Catholic Franciscan Volunteer Service Experience for Post-Graduate Young Adults| Costa Rica & New York

Requirements, Expectations and Responsibilities

1.  Community

We celebrate our faith

FC is a lay formation experience for invited young adults (21 – 25 years old) who are recent college graduates or have relevant life experience. Candidates are usually Roman Catholic  The experience is based on the spirituality and values of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi. At the heart of FrancisCorps is the experience of a faith-based intentional community of volunteers. Volunteers are expected to:

a)   share at least one meal together every day (volunteers take turns preparing meals)

b)   weekly visits (usually) by a Franciscan Friar, Franciscan Sister or Secular (lay) Franciscan.

c)    pray together every day (volunteers take turns preparing the prayer)

d)   participate in a community night every Wednesday evening

e)   engage in a community faith sharing/business meeting every week

f)    be available to one another to share their journey and experience.

It is this nurturing, challenging and healing encounter with Christ in community life that enables the volunteer to respond in service to those in need.


2.  Service

Everyone participates

The FC experience will also involve a work placement in some area of human need. The work placement will be in an agency which serves those marginalized, either economically or otherwise.  It will include significant contact with the people one is serving. Volunteers are expected to:

a)    work approximately 40 hours a week without personal remuneration,

b)    take no more than 15 workdays for vacation,

c)    take the Feast of St. Francis as a holiday,

d)    take one workday off plus the weekend for retreats during the year,

e)    abide with policies and procedure of the agency,

f)     arrange for days off with their supervisor in cooperation with the FC Director,

3.  Support provided to the volunteer

FrancisCorps will provide the support of local friars, sisters and Secular Franciscans to serve as Co-Ministers for this experience.  The Co-Ministers will provide on-going guidance and orientation during the course of the year, and serve as liaisons between the volunteer members and the local Franciscan community. Spiritual Direction will also be made available upon request.

FrancisCorps will also support the volunteer by providing:

a)    an orientation to begin the time of service and regular one-on-one meetings,

b)   weekly visits (usually) by a Franciscan Friar, Franciscan Sister or Secular (lay) Franciscan

c)    4 weekend retreat experiences for the volunteer community to reflect on, evaluate, and celebrate their work and their life together,

d)    a Transition Retreat in July to end the experience,


The individual volunteer member agrees to participate in these events which are basic and necessary components of the program.


Brother Sun & Sister Moon!

4.  Faith-based values and respect

FrancisCorps is a Franciscan faith-based program in the Roman Catholic tradition. The FC Volunteer is expected to participate in key liturgical moments of the FrancisCorps year such as the Commissioning Mass, special retreat liturgies and feasts such as the Feast of Saint Francis. Most volunteers are Roman Catholic and are expected to attend Catholic Mass together as a community.

Occasionally volunteers of other Christian denominations are invited to participate in FC. They too are expected to participate in the key FC liturgical events. They are also encouraged to practice their faith according to the prescriptions of their own church. All volunteers are expected to act in public in a manner consistent with a member of a Roman Catholic faith-based volunteer organization.

The FC volunteer commits to respect all people regardless of gender, race, ethnicity or nationality, creed, ability, sexual orientation, or political beliefs. No form of bullying or harassment, sexual or otherwise, will be tolerated. For the sake of community dynamics, romantic or sexual relationships between volunteers are prohibited.

The FC volunteer commits to uphold and participate in the protection of minors and vulnerable adults from any form of abuse by abiding by all FC and worksite agency directives regarding the protection of minors and vulnerable adults. Any incidence of abuse must be reported immediately to the local site supervisors, child protection officials and the FC director.


5.  FrancisCorps’ Financial Responsibility

FrancisCorps assumes financial responsibility for the following:

a)    Transportation of volunteers from Syracuse, NY to and from the site of the summer orientation program,

b)    Medical Insurance (excluding maternity benefits) provided by the work placement site. Volunteers may elect to maintain their health insurance through their families.

c)    Necessary living expenses including housing, utilities, simple but adequate upkeep, etc. with the volunteer household,

d)    Retreat and Training

e)    Food for the volunteer community (calculated at $100/volunteer/month)

f)     Personal Stipend ($100/volunteer/month)

g)    Least expensive transportation from Syracuse to volunteer’s permanent residence after the end of the FC experience.

h)    Costa Rica: transportation to Costa Rica and back


6.  Volunteer’s Financial Responsibility

Individual FrancisCorps volunteers agree to the following financial responsibilities:

a)    Travel expenses to the FC house in Syracuse, NY for orientation.

b)    To pay any personal income taxes incurred, including those due to employment prior to or following the program.

c)    Any personal travel or expenses other than outlined in this agreement.

d)   Costa Rica: To fundraise the required donation for transportation and medical insurance and incidentals

What spinach can do for you!

7.  Additional expectations

a)    The experience begins in the middle of August of each year and the formal end of the volunteer year is about the end of July of each year.  This will be preceded by a community end-of-the-year evaluation and celebration.

b)    The volunteer member agrees in the spirit of an option for solidarity with the poor, and in opting for living a common life with others, to limit individual personal travel during the period of service.  Typical travel would be to family emergencies or weddings of immediate family members.  Travel to meet family needs is ordinarily assumed to be a family expense.  Occasions such as graduate school or job interviews may become necessary and are the financial responsibility of the individual volunteer.

c)     Volunteers are free to return home for holidays, but this is at their expense and they must coordinate with their community, FC director and work site supervisor.

d)    Visits to volunteer members by friends and families are valued and appreciated aspects of the FrancisCorps experience. Family and friends are welcomed and invited to join the volunteers at their work sites for a full FC experience.  Recognizing that the presence of visitors for more than a few days can interfere with the normal work and living patterns established by the volunteer members as a group, the volunteer member agrees to limit the number and length of such visits.

e)    If any volunteer leaves the program early or is asked to leave the program due to a breach of the agreement with FrancisCorps the travel expenses home will be the responsibility of the volunteer.


8.  Requirements for Costa Rica

a)    Applicants must be proficient in Spanish.

b)    FrancisCorps volunteers accepted for Costa Rica commit themselves to fundraise $1,800 prior to orientation in August to assist with the costs of transportation and medical insurance.

c)     The FrancisCorps house in Costa Rica is a 5 bedroom wing of a retreat center on the campus of the local friary.

d)    Costa Rica is a rich and amazing country, however, the infrastructure of transportation is not the best. Some of the volunteer work sites require a 30 -40 minute bus ride followed by either another bus or a walk through scenic pedestrian street for about 15 minutes.

e)    The volunteers will be required to work with FrancisCorps to complete the required paperwork to apply for temporary residency while they are serving in Costa Rica prior to orientation in August.  This process can take a number of weeks to complete and involves securing a number of items including criminal background checks and certified copies of birth certificates.  Don’t worry, we are here to help you through the process!

9.  Applicants from Costa Rica

a)    Costa Rican citizens who wish to apply to the program in Syracuse, NY must arrange for a multiple entry B1 or B2 visa for the United States of America.

b)    Applicants must be proficient in English.

We love Canada, eh!

10.  Applicants from Canada

a)   Canadian citizens who wish to apply to the program in Syracuse, NY must arrange for a multiple entry B1 or B2 visa for the United States of America. Applicants for the Costa Rica location will follow the same procedure as the US applicants.

b)   Francophone applicants must be proficient in English.


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