St. Vincent de Paul Society (SVP)
St Georges SVP meets every Thursday at 7.00pm, except the third Thursday of each month.http://www.svp.org.uk
In 22nd August 1997, His Holiness the Pope beatified Blessed Frederick Ozanam, the founder of the St Vincent de Paul Society,known to many as SVP. Frederick Ozanam was a student at the Sorbonne university at a time when there was acute poverty in 19th Century Paris. There was much hostility towards the Church. People felt that the Church talked about the problem but did very little by way of action. Critics accused Catholics of failing to demonstrate their faith by any kind of practical help for the poor
The answer from 20 year old Frederick Ozanam and six of his fellow students was to form the SVP. They had their first meeting in 1833, adopted St Vincent de Paul as their patron and commenced visiting the poor of Paris in their homes to try to alleviate their suffering. Such was the need that within a year, the Society had grown from the original seven to over 100 members and quickly spread beyond Paris into the Provinces and then throughout Europe, reaching England in 1844. Frederick Ozanam himself visited the poor in London and was a persistent advocate of social reform He gave active and spiritual leadership to the SVP right up to his early death at the age of 40. His legacy was the continued growth of the SVP throughout the world and he was held up as an example of Christian action to help the poor and deprived.
St George’s Church was established in 1850 the School and the SVP in 1852 the majority of its first parishioners were the poverty
The newly arrived families were at first not allowed within the city walls and had to camp on Low Moor next to the Retreat Hospital and if it had not being for William Tuke and the Quakers who sheltered, fed and clothed them they would have all perished. Eventually they were allowed in and mostly settled in the Walmgate area of York. Poverty and living conditions were so severe that one infant in four did not reach its first birthday. It was these conditions that St. Georges SVP was set up.stricken refugees from the Irish Potato Famine.
As the slums were cleared, the Catholic population formally served by St. Georges, moved into new housing.
As the slums were cleared, the Catholic population formally served by St. Georges, moved into new housing in the suburbs, new church’s were built and new conferences formed. Slowly the focus of SVP work changed as Social Reforms brought improvements in living conditions.
Today in the 21st Century, the cornerstone of the work of the SVP is visiting the elderly, the sick and disabled the lonely and the housebound, either in their own homes, residential, nursing homes or hospitals.
Every year members organise a Mass for the sick followed by a social gathering with entertainment and a trip out to the coast including tea ( usually by popular demand fish and chips).
The photographs are of parishioners enjoying a day out.