"In You Did It to Me, Fr. Michael Gaitley [MIC] has a genius for bringing together the spiritual and corporal works of mercy under the umbrella of 'The Five Scriptural Works... Read more
Meet Vince Bresch: A Marian Helper Who Follows the Call
By Joan Lamar (May 17, 2016)
Vince Bresch is a very busy guy. At 75 years old, he has an impact on more people in a month than many of us have in a lifetime.
A retired school teacher, he lives in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. Married to his wife, Jill, for 50 years, until she passed away three years ago, Vince has four adult children, seven grandchildren, and several step-grandchildren, as well as a couple great-grandchildren.
In addition to family, Vince loves his neighbor. Or, rather, his many neighbors. And he shows this love of neighbor every day by being a constant presence in their lives.
Take Miriam, for instance. She is 100 years old. Vince visits her every month, catches up on her life, and shares the latest news in his life. She still reads The New York Times everyday and does the crossword puzzle. Vince says Miriam is such a blessing to him. She prays for me, he said.
Vince visits many friends who are now in nursing facilities. Every month, he helps out with the Mass that his parish hosts at one of the local nursing homes. Vince and a crew of volunteers help those who are in wheelchairs get to Mass and then get them safely back to their rooms.
He is on a call list for an organization called Road to Recovery, which helps get people to their appointments. Sometimes, these treatments go on for months, so Vince gets to know the patients pretty well. There's happiness and sadness in this ministry, he said. "Sometimes the treatments work out. Sometimes they don't."
He also helps elderly people at his parish get to their medical appointments.
One of Vince's daily ministries is answering phones and doing whatever is needed for an organization called Stewardship: A Mission of Faith, which provides resource materials like CDs and books that are placed in the narthex of Churches.
Vince and his deceased wife have two spiritual sons, he said. They helped support the formation of two seminarians in Uganda. "They call us Dad and Mom," Vince said. "I hope they get assigned to the United States someday."
Vince and his wife also had a Rosary ministry that he's still a part of. Our Lady of Love Rosary Guild makes rosaries for the missions. His group meets monthly, and they pray the Rosary together as they make and package the rosaries. "This year our group made over 5,000 rosaries."
Vince also has a prayer basket, which contains cards (mostly Christmas cards) from friends — former teachers, family friends, old neighbors, even the guy who delivers his oil. He keeps these cards and places them in his prayer basket and then takes out several of them a day and prays for each person. "If I haven't talked to that person in a while, I write them a letter and tell them I prayed for them today." He presently has about 150 cards in the prayer basket.
For a homeless shelter in Harrisburg, Vince collects clothing, food, whatever is needed. On Thanksgiving, they prepared 500 bags.
Whatever the need is — visiting the sick or the elderly, finding food and clothing for the homeless, writing to people to let them know he is thinking about them and praying for them, making rosaries and distributing them — Vince is happy to help meet that need.
He said his desire to share God's mercy with friends, family, neighbors, and those in greatest need springs from his love for the Eucharist and his devotion to Divine Mercy. Together with his wife, Jill, he developed a great devotion to praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.
"When we were home, we would sing along with the Chaplet that airs on EWTN," he said. "My singing wasn't that great. But even if we were in the car, we would say the chaplet. Even now, I say it every day."
Vince's friend Joseph Barone said Vince has a kind word for everybody.
"It's sort of like what Pope Francis does: He will see someone and just stop whatever he is doing to talk to them," he said. "He makes people feel comfortable. You just feel loved. And he brings Christ into his message."