The Society of Saint Vincent de Paul is an international organization of Catholic lay people, whose primary mission is to serve the poor and less fortunate. It was founded in Paris in 1833 by Frédéric Ozanam, a young French lawyer and professor in the Sorbonne.
The Society was influenced by Sr. Rosalie Rendu to take Saint Vincent de Paul (1581-1660) as its patron. Sr. Rosalie, who was a member of the Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul, guided Frédéric and his companions and was beatified in 2004 by Pope John Paul II.
There are about 950,000 members of the Society in 132 countries worldwide. They operate through small groups called ‘conferences’ that are based out of a church, community centre, school, hospital, etc. Non-Catholics may join with the understanding that the society is a Catholic organization.
The Society is the largest, voluntary, charitable organisation in Ireland with 9,500 volunteers supported by some professional staff and every parish has, or is covered by, a SVP conference.
St Philip the Apostle Conference
The parish of St. Philip the Apostle has a conference that meets in the altar servers’ room (off the sacristy) on Monday nights. It has a letterbox in the church porch (in the wall under the notice board) to allow people to contact it confidentially.
St Philip the Apostle conference currently has six members and holds a monthly ‘outdoor’ collection in the church grounds after each Mass on (usually) the second Sunday of each month and a special ‘indoor’ collection at Christmas. All money raised is distributed locally, within the parish boundary itself. Most of what is spent comes from these parish collections but some additional funds are given to the conference from richer neighbouring parish conferences through an ‘area council’ when the need arises. As the conference is run by volunteers it has practically no overheads.
As the work of the Society is confidential those who contribute to the SVP do not know who they are helping (only the members of the society know). While the Society is part of the Catholic Church it helps everyone in need equally, regardless of their religion (which it does not ask about).
The society also has conferences that run shops selling donated clothes etc. or that run hostels for the homeless or that visit prisoners or run senior citizens’ holidays or children’s holidays (eg. Sunshine House in Balbriggan). Children who would not otherwise get a holiday are sponsored by their parish conference.
How to Contact the SVP
St Philip the Apostle’s Conference may be contacted by dropping a note with an address/phone number into the SVP letterbox in the church porch or by contacting the Dublin Region of the SVP at: SVP House, 91-92 Sean McDermott Street, Dublin 1,
Telephone (01) 844 8200
SVP St. Philip’s, Mountview
President: Elaine Ford (086 7762472)
Vice – President: Frank Sexton (087-1762515)