We’re all in this together.

Estamos juntos en esto. 

Chúng ta cùng sát cánh bên nhau.

 

Society of St. Vincent de Paul 

Annual Black Bag Collection

Every year, and only once a year, there is a collection made throughout every parish in the Galveston-Houston Archdiocese that is dedicated to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.  Despite being closely tied to the Archdiocese, we do not receive support from the Diocesan Service Fund (DSF) like some of our sister organizations such as Catholic Charities or San Jose Clinic.  The funds collected during this one weekend play a crucial role in our ability to fund our programs that feed, clothe, provide dignified living, and help people find their way to self-sufficiency.  Our Food Network, Voucher Ministry and our ability to provide the support necessary to those volunteers in a ten county area who provide the Home Visit Ministryare all vital programs that rely on our Black Bag collection, individual donations outside of the parishes, corporate and foundation support.

Screen Shot 2017-04-10 at 3.50.34 PMThis year’s Black Bag collection is July 8-9, 2017

Why we use “Black Bags”

In 1833 Frederic Ozanam- age 19 (founder of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul) along with 6 friends from his University heard God calling them to serve the poor.  They met with Blessed Sr. Rosalie Rendu who taught them how to visit the poor in their homes – this to help them fully experience the pain and suffering these people were experiencing.  After visiting the poor the group of University Students decided they needed money to continue this work.  They decided to pool their resources together; however, so as not to embarrass each other as to how much each could afford to give they decided to take a secret collection using a common black bag.  Using the Black Bag today enables everyone to give what they can afford without being judged by their neighbor.  The Black Bag established in the early 1800’s still continues to this day to provide the resources needed to care for the needs of the poor and marginalized in our community.  The passing of the Black Bag from person to person brings the Body of Christ together in the mission of caring for our neighbors.

The Spirituality of the Black Bag

Just as the spirit of charity moves among us all, the passing of the Black Bag in parishes, companies and neighborhoods is passed from hand to hand. As we act, one in the spirit of giving, the lowly cloth bag is transformed into something beautiful and deeply spiritual among friends. Yes, there is a spirituality of the Black Bag .We should all be aware of the joy in giving to the Lord.