PHILADELPHIA — As its leaders prepare to greet their next class, the Province’s Franciscan Volunteer Ministry has announced Lizzy Heurich as its new associate director. Heurich succeeds Matt Johnson, who has served as associate director since 2009.
A native of Cary, N.C., Heurich attended Villanova University. Through various mission trips to places like Guatemala and El Salvador, as well as through additional service experiences in Philadelphia, Heurich’s passion for service intersected with her faith as she served and worked alongside her brothers and sisters in Christ.
These experiences inspired her to commit herself to a year of service after graduating from Villanova. Heurich served as an Augustinian Volunteer as the coordinator for weekly service and volunteerism with the campus ministry at Merrimack College in North Andover, Mass. She set up weekly service opportunities, as well as the alternative spring break program, for Merrimack students, and enjoyed serving alongside the students while watching their passion toward service blossom.
After her year as an Augustinian Volunteer, Heurich returned home to attend graduate school at North Carolina State University, earning her master’s in higher education administration. She had various internships during her two-year program at NC State, including working with student activities, new student orientation, and academic support. Although this work was rewarding in different ways, after two years, Heurich felt her vocation was more in line with her work as an Augustinian Volunteer at Merrimack College, where she was facilitating service experiences for young adults. Applying to the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry was a natural fit.
“I am very excited to bring my Augustinian Volunteer and higher education background experience to the associate director position,” said Heurich. “I’m looking forward to meeting the incoming cohort of FVMs and walking alongside them through their journey this year, as well as connecting with FVM alumni and hearing what made their time as a volunteer special.”
She added, “I’m so thankful for the warm welcome into the Franciscan community, and I’m so grateful to be a part of the Franciscan family.”
Meanwhile, outgoing director Johnson expressed his deep gratitude to the Franciscans and Holy Name Province.
“As my time with FVM comes to a close, I would like to say ‘thank you’ to the entire FVM family and Holy Name Province for the support, honesty and love you have shown me over the past seven years,” he said. “I have been able to work with some of the most caring, inspirational and honest people, and that is something I will forever hold in my heart.”
Johnson is a two-year FVM alum, having served at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia from 2004 to 2005, and 2006 to 2007. He was first introduced to St. Francis Inn and the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry as a 14-year-old CYO volunteer.
“Disbelief still runs through me when I’m reminded that I have known FVM for over half of my life, and it is something in which I take incredible pride,” he said. “FVM shaped me into the person I am today.”
He continued, “The future holds many possibilities for me, as I have been offered a position with the Manchester Monarchs, a professional hockey team in New Hampshire. But no matter where I am, I will always remember my time with FVM and live my life in the light of St. Francis, never forgetting the leper. This is not goodbye, for, as they say, I have been ‘ruined for life.’”
The next class of Franciscan Volunteer Ministers will begin their service this month. The 2015 class concluded its year with a retreat during the week of July 18. Photos of this event and of others can be found on the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry Facebook page.
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province. Information for this story was provided by Katie Sullivan, director of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry.
- “Franciscan Volunteer Ministry to Launch Site in Maryland” — May 27, 2015, HNP Today
- “Friars Celebrate Silver Anniversary of Franciscan Volunteer Ministry” — Aug. 8, 2014, HNP Today