St. John’s Parish Conference members of the Society of St. Vincent De Paul (SSVD) distributed basic needs food to 28 families in St. John’s Parish, Mandalay in Myanmar on May 14.
"There are 28 families in St. John's Parish supported by the conference of SSVP. Finding donors, we help the needy with rice, oil, and groceries like this from time to time,” said U Kyaw Kyaw Naing, the conference secretary of SSVP. “Sometimes we help them with their health. We pay a visit to the hospitals to encourage the sick."
Conference members of SSVP went to every house and could support 6 pyi (bowl of rice), 50 tickles of oil, 10 eggs, 25 tickles of dried fish, one viss (a Burmese unit of measure for weight, equivalent to approximately 1.63293 Kg (or 3.6 pounds) of onions, a packet of salt, a bar of soap and 2000 kyats to 28 families each.
"Though it is hard and sometimes needs to use my own money, I am happy as I can help those in difficulties," said U Kyaw Kyaw Naing.
The members of the society of St. Vincent De Paul at the level of a parish, town, suburb, school, university, workplace, ethnic or social group endorsed by the appropriate council are called the conference. The members of the society of St. Vincent De Paul are known as Vincentians.
The Vincentians helped the born-sick child with money for medicines and helped to find the blood donors for 20 bottles of blood for transfusion. The child is now a year and 8 months old.
They helped an elderly paralyzed man to the clinic. Although he has two children, one child is mentally ill. They could not help their father. When the patient needed physical exercises, the members went to his home and helped do the exercises. His health was improving now.
The secretary said, “We also helped those who could not afford the burial. Cremation is less costly than burial so some Christians desired to do the cremation. We found the donors to help them for the funeral to be carried out according to the Christian rites of burial. There were 3 to 4 such cases last year.”
For the fund-raising, the members sold various things and kept a donation box at the church. When the churches were closed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, they were difficult to get the fund. They had totally depended on the donors. They usually get donations by posting on social media such as Facebook about their activities and stories.
"Once we decided not to upload anything about our activities, the result is that we received fewer donations, as people don't recognize our activities. It reflects the benefits of uploading our activities," U Kyaw Kyaw Naing pointed out.
According to the record of the SSVP headquarter office in France, the conference of St. John SSVP has been organized since May 7, 1911, and has been conducting its activities since August 15, 1912.
The norms to whom to support are being widows or widowers, having many family members, most of whom are incapable of earning enough and struggling with renting houses, and the sick and elderly without any children to look after them.
A member of SSVP expressed, “I am happy and proud to be a member of SSVP although I have to use my own money on the petrol for the car and dinner. The reason is the joy I feel after helping the needy in their difficult times for their health and education.”
SSVP is not an ordinary organization but a society that beautifies the world, said the spiritual director of the SSVP national council, Father John Soe Tint.
A person who is taking support from SSVP said, "We feel happy whenever the conference members of SSVP come to distribute things to us. It is very supportive for my family, especially in such a difficult time to live. There are eight family members in my family, so it is great to support us."
Together with the conference president, Daw Sai Bu, and the secretary, U Kyaw Kyaw Naing, seven active members are carrying out the duties of SSVP by helping our brothers and sisters who are sick and need the help. – Pinky and Marcus Nyi Nyi Htun/RVA Myanmar
Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.” Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.