PHILADELPHIA — Members of the Province’s Franciscan Volunteer Ministry are helping St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia with festivities for the holidays as they participate in the ministry’s retreat and self-discovery programs.
Volunteers from the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry (FVM) are welcome additions at the Inn, especially at this time of year.
The St. Francis Inn team is busy collecting donations of food and supplies for Christmas, organizing the extra volunteers needed for the holiday season, and planning the children’s Santa party.
“The FVMs share their faith in all they do,” said FVM Director Katie Sullivan, “from Mass to their ministry with the guests.”
The FVM community is thriving, according to Sullivan. “One of their endeavors in October was to coordinate and host a Halloween party for about 25 kids who are guests at the Inn.” The participants enjoyed pumpkin carving and a pizza party.
November brought with it the traditional fall retreat, she added.
“Sr. Madonna Hoying, SFP, joined the group in Philadelphia and presented the Myers Briggs personality test as a way to learn more about ourselves individually, in community, and in relationship with God,” Sullivan said.
The group then went to the Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat in upstate New York. “We were warmly embraced by the Mountain community and were privileged to have two of their members lead us in reflections. Kevin Kriso, OFM, who pioneered FVM, guided us in considering who we are, what we do, and why we do it. The answer? Love.”
“Emily Michaelson, an FVM from 2007 to 2008, and a Mt. Irenaeus staff member, gave us insights into prayer and prayerful living, and the opportunity to relish a time of solitude and prayer,” according to Sullivan. Two other FVM alums joined the group, helping with meals, prayers and Mass. Matt Jwayad, FVM 1994 to 1995, and Dan Schmidt, FVM 2004 to 2005, 2005 to 2006, were fun additions to the retreat.”
“We are thankful to everyone who makes our program and our times of retreat possible,” Sullivan said.
Spreading Word about Franciscan Volunteer Ministry
The FVM team is working hard to tell others about the program. Newly-hired FVM promoter Michael Smith has been busy visiting colleges and introducing himself and the ministry throughout the Province.
Besides spreading the word about FVM, Smith has helped restructure its Web site and has started a blog. In the past few months, Smith has visited Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y., and Sacred Heart University in Connecticut. Upcoming trips include the University of Notre Dame in Indiana, University of Georgia, and St. Bonaventure University in Western New York.
“Additionally, I will be traveling to our three volunteer sites to speak with site supervisors and our program director to better educate myself on the current available ministries,” said Smith.
For information about the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, contact FVM promoter Mike Smith at 617-780-6730. He will gladly mail an informational brochure and answer questions. Smith has first-hand knowledge of the program; he served as an FVM from 2006 – 2007.
Shown in the photos above are volunteer Kathryn Getek, an FVM from 1999 – 2001, and a guest at the Halloween party. Behind this picture is a photo taken in the Mt. Irenaeus chapel. It shows,in front row (left to right), Matt Jwayad, Katelyn Bagtaz, Noe Granados, Amanda Lengauer, and Kevin Kriso; middle row (l – r), Dan Schmidt, Louis McCormick, OFM, Joseph Kotula, OFM, Emily Michaelson, Dan Hurley, OFM, and, in back row, Katie Sullivan and Michael Duffy, OFM, of St. Francis Inn.