THE new St Vincent de Paul Society centre was blessed by the Catholic Bishop of Armidale, Michael Kennedy, on Sunday afternoon ahead of the official opening this Thursday by State President, Ray Reynolds.
Bishop Kennedy congratulated members of the diocesan building committee and the local conference on their vision in establishing such a well designed centre to cater for the needs of future generations.
He asked God’s blessing on those who worked at the centre and the people they served in the community.
“Bless all those who will use this building as conference and volunteer members, those seeking care and support, those who donate and those who buy, so that by respecting justice and charity, they will see themselves as working for the common good and find joy in contributing to the progress of the earthly city.”
The ceremony was attended by 60 members and supporters of the society who travelled from
various parts of the Diocese of Armidale.
Prayers were also offered by members of the St Vincent de Paul Society, with Bishop Kennedy entering each room to
sprinkle holy water and “ask God to look kindly on all who enter here”.
Bishop Kennedy then unveiled a plaque which will be installed on an exterior wall of the centre.
Diocesan Vice-President of the St Vincent de Paul Society, Society member, Don Hewitt, provided a brief history of the planning and construction of the building and made special reference to the outstanding work of Society members in Gunnedah in providing support for needy people over a long period of time.
Special mention was made of the late Ossie and Beryl Campbell who were an example to younger Vincentians in the way they cared for homeless people and truly followed the ideals set by the society’s founder, Frederic Ozanam in 1833.
“The building has been designed to accommodate the work of the society in Gunnedah for many years to come,” Mr Hewitt said.
“It was built in recognition of the long and proud history of society activities in Gunnedah and district.
“The foresight of the past members in procuring such a valuable location for the double function of raising funds by reselling donated goods and providing a private entrance for those in need has allowed the planners to design a most appropriate building.
“Gunnedah is fortunate indeed to have received a grant of money from the State Council of the Society so that local funds can be used to provide for those who seek our assistance.”
A luncheon followed the blessing with Bishop Kennedy moving on to Wee Waa for the dedication of a new altar before returning to Gunnedah for the funeral Mass of Fr Stan Campbell in St Joseph’s Church on Tuesday.
The State President of the Society in NSW, Ray Reynolds, will officially open the building on Thursday at 11am.