August 19, 2012
The 14th Annual Commissioning of FrancisCorps volunteers took place on Sunday, August 19th at The Franciscan Church of the Assumption in Syracuse, New York. The liturgy was presided by the Very Rev. Justin Biase, OFM Conv., Minister Provincial. The new volunteers were blessed for their year of Franciscan community life and their service to the poor and marginalized in Syracuse New York and in Costa Rica.
Meet the new volunteers:
Georgie Asfoura, 22 , comes to FrancisCorps from Akron, OH and is a 2012 graduate from Boston College where she majored in Economics and Studio Art. Georgie has worked with the Office of Residential life and in the Welcome Center at Boston College. She has also volunteered through the St. Bernard Project dry walling houses in New Orleans. She enjoys creating artwork, playing the guitar, hitting up museums and giving speeches. Living simply begins with capitalizing on any opportunity to truly be with people, living out their stories side-by-side to empathize with them and share their perspective. Although good deeds are essential, only through prayer and reflection are our actions informed, and thus, become more meaningful. Close consideration and a search for deeper understanding allow us to put light in the dark places.
Jeanne Marie Clemmer, 22, hails from Jamesville, NY and is a 2012 graduate from Canisius College where she majored in Sociology and Urban Studies. Jeanne Marie worked within Residential life at Canisius College as well as acted as a foster sister, tutor for refugees and community service volunteer. She has a passion for working with refugees, drawing and keeping up-to-date with current human rights issues. Jeanne Marie will minister as an Assistant with Refugee Resettlement and Asian Apostolate in Syracuse. I am so blessed to have the opportunity to be able to apply to such a program as presented by FrancisCorps. Through my school St. Francis of Assisi in Fulton and the youth ministers and leaders, I learned of Christ’s call for all his disciples to serve other with humility and passion. Since hearing the quote “Preach the Gospel, if necessary use words” I have grown and flourished to becoming an instrument of change in the world.
Ellen Craven, 23, is coming to FrancisCorps from Culpeper, VA. Ellen just completed a year with the Jesuit Volunteer Corps in Hartford, CT where she was the Program Assistant of Community Meals. Ellen is a 2011 graduate of The University of Delaware where she majored in Foreign Languages and Literatures. Ellen has studied abroad in Ecuador, Mexico and Brazil and has taken part in service trips to Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. She enjoys running, baking, readings, movies and learning new things. Ellen will minister as an Assistant in the Social Outreach program at our St. Francis School in San José, Costa Rica. Serving full-time for a year is just as much a formative experience for the volunteer as it is about performing charitable works. Walking in Solidarity with the poor through a year of service with FrancisCorps will plant roots and build relationships to guide me through the rest of my life.
Rachel Fedders, 22, is a graduate of Wake Forest University where she obtained her B.A in Biology and Studio Arts. She is originally from Beckley, WV. While at Wake Forest Rachel was an active member in the Wake Forest Catholic Community where she participated in numerous service and volunteers opportunities for low income families in the Appalachian region. She also spent a semester studying abroad in New Zealand. Rachel enjoys many being outdoors hiking, fishing camping as well as listen to music and attending concerts and plays. Rachel will minister as a Youth Mentor the Bishop Foery Foundation, a neighborhood youth center in Syracuse. I have truly enjoyed and am greatly blessed with the many volunteer experiences with which I have participated. I feel strongly devoting a year to service, simple living and community is part of God’s plan for my life. I am excited about FrancisCorps and the opportunities it presents to strengthen my faith, minister to those in need, build relationships and live simple.
Gerardo Gomez, 22, comes from Philadelphia, PA and is a 2012 graduate of St. Joseph’s University. At St. Joseph’s, Gerardo earned his B.S. in Business Administration with a Accounting major. While at SJU he participated in the Cultural Exchange Program as well as volunteered in homeless shelters and with individuals with special needs. Gerardo also enjoys running and biking, spending time with his dog, music whether listening, playing the violin or going to concerts and photography. Gerardo will minister as an Assistant at Centeno Guell in Costa Rica for blind, deaf and physically challenged children. I chose FrancisCorps because its mission is consistent with my most important values, specifically to live out the gospel through your own actions. I truly believe that the parallel between the FrancisCorps mission and my own experience will help me get even more out of my service and make it a strong foundation for my spiritual growth.
Michael Hyde, 22, is from St. Louis, MO and is a 2012 graduate of The University of Dayton. Here at Dayton he earned his degree in Religious Studies and Marianist Social Transformation. While at Dayton he was the team manager for the soccer team. Through this experience Michael was also able to volunteer by coaching soccer for underprivileged youth. He also has done a little traveling to France and a recent trip to China. Michael also enjoys hiking, reading and racquetball. He will minister to the refugee children at the Northside CYO in Syracuse. I applied to FrancisCorps because I am drawn to the values of simple living and community life. Coming from a background where community is been stressed I found myself drawn to the emphasis on the faith community in FrancisCorps. I feel this is beneficial for my development as a whole person.
Glenne Knape, 22, is a native of Grand Rapids, MI. She is a 2012 graduate of The University of Dayton where she studied Biology and Spanish. Glenna has had her hands in many volunteer opportunities to Honduras, Dayton, Appalachian, New Orleans, and St. Louis. She also has taught health education while in Quetzaltengo, Guatemala. She has also worked a head research in a Regenerative biology lab. Glenna enjoys playing sports, running, sailing and downhill skiing. She also loves being outdoors, reading and singing. Glenna will minister at a FUNDESO, a clinic for women with breast cancer. Living simply, means that we will not focus on the physical aspects; rather, we will focus on more important aspects of life such as spirituality, developing relationships, and becoming more like Christ. Living simply also directly related to the service that I would be participating in during my year of service with FrancisCorps. To best relate to to the people I would be serving, I would need to live in solidarity with them.
Simon Pearson, 23, comes all the way to Syracuse from Duluth, MN. He is a 2012 graduate of the College of Scholastica with a degree in English and Secondary Education. Simon has volunteered and acted as a trip leader for Students Today Leaders Forever. He is also a co-founder of a NPO called Spread Love Like Violence. Simon also enjoys writing poetry, reading, sports such as basketball baseball and running. He also enjoys music and spending time with his family. Simon will minister to The Franciscan Church of Assumption Food Pantry. FrancisCorps, to me, is the kind of organization that treats their people as members of a community and encourages them positively to make the changes in the world that the Lorkd would have us do. For me, this opportunity to work with FrancisCorps has landed exactly in the middle of what I want to do.
Jeffrey Sass, 22, is a recent college graduate of St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. Jeff is originally from Clear Lake, MN. While complete his degree in Biology, Jeff was a Biology Lab Teachers Assistant, and was President of the Biology Club. Jeff was also an orientation leader for incoming first years at St. John’s. Jeff also did a semester abroad in Quetzaltengo, Guatemala where he was able to work with local Guatemalans teaching English. He also enjoys reading, movie, sports and playing cards. Jeff also enjoys being outside whether fishing or being on the lake. He will minister at Albergue San Gabriel, a clinic for children in Costa Rica. With an experience like FrancisCorps I hope to become a stronger part of my community. Through the volunteer work and responsibility, I hope to learn to community better with others and find a community through faith that can help others see like through a better perspective.
Alexandra Vereau, 22, comes to FrancisCorps from White Plains, NY. She is a 2012 graduate from The Catholic University of America. There she obtained her degree in Spanish for International Service and German. While at CUA, she participated in numerous volunteer opportunities such as Habitat for Humanity, Homeless Outreach Program and was the President of Latin Alliance. She also has worked as a translator/interpreter and was a summer camp aide for people with special needs. She also enjoys playing rugby, spending time with her family and traveling to Peru. FrancisCorps I a place I feel I will be able to reach my full potential and actively use all the gifts God has blessed me with. Because of my past in working with those in need and my passion to help others, I feel strongly towards the values and goals that FrancisCorps represent.