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


Alexander (A.J.) LaPoint – Director

The FrancisCorps Director is responsible for the FrancisCorps program in its entirety.  The Director oversees the volunteers, the day-to-day operations of the program, as well as future planning.

Friar Rick and A.J.

Friar Rick and A.J.

A.J. was born and raised in Plattsburgh, New York.  After attending Siena College where he received a Bachelor’s of the Arts in Creative Arts and a Bachelor’s of the Arts in Mathematics, A.J. spent time working in theatre and higher education before joining FrancisCorps as a volunteer in the summer of 2008.  While with serving with FrancisCorps, A.J. worked at the Assumption Food Pantry and Franciscan Northside Ministries. After his FrancisCorps experience, A.J. spent time as a Postulant with the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province in Boston, M.A., he was a Resident Hall Director at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and then completed his Masters of the Arts degree in Higher Education Administration with a concentration in Catholic University Leadership at Boston College.  After completing his MA, A.J. worked as the Assistant Director of Campus Ministry at Mount Saint Mary College.

A.J. joined the FrancisCorps staff in 2014, becoming the Director in 2015, and he currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Catholic Volunteer Network.  A.J. is thrilled and excited to be lending his experience and skills to help FrancisCorps continue to be the fantastic and life changing experience it is!

Johanna Cajina – Associate Director

The FrancisCorps Associate Director is primarily responsible for walking with potential volunteers who apply to FrancisCorps, but also assists in all facets of the FrancisCorps program.

Johanna was born in Managua, Nicaragua, but considers Silver Spring, Maryland, her hometown. After attending The Catholic University of America where she received a Bachelor of Arts in Politics and Spanish for International Service as well as two minors in History and Latin American and Latino Studies, Johanna became part of FrancisCorps17. She served at Al Niño con Cariño, a home for young girls with limited economic opportunities, located in Alajuela, Costa Rica.

Passionate about social justice and immigration, she returned to Costa Rica after completing her year of service to work for the Inter-American Court of Human Rights as a research analyst and translator. Also in Costa Rica, she further pursued her interests in ecumenism and ecclesiology by attending La Universidad Teológica de América Central. Grateful for the opportunity to join FrancisCorps as the Associate Director, Johanna is most looking forward to sharing her FC experience with current and prospective volunteers as well as exploring her new neighborhood of Syracuse, New York.

Friar Richard Riccioli, OFM Conv. – Chaplain

The FrancisCorps Chaplain supports the spiritual and formative development of the volunteers, particularly with retreats.  The Chaplain may also help out the Director in other capacities from time to time.

Friar Rick was born in Montréal, Québec and raised in the city’s south shore suburb of Brossard.  He professed his vows as a Franciscan Friar in 1983 and was ordained a priest in 1990.  The ministries in which he was served include: vocation director, formation director, magazine editor and parish priest. He has also been part of the Friar’s leadership council in Canada.  Friar Rick’s education includes a Master of Divinity degree from the Washington Theological Union in Washington, DC and a Master of Science degree in Pastoral Counseling from Loyola University in Maryland.

Friar Rick has been on the board of directors of various not-for-profit organizations in Toronto, Ontario serving homeless women, creating opportunities for independent living for people with disabilities and providing specialized addiction services for people with HIV. He has also taught Pastoral Counseling at the Toronto School of Theology in the University of Toronto.

Sr. Caryn Crook, OSF – Co-Minister

Sr. Caryn & Friar Rick

Sr. Caryn & Friar Rick

FrancisCorps relies on the generosity of friars, sisters, and lay Franciscans who volunteer their time to provide additional spiritual and communal support to the FrancisCorps community.

Sister Caryn was born and raised in Fulton, NY, a small town north of Syracuse, NY known for Nestles Chocolate and lake effect snow. She attended Keystone Jr. College in Pennsylvania where she received an Associate Degree in Liberal Arts from Keystone Jr. College. After Keystone, she attended the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry adjacent to Syracuse University where she received a Bachelor Degree in Forest Biology. After graduating, she entered the Peace Corps and worked in Central African Republic for two years teaching farmers how to raise tilapia in ponds. After she completed her term, she was employed by the US Fish and Wildlife Service working on a program called Partners for Fish and Wildlife and was responsible for restoring wildlife habitat on private property, mostly restored wetland habitat. She also had the opportunity to restore grassland habitat, streams, and endangered species habitat. Sister Caryn loved her career, but felt called to something different. She entered the Sisters of St. Francis in 2005. Currently she ministers as the Vocation Director for the sisters. She is also an Action Commissioner with Franciscan Action Network advocating for peace and justice, human rights and immigration, and care for creation.

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