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The Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County presented the Ozanam Service Medallion, to Vincentians Jean Henderson, Hugo Gallegos, and Alan Stanley Sept. 24. At the awards ceremonies are John Denniston, Alan Stanley and Bishop Justice.

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‘Spirituality, charity, justice drive Vincentians,’ new SVdP prez says
November 1st, 2016
By Tom Burke

Though I have never met a member of the St. Vincent de Paul Society who would claim any credit for the work he or she does, as a longtime witness to the goodness they have wrought I can say with confidence, and humbly in their shadow, they have all earned their stripes as hardworking tillers of the Lord’s soil.

Martin Duda is among the Vincentian number and has recently taken office as president of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of San Mateo County. He came to SVdP 20 years ago when he joined the parish conference at St. Mark’s in Belmont. It immediately took him face to face with the poor. “Once I understood the need in our community, there was no turning back,” Marty told me via email.

Since then, Marty, now of Our Lady of the Pillar conference in Half Moon Bay, has held various roles in SVdP at the conference and district level including providing support for new members. “New Vincentians are the lifeblood of our organization and need to be nurtured,” he said.

As president, Marty looks to “sustain the spirituality, charity and justice that drive Vincentians to carry out their mission each and every day,” a pledge echoing back to the call of SVdP founder Frederic Ozanam. Marty also seeks to “hammer out a strategic plan to ensure we prioritize and address the needs most critical to our community” and maintain “the safety net programs while addressing systemic change initiatives to help end the cycle of poverty.”

Who is right for SVdP? “SVdP is not for everyone,” Marty said. “It is easy to judge those in need. It can be difficult to understand how someone ends up in the situations they face. Anyone who truly believes they are blessed and fortunate to have the life they enjoy, but understand that their neighbor may not be so fortunate might consider becoming a Vincentian.”

Social Justice is a cornerstone of the church and SVdP, Marty said: “The St. Vincent de Paul Society is at the forefront of putting this teaching into action. It was true in 1833 France when our founder Blessed Frederic Ozanam founded the Society and it is just as true in 2016. All God’s children deserve and receive the compassion of Vincentians worldwide.”

Marty could not name his best moments with SVdP only because he has loved every one. “I’ve never had a bad moment as a Vincentian,” he said. “Vincentians are some of the best people I have ever been associated with. I receive so much more than I could ever give.”

JUBILEE: A former member of the faculty at St. Paul High School, San Francisco celebrates 70 years as a religious in 2016. Sister Dorothy Gaffney, a Sister of Charity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, taught at St. Paul’s in the ‘60s as well as in elementary schools in states including Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois at other times. Sister Dorothy marked the occasion with members of her community Sept. 11 at Mount Carmel Motherhouse Chapel in Dubuque.

ROLL ‘EM: Movies are continuing at Star of the Sea parish, San Francisco. The series’ first flick “Dial M for Murder” dialed up a good crowd of more than 60, Star’s Claire Herrick told me. “It was great to watch a classic and build community,” she said. Next up is “The Lavender Hill Mob” Nov. 12 with the fun starting at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free and hot dogs, nachos, popcorn and beverages are available for purchase.

Email items and electronic pictures – jpegs at no less than 300 dpi to or mail to Street, One Peter Yorke Way, San Francisco 94109. Include a follow-up phone number. Street is toll-free. My phone number is (415) 614-5634.

From November 3, 2016 issue of Catholic San Francisco.


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