Students Focus on Diversity at Assembly

Group shot of students who attended the Society’s 2018 National Assembly

L to R: Caitlin Capri Neier; Rachel Burgos; and Chan Henry

October 2, 2018

Three St. John’s University students who serve as members on the St. Vincent de Paul Society’s Executive Board attended the Society’s 2018 National Assembly this past summer in San Diego, CA. They gathered with more than 700 Vincentians from across the country to commemorate the theme, “One Society Serving in Hope.”

“I welcomed the opportunity to meet people from all over the world who share my passion,” said Caitlin Capri Neier, Vice President of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul on the Queens, NY, campus, and an Ozanam Scholar majoring in Adolescent Education in The School of Education. “I feel so blessed and excited to begin implementing what we learned at the assembly at our conference here at St. John’s. One of the greatest feelings isknowing that I’m never alone; I will always have my Vincentian family.”

At the assembly, Caitlin was joined by St. John’s students Rachel Burgos, President of the St. John’s chapter of the St. Vincent de Paul Society, a Catholic Scholar, and a Radiologic Sciences major in the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences; and Chan Henry, the Society’s Treasurer and a Psychology major in St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

They collaborated with other youth and young adult Vincentians who share their passion for serving those in need. At a variety of workshops, the group focused on brainstorming ways to increase membership and emphasize diversity among this population in the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

This year, one of the goals of St. John’s University’s chapter of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul is to promote and incorporate the importance of diversity and inclusion within the student body. Members have been networking with other organizations on campus and promoting the Society of St. Vincent de Paul as an inclusive Society that serves and welcomes all.

Students listened to a keynote address from Rev. Aidan R. Rooney, C.M., Vice President for Mission Integration at Niagara University, on “Embracing the World: What would Frédéric Do (WWFD)?”. The group analyzed a letter written by Blessed Frédéric Ozanam and were asked to connect what he said about doing for others to the society we live in today. Hosffman Ospino, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Hispanic Ministry and Religious Education at Boston College’s School of Theology and Ministry, presented an informational session on “US Catholicism in the 21st Century,” in which he addressed the needs of the changing world.

All youth and young adults who attended the assembly participated in a day of service at PATH (People Assisting the Homeless) in San Diego, CA. They packed toiletry bags and bags of food, prepared sandwiches for lunch, sorted and organized clothes in the thrift store, and helped at an ice cream social. At PATH, clients can get support in employment, outreach, housing navigation, and interim housing.