Our Ministry

Inspired by Gospel values, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, a Catholic lay organization, joins women and men together to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are in need and suffering. It operates in the tradition of its founder, Blessed Frederic Ozanam, and its patron saint, St. Vincent de Paul.

As a reflection of the whole family of God, Members, who are known as Vincentians, are drawn from every ethnic and cultural background, age group, and economic level. Vincentians are united in an international society of charity by their spirit of poverty, humility and sharing, which is nourished by prayer and reflection, mutually supportive gatherings and adherence to a basic Rule.

Organized locally, Vincentians witness God’s love by embracing all works of charity and justice. The Society collaborates with other people of good will in relieving need and addressing its causes, making no distinction in those served because, in them, Vincentians see the face of Christ..

The Grand Rapids Conference

Structurally, St. Vincent de Paul is organized by Councils and Conferences. A Conference is the basic unit of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and this is where our strength lies. The mission of the Conference is to join together in a bond of friendship and to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to those who are needy and suffering in the tradition of our Founder, Frederick Ozanam and patron, St. Vincent de Paul. Most Conferences operate within a Catholic Church but it doesn’t have to be that way. A Conference may be established at schools and universities and/ or around specific ministries, like prisoner reform.

The Grand Rapids Conference consists of five Catholic churches:
St. Adalbert's
St. Anthony of Padua
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Big Rapids
St. Robert of Newminster (in process), and
Immaculate Heart of Mary

At the local level these five churches and their volunteer members work to serve the poor in various ways. Several raise monies to assist those in need with rent, utilities and medical assistance while IHM specializes in working with the Burmese Refugee Program.

Representatives from each church form one Board of Directors which also oversees the St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store in Grand Rapids. The thrift store is a “special project” of the Conference and it cannot exist without the Conference. The Conference however, can continue without the thrift store and could in fact choose various other special projects of its choice such as food pantries, emergency housing programs, etc.

Recruitment for new members is ongoing at each church and all the Catholic churches in the Grand Rapids and surrounding area are welcome to join the Grand Rapids Conference.

Our Board Members

All of our Board Members are representatives of local Catholic Churches and Conferences:

  •James White, President
    St. Adalbert Conference

  • Colleen Kissane, Treasurer

  • Marilyn Hawkins
    St. Anthony Conference

  • Joe Tierney
    IHM Conference

  • LuAnn VanHorn
    St. Adalbert Conference

  • Jim Kline
    St. Anthony Conference

  • Thomas Gole
    V.P. of Formation
    St. Anthony Conference

  • Paul Kosiaria
    St. Pius Church
Our Thrift Store

St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store is a special project of the Grand Rapids Conference. The Conference can survive without the thrift store but the thrift store cannot survive without the Conference. For instance, the Conference could decide to close the thrift store and instead open a dental clinic or a low-income housing unit. To learn more about our store, please click below.

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