Former St Vincent de Paul Society Queensland state president Brian Moore reflects on the joys and challenges of his four-year term in the role.
I HAVE been with Vinnies for 48 years and filled many servant leadership roles from conference, regional council, diocesan central council to state president.
One legacy I have endeavoured to leave as state president has been to encourage all members attached to the society in Queensland to feel valued and part of the Vincentian family.
Also that we are all a part of the one Body in Christ and are all called to live the Christ-like way by serving the needs of the poor, others and ourselves.
Among highlights in my time as president was welcoming Ozcare back into the Vincentian family.
The society and Ozcare can now work closely together in serving the people of Queensland while maintaining the society’s great Catholic tradition of loving and caring for those most disadvantaged in the community.
What particularly stands out for me over the years has been the fraternal fellowship of my Vincentian brothers and sisters; that’s really a beautiful thing.
Vinnies is really a beautiful family – a family of people caring for each other and for people in need.
I commend the Vincentian vocation to any person young or old who would like to help make a difference in someone’s life.
I have enjoyed the company of many members of the Vincentian family across Queensland and parts of Australia while attending festival meetings, inductions and presentations of certificates to long-serving members.
I have also enjoyed the company and support of local diocesan bishops and clergy on many occasions.
The annual CEO Sleepout has grown into a wonderful event. The genuine caring concern for the welfare of the homeless was evident by the way all CEOs present and members of the Vincentian family assisted the society to raise funds to put a roof over the heads of lonely, homeless people.
The growth of the society’s youth team in Queensland has also been wonderful.
They are a very important, busy group organising many sessions, activities and fundraising events, where young people are given the opportunity to participate in Blessed Frederic Ozanam’s vision of seeing the suffering face of Christ in the poor.
There is no doubt that these young people have a passion for justice in their willingness to participate in the society’s good works by placing Jesus first, others second and themselves last.
They have learnt not to compromise on the truth and to deliver their message with love and mercy always. The youth are indeed the future of the society.
The society faces many challenges – one of the greatest being to remain sacred in an increasingly secular world. Another challenge is to increase membership.
If the society is to fulfil its mission and its obligations to Christ’s poor, it has to be always seen as a lay Catholic organisation continually committed to personal holiness and loyal to the vision of our founder Blessed Fredric Ozanam.
The calling that God has placed on all members of the Vincentian family and believers is not primarily about going to church but being the Church.
We all must strive to be seen as “the voice of the voiceless and companions of Jesus” imbued with Gospel values “with love for the poor, the marginalised and each other”.
I quote the words of our President General in his circular to all worldwide conferences dated June 2003 which is still applicable today.
“Our Special Works cannot be left exclusively in the hands of paid staff or other institutions.
“The presence of our brother and sister Vincentians is essential, and it is their presence that will continually give to our conferences and Special Works a sense of belonging.
“For our work to be truly Vincentian it is also essential that our brothers and sisters are involved directly in all decisions that are related to our service to the poor.”
For myself, I intend to help my wife Beverley around the garden at our Warwick home and do a fair bit of travelling and to enjoy my hobby of model trains.
I intend to continue to promote spirituality and to return to our local St Vincent de Paul Society conference activities in its service to the poor.
I extend my best wishes to our new state president John Forrest for a fruitful and blessed term of office for the next four years.
May Almighty God hold him in the palm of his hands.
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