy.’ I also invite you to study anew the corporal and spiritual works of mercy and spread knowledge of them in your parishes and apostolates. This Jubilee Year is an opportunity to enter more deeply into your Vincentian mission and its spirituality. I recommend reading the lives of the great Vincentian saints, saints of mercy. This year is also an opportunity to share your charism with others, to invite others, especially young adults, to join the St. Vincent de Paul Society. Many of our people will be entering into this Jubilee Year and reflecting on our Holy Father’s call to be merciful and compassionate. I hope that many will look to the St. Vincent de Paul Society as a way to serve in the Church and to live the Gospel of mercy.”

In conclusion, he said, “I wish to thank you for your witness to the Gospel of mercy in our diocese. May this Jubilee Year of Mercy be a time of grace and spiritual renewal for you and for the whole Church! May Mary, Our Mother of Mercy, intercede for you!”

Current and retired Care Van drivers stand next to the new SVdP Society vehicle. Each volunteer takes a one-week turn every two to three months driving needy patients to and from medical appointments. They are, from left, Paul Braun, Ed Jarboe, Darrel Dodane, Mike Mowan, Dave Loeffler, Randy Lauer and Mel Vachon. Not available were Dana Achor, Bill Ellison, John Nowlan and Richard Beeler (both retired), Paul Moreau and Jim Andrews (coordinator). Two charter Care Van drivers, who reportedly helped start the program more than 25 years ago, died in 2015. They are Terry (Coach) Coonan and Marlo Gump.

At the breakfast for the Vincentians comprising 22 parish conferences in seven counties, Cheryl Mowan, district president, recognized current and retired Care Van drivers. Bishop Rhoades and Mowan also presented the 2015 SVdP Society Top Hat awards to six individuals.

“Nineteenth-century gentlemen, like Blessed Frederic Ozanam and his friends — who formed the society — all wore top hats,” said Mowan. “A typical sign of courtesy and respect for another was a ‘tip of the hat.’ So, the awards for outstanding Vincentians show a tipped hat,” she explained.
















* * *

The best news. Delivered to your inbox.

Subscribe to our mailing list today.