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October 2018
Welcome to Staying Connected, the quarterly e-newsletter brought to you by Catholic Volunteer Network and the Catholic Apostolate Center. We hope that this resource will inspire reflection and inspiration as you continue to navigate life post-volunteering!

Our theme this edition is Spirituality - one of the Four Pillars of faith-based service. We invite you to recall your own service experience for a moment. How did you anticipate your faith life would change as a volunteer? Were you hopeful or nervous about any particular areas? Perhaps you found your relationship with God challenging, or fulfilling, or somewhere in between. Perhaps you are still patiently awaiting some continued transformation, dynamism, or grace.

We sometimes believe that service should result in rapid understanding and holiness. In truth, service to others is only the beginning of a lifelong journey. Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska, who lived to age 33 - truly a saint for young adults - wrote the following about her journey:

“Jesus loves hidden souls. A hidden flower is the most fragrant. I must strive to make the interior of my soul a resting place for the Heart of Jesus.”

We pray that your interior life be continually watered, refreshed, and transformed into a resting place for all those you encounter.

With fondness,

Catholic Volunteer Network & Catholic Apostolate Center

Welcome, and thank you for choosing service!
Authentic Fulfillment
Alumni Reflection by Rachel Dunlap , Franciscan Volunteers: No Risk, No Gain (2016-2018)

We all have expectations when we begin a year of service. Most are well-intentioned and focus on wanting to make a difference. Personally, I had an idealistic vision of what the year would entail. I overwhelmingly believed that I would come to a place of greater fulfillment through community, ministry, discernment, and being surrounded by the Sisters of Saint Francis of Philadelphia, who sponsored my volunteer program. I thought my prayer life would become vibrant and provide me with almost unlimited strength for the hardships at my ministry, in community, and life in general. Looking back, I was searching for complete fulfillment, something I’m not sure exists, at least in the way that we might wish. I guess you could say that God flipped my expectations upside down.
I began my first year with the Franciscan Volunteers: No Risk, No Gain program in August 2016. I was specifically drawn to it because of its faith formation component and the Franciscan charism. I fell in love with the program when I learned that the charism was about ongoing conversion and being in relationship with all – God, others, and creation...

To continue reading Rachel's story, please click here !
Finding Joy and Confidence in Christ
Reflection by Fr. Frank S. Donio, S.A.C., D.Min. , Catholic Apostolate Center

“The New Evangelization is accomplished with a smile, not a frown.” – Cardinal Timothy Dolan ( Address to the College of Cardinals, February 2012 )

There is nothing simplistic about Cardinal Dolan’s point above. Some, who are not examining it carefully, might see it as such. No, instead, in a short, pithy comment that is very emblematic of his style of speaking, he is summarizing his main point that “the missionary, the evangelist, must be a person of joy.” Sadly, there are many dour people among the baptized who Pope Francis calls “sourpusses” in  Evangelii Gaudium , n. 85. Interestingly enough, Pope Francis uses this word not simply as a rebuke to those who hold a particular view, but instead as a call to trust in the One who sends us forth, Jesus Christ.

“One of the more serious temptations which stifles boldness and zeal is a defeatism which turns us into querulous and disillusioned pessimists, ‘sourpusses’. Nobody can go off to battle unless he is fully convinced of victory beforehand. If we start without confidence, we have already lost half the battle and we bury our talents...

To continue reading Fr. Frank's reflection, please click here .
Spirituality Resources
Catholic Volunteer Network and the Catholic Apostolate Center offer numerous resources to assist your prayer life and your vocational discernment!

1) What's Next Notebook - Containing practical tips, advice from former volunteers, and inspiration, this resource is designed as a booklet that you can use during your times of prayer and ongoing reflection.

2) 20-Week Discernment Series - Develop an awareness of God's calling in your life! Created by former program Benedictine Volunteers director Patricia Nguyen, the purpose of this 20-week reflection series draws upon themes central to the upcoming Synod of Bishops on "Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment." Composed as a guided faith journey, this series invites young-adult volunteers to explore and engage with their own personal discernment journey.

3) Catholic Apostolate Center Resources - Discover helpful articles, blog posts, podcasts, and webinars exploring faith, discernment, and discipleship. You may particularly want to check out: Resources for Vocational Discernment; Resources for this month's Synod on Young People, the Faith, and Vocational Discernment; and the recent webinar Self Care for Healthy Ministry, hosted with SLIconnect.

4) Graduate Programs - If you are interested in pursuing graduate school - you may be interested in checking out these programs that have a special interest in recruiting volunteer alumni!
Events & Resources
Check out the following retreats, networking events, and social opportunities for current and former volunteers!
Lead with Courage, Follow with Faith: Forum for Current and Former Volunteers

We hope you'll join and build community with us in November at our Leadership Forum , happening in Baltimore. This is a unique opportunity to join fellow current and former volunteers to reflect on your service experience, identify transferrable personal and professional skills, and explore how you can foster a life-long commitment to social justice, simplicity, spirituality, and community. The day will consist of speakers, workshops, panel discussions, and much more. Breakfast, Lunch, and Coffee Breaks will be provided. Click here to learn more about the event and register online! Space is limited, so register soon.
Immigration Workshop for SoCal Region Volunteers and Alumni
Saturday, October 20th, 9:30am – 2:00pm, at Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange Motherhouse, Orange, CA

Please join us for our first regional workshop for volunteers and alumni. You will have the opportunity to network with volunteers that serve(d) in programs different from your own. In addition to community building, we will hear the latest on our nation’s current immigration crisis. What are some of the myths and what are the challenges immigrants face? Finally, this workshop will inform us from a Catholic Social Teaching perspective why we should be involved and how we can respond. Keynote address by Immigration Attorney Lisa Ramirez, a partner of the U.S. Immigration Law Group. Lisa worked for the OC Catholic Charities as the Director of Legal Services and Advocacy, and later at the Public Law Center where she developed the legal immigration services program. She is most proud of her pro bono work on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable immigrants including asylum seekers, trafficking victims and battered women and children. To register, please click here .
From Age to Age: Transition in Two Keys: Retreat for Women Alumni of Volunteer Programs and Nuns
Friday, November 16th thru Sunday, November 18th, at Sisters of Charity Motherhouse, Cincinnati, OH

How’s the transition going since you finished your volunteer experience? Would it be helpful to have some time to reflect on your process with peers and women religious who are also in transition? Facilitated by Julie Lupien (From Mission to Mission) and Marcia Lee (Courage and Renewal (C) Facilitator) this weekend retreat will be an opportunity to explore your experience and find synergies with Sisters who have lived through many transitions in ministry and community. Please see flyer for more information! Spaces are limited, so please register now! To register, please click here .
Young Adult Retreat Weekend
Friday, December 7th thru Sunday, December 9th, at Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison, NY

Are you asking the question, “What is God’s purpose and direction for my life?” We all have a calling from God! We are called to a state of life such as married life, consecrated single life, priesthood, or religious life. Within each of these, we are called to our own unique mission to serve the Church and the world through choosing our work, commitments and lifestyle. How do I know I am following God’s will for me through these choices? This retreat will help you discern God’s direction for your life and teach practical discernment tools for your faith journey. We encourage Catholic single men and women between the ages of 18-40 to attend! For more information, please click here .
Seasons of Your Heart, Young Women Reflection Days
Ongoing Series – next event happening Saturday, November 17th, at Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange Motherhouse, Orange, CA

The Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange offer a Retreat Series designed to assist a young woman in exploring and responding to God’s call in her life. These Discernment Reflection Days are for women ages 20-45. Each Reflection Day has a theme related to the liturgical calendar. Gatherings will include a speaker; varying prayer experiences; quiet reflection; sharing; a creative experience; light snack; and time for social engagement! For more information, please click here .
Thank you to all of the individuals making these events happen, and thanks for sharing them with CVN volunteers and alumni! 
Share Your Story!
How has your service experience made an impact on your life? Share your story as a Staying Connected contributor!

Did your volunteer experience influence your career choice? Have you found a unique way to stay connected to your community or service site? How do you continue to work for social justice? How has your prayer life changed?

We want to hear from you! Get in touch with Mike McCormick at to learn more! 

We are especially seeking former volunteers who would like to write for the CVN & Catholic Apostolate Center's Advent Reflection Guide . Please reply to this message if you are interested!
This Resource is Brought to You by...

For more than 55 years, Catholic Volunteer Network has been the leading advocate for faith-based service. CVN is a membership organization of over 185 faith-based volunteer programs. Our members offer full-time service opportunities ranging from one week to one year or more, both here in the United States and in more than 100 countries around the world. Last year alone, over 28,000 volunteers served the poor and marginalized with CVN member programs. These volunteers impacted countless lives through a variety of ministries including education, social work, health care, sustainable farming initiatives, prison ministry, homeless services, and much more. Volunteers currently serve in 45 states and over 100 countries. CVN provides resources to prospective, current, and former volunteers, as well as volunteer program staff, campus and parish personnel, and many others in the field of faith-based service. 
The Catholic Apostolate Center, a ministry of the Society of the Catholic Apostolate (Pallottines) - Immaculate Conception Province, was founded in 2011 to respond to the needs of the Church through: Developing, in collaboration with dioceses and other institutions and organizations, formation programs for the New Evangelization; Assisting pastoral ministers in deepening collaboration with one another; Providing formation and apostolic opportunities for members and collaborators of the Union of Catholic Apostolate; The Center takes its inspiration from the spirituality of St. Vincent Pallotti and achieves its goals through hosting conferences, seminars, webinars, and presentations as well as providing online and print resources.  
Have you visited our Alumni Resource Center?

Click here for more information about alumni webinars, graduate school programs, Staying Connected archives, and more!

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Thank you for reading! Please send your questions and feedback about this newsletter to Mike McCormick