IVC volunteers gathered on August 31st at Mercy Conference & Retreat Center for a Renewal & Commitment Day to kick-off its 10th year of service in the St. Louis community. The morning began with an orientation for 5 new members followed by what felt like a “family reunion” as the other 34 members welcomed our new members and one another. The morning prayer was one of gratitude for the privilege of being a volunteer and reflecting on the members’ hopes and aspirations for this new IVC year.
The morning was punctuated with a very dynamic and open panel entitled “What My Faith Calls Me To Do – some Unusual Suspects” moderated by Marie Kenyon, Director of Peace & Justice Commission for the Archdiocese of St. Louis. The panelists shared their own experiences about how their faith is called upon and sometimes challenged in the work they do. Panelists included Mary Fox, District Public Defender, Tom Irwin, Exec. Director of Civic Progress and Lt. Col. Ronnie Robinson, Commander of Bureau of Community Affairs for the St. Louis City Metropolitan Police Dept. Our volunteers were touched deeply by their stories and the relevance to their own experiences.
Thirteen of our 24 IVC spiritual reflectors were able to join us for this year’s Eucharistic celebration and lunch. IVC friend and spiritual reflector, Fr. Richard (Dick) Vogt, S.J. graciously presided at our Mass and at the commissioning ceremony of four of our five new members: Janet Ciapciak, David Costigan, Carol Marshall, Mary Ann Moore, and Patricia Garcia.
Later, Kathleen Davis, a spiritual director and retreat leader, as well as an IVC friend and spiritual reflector, offered an inspirational presentation entitled “A Reflection on Mercy” – noting the fine distinctions between compassion and mercy and how those virtues are called upon in our volunteer services.
After a closing discussion on our Growth & Hopes for the coming year, we departed feeling nourished and renewed for IVC journey 2016-17!