The Franciscan Volunteer Ministry — which coordinates yearlong service opportunities in Camden, N.J., Philadelphia, and Wilmington, Del. — is still accepting applications for 2012-13 volunteers, but those interested should submit applications “sooner rather than later.”
“Normally a program with many ‘late bloomers,’ we have had an impressive turnout of early applicants this year,” said executive director Katie Sullivan. She credits much of this to associate director Matthew Johnson, noting that his efforts have been “exceptionally fruitful this year, particularly when it comes to Siena College and the University of Georgia.”
With seven already accepted to begin service in fall 2012 and 18 in the application process, Sullivan anticipates the program having 15 volunteers once again.
Last year, the more than 20-year-old volunteer ministry of Holy Name Province also accepted 15, with four serving at St. Anthony of Padua Church in Camden, N.J., under the supervision of Hugh Macsherry, OFM, six at Philadelphia’s St. Francis Inn with site supervisor Michael Duffy, OFM, and five based at St. Paul’s Church in Wilmington, Del., with Christopher Posch, OFM.
Last month, the 2011-12 FVMs traveled with their site supervisors, Sullivan and Johnson to Western New York for a weeklong retreat at Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat. “It was a beautiful time of renewal, of directly connecting with God’s creation, and of hope,” Sullivan said. “The community of the Mountain graciously welcomed us to share their home and, as always, inspired us!”
The retreat also included a presentation by 2009-10 FVM Julianne Wallace, who now works at nearby St. Bonaventure University as a campus minister. “Julianne spoke on joy — particularly in service, as an FVM and beyond,” Sullivan said. “She sang and told stories, including the reflection of true and perfect joy from Francis’ own life and a reflection from Blessed Teresa of Calcutta.”
The time at Mt. Irenaeus also provided Johnson with an opportunity to interview the participants, friar site supervisors and Sullivan on what the year of service means to each of them. Hugh, Michael and Chris especially reflected on how the volunteers help each of their ministries. Videos are available on the FVM YouTube channel.
The benefits of serving as an FVM were highlighted in a recent article from The Dialog, newspaper of the Wilmington Diocese. “Franciscan Volunteers at St. Paul’s Learn About Themselves by Serving Others” featured the ministries of the Wilmington team.
— Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.