Companions on a Journey
“We see ourselves as companions on a journey with those we serve,” says Mary Frances Jaster, co-director of Colorado Vincentian Volunteers. “Our volunteers learn to see the face of Jesus in everyone they meet, especially the poor and the marginalized.”
This Vincentian ministry, established 30 years ago, provides faith formation opportunities to young adults from across the country, while they serve in the Denver area. The Colorado Vincentian Volunteers has received generous support from the Western Province in the form of grants, donations and, above all, the selfless service of priests and brothers. Since the beginning, the Vincentian charism has been at the heart of the program.
“Fr. Tom Nelson, C.M., served as our first chaplain. He, along with Fr. Paul Golden, C.M., and many other priests and brothers have infused our mission with a distinctly Vincentian spirituality,” explains Bill Jaster, co-director of CVV. “They taught us to ask, ‘what must be done?’– to consider where the need is greatest and to invest our energy, time and resources.”
“We find that young people are hungry for a real transformation… Deep down, they are searching for the values that come from serving and from being in relationship with people who are economically poor.”
– Mary Frances Jaster
The program attracts college students and young adults, ready for a life of community, prayer and service. Participants serve for one year in a variety of agencies, ministries and outreach settings. For many, the CVV program challenges them to discover what God is asking of them.
“We find that young people are hungry for a real transformation,” Mary Frances explains. “Deep down, they are searching for the values that come from serving and from being in relationship with people who are economically poor.”
Bill and Mary Frances emphasize that participants learn humility, simplicity, gentleness, mortification and zeal – the five Vincentian virtues – through their interactions with those in need.
“By the end of the year, volunteers realize that they have something important to offer – that they are doing something to make a difference in the lives of others. Even more, they learn that they have gifts from God and a calling to share those gifts with others.”