“We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves. Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up” (Romans 15: 1-2).
During the summer, we tend to spend more time outdoors. Whether it’s sitting outside on the front porch, gardening, mowing the lawn, or meeting up at the community pool, it seems like we’re always bumping into someone we know, or maybe making the acquaintance of a neighbor that we didn’t already know. Summer’s warm evenings and late sunsets make it a great time to get to know your neighbors better if you don’t already. It’s a time to take a break from the monotony of busy day to day routines, turn off the electronic devices and go enjoy nature and talking to people face to face.
Getting to know your neighbors might mean just chatting with them, or maybe helping them out and looking out for them. Maybe you get to know an elderly neighbor and check in on them during the extremely hot weather to make sure their home is cool enough, or help with mowing their lawn, or taking out the trash. Or maybe you have a neighbor who is going through a rough patch financially, and you bring them some fresh vegetables or fruit from your garden to help supplement their meals. You might have a neighbor who needs help with childcare, perhaps a mom who needs someone to watch her kids occasionally when she goes to work. Perhaps your neighbor has recently lost a loved one, and just needs someone to keep them company. Sometimes you just need to get to know your neighbor a little bit, and you might find out that you can help them greatly.
Saint Vincent de Paul Society is all about neighbors helping neighbors. It’s about caring people helping their neighbors in need of the very basic necessities, such as food, clothing, shelter, transportation and emotional support in times of need. Care and compassion from one neighbor to another can transform lives, both that of the person giving and the person receiving. Jesus preached that we should love our neighbors as we love ourselves. In providing assistance to the suffering and needy, we ourselves can grow spiritually.
One of the ways in which members of the Saint Vincent de Paul Society help neighbors is by making person to person visits, in homes, hospitals and prisons. By participating, you can help your neighbors in various ways, such as helping them achieve positive lifestyle changes, giving them emotional support and comfort, and by providing the gift of lasting friendship.
The Saint Vincent de Paul Society of Philadelphia has many ways, customized to each local community, for you to transform the lives of your neighbors as well as your own life. Like that of its founder, blessed Frédéric Ozanam, the vision of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul “is to embrace the world in a network of charity.”