One of the great charitable Catholic organizations is the Society of St Vincent de Paul. Today we celebrate the feast of the saint who bears that name. Born in SW France before 1580 and ordained in 1600 he devoted his life to working for the poor. He founded the Congregation of the Mission, a religious society formed specifically to preach to the people of the countryside. It has evolved into one of the leading teaching orders in the Church.
There are St Vincent de Paul groups in most parishes in the British Isles. In Ireland, where there is great social poverty due to the recession, the government has abdicated much of the responsibility for social issues unto the Catholic charitable organizations, with St Vincent de Paul taking up much of the workload.
The gospel for today's feast is Matthew 9:35-37, which relates how Jesus went through the countryside feeling sorry for the people, because they were like sheep without a shepherd. St Vincent took these words literally and many people have benefitted from his devotion to the gospel.