April 2023
Pictured L to R Back Row: Dave Barringer and Tim Williams. Front Row L to R: Fr. Kelly, Harry Ohde, Mike Syslo, Renato Lima de Oliveira, Pam Matambanadzo, and Ray Sickinger
Welcome to Chicago Renato Lima de Oliveira, International President General

On April 12, 2023, the St. Vincent de Paul Chicago Council was excited to welcome to our city, Renato Lima de Oliveira, International President General from Brazil.

Renato was coming to town to speak at DePaul University for the DePaul World Catholicism Conference. But after a rough day of travel and the airline losing his luggage, unfortunately, the events that were planned during his small "window of opportunity" were canceled. One of these events included speaking after mass to those in attendance. Since mass was canceled, we arranged a 45-minute Q&A which can be found on the SVdP Chicago YouTube Channel. You can click on the link below to view the interview:

Renato is very interesting, informative, and speaks from his heart. He is truly a great leader. His term will be ending this year so on behalf of the SVdP Chicago Council, we wish him nothing but the best.

God Bless,
Harry Ohde
Volunteer President/CEO
SVdP Chicago, ADC

"Ask Mike" - Our Q&A series addresses common questions Chicagoland Vincentians may have as they go about their work for the Society. Have a question? Email us at teresa@svdpchicago.org

Q: Q: We have some parishes who have a habit of requesting help yet refusing to establish a Conference. Should we support these parishes?
A: This is an ongoing issue throughout the country. The pastor of each parish is responsible for serving those in need in his parish. If you get a call from a parish not-your-own, here are some responses:

  1. Tell the person in need to contact that parish for help. You have to be willing to turn them away.
  2. Contact the pastor about starting a Conference. If he refuses, let him know that anyone who comes to you from his parish boundaries will be sent back to him.
  3. Ask the pastor of that parish to provide financial support to your Conference, so you can help the people in his parish area.
  4. Suck it up and help the person in need. However, keep in mind that this will continue to be an issue.
Q: The Bylaws state in Article 18, “No Substantial part of the activities of the organization shall be the carrying of propaganda, or otherwise attempting to influence legislation….” We have an issue that our Voice of the Poor Committee is recommending our Council collect signatures to put an issue on the ballot in November. Is that in violation of Article 18?
A: All nonprofits are allowed to advocate for or against legislation. However, if this lobbying makes up the majority of what you do, then you have to have a different type of IRS nonprofit designation. So, unless you are spending the majority of Conference work in this effort, I would not worry about it. Many Conferences and Councils do a little lobbying and advocacy but not enough to concern their nonprofit status.

by Mike Syslo
ADC Vice President

Blessed Frederic Ozanam
My brothers, what good is it to profess faith without practicing it? Such faith has no power to save one, has it? If a brother or sister has nothing to wear and no food for the day, and you say to them, “Good-bye and good luck! Keep warm and well fed,” but do not meet their bodily needs, what good is that? So it is with faith that does nothing in practice. It is thoroughly lifeless.

You must perceive that a person is justified by his works and not by faith alone. Be assured, then, that faith without works is as dead as a body without breath.

(James 2:14-17,24,26)
The Life of Frederic Ozanam
Although a patriotic Frenchman, Frederic Ozanam was born on April 23, 1813 in Milan, Italy. His parents were Jean-Antoine and Marie Nantas Ozanam. He was the fifth of fourteen children. He was raised in Lyons, France where his father served as a doctor.
“From his earliest years Frederic was brought into close contact with human misery and suffering, and a realization of the claims of Christian Charity. In one biography of Ozanam, it is recorded that in later years he thanked God that he had been born into a middle class family, neither rich nor poor, so that he was spared the moral dangers that lie both in the luxury of wealth and in the discouragement of poverty.” (FOS,p.3)
He was always an exceptional student. This was reflected throughout his time in various schools and afterward in his career as a university professor. He suffered through some very disturbing religious doubts in his sixteenth year. Strong guidance brought him through it. In fact, during his university studies in Paris, he and his fellow Catholic students became a strong voice for Catholicism in an increasingly non-Catholic society.
These students chose Joseph Emmanual Bailly as their mentor, their guide to their intellectual discussions, their mature advisor in other matters. Bailly provided them with a location and support for their historical debate society. He was selected to be the first president of the conference of charity formed in 1833. And, it was under his influence that St. Vincent de Paul was later chosen as the patron saint for their works of charity. 
Frederic and his friends were challenged during a debate in the spring of 1833. “We agree that at one time your Church was a great Church and was a source of great good...What is your Church doing now? What is she doing for the poor of Paris? Show us your works and we will believe you.” It was as if the letter of James was open before him: “faith without works is as dead as a body without breath.” Some weeks later, under the guidance of Monsieur Bailly, Frederic, Francois Tallier, Paul Lamanche, Felix Clave, Augusta La Tallandier, and Jules De Vaux formed the Conference of Charity (later to be known as the Society of St. Vincent de Paul).
Frederic spent most of his life lecturing at Universities and establishing conferences of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul. Wherever he traveled, he would either work to found a new conference or be sure to visit an existing one. The Society which he founded to benefit his beloved Church, to serve his loving God, was ever dear to him.
Frederic was a family man. He married late in life and had one child, a daughter. He was very devoted to his wife and child, he would never let other matters draw him away for long. “He retained the youthful amour of his marriage, observing each month the wedding anniversary with a thoughtfully-chosen remembrance. In a busy world and life, he found time for his only daughter, regaling her at his knees with tales and imagery of the past he knew so well.” (AMM:9,p.248)
From early childhood, his health had been a burden to him. He had always been sickly. A few months after his 40th birthday he died in Marseilles. On September 8, 1853, he died peacefully in the presence of his family, while members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul prayed for him.
On January 12, 1954, Pope Pius XII signed the decree of introduction for the beatification of Frederic Ozanam. On August 22, 1997, Pope St. John Paul II presided over his beatification. His official title is now “Blessed Frederic Ozanam” and his feast day is September 9.

(The above excerpt was taken from Mike Syslo's Book, Vincentian Spirituality)

Registration NOW Open!

North Central Region Conference
University of St. Mary of the Lake Mundelein, Illinois

Enjoy the Best of a Chicago Summer for the
Host City Events on Thursday, June 15!

This year’s North Central Meeting offers several opportunities to enjoy a summer night with fellow Vincentians on the beautiful grounds of the University of St. Mary of the Lake.

  • You can partner up and enjoy the green surroundings as you compete for prizes and bragging rights at the Bean Bag Toss Tournament. Prizes will be awarded for First and Second Place. OR

  • You can take your own spiritual journey on the campus by visiting locations such as Our Lady of Lourdes Grotto, travel the Stations of the Cross, and visit the Cardinal George OMI Memorial Garden. For walking/running enthusiasts, you can follow the 5K (3.1 mile) path around the peaceful lake or sit by the lake in quiet meditation. OR

  • You can take a short ride to Marytown, the National Shrine of St. Maximillian Kolbe, right around the corner from the USML campus. You will have the opportunity to explore one of the most beautiful pilgrimage sites in the nation. Visit the chapel which offers perpetual adoration of our Lord and visit the bookstore/gift shop to choose something for yourself or a gift for a loved one. The Marytown gift shop is well stocked with friendly staff to assist you.

  • Bonus Event: After your chosen activity, join the fun in the Meeting Hall for a special live performance of the Improv Playhouse Theater. This troupe is made up of professional actors and comedians and the performance will be full of laughs and an opportunity to take part in a true Windy City event, improv comedy.

Make sure you don’t miss the fun and register today for the North Central Meeting, June 15 – 17, 2023 via the following meeting link:

Remember to register by April 30 to qualify for a drawing
awarding $300 to your conference! 

The next Ozanam Orientation Webinar is a two-part webinar series scheduled for
May 6 & 13. New members are encouraged to attend to learn who we are, what we are about and how you can help to transform our culture. Our existing members are always welcome to join in as well to get reacquainted with how you can help to transform our culture.

To register, please email Mike Syslo at mike.syslo@outlook.com, or call him direct at
(602) 625-1078.

Conference Officer Training: Who should attend?

Conference Officers - to learn the role and responsibilities of your position as Vice President, Secretary or Treasurer.

Conference President - to get reacquainted with what is expected of your Officers.

If you are a Conference Vice President or Secretary, you have two opportunities for this training: June 3 (morning) or June 5 (evening).

If you are a Conference Treasurer, you have two opportunities for training: June 3 (morning) or June 6 (evening).

To register, please email Mike Syslo at mike.syslo@outlook.com, or call him direct at
(602) 625-1078.

Back by Popular Demand our Mother's Day Card Fundraiser
May 14 is Mother's Day .... A yearly celebration where we celebrate that special woman in our lives who has loved us unconditionally
SVdP Chicago is excited to offer once again our Mother's Day card for that special woman in your life. Someone's mother could be an Aunt, Grandmother, Friend, etc. Whoever this special person is, let her know that you're thinking of her this Mother's Day and appreciate everything she has done for you with this unique, one-of-a-kind card.
Proceeds from the sale of these cards will go towards providing clothing, food and other necessities to help our friends in need.
We will hand address and sign the card/s from YOU! This is a 5x7 double sided full color professionally printed card (see above) that we will mail on your behalf. The cards are $10 each.
If you prefer, cards are available at both our Orland Park Thrift Store at 7010 W 159th Street in Orland Park and Libertyville Thrift Store at 168 Peterson Road.
Let's work together to to eliminate homelessness in Chicago and Cook and Lake Counties in Illinois in 2023.
Thank you in advance for your kindness and support.
SVdP Chicago Prayer List

You can visit our website to offer prayers for those on our list or submit an intention for others to pray for. The power of prayer is very strong.

We thank you for your prayers for our members while the Holy Spirit guides us in our work.

How Can You Help?
There are a number of ways that you can support SVdP Chicago this month!
Donation Events
We are always updating and adding to our 2023 Donation Drive Schedule.

Stop and visit our website to find an event that works best for you! Please visit our website here to view the schedule.

If you would like to schedule a Donation Drive for your local community or parish, please click here to contact us via email or call Karen at 773-779-6700 x111.

Vehicle Donation Program

We'll Love Your Car as Much as You Did!

If you and your vehicle haven’t been seeing eye to headlight for a long time, now is a great time to donate it to [the Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC. You’ll transform your once stressful headache into new hope for those we serve and support. The Society of St. Vincent de Paul Chicago-ADC accepts all types of vehicles—cars, trucks, boats, RVs, and more! The pick-up is free, and we provide the necessary paperwork for your tax-deductible donation.

The following is a list of basic requirements for donating a vehicle.

  • Vehicle has a clear title
  • Vehicle is in one piece and towable but does not need to be running
  • Vehicle is tow truck accessible.

Donating is easy—and bypasses the hassles and costs of selling, repairing and insuring altogether. Contact our Office Manager Elvia at elvia@svdpchicago.org with any questions or call 773-779-6700 x 107 to start your donation today! Please have the title in hand to make the process even easier when our expert Donor Representatives contact you to complete the donation and schedule your pick-up.

Let's Get Social

One of the easiest ways to be involved with SVdP Chicago is liking us on Facebook (or Twitter, Youtube, or Instagram) and sharing our posts! We have accounts for each of the Thrift Stores also that you can follow, like, and share from.

This simple action has a big impact in helping to make others aware of the work we are doing to help those in need and how they can get involved!

Thank you for all your hard work and dedication to the mission of The Society of St. Vincent de Paul! We are working together to build a better tomorrow for those in need. “Let us love God, but let it be with the work of our hands and the sweat of our brows.” - St. Vincent de Paul
SVdP Chicago has been reaching out in our local communities throughout Cook and Lake counties for over 169 years. We have the experience of being a force of good throughout times of war, global pandemics, economic crises, and social changes. Our volunteers serve with hearts full of love and compassion and the Society helps anyone regardless of race, religion, political association, or gender. Learn more about what we do and who we help at our website.

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