Message from the Executive Director
As the Easter Season nears its completion, I reflect on the joy of Resurrection and the hope it offers us as believers. Easter and Pentecost always feel like a Commissioning - a chance to us to pause and consider what the Resurrection means for how we live our lives. At Pentecost, we are called, with the apostles, to be disciples for all nations.
Men and women for others, living our faith as contemplatives in action, as St. Ignatius puts it. What does this look like?
I invite you to read about Deborah Rhodes, an Ignatian Volunteer in San Diego, who provides legal services to men and women struggling with homelessness. What she and so many Ignatian Volunteers offer goes beyond expertise and critical services for those most in need. It is a listening ear, a kind smile. A ministry of presence.
Through her work, she is Christ for others. As are you, as Volunteers, friends, and supporters of IVC!
In gratitude for your role in service to over 75,000 people nationwide,
Offering Hope and a Fresh Start through Legal Aid
“The joy that comes from meeting with clients is to see the courage that they have in difficult circumstances. It’s never too late to start in a new direction,” shares Deborah Rhodes, an Ignatian Volunteer in San Diego working with the Homeless Advocacy Program (HAP) of Interfaith Community Services.
The Homeless Advocacy Program is a center where people come to meet with volunteer lawyers to address legal concerns. Clients are those whose income is a percentage of the federal poverty line, people in temporary housing, and people with no housing at all.
Deborah brings her professional experience as former US Attorney and lawyer with the Department of Justice to this service role.
“We see twenty to twenty-five clients a day. Our role is to listen, and to give hope, guidance, and new direction. Many who come face a spiral of difficult circumstances. Some are the result of their own poor choices, and some are the result of no choice of their own – they lost their job, had trouble with credit, and are now unable to keep their homes. Often they need help sorting out how to begin to address these concerns.”
“We try to give them hope and help them get what they need. Some guidance is legal, and some is general advice and helping create plans of action. We do not take on legal representation of clients and go to court, but provide referrals to other organizations that take on pro bono cases and have expertise in those areas. We also point people in the right direction so they can begin to address the issues themselves.”
“Our clients face the same legal issues as others – dealing with creditors after losing a job; disputes over contracts; family law issues involving divorce, child custody and support; landlord-tenant issues – a broad array of legal issues. We don’t take the cases on, but provide general information and referrals to specialists.”
“The joy comes in seeing the gratefulness of clients who leave with hope and some sense of what they can do next.”
Deborah describes that she was drawn to IVC because she was “looking for something to do that would allow me to continue making a contribution in the community. I was drawn to the opportunity to live the Good News of the Gospel and put what we believe into action. I wanted to be involved in the community and serve people in the name of Christ.”
“I spent the last four years of my career as US Attorney in Mobile, Alabama. I worked with federal, state and local law enforcement and community organizations, to bring people together around crime prevention, intervention, and re-entry programs. I saw the remarkable impact of what can happen in these community collaborations. It’s very rewarding.”
“More recently, I’ve also become involved through IVC with a start-up nonprofit called Rise Up Industries. It’s modeled after Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles. We’re working on gang prevention, intervention, and re-entry programs. We’ve started with tattoo removals and will begin mentoring, job training, and educational programs to offer positive alternatives.”
Deborah also works part-time as COO of a local nonprofit organization in San Diego. “I’m happy to say that we’ve just hired an IVC Volunteer who works two half-days a week. She brings humility, energy, and love to her service. Partnerships between IVC and community organizations are a wonderful way to make a difference - It’s a great model.”
IVC Spring Events
IVC regions are hosting spring events, and you are cordially invited! Click below for the next event and join us!
IVC New York Metro Evening of Gratitude
In March and April, many regions hosted fundraiser events. We share a selection of photos from these celebrations:
Cleveland Madonna Della Strada award recipients Jean and Deacon Bill Merriman with Fr. Jack Dister, SJ, during Mass.
Liberian refugees enjoy community at Cleveland Madonna Della Strada Event
Terrence and Barbara Caster, San Diego Della Strada Awardees, with IVC San Diego Regional Council
Rev. Robert Fabrini, recipient of St. Francis Xavier Award, with San Diego Regional Council
DC, Maryland and Northern Virginia
Fr. McDermott from Georgetown University celebrates Mass at the Evening of Gratitude with local Jesuits and Della Strada awardee Msgr. John Enzler
IVC DC/Metro Maryland and IVC Northern Virginia honored Jeanie Sweeney and Msgr. John Enzler with their Della Strada Awards
IVC Baltimore community celebrates its Della Strada awards
photo credit: Boz Borowiecki
Fr. John Swope, SJ,
Della Strada Award Recipient with Chip Cook, Regional Council Chair, photo credit: Cristo Rey Jesuit High School
IVC New England honors Sister Nancy Braceland, CSJ with a 2013 Della Strada Award
Father Fred Enman, SJ, 2013 Della Strada honoree and founder and executive director of Matthew 25
Dave Hinchen (center), New England Regional Director, presents Della Strada Award to Carol and Henry Shelton
IVC in the News
IVC Baltimore collaborated with Jesuit social justice organizations to host "Runners for Others, an Ignatian 5K" in early April. Watch the news segment from the Ignatian News Network of this first-ever event.
The work of Ignatian Volunteers has been featured in regional Catholic Newspapers. Check out what others have to say about IVC:
Some of Life’s Best Work May Be After Retirement
The Messenger, March 29, 2013
This article from the Diocese of Covington, KY describes the work of 4 Ignatian Volunteers and their impact on agencies that serve the materially poor.
Ignatian Volunteers Put Gospel Values Into Practice
The Catholic Telegraph, March 2013
“As social service agencies and nonprofits struggle to meet the needs of a growing number of people, one national organization with a local footprint is looking for more volunteers to serve them. The Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC) has 12 volunteers locally who incorporate the values of the Gospel into all their works.”
Ignatian Road Race to Benefit Jesuit Outreach
The Catholic Review, March 21, 2013
“Pat Skarupa first became interested in learning more about St. Ignatius Loyola when three of her sons attended Loyola Blakefield in Towson more than four decades ago. Skarupa has learned about Ignatian spirituality over the years and about five years ago, she began volunteering through Baltimore-headquartered Ignatian Volunteer Corps.”
Local Reaction to New Pope
Omaha World Herald, March 14, 2013
“We’re all very excited to have a Jesuit pope,” said Becky Ehrman, who works for Ignatian Volunteer Corps, a Jesuit outreach organization. “I think it’s a call to service to the poor. It’s a call toward true healing, which we need in the church.”
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