by Bill McCarthy 

2014 – 15 Members of Project SERVE, beginning a year of volunteer service in some of the programs of Catholic Charities From left: Mike (Rochester, NY) – Villa Maria School, Cameron (Carmichael, CA) – Sarah’s House, Maggie (Milwaukee, WI) – Esperanza Center, Corey (Lansing, MI) – Our Daily Bread Employment Center, Giovanna (Wesley Chapel, FL) – My Sister’s Place Women’s Center, Daisy (Chicago, IL) – Weinberg Housing and Resource Center, and Nyerre (Monkton, MD) – Villa Maria School.

At the recent Commissioning Ceremony for our seven Project SERVE volunteers, Amy Collier, the Director of the Community Services Division, spoke of the “Call to Service” that our volunteers are answering through their dedicated service in programs across Catholic Charities. Project SERVE is Catholic Charities’ year-long volunteer program for recent college graduates. The program asks young adults to commit one year to full-time service while living together in an intentional community focusing on simplicity, sustainability and social justice within the framework of faith. I wanted all of you to have the opportunity to read Amy’s words. Thanks to all of you for answering this same call in so many ways!

In Amy’s words–

I was excited to learn that a complete group of seven inspiring and dedicated young people have committed to service, communal living and simplicity through Project SERVE this year. We are all called to serve and this experience will give you the opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of the challenges and tremendous rewards of service in a life changing way.

Isaiah 6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? and Who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Each of you has responded to the call for service with a resounding “Here am I, send me!”

Send me:

Send me into a life of simplicity and sacrifice, wherein I turn away from society’s idols in favor of genuine communication, reflection and purpose.

Send me into a community of living in harmony with my brothers and sisters as I give and receive support for our journey.

Send me to understand and work for social justice, in service to vulnerable children, people without homes or employment and immigrants needing guidance and support.

The call to service is great, but your answer to the call is extraordinary. By faith, your call to service will be made manifest in the lives that are improved by their encounter with you.

Serve with love and enjoy the journey as you Cherish the Divine Within All.