Monday, April 28, 2008

3,000 volunteers assisted in New York's papal events

Catholic News Service Angelo Stagnaro reports on the 3,000 volunteers who assisted in New York's papal events, "coordinated under the watchful and loving scrutiny of Sisters Joan Curtin, 63, and Deanna Sabetta, 67, of the Congregation of Notre Dame" (April 24, 2008):

"Cardinal Egan appointed us because of our experience working with volunteers," explained Sister Joan.

She is in charge of the New York Archdiocese's Catechetical Office and oversees 10,000 volunteer catechists in the 10 counties that make up the archdiocese. Sister Deanna is the director of the archdiocesan Office of Vocations and the teacher volunteer program, which places teachers in inner-city Catholic schools.

"The papal volunteers were the most gracious, generous people I've ever come across," Sister Joan said in an interview with Catholic News Service. "The hours didn't matter to them."

Duties for the volunteers included standing outside St. Patrick's Cathedral April 19 to guide cardinals, archbishops, bishops, priests and women religious attending the papal Mass there and helping move people from chartered buses, city buses and the subway into Yankee Stadium April 20.

"Each volunteer worked six- to seven-hour shifts. In the case of the youth rally in Yonkers, (many) didn't leave the site until 11 p.m.," said Sister Deanna, referring to the rally for seminarians and young people at St. Joseph's Seminary. [...]

Sister Deanna noted that "many of the volunteers who served outside of the papal venues (were) simply physically very far away from the pope, answering questions or guiding the lost, and thus didn't actually see him."

But still they helped out because "they just wanted to be in proximity to him," explained Sister Joan.