There has been much to be grateful for over the last two months for the Volunteer office. We had an Advisory Board meeting, the completion of service for one of our volunteers, and a mid-year retreat.
Early in January, our Volunteer Advisory Board met at Gaspar Mission House in Kansas City. Our meeting began with dinner for the Advisory Board, volunteers, and Father Garry Richmeier. Sharing this meal gave the Advisory Board and volunteers the chance to get to know each other and the work the volunteers do.
During our meeting we discussed a number of items, including where we are going to have placements. We came to a consensus we should focus on placements here in Kansas City and strengthen our core. Eventually, we will expand to other locations.
The end of this meeting was a bit of sad. Marie Trout finished her service as a member of the Advisory Board. I am grateful for the advice, support and presence of Marie on our Board. She is a wonderful person who has shared wisdom, compassion and insight that has helped guide the Volunteer program since its inception. I’m looking forward to her serving our volunteers in other ways in the future.
At the beginning of February we held the first ever mid-year retreat for the volunteers, with a few caveats Vanessa Steger had been with us only for a month and Nora O’Connell completed her service in mid-February. While there is great sadness that Nora is leaving her work at St. James, the Gaspar Mission House community and the Precious Blood Volunteers, there is great joy in that Nora found her experience as a volunteer to be a period of great growth. She found a job in Dayton that is a great fit with her passions, training and talents, working with the American Cancer Society coordinating the “Relay for Life” fundraiser in the Dayton area.
The focus of the retreat was on Mission, utilizing resources from Companion Marie Trout and Father Bill Hubmann. The volunteers took turns leading us in prayer. During the course of the weekend, I had the opportunity to visit with each of the volunteers one to one to see how they were growing as young Catholics. It is clear to me that their experiences at work and in the Gaspar Mission House community is having a clear impact on their relationship with God and other people. The weekend was capped off with Mass (and wonderful preaching by Father Timothy Armbruster) at St. James Church in Liberty and lunch with Brother Daryl Charron.