St. Vincent de Paul hosts first Care Café Print E-mail
Around the Diocese
Written by Kevin Wondrash, Catholic Herald Staff   
Thursday, Apr. 07, 2016 -- 12:00 AM

paul chryst
University of Wisconsin-Madison head football coach Paul Chryst gives a talk on “The Power of Teamwork” as the guest speaker at the first ever St. Vincent de Paul Care Café at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison on March 29. (Catholic Herald photo/Kevin Wondrash)

MADISON -- It was a change-of-pace start of the day for many supporters of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul (SVdP) in Madison.

The organization recently held its first Care Café community fundraising breakfast at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison.

It was a chance for SVdP to show the community the local work it does to help neighbors in need.

‘The hands and feet of Jesus’

Executive Director and CEO of the District Council of Madison SVdP Ralph Middlecamp welcomed everyone and introduced Katie Crawley -- deputy mayor for Public Works and Communications for the City of Madison -- who is an SVdP volunteer through her parish, St. Maria Goretti in Madison.

Crawley shared why she’s been a part of the SVdP mission for the past 14 years, spending a lot of that time making home visits to clients, and helping to bring them food, furniture, blankets, or anything else they need.

“We serve as the hands and feet of Jesus, working with men and women . . . We know that we see the face of Christ in each one of them,” Crawley said.

“By going into people’s homes, talking to them, asking them questions, face to face, person to person, we make a difference,” she added. “Our message is universal. We’re here to help our neighbors in need and care.”

Guest speaker: Coach Paul Chryst

Msgr. Michael Burke -- pastor of St. Maria Goretti Parish -- gave an invocation.

Following the prayer, Crawley introduced the morning’s guest speaker, University of Wisconsin-Madison head football coach Paul Chryst, also a member of St. Maria Goretti Parish.

Chryst spoke on “The Power of Teamwork.”

“Football isn’t life,” Chryst said, “but there are great life lessons in football.”

One of those lessons is teamwork.

Chryst said “there is nothing more powerful than being part of a group . . . We all want to be a part of something that’s bigger than us, where alone you couldn’t do it, but with a group you can accomplish more.”

“There’s power in that,” he added, “there’s great energy in that.”

Chryst said he doesn’t believe in the saying “there is no I in team,” adding “the best part of the team is the I.”

He elaborated by saying everyone in a group comes from different backgrounds and has different roles and “when you put all those differences aside, come together and do something that alone you couldn’t, that’s fun to be around, that’s powerful.”

“All I ask [the players] is be you,” he said and tells the players “if you grow as a person, then we as a team grow.”

Chryst also talked about the importance of the Holy Spirit in his life.

“I think we all know that the Holy Spirit is real and that’s really what brings us together,” he said. He spoke about how he asks for the Holy Spirit’s guidance before making any big decisions in life.

“For whatever reason, we’re here today,” Chryst added. “Every role is so important and that’s why it’s neat to be around an organization such as this . . . and if everyone believes that their role makes a difference, that’s what makes the whole thing work.”

‘Neighbors helping neighbors’

Middlecamp then spoke on all SVdP does for its neighbors. From the thrift stores, food pantry, charitable pharmacy, housing programs, and household item drives, SVdP strives to be “neighbors helping neighbors.”

“We’ve been serving in many different ways, helping families,” Middlecamp said.

He then shared a video showing the organization’s work and testimonials from those who have been helped.

To view the video, and for more on this year’s Care Café, including information on how to support or volunteer with SVdP, go to

For more information on the Madison district council of St. Vincent de Paul, go to

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