Holy Spirit - Thornbury East  ||  St Anthony - Alphington

St Vincent De Paul Society

There are two St Vincent de Paul (Vinnies) conferences active in the partnership parishes of Holy Spirit & St Anthony’s. St Anthony’s operates as a standalone conference while the Holy Spirit conference operates as a joint conference with St Mary’s Thornbury. Our two Vinnies conferences whilst operating only in the local area are nonetheless part of the state, national and international structure that serves the needs of those less fortunate than most.
Vinnies was started in 1833 in France by a 20 year old Frederick Ozanam and named in honour of the French saint  Vincent de Paul (1581 – 1660) who worked with the most marginalised and powerless. Frederick was stung into action after a taunt from an anti-religious university student: "You are right Ozanam when you speak of the past! In former times Christianity worked wonders, but what is it doing for mankind now? And you, who pride yourself on your Catholicity, what are you doing now for the poor? Show us your works". From this single conference has grown a worldwide charity operating in 148 countries with 1.3 million volunteers and 51,000 conferences – ours being two of them. 
On a global level Vinnies supports anyone looking for help in many ways – this includes (but is not limited to) soup vans, emergency accommodation, budget groceries, advocacy/research, language & settlement support and home visits which is the primary role of our 2 local conferences. Considerable information is on the Vinnies web site should anyone want to read more about the ‘bigger picture’ of Vinnies – see http://www.vinnies.org.au.

As mentioned, our conferences concentrate on assisting people who have called on us for assistance (we do not cold call). This involves going out, always in pairs, to the homes of locals in need. At times this can be a challenging and eye opening experience as a number of our clients have mental or physical health problems or may be substance affected; however it is always a rewarding experience as we see first hand the difference we make. The assistance we provide is most often in the form of food vouchers but often extends to food parcels (non perishable food), provision of furniture (via a regional centre that provides this service) or to assisting with paying bills. At Christmas time we also provide Christmas hampers. A home visit could be as short as a few minutes or may extend to half an hour or more for such cases where our clients are keen for a chat. Often the people we visit are socially isolated and welcome a pair of happy faces prepared to sit with them and hear their story. In fact there would be times when we are the only people that would visit them for the week. Many of our visits are to flats/units as few of the people we see can afford the luxury of a house. Often we see families crowded into units with limited, if any, play area for the children.

Our finances: We are accountable for our own finances (each conference has a treasurer) but we are able to call on regional funds should they be needed. A large percentage of our funds come via the generous support of the public, normally Catholics. When we visit our clients we make a judgement call on what support to provide as there are no set rules. We have internal guidelines on how often we offer support and a sensible amount of vouchers to offer but the decision is at the discretion of the visiting team. One of the reasons Vinnies has a high ratio of monetary support provided relative to money donated (in comparison to other charities) is the high  proportion of volunteers. This is true for the local conferences where we are all volunteers.

Want more info or want to “Show us your works”? We are always keen to  spread  the word about what we do and are keen for more faces especially at St Anthony’s where the conference numbers are not as strong. Please contact the parish office and someone will be in touch. This is one of the few Catholic organisations that reaches beyond the Catholic community as we will help anyone who calls upon us for assistance. A true and very practical way of doing Christ’s work here on earth.

Our Locations


Holy Spirit Church
248 Raleigh Street, East Thornbury

St Anthony's Church
45 Railway Place, Alphington

Parish Office
248 Raleigh Street, East Thornbury

 

Weekend Masses


Holy Spirit Church

Sat  5:00pm
Sun  9:30am

St Anthony's Church

Sat  6:00pm
Sun  9:30am (Italian)
Sun  11:00am

Weekday Masses


Holy Spirit Church

Tue 9:15am
Thu  9:15am (Italian)

St Anthony's Church

Wed  9:15am
Fri  9:15am

© Catholic Parish of the Holy Spirit & St Anthony's