“Try your hand at something, make yourself available, and once you are available many great things can happen,” said Episcopal Delegate Archdiocesan Family Life Commission Tricia Syms as she spoke at today’s AFLC live virtual conversation titled ‘Become an Advocate/Volunteer’.
Syms told viewers they can have many latent gifts and talents just waiting to be called forth. She was joined by Sr Lystra Long OP, manager of the Eastern Antilles Interdiocesan Tribunal.
Sr long gave a testimony about volunteering, disclosing that as a girl she was very shy. She started in the youth arm of the Lions Club, as a Leo (Leadership, Experience, Opportunity) and through her involvement in this group helped persons who were “economically challenged”. Sr Long said, “I was always a shy, shy, person. It helped me to go out there, meet people and have confidence in myself.” She also grew spiritually and mentally.
It was at times challenging as a young person dealing with people, but Sr Long said she persevered and remained with Lions for about eight years. She developed different skills including leadership skills which she did not know she had. Sr Long moved up to the ranks to become President in one of the clubs. She volunteered in church as a catechist in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults and for anything that was needed. “I have really benefitted in a holistic way from volunteerism,” she said.
Syms said one of the benefits she gained from volunteering was meeting people and sharing experiences. She has made many friends. Syms was a volunteer at the AFLC for three years during which time she “learned many things”. One of her milestones working at the Commission was planning a big event with 1,000 participants.
Syms told viewers that volunteers were needed. Pope Francis has said, “Volunteer, your presence is the hand of Christ held out to all, reaching all”. Syms said if no-one volunteered or showed interest in humanitarian and ministry work, “nothing will get done”. Sr Long acknowledged it was nice to be paid for what you do, but volunteering is “just giving from our hearts, and God blesses us abundantly”.
The talk ended with an appeal to Catholics of all ages and families to volunteer to assist with social media, writing, advocacy and more. “God is calling you! Don’t be afraid to say ‘yes!’,” Syms said. If you are interested in volunteering contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 299-1047 or email@example.com or 739-5022.