BY Ryan McDougall | November 9 | comments icon 0 COMMENTS     print icon print


Galloway diocese celebrates vital work given to poor by SSVP on 150th anniversary

“I think there is just as much of a need now for the SSVP as there was 150 years ago," Ayr SSVP president says

THERE IS as much need now for the SSVP in Ayr as there was when the group founded 150 years ago, the branch president has said.

Members of the group have recently celebrated their landmark anniversary highlighting the life-saving charitable work SSVP has done in the community since 1868.

The Ayr branch was the second SSVP branch to form in Scotland, with the first having formed in Dumfries in 1862.

In order to mark their work in Ayr and the surrounding area over the years, Bishop William Nolan of Galloway Diocese held an anniversary Mass in St Margaret’s Cathedral.

Members from the local council, including the depute provost of the town, were invited and the cathedral was packed with parishioners, supporters and representatives of SSVP, from the town and from other divisions in Scotland.

Pat Snee, SSVP Ayr president, said: “Bishop Nolan gave a really lovely homily about the St Vincent de Paul group here in Ayr, and there was a small reception afterwards.

“We’re actually quite a small conference, but definitely one of the more active ones,” he said. “Often we respond to people phoning who are in need of food and such, and quite often people have problems with electricity or gas. We help them with their fuel bills and so on.

“We do hospital visits and that sort of thing too—basically responding to people in need.”

Mr Snee praised the contribution of parishioners at St Margaret’s Cathedral, whose work he said goes hand in hand with that of the conference.

“The thing is, there’s always someone needing help, and our parishioners always help us by letting us know about people they think might need our support,” he said.

Looking back at poverty 150 years ago compared with 2018, and SSVP’s contribution in easing the problem, Mr Snee said: “I know things are different now from when the Society of St Vincent de Paul was founded, but we still have the same levels of poverty today. Poverty is different nowadays, but we’ve still got it all over.

“I think there is just as much of a need now for the SSVP as there was 150 years ago.

“We might be apolitical, but at the same time we will stand up and make our voices known when need be.”

Following the anniversary celebrations, William Grant, the towns depute provost, said: “Until the invitation to the event on Wednesday arrived, I had no knowledge of the St Vincent de Paul Society. I believe, in a way, not knowing what the charity is is what makes it so important.

“Not only is it people raising funds for the community to help in many ways those who are in desperate need but these people seek no praise and, most important, those being helped remain anonymous in the community. I found the whole evening most rewarding. Sadly we live in very hard times and organisations like SSVP do a superb job and deserve our extreme thanks.”

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