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Vinnies 150th anniversary forum to plot future directions

St Vincent de Paul members from around Australia will gather in Melbourne on Sunday for the Future DIrections Forum, designed to showcase the good works of the Society and share ideas for the future.

This Future Direction Forum is the final event of the 150th celebrations in Melbourne and with this renewed passion for justice the Society will be well placed to continue to reach out to those seeking our support in the future.

It will follow tomorrow's 150th anniversary Mass in Central Melbourne's St Francis Church, the birthplace of Vinnies in Australia.

Other events that have taken place this week include the 2004 Ozanam Lecture in St Francis, with human rights advocate Fr Frank Brennan SJ (pictured) as the speaker.

Fr Brennan's message challeged members to consider whether they are helping the poor while standing "with" or "apart" from the poor.

"Especially in the better off schools, there are many questions... If it weren't for Mr X paying his taxes, there would be no money to pay these people welfare. After many years, I gave up trying to answer these questions or to refute these comments. In response, I ask only one question: Which side of the river are you standing on as you ask your questions?"

Also in Melbourne, the Society officially opened its new administrative premises in Box Hill yesterday. They were opened by Premier Steve Bracks, blessed by Archbishop Denis Hart, and named after Vinnies' Australian founder Fr Gerald Ward.

Opening Gerald Ward House (St Vincent de Paul Society 20/5/04)
Future Directions (St Vincent de Paul Society 20/5/04)
The Church's Voice and State Powers for Justice and Peace: Seeking Decency, Harmony and Equality for All - Frank Brennan SJ AO, 2004 Ozanam Lecture 20/5/04)

Vinnies begins 150th celebrations with pilgrimage (CathNews 19/5/04)
St Vincent de Paul Society
St Vincent de Paul: An Australian Journey Since 1854 (Commemorative publication PDF downloadable from Australian Catholics website)
Encounter: The Vinnies Story (ABC Radio 29/2/04)

21 May 2004