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After college the possibilities seem unlimited for a college graduate: grad school, job, join the circus, or do a service year. I choose to do a service year. There are many different types of service opportunities in civic, religious, and secular venues. As a Catholic I felt it was my calling to do service through my faith. My original intention was to go to graduate school at Creighton University in Nebraska where I would teach in under resourced Catholic schools and pursue a master’s degree in Educational Leadership. I was all set to pursue this path and felt God had called me to do it for the next couple of years. Yet in a series of random events this plan faltered. To save a long story, everything all worked out and I landed on my feet and through more twists and turns I found my way to FrancisCorps.

FrancisCorps is a lay Catholic volunteer organization run by the Conventual Franciscans and modeled after the life and teachings of St. Francis and St. Clare.  The underlying message of FrancisCorps is to “preach the Gospel. If necessary use words.” The program places college grads in ministry sites in Syracuse, NY and Costa Rica. Since I did not know Spanish, Syracuse was the city I choose. My job will be Assistant Outreach Coordinator of the Food Pantry and Health Clinic at Assumption Parish. While doing this job I will be living in community with five other persons in a house. The genius of FrancisCorps is that participants not only get a valuable job experience but a solid community including the five other housemates and several other people who support the mission of FrancisCorps.

I arrived in Syracuse on August 20 and for the past week the Syracuse and Costa Rica groups have been doing our orientation/retreats at different sites. Our travels have taken us across New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. We have learned the teachings and charism of St. Francis and the Franciscans. These values and principles are great things I hope to take away from this year and live throughout my life.

I am very blessed to have this experience and know that God called me to give myself to FrancisCorps this year. Serving the poor is often frowned upon and it is very easy to overlook their plight. Yet their experience and condition effects everyone and by helping them we can help ourselves. I start my ministry site this week and will be fully kicking off this experience. It promises to be a great year will change me forever.

This blog will be updated on a weekly basis with my experiences and my reflections. Look for photographs and other interactive media things too. Enjoy! God Bless! I leave you with this Franciscan prayer.

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