10 Jan 2021
Vinnies president happy to serve
The Southern Cross | December 2020
A mix up over the bookings for a parish hall was the catalyst for Brad Hocking joining the local Vinnies conference in his mid-20s.
At the time he was running a Catholic youth group at Seacombe Gardens and he booked the parish hall for a meeting but then discovered it had also been booked by the local Vinnies conference.
The members told Brad they met there every Monday, to which he replied “okay I’ll see you next Monday then”.
Brad said it had always been in the back of his mind that he was living a very comfortable life, and perhaps he should commit to helping people whose lives “aren’t so comfortable”.
It’s a decision that set him on a trajectory to becoming the youngest person to be elected president of the St Vincent de Paul Society SA. The 32-year-old engineer took over the job last month from outgoing president Cathy Beaton.
After joining the conference, Brad started doing home visitations and quickly became treasurer, then responded to a call for members for the Vinnies Homelessness Committee.
Although exposed to the Catholic faith through his girlfriend and now wife Daniella, with whom he attended World Youth Day in Sydney, Brad was raised in a family which was “very atheist”. When he decided to become a Catholic and participate in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults process he had already joined the Vinnies conference.
“I’ve actually been a member of Vinnies longer than I’ve been a Catholic,” he said.
“I had an interesting rise through the faith as I was extremely involved in the Church even before I had gone through RCIA.”
With Daniella and their three young children, Brad is now a member of the St Therese’s Church at Colonel Light Gardens but has continued as treasurer of Seacombe Gardens Vinnies conference.
About four years ago he attended the Vinnies National Congress held in Adelaide and “got chatting” with Cathy Beaton. The following week she asked him to be her vice president and for a long time she has been “bugging me” to be her successor, he said.
In July this year he decided to cut back to part-time in his asset management role at Shoal Group to spend more time with his family and volunteering for Vinnies.
“I thought I’ll never get those years back again with my kids and we’re in a pretty comfortable position, my wife and I, so it gives me a bit more flexibility,” he explained.
He wasn’t planning to stand for president which in the past has been a full time role, but he was eventually swayed on the basis he would only spend about two days a week in the voluntary role.