Cardinal marks Depaul's 30th Anniversary | Depaulcharity

Depaul helps people who are homeless, vulnerable and disadvantaged.

Cardinal marks Depaul's 30th Anniversary

May 30th, 2019

Statement by Cardinal Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster, on Depaul’s 30th Anniversary

I congratulate most warmly the Depaul charity as we mark the thirtieth anniversary of its foundation.  As the charity’s Patron in the UK, I know the determination and passion that Depaul continually shows in supporting the most vulnerable in our society.

The story of Depaul has its beginnings in the Passage Day Centre in Victoria, in central London that was witnessing then, as today, a growing number of people sleeping rough on the streets. Cardinal Basil Hume enthusiastically supported the initiative and became its first patron. I am happy to be following in his footsteps.

Depaul was founded as a partnership with the family of organisations that take their inspiration from St Vincent de Paul. They are known as ‘Vincentian’.

Saint Vincent, a Catholic priest in 17th Century France, said: “Go to the poor: you will find God.” He insisted that charity entailed far more than handing out soup and bread.  He taught us all that the essence of charity was “being a servant of the poor, always smiling and good-humoured”, aware always of the presence of God.

Depaul opened its first hostel in north London in February 1990. In response to increasing need, Depaul grew rapidly in London and in the North East, Yorkshire, Greater Manchester, and in many other regions through its Nightstop emergency accommodation network. In 2002, Depaul opened its first international charity, in Ireland, and went on, through the creation of Depaul International, to start up in Slovakia, Ukraine, the USA, France and Croatia. Depaul now reaches more than 21,000 homeless men and women a year – around 4,000 of them in the UK. Since 1989, it has supported more than 130,000 people affected by homelessness.

Depaul has been able to take on this robust response to the challenge of homelessness only because of the generosity of so many church communities, the ceaseless dedication and hard work of many thousands of people: volunteers, staff and supporters, who come from all walks of life and different faith communities.  Depaul is also grateful to the many local authorities that support its work against the corrosive effects of homelessness and in the promotion of lasting change in the lives of so many people.

Sadly, today the need for Depaul’s work is greater than ever.  As I look back on thirty years of Depaul’s work, I thank God for the continuing and vibrant inspiration of St Vincent de Paul. I congratulate Depaul on all that has been achieved to date and I encourage wide support for this great work which continues to serve some of the world’s most vulnerable people.  

+Vincent Nichols

Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster

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