Spanish-speaking Catholics from several Madison-area parishes began working last fall to establish the first Hispanic Conference of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in the Diocese of Madison. On April 24, the group adopted bylaws, elected a president, and chose the name, Conferencia Divina Misericordia, Divine Mercy Conference.
To be well-prepared home visitors serving neighbors in need, the new conference members attended a day-long training on April 22. They learned the history of the Society including its founding in 1833 and its spread to become the largest lay Catholic organization in the world.
These new members join more than 800,000 worldwide Society of St. Vincent de Paul members – organized in conferences – who help provide for the needs of neighbors coping with poverty. There are 18 parish-based conferences in Dane County.
In partnership with established conferences, members of Divine Mercy Conference will make home visits to Spanish-speaking neighbors throughout Madison and surrounding communities. They will assist neighbors in need by providing financial assistance, giving furniture and/or household goods vouchers, directing people to the St. Vincent de Paul — Madison Food Pantry and Charitable Pharmacy, or referring people to other assistive agencies. Most importantly, conference members will share the love of Christ with neighbors by offering a listening ear, kind support and their prayers.
“We are grateful to our newest members to have formed this conference,” Julie Bennett, CEO & Executive Director of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul — Madison, said. “It will be a gift to Spanish-speaking neighbors to receive care and support from home-visiting members who speak their native language and share cultural traditions. We see growing needs in our community for essentials like food, clothing and medicine. The Divine Mercy Conference will allow us to serve people who speak Spanish with a higher level of dignity and respect. I am awed by their commitment – as I am for all our members who go to people in need to offer help and hope.”
The Divine Mercy Conference invites any Spanish-speaking volunteers who are interested in joining the conference to attend one of their monthly meetings. The conference meets the 2nd Tuesday of each month at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church at 6:00 pm. For more information, please email Membership Director Gayle Westfahl at email@example.com.
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