The Spirituality of Volunteering


Dear Friends,

Good news!  Our retreat activity is flourishing.  November could easily be our best month ever.  People hunger to come together and share their most precious gift – presence.  This good news comes with a challenge.  Like many organizations, we’ve been straining to find employees to help in continuing our mission to provide a place for evangelization and renewal through gracious hospitality and service.  As Jesus says, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”  

More good news!  Volunteers abound.  Even though we’ve been challenged finding enough people to put on our schedules, God has blessed us with an abundance of volunteers.  For some weeks, our volunteers actually worked more hours than our employees.  I’ve highlighted some of the activities in a photo collage below.  God is in reality sending us many ‘workers for the vineyard’.  These workers, however, have responded to my prayers instead of my Indeed ads.  

Volunteering is a spiritual practice.  God has given us gifts.  Faith affirms that we are not complete unless we share those gifts with others.  Sometimes we shallowly think that volunteering is ‘doing something for nothing.’  But deep within our spiritual DNA we recognize these gifts are not meant for us to keep but meant for us to share.  When shared, they multiply and grow.  When kept, they wither and die.  Jesus says, “Gifts will be given to you…” to provide an overflowing abundance.  (Luke 6:38)  He goes on to suggest that if we scatter these gifts like seeds, the result will be a harvest multiplied 30, 60, or 100 fold. (Mk 4:20)

When I assembled the photos, I was amazed at the difference our donors and volunteers have made in just a few months.  They followed the advice of Saint Peter and became “generous distributors of God’s manifold grace”, putting their “gifts at the service of one another each in the measure he has received.”  (1 Pet 4:10)  The Catholic Conference Center has been the grateful recipient of this ‘manifold grace’.
As we settle into an ‘endemic’ instead of a ‘pandemic’ world, it’s might be a good time to ask  yourself,  “What is the gift that I can share and multiply God’s manifold grace into my world?”

Your servant in Christ,

Deacon Scott Gilfillan
Director, Catholic Conference Center


Freddy Garcia and builds a new porch with lumber donated from a wonderful supporter.

Garry Rufty builds a planter from funds donated to the Diane Felts OFS Memorial.

Bob Hall and Rodney Kelso help remodel and do fix-up activities at Saint Mary Retreat House, including installing the new bathroom floor.

Larry and Janis Goonan, plus Knights from Saint Aloysius, convert an ugly old shed into a spacious pavilion. 

Youth from Saint Joseph clear brush surrounding the new pavilion.

At Saint Mary’s House, the Robinson family paints the outside while Garry Rufty paints the inside.  

Ladies Guild from Saint Joseph prepare Saint Francis House for planting a memorial garden for Diane Felts, OFS. 

Marcel Dessert and Leon Belleros hand-make Farm Tables for Saint Francis.  Youth mulch outside.

Saint Joseph Youth add poly to picnic tables assembled by Tina Rufty and Larry Goonan.    

Don’t miss out on these upcoming events and retreats!  
Ornaments and Hors d’Oeuvres.  Make your own kiln-fired ornaments just in time for Christmas.  Enjoy some appetizers while working or spend a little time with a friend.    Wednesday, December 1 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.
Advent Series – The Power of Silence.  “Lunch and Learn” is back.  Discover how you can recapture the Advent virtue of silence and free yourself from the “dictatorship of noise.”  Begins Wednesday, December 1 from 12:00 PM to 1:30 PM.
Christmas at Greccio.  Prepare for the birth of our savior through Advent reflections, Franciscan Prayer and blessed Silence.  Offered by the Fraternity of Brother Francis, Secular Franciscan Order.  One night retreat with a second-night option.  December 10 and 11. 
New Year’s Retreat:  Finding Your Everyday God.  What better way to bring in the New Year than through a retreat – engaging talks, Mass, confession, Adoration, and plenty of time for reflection indoors and out?  Plus fine-dining.  Two nights, December 30 to January 1. 

Got an idea for a workshop, retreat, or event? 
Looking for a place for a retreat of your own?  Contact our direction, Deacon Scott D. Gilfillan.  He’d love to hear from you.

Volunteers may abound, but we’re still looking for some part-time and full-time help.  See Job Opportunities for more information.  
“Come away to a secluded place and rest awhile.”  Mk 6:31 
Consider coming to the Catholic Conference Center   

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