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Pam Hudson

Good Stewardship

Good Stewardship 1198 1198 Pam Hudson

What does stewardship look like in your life?  The National Governance Committee suggests you think of this through the prism of a Vincentian lens which should have a spiritual and biblical foundation.

Then ask yourself what stewardship means to you, to members of the Society, and to your respective Councils and Conferences.

Certainly, as good stewards we need to give thanks for all the gifts we’ve received.  This means thanks to God, thanks to our bishops and pastors for allowing us to serve within their dioceses and parishes, thanks to our volunteers and employees, and thanks to every person who has helped us by donating goods and money.

Good stewardship involves, among other things, accepting and acting on the following principles:

  1. The principle that everything we have is a gift from God who has given us the ability to serve others
  2. The principle of responsibility
  3. The principle of accountability.

Let’s examine these further:

First, stewardship includes recognition that it is God who created everything and through whose grace and blessing we have been given the ability to serve others and to receive the funds needed to do so effectively.  It is God who has given us the graces we need to discern how best to help people.

With this comes the principle of responsibility to use the gifts bestowed on us wisely.  This may mean helping other Conferences and upper Councils as well as those who come directly to us.  We help those who come to us or who we have sought out and found because they are God’s children.  We help other Conferences because we know the people coming to them also need help. We help upper Councils mainly, but not exclusively, through solidarity dues so they can animate and promote our Essential Elements of Spirituality, Friendship and Service.  Responsibility also means not hoarding funds but rather honoring donor intent that those in need be helped in whatever way is prudent and will alleviate material, spiritual and emotional need and anxiety, and that the help be delivered by men and women who are well formed in what it means to be a Vincentian.

The principle of accountability also needs to be considered when discussing stewardship.  When we as Vincentians become stewards of resources and money given to us, we have an absolute responsibility to give an accounting to all of our stakeholders – they were discussed in recent articles.  This includes filing annual reports which have information that is shared with bishops across the country and helps the National Council fulfill its obligation to account to the greater church.

In short, we all have an obligation to be faithful stewards of all God has bestowed upon us and to see that in the end we are serving the common good and furthering God’s Kingdom.

05-23-24 Weekly Questions & Answers

05-23-24 Weekly Questions & Answers 1200 628 Pam Hudson

Q: We have always promoted the idea that the funds our Conference receives go to help the poor. How can we spend funds on any other purposes?

A: Conference funds may be used for all legitimate expenses of the Society. Generally, this is a very small percentage of the overall funds. It is appropriate for Conferences to spend funds on resources needed to build our ministry by purchasing supplies/services/travel for training or forming our members spiritually or in service. In building up our members, we are building their ability to serve those in need. It is also appropriate to spend funds on resources such as brochures or pamphlets that will assist those we serve.

 Q: Is it ever appropriate (or legal?) for a Vincentian to use his/her home address instead of the Conference’s legal address? For instance, receiving checks made payable to “Society of St. Vincent de Paul,” but using a Vincentian’s home address instead of the Conference’s legal address.

A: As long as the check is clearly made payable to the SVdP Conference and no one else, the home mailing address is allowed.

P: Siempre hemos promovido la idea de que los fondos que recibe nuestra Conferencia se destinan a servir a los pobres. ¿Cómo podemos utilizar los fondos para otros fines?

R: Los fondos de la Conferencia pueden ser utilizados para todos los gastos legítimos de la Sociedad. Por lo general, se trata de un porcentaje muy pequeño de los fondos totales. Es correcto que la Sociedad gaste fondos en los recursos necesarios para edificar nuestro ministerio mediante la compra de suministros/servicios/viajes para instruir o capacitar a nuestros miembros espiritualmente o en el servicio. Al fortalecer a nuestros miembros, estamos desarrollando su capacidad para servir a los necesitados. También es adecuado gastar fondos en recursos tales como folletos o panfletos que ayudarán a aquellos a quienes servimos.

 P: ¿Es correcto (¿o legal?) que un Vicentino use su domicilio en lugar de la dirección legal de la Conferencia? Por ejemplo, recibir cheques pagaderos a la “Sociedad de San Vicente de Paúl”, pero utilizando la dirección de la casa de un Vicentino en lugar de la dirección legal de la Conferencia.

R: Siempre y cuando el cheque sea claramente pagadero a la Conferencia SVdP y a nadie más, se permite la dirección postal de su casa.

5-16-2024 Questions & Answers

5-16-2024 Questions & Answers 1200 628 Pam Hudson

Q: Our Conference has been struggling for a long time to get a regular Spiritual Advisor. One of our long-time members volunteered, but he is the husband of one of our Active members and is non-Catholic. He is a very spiritual person. Is this okay?

A: No. Article 6.5 of Part I of the Rule states: The Catholic beliefs and ethos of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul must be preserved. The President, Vice President and Spiritual Advisor should, therefore, be Roman Catholic.

Q: Part I of the Rule indicates that non-Catholics can serve as officers (Secretary or Treasurer) and in Part III, it says that only Catholics can be officers. Is there a conflict in the Rule?

A: There is no conflict. Part I is the International Rule. Part III of the Rule is associated with the Society in the United States. This provision in the Rule Part I is there to allow the Society to function in countries where there are not many Christians and interdenominational cooperation is common. We consulted with the Episcopal Conference, as required by the Rule, and through our Episcopal Advisor, they made it clear that they did not favor active members or officers being non-Catholics.

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 P: Nuestra Conferencia ha estado luchando durante mucho tiempo para conseguir un Consejero Espiritual.  Uno de nuestros miembros que está con nosotros desde hace mucho tiempo, no es católico, pero se ofreció como voluntario, es esposo de uno de nuestros miembros activos.  Él es una persona muy espiritual.  ¿Es esto correcto?

R: No. El artículo 6.5 de la Parte I de la Regla establece: Las creencias Católicas y el espíritu de la Sociedad de San Vicente de Paúl deben ser preservados.  El Presidente, el Vicepresidente y el Consejero Espiritual deben, por lo tanto, ser Católicos Romanos.

 P: En la Parte I de la Regla, se indica que los no católicos pueden servir como Oficiales (Secretario o Tesorero) y en la Parte III, dice que solo los Católicos pueden ser oficiales.  ¿Hay un conflicto en la Regla?

R: No hay conflicto.  La Parte I es la Regla Internacional.  La Parte III de la Regla está asociada con la Sociedad en los Estados Unidos. Esta disposición de la Parte I de la Regla está ahí para permitir que la Sociedad funcione en países donde no hay muchos Cristianos y la cooperación interdenominacional es común.  Consultamos con la Conferencia Episcopal como lo exige la Regla y dejaron claro a través de nuestro Asesor Episcopal que no estaban a favor de que los miembros activos o los funcionarios no fueran Católicos.

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