Social justice balance



It may surprise many people to learn that the function of advertising is not to create sales, but to build or drive traffic, to raise visibility. This applies not just in a retail context but also in recruiting. In marketing terms, “Promotion” gets someone in the door. This principle is applicable to recruiting volunteers as well.

At my conference’s last meeting, we were discussing the challenges of recruiting; we discussed as well the changing demographics of parishioners attending Mass. Are the parishioners really aware of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul and what the Society does, even if the priest refers persons in need to the Conference when they call the parish’s secretariat for assistance? This discussion then led to the need of stewardship of our donors, informing the parishioners of the number of families or individuals assisted - that their donations are helping the local community. This communication is performed in all humility as Archbishop Emeritus Sylvain Lavoie, the National Council Spiritual Advisor, regularly reinforces in his messages. This communication is also a form of promotion, an opportunity to recruit new members who accept the basic principles and values of the Society and its Mission.

But as part of the recruiting process, are we following up with prospective members when interest is shown? What is the first impression we are leaving when meeting prospective members? How many times have parishioners come to an introductory meeting but are never seen again? Did we fail at genuinely welcoming them, giving them something meaningful to do, listening to their questions; or was it simply describing who we are and what we can offer them in our essential elements of spirituality, service, and friendship? We must not shoot the messenger of advertising and promotion; instead, we need to improve our introduction and its benefits to join the Society!

Most of this visibility, marketing, promotion, is local. Conference meetings and the works of the Society is local. Larger Councils, including the National Council, have supportive roles to play, such as advertising through media on a larger scale than what is achievable by individual conferences. Relationship building with people and groups in large numbers occurs locally. This is especially true when we seek out greater diversity in our members, whether it be through age, ethnicity, skill sets, or other distinguishing characteristics.

What’s next? We are already in May, and fall is just around the corner. Conferences should always be in a recruiting mode, but with the late spring and summer fast approaching, it may be difficult to have a large recruiting drive in the coming weeks before we start complaining it is too hot; but it is the right time to start planning the recruiting drives for September and October.

As well, just before the summer, do not forget the Annual National Formation (ANF) in Ottawa June 17-18. Come to reconnect with your fellow Vincentians, to fill that Hunger for spirituality and human contact.

Richard Pommainville, Executive Director
National Council


Annual National Formation (ANF)

Ottawa, Ontario
June 17 and 18, 2022




We are slowly returning to “normal” after two years of following different local/regional/provincial Public Health requirements. As 2021 financial and statistics reports are being received, we have a better understanding of the impact the pandemic had on conference life, where certain conferences have managed to continue and even thrive, while others went dormant. This latter situation implies that some conferences are not in a position to cover their annual dues.

Since multiple conferences are not in a position to cover their dues, this ultimately has an impact on the National Council of Canada revenues since a significant portion of these dues cover the day-to-day operations. Based on current information received, there is a contributions gap in the order of $35,000.

We are therefore reaching out to conferences and councils that are capable of providing some financial coverage for sister conferences who would not be in a position to pay their annual dues. Funds can be sent to National via the donation portal:


Or by sending a cheque to the National office at:

2463 Innes Road, Ottawa ON  K1B 3K3

Dave O'Connor, Treasurer
National Council



"It may not be something you consider often, but the work we do through the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul has an aspect of covenant love. We care for the marginalized in our community in His name. It is a gift, a mere reflection of God's compassion for the poor freely given to those in need."


Ukraine flag


In solidarity with the people of Ukraine who are being pressured to leave their beloved country to flee the war, and to assist with the exodus of people from Ukraine to neighboring countries or refugees who will be coming to Canada, the National Council of Canada has established a special appeal “Emergency Ukraine”; in conjunction with the International Confederation of the Society of Saint Vincent de Paul Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD) , funds will be directed where aids will be required.

Donations can be made at:



Online communication


Canada, a donor country, maintains twinning partnerships with 21 beneficiary countries, mostly from Central and South America and the Caribbean. Two new countries have been added to this list in recent months, Barbados and Suriname. The Society has been present in Barbados since the 60's. Suriname (located in the northeast of the South American continent) is a new Vincentian territory since 2020. The Vincentians of these two new twinning countries need our moral and financial support. I invite Canadian conferences and councils to submit a “Twinning Application” for these new countries.

Clermont Fortin, Chair 
National Twinning Committee




I am looking for some of the workshops done previously around recruitment and retention purposes; where I can find materiel?


There are several resources available under the National Formation Resources repository:

Formation Resources

Around recruitment and retention”, please look at the January 28, 2021 webinar on “Rejuvenation”; there is also the March 1, 2021 webinar “The Four Pilars of Commitment”.

Since members or new volunteers bring different skillsets, there are other subjets of interest to explore. Under Fund Development, there is a suite of resources available at:

Fund Development

Linked to the Seeds of Hope initiative, there is a comprehensive tool kit available at:

Seeds of Hope

Some people have an interest in Social Justice like safe, secure and affordable housing, and there is material linked to the campaign at:

Safe Secure and Affordable Housing Is a Human Right

including the February 12, 2022 webinar.

The workshops presented at previous Annual National Formations (ANFs) held in person are accessible at:

2019 Workshops

2018 Workshops




Available in

black - blue - grey - white

Small to XXXL



We are always looking for Vincentian testimonials and conference/council activity stories. Send your stories to share with Vincentians across Canada to

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