Get Involved: Become a Vincentian

Join us in our mission of helping the poor, the needy and the disadvantaged across Long Island.

Inspired by St. Vincent de Paul, formed by the example of Blessed Frédéric Ozanam, founder of the Society, Vincentians are ordinary men and women from every walk of life who are united in their commitment to growing spiritually through personal involvement with the poor. When you become a Vincentian, you join an international family of laymen and women who follow after Christ in an effort to bring hope and love to a hurting world.

Vincentians are formed in conferences (volunteer groups), of which there are 58 on Long Island (29 in Nassau and 29 in Suffolk. Click here to see if we have a conference in your town.

Although each conference operates independently and decides which programs and services they will offer based on the needs climate in their local community, they all share the same core values and abide by a few basic rules set by the National Office of the Society, located in St. Louis, MO.

All Conferences participate in the following:

  • President, Vice President, Secretary and Treasurer Appointments – These key positions are required for all conferences.
  • Prayer – During meetings, events, and activities.
  • Vincentian member collections – Monetary support for your conference to provide assistance to people in your community.
  • Conference Meetings – Monthly meetings to discuss assistance requests, upcoming events, and Conference needs.
  • District Council Meetings (The Long Island Council is divided into four districts: Nassau North and Nassau South and Suffolk North and Suffolk South.) Each District has a President, Vice President and Treasurer. District Councils hold meetings quarterly to help the conferences in their respective regions. Please see the international organizational chart below to give you a better understanding of how we are structured.


Home visits – Conferences are required to complete home visits to families who contact us for assistance. It is customary for two trained Vincentians to make the visit together. The home visit enables us to discover a person or families comprehensive needs in addition to their initial request aid. For example, a mother may ask for help with her oil bill and during the home visit, Vincentians discover that she is also in need of food and winter coats for her children.

Home visits take place in the privacy and comfort of the family’s residence, offering a safe place for them to share the stories of struggle.

The home visit distinguishes the Society of St. Vincent de Paul from all other organizations serving the poor. The manner in which help is offered and provided is often more important than the relief given. That personal touch, the one-to-one encounter with a needy person or family, is the balm that helps the healing process begin.

Conference programs and services include but are not limited to:

  • Direct Financial Aid – Monetary support give to individuals and families for various needs including rent/mortgage and utility payments, prescriptions, food, transportation, burials and many other needs.
  • Food Pantries – We have 14 SVDPLI run pantries, which are operated solely by SVDPLI Vincentians. We also support 28 other pantries operated by Parish Social Ministry, which is the community outreach arm of the parish and Catholic Charities.
  • Clothing and Furniture Aid – Distribution of clothing and/or furniture vouchers that are redeemed by families at SVDPLI Thrift Stores.
  • Transportation Assistance – In the form of metro cards for the bus and train.
  • Moral Support – Sometimes, an ear to listen and a shoulder to cry on is just the medicine that someone needs to keep going.
  • Spiritual comfort – When welcomed, Vincentians provide spiritual support to those whom they visit. This may include praying with them, leaving a prayer card or a bible after a visit, or inviting them to church. No one is required to accept spiritual guidance in order to receive assistance.

The Vincentians bring with them all the resources of the Conference and the Central Council, whatever is needed to help resolve the problem and make people’s lives better. Relief is offered without passing judgment and with no strings attached.

In 2014, Vincentians across Long Island conducted 5,829 home visits, contributed over 98,000 volunteer hours, helped feed over 74,000 people, and provided nearly $3.9 million in financial and material assistance.

Programs Offered by the Central Council for Vincentians:

  • Ozanam Orientation – A required training for new Vincentians
  • Blessed Frédéric Ozanam Day – Vincentian training opportunity with educational workshops
  • Blessed Rosalie Rendu Day – Vincentian training opportunity with educational workshops
  • Communion Breakfast – Spiritual enrichment opportunity to fellowship with fellow Vincentians  from across Long Island
  • Invitation for Renewal – a leadership formation program for current and emerging Vincentian leaders that develops and strengthens them to move the Society forward in ways that are true to both our spiritual foundation and the needs of those who are poor today.

If you are interested in becoming a Vincentian, please contact the conference associated with your parish directly. For further assistance, you may also contact James Claffey, Director of Formation and Programs at (516) 822-3132 or email us at

Don’t have a conference in your parish? Consider starting a conference.

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