turning concern into action
If you missed the summer edition of the Parish Magazine here is a brief summary.
What is Mini Vinnies?
The Society of St. Vincent de Paul has been engaging with young people and education since its earliest days. Today the SVP England & Wales is pleased to highlight its continuing strong links with young people, through the development of its new 'Mini Vinnies' programme - a ground-breaking Primary Schools initiative, piloted in the Diocese of Shrewsbury, and which is seen as having, "the potential to significantly contribute to the future of our Society." A Mini Vinnie group may be the first opportunity for our children to be exposed in a structured and sensitive way to Social Justice Issues.
The Diocese of Leeds was invited to join the initiative in October of 2014 and the first school to be commissioned was Our Lady’s in Seacroft.
Who are the Mini Vinnies?
'Mini Vinnies' are primary school children aged between 7 to 11 who, with the permission of their parents and the support of their Schools, are encouraged to embark on their first steps as possible 'Vincentians for life'. They are the youngest members of the SVP family.
A group of 10 to 15 children are selected and a Commissioning Liturgy is held in the school and the Parish Priest, parents and local SVP members all attend. It is a spiritual and moving ceremony. During this ceremony the Mini Vinnies make their pledge and recite their special prayer. They then get together weekly or fortnightly, organise and talk about helping others in their school, parish and the community.
As Mini Vinnies, the youngsters have their own 'treasured' Prayer, Pledge and Badge, a certificate, a notebook and a dedicated website www.minivinnies.org.uk, a special song and a range of bright and colourful documents which guide them in their formative steps - helping and enabling them to become, in every sense, young Vincentians - or 'Mini Vinnies'.
What Happens at a Mini Vinnie Meeting?
- The President opens the meeting with the Mini Vinnie Prayer
- A short Spiritual Reading / Reflection / Piece of music or a Meditation
- Group members then talk about the Mini Vinnies activities they have done since the previous meeting
- Any future plans are discussed
- The President concludes with a prayer The Commissioned Schools
Since the last edition of the Parish Magazine more Mini Vinnie groups are now participating. The schools with groups are:
St. Mary’s (Rothwell)
St. Philips’ (Middleton)
Immaculate Heart of Mary
St. Peter and Paul (Yeadon)
St. John the Baptist (Wakefield)
St. Francis of Assisi (Beeston)
St. Joseph’s (Otley)
Holy Family (Wortley)
St. Paul’s (Alwoodley)
Our Lady's (Seacroft)
St. Joseph’s (Wetherby)
St. Anthony’s (Beeston)
Before the end of term there will be another 11 schools in our Diocese Commissioned. It was not anticipated that this project would prosper so quickly but many Head Teachers and Staff agree the concept is so worthy and meaningful that it is a success with young people.
What Have the Mini Vinnies been doing?
Thanks to the teachers and other adults from the school who are supporting the group local SVP members who keep regular contact, the Mini Vinnie’s have been busy in their local schools, communities and parishes:
They are all busy collecting food for the food bank and taking it to the St. Vincent’s Support Centre on York Road. Some schools are supporting food banks and shelters in their own areas. Mini Vinnie groups led special assemblies and lunchtime Rosarys and Novenas. They have also been busy fundraising and money was raised and sent to various appeals the Society support – Twinnage- the SVP's support for members in the developing world in Sudan (Baby Appeal) and India (Education Project) and some monies used to help those in need in the local community.
Many Mini Vinnies took part in the North Leeds fun run and proceeds went to the Ann Maguire Educational Trust. During the summer holidays, with adult supervision, the Mini Vinnies kept busy and have been visiting residential care homes for the elderly and some of the housebound in their Parish and helping at luncheon clubs. Over one hundred Mini Vinnies and their families took part in the SVP annual sponsored walk at Eccup in September.
The Mini Vinnies are giving their time and their talents to help others. Please remember in your prayers the young people – that they will ‘Turn Concern into Action’ by meeting, thinking and talking about their spirituality and connecting their beliefs and values with their practical activities and tasks in the school, parish and community so they can help make their faith real.
I will keep you all posted about the developments, events and progress of the Mini Vinnies in our Diocese.