The Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps Midwest is an intentional community of full-time volunteers who live simply, practice Franciscan spirituality and examine issues of social justice through reflection and action.
The Provincial Chapter of 1990 approved the Provincial Plan and with it a proposal to begin a lay volunteer program. The following year an inter-provincial committee met to develop this proposal with rationale and guiding principles. The program that evolved came to be called the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps (Cap Corps Midwest).
Since the Second Vatican Council there has been a great expansion of possibilities for and interest in lay ministries in the Catholic Church. Moreover, the Capuchin Constitutions (n. 89) call for a sharing of life and ministry with the laity. Many generous lay people continue to look for opportunities for a radical experience of service, prayer and community. These factors have led to a movement of volunteerism that appears as a sign of the times and calls for a response. While providing a positive outlet for lay people looking for greater involvement, a volunteer program also serves to energize the friars with the idealism and enthusiasm of the volunteers.
Cap Corps offers women and men ages 21 and older (who have no dependent minors) an opportunity to partner with the Capuchins. For a commitment that lasts 12-18 months, participants work full-time at a community-based organization, parish or school that serves people who are poor or otherwise marginalized. Additionally, the volunteers practice a simple lifestyle in an intentional community while sharing prayer with other volunteers and/or Capuchins. The volunteers meet regularly with friars for fellowship and to reflect on their experience of life and ministry.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES & BACKGROUND
- Cap Corps is a ministry of the Province of St Joseph of the Capuchin Order, Inc.
- The volunteers will serve among and live simply in solidarity with people who are economically poor.
- The volunteers will live in community as brothers and sisters.
- The volunteers will have the opportunity to share prayer and meals in common.
- The Capuchins will share their spirituality with the volunteers through ongoing association with them.
- The Capuchins will be available to reflect with the volunteers on the experience of their life and ministry, based on the Franciscan spirit of Gospel living.
- As far as possible, Cap Corps will be a collaborative program among the Capuchin provinces.
- The Provincial administration approves personnel to direct the program with a recommendation from the Cap Corps Ministry Council (CCMC) and provides some funding to support the program.
- Be Transformed - "Sometimes people think they have to do big things in order to make change. But if each one would light a candle we'd have a tremendous light." - Thea Bowman
- Accompanying Others - "To live charitably means not looking out for our own interests, but carrying the burdens of the weakest and poorest among us." - Pope Francis
- Building the Kin-dom - "Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives." - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr
- Of God - "Prayer is that relationship with God which opens the eyes of believers to the sanctity of all life...Everything that exists reflects the goodness of God." - Ilia Delio