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Catholic retiree service program expands to NE, seeks volunteers


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MILFORD -- The nationwide Catholic service organization, Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC), has expanded into New England and is looking for retirees willing to put their life experience to work serving the community.

IVC’s service program for retired Catholics age 50 and over was founded to harness the leadership abilities of retirees who bring a lifetime of experience, energy and wisdom as they seek a new way to serve their community, said Steven J. Jubin, who was named director of IVC’s first New England regional office last month.

Aside from the volunteers’ maturity and readiness to reach out and share their wisdom and skills with others, Jubin said, “Above all else, Ignatian Volunteers are men and women who want to give of themselves in response to the blessings and love that God has given to them.”

Serving urban communities across the country, IVC combines service to the poor, vulnerable and marginalized people with a process of reflection on that ministry following Ignatian spirituality.

According to Jubin, the program’s co-founders, Father Jim Conroy, SJ and Father Charlie Costello, SJ, designed the Ignatian Volunteer Corps as a unique process of spiritual reflection that includes keeping a journal, one-on-one reflections with a spiritual advisor, as well as occasional group reflections and short retreats.

“Ignatian Corps volunteers are willing to reflect personally and with others in order to deepen their understanding of and experience with those who are materially poor and marginalized,” said Jubin. “They want to grow spiritually by living the gospel in a new way at this time in their lives.”

Jubin, who described himself as a “lone ranger” in his new Milford office, says it is his goal is for IVC to grow rapidly in New England and for it become a household name within a year-and-a-half.

“There is an awful lot of work to be done; but, my ideal is that we get, within the next year, at least 30 corps members on board and a multiplicity and diversity of service sites at our fingertips,” he said.

Jubin said that having diversity of service sites will offer the volunteers with the opportunity to select a service project to which they can bring the most interest and insight. Some service sites include shelters, food pantries, hospices, prison wards, mentoring and English as a second language (ESL) programs.

Within the first month in his post, he has recruited a Jesuit spiritual advisor in Rhode Island and three corps members -- one from Boston and two from Providence.

However, his central focus is currently on developing service sites “because without them I can’t do anything,” he says.

Jubin welcomes the challenges that his new post has brought him, saying that his volunteer work with the Missionaries of Charity, Aids Action Committee, and Newton Wellesley Hospital’s Pastoral Care department drew him closer to God through the sharing of his time and talents. That has now brought him to IVC.

In additional to retiree volunteers for service projects, Jubin is also seeking volunteers to assist him in administration and IVC recruiting events.

More information about IVC is available at www.ivcusa.org or by contacting Steven Jubin at 617-699-4045 or sjubin@ivcusa.org.

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