On the Street - December 2023

On the Street - December 2023

On the Street Experience from Fellow Vincentian at St. John the Divine Parish.
For the last few St. Louise de Marillac Youth Conference, “On the Street Events”, we have been blessed with Pat and Conrad Marcotte weathering the extremes of the outdoors, from the heat of May, to the rainy cold of December, lending a helping hand with a smile.

They are true disciples of Our Lord God,
serving with love, respect, justice, and JOY.
Enjoy the words of our friends and fellow Vincentians, Pat and Conrad

Let me begin with a confession. It was not something that I looked forward to doing when I read the dismal forecast for that Sunday afternoon. My husband and I had accepted an invitation to join the St. Louise de Marillac Youth Conference for their “On the Street” event. For weeks in advance, these young Vincentians had gathered warm clothing, food donations, toiletries, sundries, and small hardware items and had organized a hand out on the streets of London, Ontario.

The cold steady rain that fell did not deter the young people from their purpose and it also did not dampen the grateful spirits of the recipients we met that afternoon.

We were assigned to the hardware table and we were met with cheerful smiles and wonderment for the array of items on display, such as bungee cords, duct tape, waterproof matches, candles, mini flashlights, ponchos, tie wraps, blankets, and other useful items.

Our service was a humbling experience. The gratitude of our guests was overwhelming, as they politely thanked us over and over again for being out in the rain. And yet they themselves were drenched, patiently lined up and eagerly waiting to receive, in all honesty, items that seemed trivial to us. Humbling experience, indeed!

St. John Paul II teaches in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 1929, ‘What is at stake is the dignity of the human person, whose defense and promotion have been entrusted to us by the Creator, and to whom the men and women at every moment of history are strictly and responsibly in debt.’

At the end of this event, the youth group donated leftover food items to the St John the Divine SSVP Conference. The food was used in the Conference’s Christmas Hamper Program which was held on December 8th 2023. There were 146 families welcomed that day to browse and choose from food items and toys and clothing. The church hall was set up like a supermarket/toy and thrift store. The gratitude expressed by our guests was effusive! We Vincentians always let the folks we serve know that their thanks is owed to generous Parishioners. Throughout the rest of the year, St John the Divine Conference manages a food cupboard, where families and individuals can get food staples along with grocery gift cards on appointment days. There are roughly 8 days during the month that families and individuals can seek assistance for food insecurity.

We thank the Youth Conference for the great honour of serving alongside them and, most especially, for inspiring us. They give us hope.

In Christ,
Pat and Conrad Marcotte