The following is an excerpt from the St Vincent de Paul Society National President's Report.

Our world is wracked by the persistence of brutal wars, the reality of climate change and now, of course, the global financial crisis.

We, in the St Vincent de Paul Society, are no strangers to times of crisis and human need. Indeed, our organisation was ushered into the world at a time of crisis, turmoil and destitution. Such was the scene in Paris at the time of our founding by blessed Frederic and his young companions. The world is never static. We live in a time of great flux, with winners and losers.

We are entering a period in which humanity is being given the opportunity to re-think what it means to be a human society. We are being challenged to re-think what it means to build a society based on the common good. We are being challenged to think differently about the purpose of prosperity and the value of people.

A time of crisis is also a time of change. The massive change is just as certain as the crisis. Rather than being overtaken by change, let’s be part of the change we dream of.