Feast of St Vincent de Paul
Most of us know about St Vincent de Paul through the good work that the Society of St Vincent de Paul does in our parishes. Certainly every parish in Ireland now has a ‘chapter’ of the society and they have their collection every Sunday after Mass.
Born in France around 1580 and ordained in 1600 he was taken as a slave by North African pirates in 1605 and was held for two years before he escaped. He also found the Vincentian order of priest and the Daughters of Charity order of nuns.
St Vincent was known mostly for his works of charity. It is said of the saint that although always busy and often being honoured by the kings and queens of his day, his soul was always rooted on God and that he lived a life of contemplation in the midst of society; he was truly a ‘contemplative in action.’
The gospel that the church has chosen for today is from Matthew 9. Jesus looks at the crowd and sees that they are lost and like sheep without a shepherd.
Look at our world today: ISIS, Syria, Afghanistan and so many places in Africa at war, and we have no one to lead us. We feel lost.
There is always need of a shepherd and that is why the visits of the pope to places where we would almost think he has no business is important. The symbolism of a man of God entering a country cannot be overstated.