Conference News and Notes
for Wednesday, January 12, 2022
Sent to all Vincentians & Staff
Vincentian Reflection for the Second Sunday in Ordinary Time
Sunday, January 16, 2022

Gospel: (John 2:1-11) There was a wedding at Cana in Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. Jesus and his disciples were also invited to the wedding. When the wine ran short, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” And Jesus said to her, “Woman, how does your concern affect me? My hour has not yet come.” His mother said to the servers, “Do whatever he tells you.”…When the headwaiter tasted the water that had become wine, without knowing where it came from, he said to the bridegroom, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then when people have drunk freely, an inferior one; but you have kept the good wine until now.” Jesus did this as the beginning of his signs at Cana in Galilee and so revealed his glory, and his disciples began to believe in him.

Reflection: We identify with Mary’s sensitivity in noticing that the wine was running short and Jesus’ sensitivity in keeping the miracle quiet. The purpose of the miracle, then, wasn’t to save the wedding couple’s day or to draw attention to Jesus. The purpose runs deeper: the sign revealed Jesus’ glory. The wedding feast is an opportunity for epiphany and belief. The epiphany (manifestations and revelations) of Jesus’ glory is a sign of the persistence of God’s overtures of love to us - God reveals glory to us in many ways to make sure we catch it - and the depths of God’s love, so much so that we are espoused to God. Belief entails a Who rather than a what. Our own encounters with Jesus in prayer, through others, in struggling with daily living, are truly epiphanies of God’s glory which also invite us to respond to divine Presence with belief. (Living Liturgy, p.42)

Vincentian Meditation: Epiphany signs might come in many ways - through others in a cry for help, in a lonely person’s plea for companionship, in the spontaneous laughter of delight, in the beauty of nature, in the love of family and friends. The challenge to us is to see these as revelations of God’s glory, as epiphanies of God’s love for us, and an opportunity to respond in belief. Yes, these common, ordinary signs of God’s love are all around us. By responding to other persons, recognizing them as revelations of God to us, we ourselves also become signs of God’s in-breaking, epiphanies for others.

What “Epiphanies of God’s love” have happened in your life?
Our Next Resource Spotlight: Resources for Veterans

There are thousands of homeless and struggling Veterans who are our neighbors in Cincinnati.  
Meet Chris Macklin, manager of Cincinnati's Easterseals Military & Veteran Services, who will share his own story of retuning to civilian life and present the many support programs Easterseals provides to Veterans, followed by Q & A.
Please make plans to join us via Zoom on Mon, 1/24/2022, 10:30-11:30am. Join us via this link:
Hamilton County Links for COVID Information & Resources

For your ease, we relay the following links, as provided by Hamilton County:
COVID Vaccine & Booster Available Now in Our Charitable Pharmacy

Our Charitable Pharmacy is now able to provide the Pfizer or Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID vaccine - as initial treatment or as a booster - for Ohio residents.
How do you or a neighbor get a vaccine from the Charitable Pharmacy?
  • We have both J&J and Pfizer vaccine available at both our NOC & Western Hills locations on a walk-in basis at no charge.
  • All Ohio residents are eligible. There is no income requirement or expectation to certify for ongoing services.
  • Allow 30-45 minutes to complete paperwork, receive the vaccine, and be monitored by a pharmacist for any rare allergic reactions.
  • We will ask to see a photo ID and vaccine card documenting any previous vaccines. If anyone does not have this documentation, we will work with them to find other documentation options. 
Our new addition of the Pfizer vaccine is particularly relevant because:
  • Anyone 12 years or older may receive the Pfizer vaccine as their primary 2-dose vaccination or as their single-dose booster.
  • Pfizer is the only COVID vaccine approved for minors. Minors must be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian to sign a consent form.
  • This vaccine may be used as a booster 5 months after completing the initial 2-dose series.
  • The CDC has preferentially recommended the Pfizer vaccine as a booster over the J&J vaccine.
The J&J vaccine still has relevant applications:  
  • Anyone 18 year or older may receive this vaccine as their primary single dose vaccine. This vaccine is ideal for anyone who is required to be vaccinated before returning to work because they can be fully vaccinated in one dose.
Our Charitable Pharmacy staff is available to answer any questions.
Voice of the Poor Corner, from Vincentian Jane Phelan

What is Voice of the Poor? What do they do?
The purpose of Voice of the Poor is to understand and then advocate about issues that keep our neighbors in poverty. We do this by service, by learning more about local issues, and by taking action to speak on our neighbors’ behalf. This past year our Cincinnati Voice of the Poor concentrated on understanding the lack of affordable housing in Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
Our Society of St. Vincent de Paul, along with the United States Council of Catholic Bishops, uses a grassroots online-system known as Voter Voice to communicate directly with our elected officials. Our representatives can strive to enact public policies that prioritize housing, childcare, and other needs that help families thrive. Nationwide, we have about 100,000 Vincentians; locally we have over 1,000 members in our Cincinnati District Council. Think of the impact we can have if we join our voices!
Our goal is to encourage every Vincentian to register and actively participate in Voter Voice.
Want to learn more and get involved?
  • To read a letter from Ralph Middlecamp, president of SVDP here in the US, urging Congress to prioritize the needs of the poor, use the link above and then click in the boxed area 
  • Then register for Voter Voice and sign up for alerts
Winter Coats Still Available

Neighbors from throughout Hamilton County who have not received a coat from us this season may now come to our Neyer Outreach Center (NOC, 1146 Bank St) and request a coat voucher. Neighbors must bring their photo ID and an ID for all household members who will be receiving a coat (even if they’re not present). Limit of one coat per person.
Alternatively, if a neighbor approaches your Conference with a need for coats, you can email Erin Nowak at [email protected] with the name and DOB for all family members who would like a coat, as well as the address where the voucher should be mailed. This may be the Vincentian’s address, in which case the Vincentian would then give the neighbor the voucher, or the neighbor’s address. Vouchers will expire 30 days after the issue date or on March 1 (whichever comes first). Vouchers can be redeemed for a coat at any of our SVDP thrift stores. 

Is your closet full, thanks to a bountiful Christmas? Winter Coat Donations are still being accepted through Sun, 1/30. More information about this year’s drive (including some responses to general FAQs) can be found here: . Alternatively, please reach out to Renee Berlon at [email protected] if your Conference has donated coats to share.
Archdiocese of Cincinnati Beacons of Light Initiative

We recently shared the following content with our Conference Presidents via email:
  1. Beacons of Light Families of Parishes – a visual presentation of the revised – termed “final” – release from our Archdiocese on Sunday, 12/5/2021, with manual mark-up of info most relevant to our Conferences & Council; Our Archdiocese incorporated significant refinements in response to feedback on the draft version released in 10/2021;
  2. Beacons of Light Background & Overview – outline presentation, summarizing info we’ve previously shared and where we are now; &
  3. Beacons of Light Considerations & Guidance Document – again, in outline/bullet format, including suggestions of how to proceed.
We hope this stimulates fruitful interaction within your Conference and your Family of Parishes.
Our Archdiocese represented in late December that pastor & parochial vicar assignments to Families of Parishes should be announced in February, if not earlier.
We encourage you to stay current on Beacons of Light developments at .
We've scheduled a meeting of our Conference Presidents, dedicated to Beacons of Light, for Sat morning, 2/12/2022, @ St. William Church in Price Hill. We are monitoring COVID developments to determine if this gathering will pivot to Zoom.
Much opportunity ahead!
Our CMS Momentum

We, together, have expanded our count to 34 Conferences who have implemented CMS and are benefitting from its functionality. 2 Conferences have onboarded in January and 3 more are in our active pipeline. If you are not utilizing CMS currently, there is no better time than the present to onboard to CMS. The web-based version of CMS is a significant improvement from the previous desktop version. It is quicker, more reliable, and supports multiple devices. Additionally, you’ll see improved turnaround on financial closing; quicker access to all neighbor data throughout our district; better reporting availability for your Conference meetings; and a secure location for all of your data going forward historically. There is also the capability to load some past neighbor data that you may wish to retain and have available to you. The feedback from Conferences who have onboarded since the arrival of the new version has been overwhelmingly positive. And John Wessel, your Resource Analyst, is here for you throughout. Bottom-line: this tool helps our Vincentians better engage and lift our neighbors. 

CMS help sessions are available by appointment. Please contact John Wessel at [email protected] or 513.562.1823 to schedule a session, which can be for groups or individuals.

CMS training videos are located on our website, accessed via the Members tab, or just use this link:
If prompted for a password, use the word “member”, all lower case and without the quotation marks.
More Resources for our Conferences and Neighbors

Conference Assistance Fund (CAF)
We extended $53,118 in CAF assistance in October; $64,678 in November; & $53,637 in December for an FY2022 Q1 total of $171,433; our comparable FY2021 Q1 total was $157,616.
Our January activity through Mon, 1/10:
  • You've submitted 35 fresh applications
  • We've approved 48 applications
  • We have 31 applications in process toward approval
Our budgetary provisions are $60,000 per month through March. We are able to roll forward underextended provisions to cover a monthly overage. With the holidays now behind us, we anticipate significant demand this month. We encourage you to fully consider our neighbor's situation and other resources which could be deployed as you discern a request for CAF assistance.
Margaret Rahn & our wonderful volunteers (now an even dozen) are intently processing and approving applications...Olivia Scheper will soon add processing capacity.
Our volunteers are a vital blessing. Please consider volunteering on-site at our Neyer Outreach Center to help us process CAF applications and to join in other forms of support of Conferences work. You can learn more by contacting Tom at [email protected] , Margaret at [email protected] , or Alec Jewell, Volunteer Manager, at [email protected]

Rahe Beds Fund & Program
Neighbors now take their bed vouchers to the Clothing and Home Resource Center in our Liz Carter Center (LCC, 1125 Bank St) to be redeemed. Please make sure your neighbors are aware of this change. We have fully distributed our budgeted number of bed vouchers for the month of January. You can contact Gabby with any questions at [email protected].

If your Conference is considering purchasing beds to extend as assistance, you can get info, including current pricing, or purchase by contacting Dave Chidlow, Stores Retail Resource Manager, at [email protected] or 513.853.1002. Your purchased beds will be picked up at our Clothing and Home Resource Center within our Liz Carter Center.

We still have a limited number of cribs & pack ‘n’ plays available for neighbors with children too young for beds (under age two). These do not count against the limit of two Rahe beds per household per lifetime. If you have a neighbor who is in need of a crib or pack ‘n’ play, please contact Gabby. Please note that these are available while supplies last, so please wait until you have confirmation from Gabby before telling the neighbor we’ll be able to assist them. If we have cribs or pack ‘n’ plays available, Gabby will make arrangements with either you or the neighbor to pick up the item from our NOC.

Education Center Within Our Neyer Outreach Center
Our NOC Education Center is available for neighbors to use during our operating hours: Monday - Friday, 8am - 4pm, and Saturday, 8am - noon. If you’re a Vincentian with computer knowledge you’d like to share, please reach out to Alec Jewell, Volunteer Manager, at [email protected]

City of Cincinnati's Eviction Prevention Initiative (EPI)
We have extended our collaboration on this initiative and we are actively accepting and processing applications for this assistance from eligible City of Cincinnati residents in Conference footprints.

Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF)
Our Social Services team is once again extending assistance with rent and utilities through the TANF (Temporary Aid for Needy Families) program. This program, through at least June 2022, will pay for up to four months' rent for neighbors who meet the following criteria:
  • Hamilton County residents
  • US citizen or qualified non-citizen
  • Has custody of at least one minor child and/or at least six months pregnant
  • At risk of homelessness
  • Have a household income that is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (currently $53,000/year for a family of four)
If you are serving a neighbor who meets these criteria, please encourage them to call our Help Line at 513.421.0602 and leave a message that includes their interest in exploring their eligibility for TANF or other centrally-administered assistance and that they were referred by your Conference. If the neighbor has an eviction notice, they should include this fact in their message too. A member of our Social Services team will return their call as soon as possible. Please note that not all eligible neighbors will receive this assistance and manage expectations accordingly.
Greater Cincinnati Water Works (GCWW)
GCWW kicked off a new Emergency Rental Assistance (ERA) Program in December. This program provides funds for GCWW utility assistance for eligible tenants residing in the City of Cincinnati. The funds will pay water, sewer, and stormwater charges. Any accrued charges during March 2020 (the start of the pandemic) or after are eligible to be paid with these funds.
Tenants must qualify by completing an online application at  and certifying that their household income is at or below 80% of Area Median Income (AMI).
If eligible neighbors have balances prior to March 2020, those charges will not be paid with these funds. However, neighbors can enroll in a flexible payment plan through the PromisePay Portal. GCWW customers can visit for details about the program and how to enroll. Customers who have paid their accounts and/or have an active payment plan on their GCWW account(s) and keep up with their current charges will be removed from the delinquency/shutoff process.
At this time, the delinquency/shutoff process will resume on April 1, 2022. 
  • Apply Today! Tenants residing in the City of Cincinnati can access the ERA Application at . Renters can also call 513.591.7700 to receive assistance from the call center to complete an application.
  • Renters not residing in Cincinnati city limits but living in Hamilton County can visit for utility assistance.
If you need additional materials or information, please contact GCWW at [email protected] .

Duke Energy
For questions on accounts or pledges for neighbors requesting utility assistance, please contact Duke Energy's Centralized Agency Team at 800.241.3194. Advocates are currently available Monday through Friday, 7:30am - 5:30pm.
Seasonal developments:
  • The Winter Reconnect Order went into effect on 10/18 and runs through 4/15/2022 
  • The HEAP Winter Crisis Program began on 11/1/2021
  • Find more info at
  • Soaring Winter Utilities Costs - Duke Energy has provided a series of toolkits to help their customers navigate. We have posted these resources to our website; you'll find the webpage at this link: We will continue to update this page as we receive additional content.

City of Cincinnati and Hamilton County COVID Assistance
There is still a huge sum of COVID federal economic recovery & relief emergency funding available in our area. If you encounter a neighbor who has experienced financial hardship due to COVID, please refer them to .
New development: The Hamilton County 513 Relief Bus (the Hamilton County Equity and Resources Mobile Tech Bus) will be available to neighbors at 1916 Central Parkway, outside the Ohio Means Jobs office, for these winter months. They are doing vaccinations there on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so these days could be busier. More info available here .

Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation Vision Clinic in our Neyer Outreach Center
The Vision Clinic operates by appointment on certain Thursdays as designated by CEIF. Great news! Our Vision Clinic is open, 8:30am - 3pm, all 4 Thursdays this month, including tomorrow...and all 4 Thursdays in February too. A limited number of walk-in exams can also be accommodated. To schedule an appointment, or to inquire for additional info, please call 513.207.6140.
Monitoring & Responding to the Current Surge in COVID Cases

Our community and nation are experiencing a strong uptick in COVID cases as the highly-contagious Omicron variant spreads. We are staying current on CDC guidance and taking responsive measures here at our NOC & LCC, while continuing to serve our neighbors. We encourage your Conference and you to determine your own potential adjustments to operational activities as we navigate this together. Evidence supports the value of current COVID vaccination status to mitigate risk.
Call to Prayer
Lord, thank you for all of the “Epiphanies of your Love” in our lives,
May we find you in all of the common, ordinary signs all around us.
Lord, thank you for our call to be Vincentians,
May we be the “Epiphany of your love” to those who are suffering.        
Lord, thank you for our family and our friends,
May we share together your hope and love, your laughter and joy.