In tandem with National Volunteer Month, the Franciscan friars of Holy Name Province are proud to recognize the young adults serving with the Franciscan Volunteer Ministry, an organization of laypeople whose members live together in faith and community as they minister to those in need.
FVM’s dedication to serving the marginalized comes from the ideals of St. Francis of Assisi, who founded the Franciscans and after whom Pope Francis has named himself.
Of this year’s Franciscan Volunteer Ministers, two are recent graduates of St. Bonaventure. Kevin Cilano, '11, of Rochester, N.Y., and Lauryn Klingler, '12, of Webster, N.Y., are participating in this service role before starting their careers. Cilano is working with St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, a soup kitchen run by Franciscans. Klingler is working with St. Anthony of Padua Parish and its ministries in Camden, N.J., one of the Province’s 26 parishes on the East Coast. The volunteers began their year of service last fall.
Franciscan Volunteer Ministers are often recent college graduates looking to work in a service role before launching their careers. Many pursue jobs related to service work after completing the program. Cilano and Klingler are among 15 volunteers representing 10 colleges and five states this year. FVM has volunteers at three ministries: St. Francis Inn, coordinated by the Rev. Michael Duffy, OFM; St. Anthony of Padua Church, coordinated by the Rev. Hugh Macsherry, OFM; and St. Paul Church in Wilmington, Del., coordinated by the Rev. Christopher Posch, OFM.
Cilano is volunteering for a second year at the soup kitchen, which serves meals daily. The third-generation SBU graduate and biology major said the experience has been very rewarding, especially in what it has taught him. In addition to cooking, he learned humility, he said.
“The FVM program accelerated my understanding of service, love and living. It taught me to relate and empathize with people, to be tough and also to be humble. Being a Franciscan Volunteer Minister brings the blessings of engaging ministries and loving communities linked together in spiritual growth. Personally, this program has helped me to become more aware and appreciative of the simplicity of God’s grace and practicality of ‘love, lived in service.’”
Klingler, a political science and English major who is volunteering at the Camden parish, most recently worked during the summer at the Nevada Conservation Corps in Reno, Nev., building and maintaining hiking trails. She said she was always fond of Franciscan values, and volunteering with FVM helps her better incorporate them into her life. Klingler said, “My year as a Franciscan volunteer minister in Camden has been an incredible period of growth for me. I have experienced so many different and beautiful aspects of the life of ministry that have allowed me to transition into, I think, a more understanding and open-minded person.”
In addition to helping those in need through Holy Name Province’s various ministries, FVM helps the young adults learn and grow, said Katie Sullivan, director. The experience enhances their emotional, spiritual, and personal lives, and helps them develop communication skills. They also become more aware of today’s cultural and social issues.
“Through our three core values of intentional community, direct service, and expressed prayer, FVM is a formation program for the laity,” said Sullivan. “As our mission statement says, FVM is based on the Gospel message to express love in action, and provides an environment that fosters service to the marginalized, personal and interpersonal development, spiritual growth, and an active prayer life.”
While serving, volunteers receive a monthly stipend, room and board, health insurance, and use of a communal car.
FVM was incorporated in 1989, inspired by a group of students from Siena College, another Franciscan-affiliated school sponsored by Holy Name Province. More information about FVM and joining the program may be obtained from # or by calling Sullivan at 215-427-3070.
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