Young Adults Begin 2017-18 FVM Year of Service with Joy

Katie Sullivan Around the Province

The 2017-18 Franciscan Volunteer Ministers and their supervisors. (Photo courtesy of the FVM)

Holy Name Province’s Franciscan Volunteer Ministry – currently in its 29th year – has welcomed seven participants to its 2017-18 class to serve those in need while they share prayers and live in community. Below, one of the ministry’s leaders provides an introduction of the new FVMs and what they should expect this year. 

The 2017-18 FVM year is off to a marvelous start with seven superb Franciscan Volunteer Ministers. They began their year of service on Aug. 19 and have been joyfully welcomed as integral members of the Franciscan communities of which they are a part – in Philadelphia, Pa., and Silver Spring, Md.

Together, these young adults represent six colleges and speak three languages. Individually, they have arrived from El Salvador and five states – Georgia, New Hampshire, New York, Ohio, and Virginia. They come with many gifts, including music, language, a sense of adventure, commitment, listening, and hearts of love.

Meet the New FVMs
Two of our FVMs, Edgar Alberto, and Christina DiSalvo, became acquainted with FVM fairly recently through Franciscan connections. Edgar is discerning a vocation as a friar and the HNP Vocations Ministry staff suggested FVM to him as an opportunity to experience the Franciscan life through community, prayer, and ministry. He said he wants to be a “piece of hope” through this year. Christina was working as a sign language interpreter for Rochester Institute of Technology students on a break trip to St. Francis Inn. Returning for a second time on another RIT trip, Christina explored more about the FVM program and decided to apply.

The other five FVMs have known about this HNP ministry for several years. Stephanie Mobley returns for the second year; she is a 2016 graduate of the University of Georgia. Hannah Schaefer is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University in Western New York. Morgan Friedman is a graduate of Siena College in Loudonville, N.Y. These three women learned about FVM through the strong Franciscan presence and identity at their schools, visits from former FVMs to their campuses, and break trips to St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia.

One of the other schools that sends students to St. Francis Inn for break trips is Nazareth College in Rochester, N.Y. Through those trips and FVM’s visits to campuses, Maisy French also learned about FVM early in her college career.

The seventh is our first “second generation FVM” of sorts; Kaitlin Hamer is the goddaughter of one of our alums, Leo Fitzsimmons who served from 2000 to 2001.

There are many aspects about the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry that these participants value, including opportunities for growth, a sense of family, being able to focus on and learn new ways of praying, living in community, the chance to share their talents, and being able to minister with and learn from their brothers and sisters of many cultures and experiences. In terms of growth, some of the specific areas they wish to strengthen are developing meaningful relationships, learning other cultures and languages, sharing spirituality and exploring ways of praying, and growing in personal confidence and discernment of future callings.

The New Year
The three FVMs in Philadelphia are Edgar, Kaitlin, and Morgan. They are part of the St. Francis Inn community. They assist in supporting the ministries there, including preparing and serving 300 to 400 guests sit-down meals each day, assisting in Marie’s Closet which is the clothing distribution aspect of the Inn’s ministry, and picking up the many food donations from local stores.

Additionally, Kaitlin and Morgan are a part of the support team for Thea’s Women’s Center, and all three of the Philly FVMs coordinate varied programming for kids throughout the year. Currently, they are eagerly looking forward to the Halloween party.

Our four Silver Spring FVMs are Christina, Hannah, Maisy, and Stephanie. Their ministries are grounded with St. Camillus Parish, which includes St. Francis International School and the Langley Park neighborhood.

Each of the four FVMs assists at the school in various ways; their responsibilities range from substitute teaching to tutoring and after school programming. This is Maisy’s favorite ministry as the kids grabbed her heart early. They are teaching English as a new language and religious education, including a confirmation class. They are bringing coffee and breakfast to the day laborers bright and early one day each week, and food to others through Meals on Wheels. They are fostering a culture of peace and justice through ministries like “Peace Camp” for both adults and kids. And, they continue to forge new ministerial roads.

Serving as site supervisors are Michael Duffy, OFM, in Philadelphia, and Christopher Posch, OFM, in Silver Spring.

Through the year, we will be sharing more about these seven including some of their personal reflections. Please hold them in your prayers as they continue to grow, live, serve, and pray as FVMs.

Information about the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry can be found in its newsletterwebsite and its Facebook page.

— Katie Sullivan is executive director of the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry.

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