By Mark Weber
FORT WAYNE — Telling 400 members of the St. Vincent de Paul Society that their work mirrors the example of Jesus Christ and that as Vincentians they are distributors of hope and that Christ is their source of hope, Bishop Kevin C. Rhoades launched these friends of the poor and downtrodden on another year of their ceaseless mission.
St. Mary Church, Fort Wayne, where the soup kitchen is an embodiment of Vincentian work, was the site of the Saturday morning Mass and annual District Council meeting and breakfast.
Vicentian President Cheryl Mowan assisted Bishop Rhoades in presenting four Top Hat awards recognizing the ideals and the required practical approach of the society’s mission in delivering friendship as well as food, clothing and other forms of assistance.
Paul Helmcamp, St. Vincent de Paul Parish, was recognized for his personal leadership in construction of an 8 by 12 foot addition to the parish food pantry and the follow-up work in supply and maintenance required.
Jerry and Sheila Johns, of St. Peter Parish were also recognized for their endeavors in the food pantry work, with emphasis on the personal shopping required for lowest food pricing. Sheila received special thanks for taking the time to send greeting cards to the sick and families of the deceased.
At St. Therese Parish, Sue Rockstroh’s management of the food pantry includes paperwork, scheduling volunteers and stocking the shelves. Through her efforts, the St. Therese pantry has received federal commodities and has grown from serving 25 households a month to 125 a month.
Donna Brooke, immediate past president of the Fort Wayne area District Council received a Top Hat award for past administrative assistance as well as her continued work at St. Patrick Parish involving many home visits.
Concluding his remarks, Bishop Rhoades reminded members that by word and deed, they proclaim that Christ is our hope and sent them forth with Jesus’ words that “without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
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