On the Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, more than 250 people from across the country came together to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers. For two and a half decades, the ministry has fostered a community of faith and action that responds to the Gospel call in the spirit of St. Vincent de Paul.
Young men and women, ages 22 to 30, volunteer for the year-long program, living in community and serving the elderly, homeless, disabled, troubled youth and those who are poor. The program focuses on building relationships between the volunteers, leaders and those who are served.
“We are called to serve those living on the margins, but we also have to face our own spiritual poverties,” explains Mary Frances Jaster, CVV Director. “Each person who comes into our lives has something to teach us about ourselves, God and our relationship with others.”
“Each person who comes into our lives has something to teach us about ourselves, God and our relationship with others.”
– Mary Frances Jaster,
The weekend celebration included meals, games, fellowship, prayer and reflections from ministry leaders and volunteers. During their talk, co-directors Bill and Mary Frances Jaster described how the program’s mission was rooted in six key characteristics of the Vincentian charism, including sharing the condition of the poor, a community spirit, a readiness to go anywhere and living in a constant state of conversion.
“It was great to see so many people from our past – it makes you realize how many opportunities each of us has to make an impact on those we meet and the people we serve,” Mary Frances shares. “We have a responsibility to make choices to impact the lives of others for the better.”
One person who had an impact on many of the Colorado Vincentian Volunteers was the late Fr. Tom Nelson, C.M., who joined the ministry in its first year. Fr. Tom served in various roles over the years, including board member, spiritual advisor, chaplain and friend. Mary Frances says that Fr. Tom “played a key role in keeping this ministry vibrant for all these years.”
Bill and Mary Frances were also recognized for their service, as they stepped down from their leadership positions after 25 years. “We were honored to play a role in helping people encounter Christ in those they serve. We look forward to seeing the program evolve to better serve the needs of the community,” Mary Frances remarked. “We have always embraced creative ways of reaching out – that’s part of the Vincentian charism.”