IVC Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Director, Kathleen Groh, Honored by The Catholic Spirit
Kathleen Groh, IVC Minneapolis-St. Paul Regional Director was honored last week as a recipient of the Leading with Faith Award for 2016. This is the 15th year of the awards which recognize men and women who cherish their community and share their talents while relying on God to help see them through. Click HERE to read the entire article.
Exciting News from the IVC
Check out this incredible article from The Catholic Spirit about how Retirees put their experience into service with the IVC.
2016 Della Strada and Robert Hobbins Community Service Award Presentation – a HUGE success! Congratulations to Cheryl Dugan and the Dakota County Jail for your service to the Community and to the IVC.
To Reserve Your Seat for the 2016 Della Strada and Inaugural Robert Hobbins Community Service Award Ceremony recognizing Cheryl Dugan and the Dakota County Jail, please CLICK HERE! For more information, please contact Kathleen Groh, at 651-777-0991.
The Ignatian Volunteer Corps is blessed to have IVC volunteers that are committed to serving those who are poor and less fortunate in non-profit organizations in the Twin Cities. These organizations are struggling to adapt to the changing needs of those they serve and are doing so with fewer resources for staffing. Their funds from local, state, and national outlets are often reduced or eliminated and they struggle to secure grant opportunities to make up the difference. In the meantime, there are hundreds of Minnesotans who need access to services they depend on to keep them warm, safe, and fed.
Traditionally, the IVC provides skilled and experienced volunteers for these non-profit organizations regardless of their ability to pay for that support. The IVC volunteers fill much needed positions that organizations depend on to provide continuity of service to their clients. When these organizations utilize IVC volunteers to extend their staffing needs, it allows them to redistribute much needed funding to other core programming areas that otherwise may be reduced or eliminated. As a supporter of the IVC, you understood this need and have responded generously in the past to help the IVC continue to fulfill its mission of serving others in their time of need and work for justice. Thank you!
However, I wish I could say the need is decreasing, but it is not – the need is growing. This past year, I have had conversations with organizations that need our services, but are having a difficult time putting together the funds for a partnership fee. We have worked hard to keep our fees low at approximately $4 an hour, however even this nominal charge proves difficult for many organizations with limited budgets. Due to our commitment to serve the community IVC volunteers have been placed at no charge to the organization and as a result, IVC has given $8000 in sponsorships this year. With your help, financially stressed organizations are able receive the much needed volunteer support.
Our volunteers are the best volunteers in the Metro Area! The investment of time given by our spiritual reflectors, volunteers, and Regional Council is unparalleled. The Ignatian Volunteer Corps is not only about serving others, but it is also about each of them connecting to their Christian faith by
reflecting and praying in the Ignatian Tradition. It provides them the guidance necessary to make a meaningful impact in the organizations they serve and in the lives they touch.
When you choose to support IVC, you are helping to provide over 10,000 hours of volunteer service to organizations that:
- Address chronic homelessness
- Provide emergency services
- Serve persons and families with disabilities
- Reduce recidivism for ex-offenders
- Educate disadvantaged youth
- And do much more for those who are vulnerable and less fortunate
Let’s Increase Our Impact. Let’s Increase our Service!
This is the giving season and your donation to IVC will help us reach more of those who are in need and serve more organizations that need our help!
If you’ve attended an event, been a volunteer or a spiritual reflector, work in one of our service sites, or are connected to IVC in any way, please consider making a gift today!
It is my hope that you will keep IVC in your thoughts and prayers as we begin anew… “Father, inflame our hearts with courage and trust and a desire to serve you generously. Inspire the hearts of many to labor for you so that the Gospel is preached, the poor are served, the sorrowful are comforted and your people are strengthened by the sacraments. Mary, our Mother, St. Ignatius and St. Francis Xavier, bless the Society of Jesus and those who share in their mission in the Ignatian Volunteer Corps that we may continue to faithfully serve the Church. Amen.”
Please consider a gift prior to December 31st in order to take a full tax deduction on your donation to IVC. Your gift will help us reach more of those who are in need and serve more organizations that need our help!
In order to participate in today’s collective day of fundraising, please visit our website to make your tax-deductible contribution by CLICKING HERE! When prompted, please make sure to designate Minneapolis/St. Paul so that your dollars will remain locally and benefit our community directly.
If you’ve attended an event, been a volunteer, been a spiritual reflector, work for one of our service sites, or are connected to IVC in any way, please consider making a gift today!
ValLimar Jansen Event a Huge Success
On Thursday evening, October 26th, St. Olaf Catholic Church in downtown Minneapolis was full of song and spirit as ValLimar Jansen sang herself into the hearts and minds of the IVC and Twin Cities Community.
Her amazing voice filled the sanctuary and those in attendance danced and sang in a chorus whose voice reached up and touched the heavens. Her spirit flowed through everyone in attendance and her stories captivated the imaginations of everyone in attendance.
The gospel came to life through her inspirational storytelling which made the nearly two-hour performance feel like it was but a fleeting moment.
Check out the photos below (enlarge any photo by clicking on it) and click on one or more of the links at the bottom to see some of the moments that were captured on video.
For more information and to reserve your ticket(s) to our Main Event or our pre event VIP Dinner, please click HERE to be taken to our event registration page.
Please contact Kathleen Groh, Regional Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 651-777-0991 for more information.
**Click on the links below to see clips of her performances**
2015 Magnify! and Della Strada Celebration A Success!
On May 19th, IVC Volunteers and members of the community gathered at St. Patrick’s Church in Edina to celebrate the incredible success of our programming year and acknowledge the work of one of our own very special volunteers, Mary Ellen Kennedy, recipient of the 2015 Della Strada Award for outstanding service.
In Mark’s Gospel, Jesus’ final command, his parting directive is “Go into the whole world and proclaim the Good News.” Obviously the disciples listened to him and so did all the believers down to this very day. The Good News is that God does care passionately for our human family and it has found expression in the words and deeds of believers in countless different ways. The word spoken is the fundamental message of Jesus – “You matter!”
This gathering was an occasion to recognize and honor the creativity and determination of Mary Ellen Kennedy in carrying out Jesus’ directive. While singular in her efforts, Mary Ellen is not unique. She is one of many scattered throughout the IVC community who have heard and responded to the invitation to follow Christ. They enter into the darkest places in the Cities and bring the light of Christ and hope to those who need it the most.
There were many representatives of the nonprofits served by IVC in attendanc and told attendees about the added resources IVC volunteers bring with them to further their work of providing for those in need. We were fortunate to hear from Kevin Byrne, Executive Director at the MN Internship Center as he talked about the tremendous work being done in their school and the work that has been done over the years by three of our IVC volunteers.
The evening was also a chance to give a brief update IVC activity this year:
- IVC is growing!… Four years ago, we had 11 active volunteers and today we have 24 with two looking forward to being placed next fall.
- We had 8 Service Sites four years ago and today we have 16.
- IVC had a small Magnify gathering two years ago and last spring we invited Jim Martin, S.J. to the Cities via Skype at Cristo Rey H.S.. In November, IVC sponsored Christ Lowney, author of “Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads” to speak for our major fundraiser at the University of St. Thomas. It was very successful event with over 150 guests.
- Four years ago the National IVC office challenged the region to prove that this IVC region was worth funding. They have been very impressed with our steady growth and increased visibility in the Cities.
- IVC will be speaking in three parishes this summer. IVC is now considered a local missionary effort. We are Missionaries of the Cities according to the Archdiocesan Office for Missions.
- IVC has the privilege to be with these “Missionaries” once a month as they share heartfelt reflections about the work that they do and how God has touched their lives. We have witnessed them receiving solid support and encouragement from one another. During this time there are faith growth opportunities and lively discussions around our treasured readings from Pope Francis.
- Last but certainly not the least, we are proud to announce that ValLimar Jansen, an internationally recognized singer, songwriter, author, and performer will be joining us on Thursday, October 29th for our fall event. You won’t be disappointed!
Here are some wonderful images from our evening.
A Word From Our Regional Director
Lent – Plotting a Resurrection
It was a bitterly cold morning today in Minnesota. The day started out gray, but the sun came through the clouds and tried to fool us that it was warmer than it really was. Everyone is in a hibernating mood…you don’t leave a warm spot only if it is necessary.
I’m trying to think Lent and have a plan in place, but with an invitation to go to Florida on Tuesday my thoughts are not focused on frigid Minnesota. How do Floridians with their beautiful beaches, baskets of flowers and green grass even think about Lent?! They haven’t experienced the desolate, bone-chilling temperatures and the stripped bare trees surrounded by dead leaves and dirty snow. Minnesotans experience death to new life every spring.
E.B. White is best known for writing the beloved book “Charlotte’s Web.” However he also dabbled in poetry and wrote about his wife whose health was failing “and age overtook her.” He mused one chilly evening as he watched her planning herspring garden in great detail knowing that she probably wouldn’t live to see it to fruition. It was as if she was “calmly plotting the resurrection.”
I love that image of Lent and I believe each of us is asked to do this in our own way and find ways to prepare for the new life of Easter, too. We have been given the forty days of Lent to “plot the resurrection” in our own lives. We have an opportunity to seek forgiveness and mercy and forgive someone else. We are asked to deny ourselves mindless pleasures and in its place add a positive change in our lifestyle. We can daily experience small opportunities to bring love and compassion to those around us in our ministry or in our homes so that at the end of the day we can reflect on where we found God in them. If we do this and be open to finding the surprises God placed in front of us, we will arrive at Easter celebrating the Resurrection with a garden full of joy, hope and gladness.
Kathleen Groh is a lifelong educator who has worked as a Director of Faith Formation in the Diocese of Duluth and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis for over thirty-five years. She obtained a Master of Religious Education from the University of St. Thomas and published three books named “Homilies for the Whole Community: Wisdom from a Pastor’s Heart” for Years A, B, and C.
Presently, Kathleen is the Director of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps for Minneapolis and St. Paul, a Jesuit-affiliated ministry for retired or semi-retired people who serve those who are poor, vulnerable and marginalized. She matches the skills and accomplishments of the IVC volunteers with non-profit sites that are in need of their expertise. She meets with them monthly and leads them in prayer in the Ignatian Spirituality tradition. She finds this work a “Golden Encore” to the work she has done all her life.
Kathleen lives in St. Paul and has eight grandchildren in the area that delight and entertain her. She loves to read and attends concerts and the theatre. She enjoys hikes through the seventy four acre natural park that begins at the end of her road with Max, the Schnauzer. Her cat, Simon, keeps a watchful eye out for them from a perch on the back of the couch.
A Word About Our Regional Director
“As a Director, I’m in the center of it. Through listening to both the partner agency and the Volunteer, I learn about the Volunteer’s desires and the agency’s needs and am able to satisfy both. When a successful placement is made, that delights me.”
A recent example is Ignatian Volunteer Tom Meier. He met with Kathleen several times as he discerned becoming an Ignatian Volunteer. She heard him speak about his passions and his experience, presented several potential agency placements to him, and accompanied him through the process. Kathleen has recently matched him with Urban Ventures. This organization works to create jobs, close the achievement gap, and strengthen families in Minneapolis. He begins there this month.
“It makes my heart sing to know that they will have a good year”, she says.
“Philip Lindell Detweiler from Urban Ventures understands the heart of what we’re doing. He was a missionary in Africa. He wants to ensure that the passions of Ignatian Volunteers are met while also strengthening the organization’s capacity to serve youth.”
Tom has been prayerfully discerning joining IVC and choosing a placement. He says, “I thought long and hard about moving in this direction and after a lot of prayer I know it is the right move. I am experiencing a strong desire to continue down this road and I am sure the Lord is pushing me. I can tell you I have not felt this good in more than two years so watch out – something good is going to happen.”
“The benefit of this great match will be for the young people served,” says Kathleen. “The kids will be occupied and cared for in this after-school program and Tom will put his gifts to use in service.”
“The Heart Hunting process is at the center of what we do as Regional Directors. I can plan a fundraiser and organize a retreat and plan meetings. But the heart of it is matching the generosity of a Volunteer with a site that will pass this on to those in need,” she describes.
“After lots of listening, I sit as the Director and watch the matches happen. It’s the Holy Spirit. I like to be able to be that instrument of the Holy Spirit and have a role in making it happen. Then they do it, those Volunteers! It just thrills me to think that I’m part of it.”
It was 25 years ago that I was diagnosed with breast cancer at Thanksgiving time and started the rigorous rounds of chemotherapy soon after. We had moved to the Cities in August and I had just begun working at St. Jude of the Lake Church. I hardly knew anyone in the area and was absolutely overwhelmed by the generosity of people I didn’t even know. One parishioner sent me the largest Christmas Poinsettia I had ever seen. They filled the refrigerator with food and brought Christmas cookies, drove me to appointments and sent cards that tumbled out of the mailbox every time I went to it. The doctors and nurses went out of their way to make sure that I was comfortable and patiently answered every question. They never seemed too busy to listen to my stories and I must have rambled on in my usual style. God bless them.
I remarked one day to the pastor, “How will I ever pay them back?!!” He responded, “You won’t, because they needed to give to you. You must learn to be gracious, receive their gifts and say, “Thank you.” I am still learning how to do this.
We love Christmas because it seems to bring out the best in us. Even Ebenezer Scrooge, the stingy old curmudgeon, redeemed himself by giving generously in the end. But Dickens shouldn’t be teaching us the lessons of Christmas when St. Luke has given us the best one from the manger.
In this beautiful story we become the receiver of God’s generosity, not the giver. We could not match this gift from God no matter the amount of money we spend, the advanced degrees we earn, the magnificent songs we sing or the amount of service we offer. As William Willimon states, “God wanted to do something for us so strange, so utterly beyond the bounds of human imagination, so foreign to human projection, that God had to resort to angels, pregnant virgins, and a star in the sky to get it done.”
With God’s generosity, I have received these 25 healthy years to enjoy my families who delight me and fill my life with band concerts, dance tournaments, choir concerts and a pre-school program with an angel who got lost and needed his grandmother to lead him to the steps and put his halo back on. I am grateful.
They bring joy to my life when I listen to the future plans of my four older grandchildren as they talk enthusiastically about graduating from U of M pharmacy school, marketing running shoes, choosing the right engineering school and trying to beat an older brother’s cross country records at every turn. I am grateful.
I need to thank a second grade boy in the faith formation class who reminded me that a compliment must be received generously. I was following a group of squirrely little boys down the hall to the cafeteria for a program on a Wednesday evening. There was a child from another class who said, “You smell really good.” I was pleasantly surprised by the compliment from someone so young and said, “Thank you. That was really nice of you to say that.” Then he added, “…just like my grandmother.” Now that took a little wind out of my sails at first but then I started to smile. As I reflected, he really was giving me a great compliment because he must have loved his grandmother very much to say that. I am grateful.
As Regional Director of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps, I am thankful for the generosity for all those who take on the ministry of the IVC. These wonderful men and women give countless hours to bring relief and hope to those less fortunate than we are in the non-profits of the Twin Cities. Once a month their reflections amaze me as they tell how much they receive rather than give to those who have so little. In turn, they gift me. I am grateful.
I have a remarkable IVC Regional Council that put together two amazing events with James Martin, S. J. and Chris Lowney that not only introduced others to the work of the IVC volunteers, but raised the awareness of the Jesuit presence in the Cities. They also learned about the many service agencies who welcome those who are poor and vulnerable into their programs. Thanks to them, the generous donors and my daughters, we were able to raise a fair amount of funds in the process. I am grateful.
If I have learned anything from the Jesuit priests in our midst and our beloved Pope Francis, it is that we need to take time to slow down, take a deep breath, and listen to a God who is waiting for us. God has gifts that we didn’t know we needed, and can transform us into people we never thought we could be. As Willimon said, “God is calling us to see ourselves as we really are, empty-handed recipients of a gracious God who, rather than leave us to our own devices, gave us a baby.”
I think I’ll invite Liam over while his mother shops.
On Tuesday, November 11th, author Chris Lowney gave an inspirational talk on his new book and discussed how Jesuit Formation has shaped Pope Francis’s uncommon leadership style—and how it may ignite a massive culture change in the Catholic Church
Lowney explored how the pope’s Jesuit training has equipped him to lead a 1.2-billion-member church buffeted by change. Lowney believes that the Pope is trying to ignite a massive culture change in the church: “He has been articulating a vision that challenges the Church to re-imagine itself in the twenty-first century.” It’s a shift that has implications beyond the church: “Pope Francis is challenging our wider culture’s whole approach to leadership by embodying a refreshing, deeply counter-cultural vision of how leaders live and what they value,” Lowney says.
Over 150 people were in attendance at the University of St. Thomas for this tremendous evening
Dede Armstrong Featured in July 2014 Connections
The Ignatian Volunteer Corps is looking for a few good people
The Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) is a Jesuit-affiliated service organization dedicated to serving the needs of local people who are poor or vulnerable, working for a more just society and growing deeper in Christian faith through reflection and prayer. A guided process of reflection in Ignatian spirituality helps IVC volunteers discover the deeper meaning of the work they do as they gather monthly to pray and share their work experiences.
Semi-retired or retired? If you have extra time during the week—one or two days—to give in service to others, the Ignatian Volunteer Corps needs you! Your lifetime of experience can be turned into meaningful service for others. We are looking for people to assist in schools, parishes and non-profit agencies. If you can teach or tutor or have literacy or computer skills, you are especially needed to help our immigrant population. If you are willing to help others find housing and jobs, assist with office and administrative tasks, provide legal assistance or distribute food among other things, IVC is the place for you. At this time we have eight service sites waiting for IVC Volunteers!
Contact Kathleen Groh, Regional Director (651) 777-0991 or email@example.com.
The Fall Months Ahead
The heat is on in August as I work to find agencies that need additional help and place the IVC Volunteers who keep coming in to me! Meeting with site directors and IVC potential volunteers is always exciting and we have some very neat prospects. Better Futures Enterprises is interviewing three people right now and CommonBond will be adding another volunteer. Cristo Rey Jesuit High School will be following up with a potential lead on a Math expert. Holy Rosary Parish will be applying for an IVC Volunteer who speaks Spanish, too. It’s all good!
It is all about the possibilities that just the right IVC Volunteer placement will work for the agency and that the poor and vulnerable will be served. The IVC Volunteer is making the difference not only for those who need help, but for themselves as well. I am also thrilled when an IVC Volunteer asks for more brochures, invites the IVC Community to programs about justice and finds ways to support the Missionaries of the City.
The Opening Day of Reflection will be held on September 20th with 26 volunteers. The day will be facilitated by Fr. John Paul, S.J. He has just returned from Spain, and I hope he will share with us his experiences of walking the Camino this summer!
Magnify! Event A Tremendous Success…
On May 9th, the Twin Cities Regional Council of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps welcomed nearly 60 guests to the home of Jim and Therese Faulconbridge for the launch of our Magnify! Campaign and to celebrate the success of IVC in the Twin Cities. It was an exciting way to begin our campaign and to share insight into the future work of IVC in our community.
Guests included IVC Site Directors and staff, current and former IVC Volunteers and donors, as well as some folks getting their first introduction to the important work being done by the IVC. Several of our Site Directors spoke passionately about the outstanding work being done in their organizations and for the benefits of their clients by their IVC Volunteers. They praised our volunteers’ commitment, dedication and compassion for the people they are serving.
Our IVC Volunteers told poignant stories of their experiences in the field and the changes in the lives of the people they served. Most telling was the changes they encountered in themselves during their years of service.
The National Chairman of the IVC Board, Matt McKenna spoke to the crowd from New York about the substantial growth of the IVC in the Twin Cities and wished us much success in the coming year. Even though it was a chilly, dark Minnesota evening, the warmth and good feelings about the IVC was evident in the guests as they looked forward to the 2013-14 IVC year.
Although fundraising was only a small part of the event, we were able to raise nearly $3,000 to support future programming.
If you have any questions, would like to volunteer or know of a nonprofit in need of IVC volunteers, please be in touch with our Regional Director, Kathleen Groh, at 651-777-0991 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn All About the IVC – Twin Cities with Esprit de Corps!!!
The Jesuit-affiliated Ignatian Volunteer Corps Minneapolis/St. Paul is 21 members strong, and continues to thrive! Since 2002 we have offered an opportunity for retired men and women to work for a more just society while growing in their faith through praying in the Ignatian tradition. At the present time, we are looking for IVC Volunteers to fill another five service spots in the Metropolitan area! Read more…
To Read Esprit de Corps, our quarterly e-letter for the Minneapolis/ St. Paul region of Ignatian Volunteer Corps, please click on the link below for our IVC – Esprit De Corps – Spring 2013. Each issue will feature a profile of a new volunteer, a reflection, news of interesting upcoming events, recommended books, and ?? – you help us decide!
To read past editions, please click here.
Are you called to serve?
Learn more about Ignatian Volunteers in the Twin Cities