A Deep Love for the Poor
“I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me.” – Mt. 25: 35
“This Gospel quote describes how the Vincentians live every day,” says Bob Shadduck, long- time supporter of the Western Province. “The priests and brothers recognize people as individuals and share whatever they have with those they serve.”
Bob and Catherine Shadduck first encountered Vincentians at Padre Serra Parish in Camarillo, California. Fr. Kevin McCracken, C.M., was working as a professor at the nearby seminary and served in the parish on weekends.
“We immediately clicked with Fr. Kevin,” says Catherine. “He was teaching liturgy at the seminary and his deep love for the Mass and sacraments stood out to Bob and me.”
“We fondly recall many conversations about the liturgy with Fr. Kevin,” adds Bob. “I was helping to train altar servers in our parish and serving as Master of Ceremonies for the archdiocese at the time, so the love of the Catholic liturgy brought us together.”
While a mutual love of the liturgy helped shape the Shadducks’ early connection with the Vincentians, it was their concern for the poor that cemented it. When they learned about the Vincentian work taking place in East Africa, they knew for certain that they wanted to get involved. For many years, the couple had sponsored a young man in Kenya.
“The Catholic Church is growing faster in Africa than in many other places in the world,” explains Bob. “The Vincentians are on the leading edge of sharing the Gospel in Africa, where people are hungry for the message of Jesus Christ.”
“The priests and brothers have little to work with,” Catherine adds. “They walk with those they serve and do whatever they can to help. People’s lives are simple – they don’t demand a lot, but there is great need. That is always the challenge – to recognize the need and meet it.”
For the Shadducks, the missionary spirit of the Vincentians is apparent in the pastoral and service work they have undertaken today. “They are willing to travel to the edges of the earth to reach out to those on the peripheries,” says Bob. “They endure a lot of hardship and make many sacrifices to carry out their Vincentian ministry.”
“We also love how they interact with each other,” Catherine suggests. “When the priests and brothers come together, you witness the strong sense of community, a brotherhood that is a critical aspect of how they sustain each other in their work.”
Bob and Catherine Shadduck live in Camarillo, California, near their three children: Anthony, a jazz bassist and professional musician; Claire, an artist and educator; and Sarah, a Math scholar working at Ventura Naval Base. The couple enjoys serving in their parish, gardening, traveling and cooking with their children, nieces and nephews.