SSVP Systemic Change Workshop


SSVP Systemic Change Workshop

A Systemic Change workshop was held in Burlington Ontario on April 28, 2018. The objective was to bring together SSVP Social Justice representatives and others from the Catholic Community from across Hamilton and Niagara Diocese areas so they could share their social justice work, share stories and learn from each other. It was attended by 41 Vincentians from 18 conferences. 9 different cities were represented.

Presentations were made by a number of speakers on a variety of topics. Speakers included Sarah Guinta from the office of Justice and Peace for the Diocese of Hamilton. She spoke of the social justice initiatives being undertaken by the Diocese. They are helping parishes in developing parish based teams. Also they are focusing on social justice initiatives and education in the high schools.

A presentation on the initiatives of the Halton Catholic Children’s Education Foundation was made. Marc Clare, the Executive Director of the group, told of their efforts to help kids in need through the school system.

A presentation on the De Mazenod Door project to the poor in the Hamilton inner city was given by Sherri Ramirez, the Outreach coordinator for St. Patrick’s Parish in Hamilton. This door ministry to the poor in the inner city has been running since 2012. They support around 400 people per day with a hot meal. Other parishes contribute financially as well.

Immaculate Heart of Mary Parish in Stoney Creek helps this cause as well. Larry and Laura Mackisoc told us of how they prepare a hot meal once a month and bring the food to the De Mazenod Door.

The prison ministry initiative led by Deacon Brian Dunn was presented. The prison release kit program provides a backpack full of items to help those being released from jail to get started again. They are packed by students and items are funded by donations including funding from the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Society.

Pauline Jones representing the Halton SSVP conferences spoke of their initiatives. She informed us of a dental toolkit that is available for Conferences to take with them that described the "how to" in providing help to this poorly assisted, very important part of an individual’s overall health.

As part of a round table discussion, the "Fill a Purse for Your Sister" was presented. This project was developed when it was apparent that many ladies specifically were in need of the general contents of a purse. The “word" spread and donations came in from a much broader number of sources than expected. Approximately 800 purses were donated. The Conference was able to meet their identified needs and also able to give a significant overflow to other worthy areas.

The group went away energized and ready to continue to work with those in need to change the situations in their lives.

Deacon John Girolami
SSVP Social Justice Area Rep
Hamilton/Niagara Area