FVM Director Informs Public Through Radio Programs

Jocelyn Thomas Friar News

PHILADELPHIA, Pa. — Katie Sullivan, director of the Province’s Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, has been busy publicizing the FVM program through radio shows and speaking engagements.

Sullivan and several volunteers traveled to Siena College in February, where she was interviewed by President Kevin Mullen, OFM, for the school’s radio program, News & Views. In a March 1 airing, Sullivan described the FVM ministry, which includes work at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia and a program at St. Anthony School in Camden, N.J.

Interviews and Presentations
“We highlighted several details that make FVM unique,” she said,  “working with friar ministries, being supported by the Province, rather than charging ministry sites as some programs must do. It was about 14 minutes long and seemed to go by quite quickly.”

While on the Siena campus, Sullivan and the FVM participants spoke at several venues. Volunteers Emily Michaelson, a 2007 Siena graduate, and Kelly Zientek, an ’05 St. Bonaventure University graduate, spoke at Sunday Masses on Feb. 17. 

In addition, the three spoke at the post-graduate volunteer forum on Feb. 18, an annual event at Siena that introduces volunteer programs to the Siena community. After dinner and presentations, Sullivan said students visited display tables set up by the volunteer programs. Larry Anderson, OFM, a formation student interning at Siena, coordinated and hosted the evening’s dinner and information session.

Larry said that the forum was a great opportunity for students interested in doing a year of service to learn about various programs.

Sullivan was also interviewed in December by host Bill Donaghy of the show, The Heart of Things. Donaghy is married to FVM alumnus Rebecca (Byrons) Donaghy, who worked with the ministry from 1999 to 2001. His show is podcast on iTunes. 

“We spoke about FVM in general, this current year, how I came to FVM, where I experience God in my ministry, and why I am still with FVM,” said Sullivan, who has been with FVM for 12 years, two as a volunteer and 10 as program director. 

Six Volunteers at Two Sites
This year, FVM operates two sites, said Sullivan, in Philadelphia and Camden, N.J.

“This is the first year that we are a single-gender team,” said Sullivan, a graduate of the College of the Holy Cross in Mass.  “All six of our FVMs are women — three serving at the Philadelphia site and three are in Camden. The participants are graduates of Siena, St. Bonaventure University, Gannon University, St. Anselm (N.H.), and the University of Georgia.

John C. Coughlin, OFM, is site supervisor in Camden, where the ministries include teaching ESL, religion, English, literacy, and aerobics, and an HIV/AIDS ministry at Francis House.  At St. Anthony’s School, the volunteers are also active with the theater program, including preparing for the Easter play, “Resurrection Song.” Volunteers also are involved in the city’s Trash Art project, where they work with students to clean up the streets and turn the trash into art. They also participate in music ministry. 

A recent FVM alumnus, Danny Bourdua, remained in Camden after he finished the program in 2007. While working full time with a social service agency, he continues to volunteer at St. Anthony’s, coordinating photography projects and Trash Art shows, the most recent at Walt Whitman Arts Center in Camden.

Supervisor of the Philadelphia site is Michael Duffy, OFM. Ministries there include living and serving as part of the Franciscan community of the St. Francis Inn soup kitchen and coordinating children’s events. FVM alums Renée Willey and Jamie Ryder permanently joined the Inn team last August. 

The FVM is always looking for new volunteers. The application process can be found on the ministry’s Web site.

Shown in photo with Sullivan are John, Chris Posch, OFM, of Delaware, and Michael.
— Jocelyn Thomas is  Director of Communications for Holy Name Province.