Growing up in a small-town and Lutheran church I became involved at a young age sharing my skills and talents with others (even those skills and talents I didn’t think were very good). Volunteering as part of the church never felt like an expectation put upon you by the parish, the pastor, or your family. It was simply just another aspect of ‘going to church’ because everyone in the church was always involved. Because of that, I was blessed to learn at a young age the benefits that volunteering gave back to me. If I gave of myself, intentionally and from the heart, I always got back much more than I gave. It’s as if that original energy of giving grew and then everyone came away from the experience more fulfilled than before. I learned that volunteering and intentionally giving to others is always a ‘win-win’ scenario. When you are of service to another, you BOTH grow and benefit.
Going through the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) process early on in my marriage meant I automatically looked for ways to volunteer in my new church community. Because it is such an integral part of the Catholic faith, I was immediately drawn to sharing the sacrament of Communion with others, first during Mass, and now most recently sharing individual communion with our parishioners at the Village at Legacy Pointe. When I was working, my background was in health education/wellness promotion, specifically with the older adult population. I’ve always been drawn to supporting older adults in whatever way I could, both personally and professionally. After a few years of staying home full-time and spending time with both my father and mother-in-law in nursing homes, I found myself compelled to reach out again to that population. I started thinking about volunteering with the older adult residents at the nearby Village at Legacy Pointe. Ironically about that same time I saw a need in the church bulletin for Pastoral Care Ministers for Legacy Pointe. Of course this was the perfect opportunity to be with older adults and fulfill a need at St. Boniface, but really more importantly, it would feed my soul’s desire to be of service. Each Legacy visit leaves me feeling wonderfully spent, but just as equally filled. I feel that I’ve given a little part of myself to each of those that I’ve served, and they have given an even bigger part of themselves back to me. I like to think this is the Holy Spirit working while we share Communion together.
We all have skills, talents, hobbies, activities that we are passionate about and want to share with others. There are just so many opportunities at St. Boniface and in our local communities that match what you have to share. I think the true joy of volunteering comes when you offer your personal interests to others that need what you have to offer. An example outside of the St. Boniface volunteer opportunities is that I’ve always felt compelled to help animals in need, and our family happens to love animals, specifically dogs. So as a family we partner with the Animal Rescue League and are a foster family to puppies ‘in need’ of a home to learn socialization, get lots of little kid love, and a little respite to prepare them for adoption. It’s a lot of work, but it fills our family with an incredible amount of love and service. We get back so much more than we give. That’s in a large part because we’ve found a way to serve an organization that needs what we are passionate about and want to offer. Service opportunities are absolutely everywhere and for everyone. Enjoy!
When asked what inspires me to continue volunteering, both at St. Boniface and in the community, it’s really the very act of serving others that is the true inspiration. Service fills me with the Holy Spirit and I simply walk away a better person. And I try to remember these wise words from Mahatma Gandhi ‘The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.’