By Vivian D’Almeida
Sunday, 19 March was a Red-Letter Day for the Swan Region of the St Vincent de Paul Society of WA.
Lockridge Parish Good Shepherd Church was a splendid setting for the first Festival Mass for the region in nearly two years.
It gave the opportunity to clear a great backlog of commissioning’s and milestone recognitions.
However, the day turned out to be much more than that. It was a day to celebrate the Society of St Vincent de Paul. If anyone thought the spirit of giving generously was dead, they only had to attend the Mass at Good Shepherd Church on that day.
Being commissioned were one new Regional President, eight new Conference Presidents and 33 new conference members spread across ten conferences in the region.
In addition, 31 members received commendations for varying lengths of service – ranging from five to 45 years.
An additional eight members, including one member who has served for 50 years were also presented with awards at a special meeting of the Embleton Conference.
Special mention was made of Terry Walsh of Lesmurdie and Paul Pasini of Embleton for 45 and 50 years of service respectively.
The highlight of the morning was the recognition accorded to Patricia Bull.
Patricia has devoted 60 years of service to the Society.
The special prayer for her said, “She has been a shining example of love ‘for the least of Jesus’ brethren’”.
The first mention of Patricia in the archives dates back to 1963. She was a volunteer at the first Vinnies shop in Midland and joined the Midland Conference when the rules changed to admit women. Apart from a break to take care of her ailing husband, Brian Bull, Patricia has an otherwise unbroken record of service to the poor of Midland.
Mass and recognitions were followed by a morning tea and fellowship at the Dan Foley Parish Centre of Lockridge.
The spirit of the day was expressed best in the words of a parishioner of Lockridge who said, “I was inspired enough by the celebrations to want to join the Society. If I was in better health, I would have.”
Thanks need to go to the Community of Lockridge, Parish Priest Fr Aloysius Leong and the SVDP Conference of Lockridge Parish, led by Diana Harvey and Cathy Smith.
Thanks too, to the staff at Ozanam House for their unstinting support and to the State President, David Kennedy, for his continuous encouragement.