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Strength in Numbers: Conferences Look to Recruit More Vincentians to Help Our Neighbors in Need

Aug 18, 2023 - Report by The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul, New Orleans

As the need for more assistance from members of the community grows, our Vincentian family is preparing to answer the call, by working to grow conference memberships.

Our Lady of the Lake conference in Mandeville held a vincentian recruitment (membership) drive in the spring of 2022 that brought out 42 initial participants.

Our Lady of the Lake conference in Mandeville

“More than 20 of those 42 have asked for training in handling visits with neighbors in need,” says conference president, Bill Renton. “We assigned a couple of new members to each of our 10 members for ‘on-the-job type training’. It's going well and some of the new members have joined with a couple of older members to visit a local nursing home in our Parish where we say the Rosary on certain days and help with bingo.”

Karen Bowman, Conference President at St. Peter in Covington shared, “We’re looking to add to our membership, which is now 6 active members.”

The conference advertised their plans for recruitment in the church bulletin a few weeks ahead of their April wine and cheese event.

“We held it on a Saturday afternoon for two hours,” Bowman said. “Our current members contributed wine, cheese and crackers, fruit tray and desserts. About 8-10 people attended and our members introduced themselves and spoke about what it is to be a Vincentian. It was very informal, which allowed us to have one-on-one conversations. After this recruitment, three members have committed and will attend the Ozanam training this fall. We plan to hold another open house in October.”

In River Ridge, conference President Brian Comboy is also campaigning to add members to his St. Matthew parish roster.

“We have 17 active members and 4 members-on-leave. As a result of our our July membership drive, we had 23 new attendees,” he states.

Additionally, 7 more individuals have contacted Comboy, expressing interest in becoming a Vincentian.

“Our next meeting is later this month, so I'm anxious to see how many will attend and confirm their interest.” Comboy said.

Like St. Peter, St. Matthew utilized the parish bulletin to help get the word out; first, sharing an introduction to Vincentian life, then following up with SVdP articles on operations and activities.

“On the fifth weekend I spoke after each mass.” Comboy said. “The Society offers the opportunity to connect neighbors-in-need, with parishioners-in-need, in ways to serve God through service to others. These services are so valuable to both the neighbors in need, and the Vincentians who assist them.”

For the second year, St. Benilde’s conference has taken part in ‘Feastival’- the annual Parish event that brings many of St. Benilde’s groups and organizations together to spread the word about what they do for the parish and the community.

“After last year we gained three new members,” former conference President Preston Cifreo said. “Many showed interest last Sunday, so we’re hoping they’ll sign up.”

If your conference is interested in holding a membership/recruitment event, there’s plenty of resources that may be of help. Contact our central office for more information.

We also encourage reaching out to Vincentian leaders like Bill, Karen, Brian, and Preston, who can share their personal experiences and offer advice.


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