St. Vincent dePaul News - Tattoos on the Heart

by Bob Mackin

Sharkey was an exasperating homie, but one who is turning his life around and doing the best he can. Father G tells him that he is heroic and courageous in transforming his life far surpassing the hollow “bravery” of his barrio past. Sharkey waits for a moment and silently stares at Father G then says “Damn, G…I’m going to tattoo that on my heart.” 

The passage above is from Tattoos On The Heart written by Father Greg Boyle, a Jesuit priest, also the author of Barking To The Choir. For over 30 years he has worked with gangs in Los Angeles and is the founder of Homeboy Industries, the largest gang intervention program in the world which includes many businesses to assist in employment and rehabilitation of gang members. The books describe many, many stories of the sad plight of gang members, but more important father’s and the homies efforts in effecting amazing recoveries. He has baptized thousands and buried over 200 so expect a tear followed by a smile and a smile by a tear maybe just a few sentences later. To say the least, his books are full of love and care and certainly spiritual inspiration. He is a dynamic and charismatic speaker with a soft touch of humor as many will attest including St. V members Cathy Saffel, Jim and Lucita Valiere, Rachel Faber Machacha, myself and others I know.

The books have significant relevance to our St. Vincent de Paul conference mission. One of the themes of both books is kinship and in our work with needy folks it’s not “them” and “us” it’s only “us,” and it is we who often receive more benefit than those neighbors we attempt to assist. Father G says that all Jesus asks is, “where are you standing?” And even if sometimes there is defeat or failure, “are you still standing there?“

At St. Vincent de Paul our motto is “We’ll Be There.” It is our conference mission and commitment to make sure we are standing with our neighbors as “us” and in the right place.

Bob Mackin


Stewardship Corner

Weekly Updates from our Stewardship Commission


Who, though he was in the form of God, Did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness.

Monday, April 6, 2020
The Gospel readings today are long, both the Entry Into Jerusalem and the Passion Narrative are very long, too long for me to summarize in a few... Read More

“When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went to meet him; but Mary sat at home.”

Saturday, April 4, 2020
His good friend Lazarus has died, and just to make sure he’s good and dead, Jesus delays his arrival in Bethany for two days. When he finally... Read More

“If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you are saying, ‘We see,’ so your sin remains.” Jesus to some Pharisees at the end of the controversy over the Man Born Blind

Thursday, March 19, 2020
Once upon a time I was working in another parish sitting with some volunteers as we waited for an event to begin. Somehow idle chatter turned to... Read More

Novena of Grace Goes Online!

Sunday, March 15, 2020
The Ignatian Spirituality Center hosts a Novena of Grace every Lent. The pandemic closed down the live events so they went online this year. The... Read More

When the Samaritans came to him, they invited him to stay with them; and he stayed there two days.

Thursday, March 12, 2020
This is the end of the Woman at the Well story in John. Jesus has met this Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well at noon. She is there because... Read More

“Rise and do not be afraid.” Jesus to Peter, James and John after the transfiguration

Friday, February 28, 2020
There it is again, the angelic comfort, “Do not be afraid.” This time, however, it comes from Jesus, who is pulling his inner circle... Read More

The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it.

Sunday, February 23, 2020
Oh, my. The story of The Fall. St Augustine says that evil arises from choosing the lesser good. The tree offered food, beauty, wisdom but it... Read More

For the Spirit scrutinizes everything, even the depths of God.

Sunday, February 16, 2020
Wow. Let that settle in. Even the depths of God???!!!  Those of you who missed the talk by Fr. Michael Raschko (retired professor of... Read More