For some people, summer is a time of relaxation. For the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, it is a time of transition. During the past few months, the organization said goodbye to its 2011-2012 volunteers and welcomed its 2012-2013 team members.
The Franciscan Volunteer ministers of 2011-2012 celebrated their closing retreat July 15 to 19 in Highland Mills, N.Y., with Katie Sullivan, executive director of the FVM, Matt Johnson, associate director, and three friar supervisors — Michael Duffy, OFM, Hugh Macsherry, OFM, and Christopher Posch, OFM. FVM alumna Joanne Lannan, ’07, ’08, spent several days with the volunteers and spoke about life after a year with the FVM. Dennis Tamburello, OFM, religious studies professor at Siena College, also traveled to Highland Mills to speak to the volunteers about transition. Dennis had visited the ministers at two of the program’s three communities during the year.
While on retreat, the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry joined the “Call Me Maybe” video craze and created its own version, an idea that came from the Wilmington ministers. The video has over 300 views on YouTube. Other FVM-related videos can be found on their YouTube channel.
One week after their closing retreat, alumni of the program gathered for their reunion retreat in Dalton, Pa. More than 30 people shared in relaxation, prayer, conversations, food and ice cream from July 27 to 29.
“One of our alums noted the overarching Franciscan spirit of that time and recommended a name change to this bi-annual event from reunion retreat to Franciscan retreat,” said Sullivan.
A new group of Franciscan volunteer ministers arrived at their worksites three weeks later. The following day, they attended their orientation retreat in Faulkner, Md., at Loyola on the Potomac, a Jesuit retreat center. There they met two alums, who led them in reflection. Mary Donahue, ’10, ’11, spoke about finding a healthy balance of self, community and ministry, and of knowing “the why of what we do.” Katelyn Bagtaz, ’08, ’09, spoke on community and its challenges, joys and life-giving moments.
The 2012-2013 ministers represent five states —10 from New York — and 10 schools, including Siena College, St. Bonaventure University and the University of Georgia.
“These 15 have a delightful spirit and have connected as individuals, as specific communities, and as a whole,” Sullivan said. “We are indeed blessed.”
The day after the retreat, volunteers at the Philadelphia site visited St. Francis Inn. A team of six will work there under Michael: Kevin Cilano (Rochester, N.Y.; St. Bonaventure University), Katie Horan (Livonia, N.Y.; SUNY Potsdam), Kathryn Kirkpatrick (Valdosta, Ga.; University of Georgia), Chelsey Petersen (Alta, Iowa; Creighton University), Tim Quinn (Bellerose, N.Y.; Siena College) and Amy VanTuyl (Elma, N.Y.; Buffalo State University).
Volunteers at the sites in Camden, N.J., and Wilmington, Del., have completed their orientations. Now that they have experienced the ministries at those locations, they will discern where and how they will best share their gifts and be challenged to grow. They will work in a variety of ministries, including religious education and teaching Zumba in a prison.
A team of four is working in Camden at St. Anthony of Padua Parish with Hugh as their supervisor: Anil DaCosta (Bronx, NYC; LeMoyne College), Brian Dorrian (Nanuet, N.Y.; Siena College), Lauryn Klingler (Webster, N.Y.; St. Bonaventure University) and Alex Mancuso (Sayville, N.Y.; Siena College).
The group in Wilmington, Del., led by Chris, has five volunteers: Sheila Herlihy (North Royalton, Ohio; Wittenberg University), Melissa McDermott (Warrington, Pa.; Philadelphia University), Amanda McKenley (Snellville, Ga.; University of Georgia), Sam Racette (Saranac Lake, N.Y.; Siena College) and Nissa Thor (Syracuse, N.Y.; St. Lawrence University).
Alex, Kevin and Shelia are returning for their second year with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry.
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.