Conference News and Notes
for Wednesday, March 23, 2022
Sent to all Vincentians & Staff
Vincentian Reflection for the Fourth Sunday of Lent
Sunday, March 27, 2022

Gospel: (Luke 15:1-3,11-32) Jesus told this parable: “A man had two sons, and the younger said to his father, ‘Father give me the share of your estate that should come to me.’ After a few days, the younger son collected all his belongings and set off to a distant country where he squandered his inheritance on a life of dissipation. When he had freely spent everything, a severe famine struck that country, and he found himself in dire need. So he hired himself …to tend swine. …Coming to his senses he thought, ‘How many of my father’s hired workers have more than enough food to eat, but here am I, dying from hunger. I shall get up and go to my father and I shall say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I no longer deserve to be called your son; make me one of your hired servants.'”

Reflection: It is the father in the parable who models for us the mercy of our heavenly Father. The prodigal son is brought to repentance because he was “dying from hunger.” There is nothing he does to deserve the response of the father except to repent and to return. What leads us to decide to repent? Like the prodigal son, “changing our minds” is probably precipitated by some specific catalyst—probably not physical hunger, but possibly by spiritual hunger. The penance of Lent can be the external factor that brings us to realize our life is much richer when we turn from our sinful ways and turn to God who gives life. (Living Liturgy, p.84)

Vincentian Meditation: This parable tells us most about the meaning of conversion, and is found in two verbs. The request the younger son makes to his father is this: “Father, give me the share of your estate that should come to me.” Toward the end of the parable, when the younger son returns home, the request he makes of his father is this: “Father, make me one of your hired servants.” Between the “give me” at the beginning and the “make me” at the end lies the story of conversion. There is an altogether different attitude of mind expressed in the “give me my money” and “make me one of your hired servants.” In the story of conversion you will find that the starting point is a selfish demand, and the finishing point is a readiness to be a servant. (McCullen, Deep Down Things, p.698)

Have you experienced a conversion from “give me” to “make me your servant?”
Additional Daily Lenten Reflection Content

Locally composed daily Lenten reflections continue to be available to you.
You can use this link for the set of 8 reflections from Sat, 3/12 to this past Mon, 3/21:

You can also find this full sequence of daily reflections on the Members Support & Forms Page of our SVDP - Cincinnati website at . Simply enter the password " member " (without quotation marks), then scroll down to 2022 Lenten Reflections where you can click on any of the 3 series released to-date. While there, you will also find a deep list of resources that are available with a single click.
Our Council's Annual Vincentian Retreat
"Our Essential Friendship"
Act Now if You are Yet to Register

  • Facilitated by Tim Williams, SVDP's National Formation Director
  • This Sat, 3/26, beginning with Mass @ 8am with retreat concluding @ noon
  • Hosted by our revitalized St Ignatius of Loyola Conference @ their parish, 5222 North Bend Rd, 45247, in Monfort Heights (conveniently just off I-74)
  • Registration for this event closes @ 3pm today (Wed, 3/23); please use this link:
Archdiocese of Cincinnati Beacons of Light Initiative

  • Our meeting of Conference Presidents this past Saturday, dedicated to Beacons of Light - Moving Forward as Family, attracted 60 participants representing 50 current Conferences and 22 of 24 Families of Parishes. Thanks to participants and facilitators, including Conference Life Committee members, for investing their morning. We achieved our goals of nurturing relationship, identifying opportunities, fostering positivity, and committing to next steps - together. Energy is contagious...and it was particularly encouraging to feel a progression in attitude & approach. We encourage our meeting participants to share their experiences and info garnered with fellow Conference members. All of our Vincentians (active & prospective) are vital to our ongoing mission. More to come.
  • Our Archdiocese continues to post fresh content at .
  • Our Archdiocese hosts monthly Beacons Roundtable Zoom gatherings on Tuesdays, 1:30-3pm. These gatherings are attracting priests, deacons, parish leaders, and passionate parishioners from throughout our Archdiocese. April's gathering on 4/26 is entitled Stewardship as a Way of Life. Future dates are 5/17 & 6/21. This is all part of Phase 0 - Warm-Up - of this Beacons of Light initiative. In this Phase 0, we are encouraged to pray, learn, and prepare. Phase 1 - Leadership - begins with the implementation on 7/1.
  • Please join together to embrace and seize Beacons opportunities to advance our Vincentian vocation and amplify our impact - We are a network of neighbors!
We're Searching for a Volunteer Program Coordinator

We’re looking for an engaging and personable individual with a heart for service to share the mission of SVDP as our next Volunteer Program Coordinator. Do you or someone you know fit this description? Please help us find this vital team member. Here's the link to the posting on our website: Erin Nowak, our Outreach Center Program Director, can be contacted at [email protected] and she welcomes applications and/or your referrals. Thanks!
Referring Neighbors for potential TANF and EPI Assistance
TANF update: We’ve been informed by our program partner that we must pause in extending TANF effective immediately. In-process TANF cases were completed this past week and those assistance checks are being distributed this week. We are - for now - in a hold on extending further TANF assistance. We will keep you posted as we learn more. 
In response to your feedback, we have taken steps to streamline the process for Vincentians to refer neighbors whom they feel would be good candidates for the Eviction Prevention Initiative (EPI) or Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF). Vincentians who have connected with neighbors whom they feel would be a good candidate for either program should email our Call Center Coordinator, Muslimah Winbush, at [email protected] , with a referral. This email should consist of the following:
  • Name of your Conference
  • Full name of the neighbor you are referring
  • Neighbor’s phone number
  • Neighbor’s email address
Your email will ensure that we have proper documentation of the initial referral. Muslimah will then contact the neighbor to complete the request. If the neighbor cannot be reached by phone, the neighbor will be sent an email expressing that we have attempted to reach out to them and that if they are still in need of the assistance, they would need to call Muslimah directly. Once the request form has been completed, Muslimah will send an email to the Vincentian who made the referral confirming that the request form has been submitted for review. Please do not ask the neighbors to call Muslimah directly unless they are returning her call.
Please understand that we do not have the resources to extend assistance to every eligible neighbor and manage expectations accordingly. Selections are made from all eligible request forms (including neighbors who do & do not reside in Conference footprints) submitted in a given week; request forms are not carried over from week to week, but a neighbor who was not selected can be resubmitted.
Since this is a new accommodation, your feedback is greatly appreciated. We are encouraged by how quickly some Conferences & Vincentians have already leveraged this enhancement. Our goal is to serve our Vincentians well, as you serve our neighbors well.

As a reminder, the eligibility for these programs is as follows:

City of Cincinnati's Eviction Prevention Initiative (EPI)
Neighbors must live in the City of Cincinnati and have formal notice of eviction proceedings to be eligible for EPI.
Temporary Aid for Needy Families (TANF)
This program, originally presented as through at least June 2022, can pay for up to four months' rent for neighbors who meet the following criteria:
  • At risk of homelessness
  • Hamilton County residents
  • US citizen or qualified non-citizen
  • Have custody of at least one minor child and/or at least six months pregnant
  • Have a household income that is below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (currently $53,000/year for a family of four)

Here's a summary of Jan-Feb 2022 activity, which has proven fruitful:
  • You referred 57 requests for rental assistance, through 21 of our Conferences
  • 18 of these applicants were selected for assistance
Our Charitable Pharmacy

Emergency Assistance
Did you know? Nearly 25% of Americans report difficulty affording their prescription medications. Often, medication costs and medical debt are the root cause for food insecurity and housing instability. In response to this, our Charitable Pharmacy is excited to announce the expansion of its Emergency Voucher program. This program provides immediate access to free prescription medications for neighbors who do not have Ohio Medicaid benefits. Emergency medications will be provided along with an appointment for full certification for ongoing services within 30 days after their first medication pick-up. Additionally, neighbors can now access our Charitable Pharmacy’s on-site nurse practitioner for physical exams and laboratory tests. The next time you serve a neighbor in need, ask them this: “Are you able to afford your medical expenses?” If not, contact Dr. Rusty Curington at [email protected] for emergency access to our Charitable Pharmacy.

Legislative Progress is Percolating
Here in our great state of Ohio, we are prominently participating in a movement to permit pharmaceutical drug donations from the public to charitable pharmacies such as our own. Known as HB 558, this concept is attracting high-profile advocacy and giving us cause for optimism. We are laying the groundwork now for potentially exciting positive change in 2023. Stay tuned for further developments.
Summer Heat Relief

We will again be providing fans and air conditioners to eligible neighbors throughout our District Council's footprint. The program will officially begin on Mon, May 2. More information will be coming in April about who is eligible and how neighbors can request this assistance.
Our Thrift Stores are Eager for Your Furniture Donations

Demand for furniture (for voucher redemption and purchase) is currently exceeding the pace of donations we are receiving. Do you have surplus furniture you'd like to donate? Just call us @ 513.421.2273 (421-CARE) to make it happen. Thank you for repurposing this furniture with someone who will truly value it.
Cooking Improv with La Soupe

Our Catino Choice Food Pantry is partnering with La Soupe to present monthly Cooking Improv demonstrations in the Teaching Kitchen at our Neyer Outreach Center. Instructors from La Soupe will teach participants basic cooking principles and how to use what you have to create delicious, nutritious meals. The demonstrations will be on the first Wednesday of every month, 11am-1pm. The demos last 15-20 minutes and will be presented continuously during this time frame. Each demonstration will be limited to seven participants.
Our next event is Wed, 4/6. No pre-registration is required. Feel free to share this information with your neighbors, or if you’re interested in getting involved in our Teaching Kitchen programming, please reach out to Demi Schoenherr at [email protected] for more information.
Your CMS Momentum is Our CMS Momentum

  • 36 Conferences have implemented CMS and are benefitting from its functionality
  • 9 Conferences have onboarded since June, 2021
  • Our St Cecilia Conference implemented on 3/1/2022! Who's next?
  • CMS will deliver its greatest value to you, your fellow Vincentians, and your neighbors when all of our Conferences are on board
  • 7 more Conferences are in our active pipeline
  • You’ll enjoy 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 go-forward data for future reference
  • This current web-based, enhanced version of CMS is accessible at ; if you are still using the old manner of accessing CMS, you should discontinue that and uninstall the old applications on your PC or MAC
  • John Wessel, your Resource Analyst, has assembled great training and support resources to complement his personal commitment to your positive CMS experience; he's happy to join you for a CMS demo
  • Still not sure? Ask Tom Roberts or John Wessel for contact info of neighboring Conferences who have embraced CMS
Bottom-line: This tool helps you better engage and lift your neighbors. And it will help us better attract resources to assist these same neighbors experiencing need. Join fellow Vincentians & Conferences and make this leap forward now! 

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, enter “ member ”, all lower case and without the quotation marks.
Looking for a Little Spring Refresh?

SVDP logo attire provides simple, attractive visibility of your Vincentian vocation. It just might give someone a nudge or start a conversation that leads another soul to the gift of "faith lived"...or a donation to fuel your Conference's good works.
We've added a link to the Apparel Site on the Member Support & Forms page of our website. Here's a link to get there right now:
More Resources for our Conferences and Neighbors

Conference Assistance Fund (CAF)
We extended $54,287 in Feb for an FY2022 YTD (5 months) total CAF assistance of $292,009.
March activity through Tues, 3/22 (7 weekdays remain):
  • You've submitted 132 applications
  • We've approved 151 applications - approx $63,000 in assistance
  • 2 applications were withdrawn; 2 were declined
  • We currently have 8 applications in progress toward approval
Sharing uplifting news: 2 Conferences have generously twinned available funds to augment our CAF resources in the last 30 days. On behalf of neighbors & fellow Conferences, Thank You!
We are actively monitoring our pace of activity as we may need to suspend approvals at some point later this month until 4/1. As has been our recently repeated message, 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. This is particularly applicable to neighbor situations where the total $ required exceeds the sum of the assistance you can assemble - and please remember there are other programs available in our community which have provisions for much higher assistance caps. If you are contemplating extending CAF assistance as a more-immediate bridge due to extended turnaround times for other publicly-funded community programs, please make sure our neighbor is in the queue for these other programs to which they should be eligible. Advocate for & with our neighbor to seek these community resources!

Our Charitable Pharmacy is Still Providing COVID Vaccinations
Want more info? Our Charitable Pharmacy staff is available to answer any questions. You can contact Dr. Rusty Curington at [email protected] and a Pharmacy team member will respond.

Our Re-Entry Program
Our Re-Entry Program is eager to work with neighbors you are serving who have been affected by the criminal justice system. This includes individuals who are currently incarcerated or have been incarcerated in the past; it also includes people who have had interactions with the criminal justice system but have not been incarcerated. It can also include neighbors who have a family member who falls into one of these categories. If you are serving a neighbor who may benefit from these services, which include: 
  • Direct assistance, including rent, utility, and other basic needs assistance
  • Referrals to employment and housing resources
  • Case management
  • Advice related to expungement and child support issues
Please refer them to our Re-Entry Program Manager, Dion Crockett. Dion can be reached at 513.562.8851 or at [email protected] . You may contact Dion directly or you may share his contact information with the neighbor so that they may contact him. 
Dion is also eager to connect with our Conferences. if you would like to host Dion at a Conference meeting or get together with him in another way, please reach out to him.

Rahe Beds Fund & Program
We still have a few bed vouchers available for the month of March. Please send your requests to Gabby 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 CHRC within our Liz Carter Center.
The following has been running for weeks now...and, candidly, we're surprised the demand hasn't been more brisk: 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. We will provide the neighbor with a voucher that can be redeemed at our CHRC.
Do you have questions about our Rahe Beds Fund & Program?
Please review the Bed Program Conference Guide for the most up-to-date information, which includes some updates to the way beds assistance should be entered in CMS. 

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.

Christ Church Plumb Line
Update: Olivia Scheper, Conferences Support Coordinator, is our new central contact point-person (as handed off from Patrick Ammerman in Social Services). Plumb Line only accepts assistance referrals from this single SVDP point-person.
As a reminder, Plumb Line can assist with $400 of past due rent for neighbors who are currently working.
All referrals to Plumb Line should now be sent to:
Olivia Scheper
Phone: 513.345.4986, ext 239

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 may 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 - closure to this seasonal window is approx 3 weeks away 
  • 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 .

Cincinnati Eye Institute Foundation (CEIF) Vision Clinic in our Neyer Outreach Center
The Vision Clinic operates by appointment on certain Thursdays as designated by CEIF. Our Vision Clinic is open, 8:30am - 3pm, tomorrow and then both remaining Thursdays in March. 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.
Call to Prayer

As we abandon ourselves to God’s will,
Father, we come to you.
As we allow prayer to change our lives,
Father, we come to you.
As we move from “give me” to “make me your servant,”
Father, we come to you.