(This article originally appeared in the Winter 2023 TAU-USA Issue #108)

by Jane DeRose-Bamman and Diane Menditto

According to the Google Dictionary/Oxford Languages website: “Volunteer” means:

“a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.”

Hands Joining TAU #108Each Secular Franciscan is a volunteer of sorts… a volunteer for Jesus. We choose daily to say yes to our vocation, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel. Although elected to our positions, the members of the new National Executive Council volunteered to serve in those positions.

There are other volunteers in the Order who serve in appointed positions. The appointees are often behind the scenes. Without those willing to serve in appointed positions, those who were elected would be floundering immediately upon election.

On the national level, these appointments are in the areas of the Commissions (Formation; Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation; and Youth/Young Adult), the National Database, the TAU-USA newsletter, 1-800-Francis vocations line, the national website, archives, historian, public relations specialists and, more recently, those working with social media and accessibility concerns. There are also very task specific appointments, e.g., the Quinquennial Committee, which lasts for five years. Many members of the Database Committee (formerly the Computer Committee) and TAU-USA Committee have served for more than 10 years. Some committee chairs and members have served in various roles as committees have transitioned. We are not sure that people would have said yes to their original appointment if they had known it would last 5+ years. Here are a few of those who have been serving for many years:

Dan Mulholland, OFS, served as a JPIC Commission Co-Chair and transitioned to the Computer Committee, and as an offshoot has helped with the website, social media, TAU-USA, setting up and maintaining email listserv, and many other tasks. He always offers his expertise, as well as sharing his knowledge with others. He is active with his local and regional fraternities. His unending “yes” to volunteer and share his gifts is inspiring.

Bob Herbelin, OFS, has been managing the current database for 20 years. He has been helped by the Computer Committee members, but Bob is the main database manager. Cyl Maljan-Herbelin, OFS, for about eight years now, has been overseeing access to the database. Bob and Cyl create the National Directory based on the database information. Cyl also maintains the mailing list for the Tau-USA. Bob helps with the annual report functions of the database. They are working with the Database Committee to set up the new database (which we hope to roll out in 2023). Thanks to Bob and Cyl for their longtime efforts.

Randy Heinz, OFS, managed the mailing list for many years before Cyl. He was integral in initiating the new website, Twitter, and Facebook pages. Thanks to Randy for helping us evolve with our communication methods.

Jim and Cindy Wesley, OFS, work on key parts of our communication efforts with the Tau-USA newsletter. They have been working on compiling the articles as well as translating them for more than 10 years. Their efforts have produced 32 newsletters in English and Spanish. Their consistent labor of love is a gift for the OFS-USA. Combined with efforts from the website committee members, we have all versions of the newsletter since 1987 posted to the website. https:// www.secularfranciscansusa.org/tau-usa-newsletter/

Unfortunately, we aren’t able to list all the volunteers here by name. Thanks to all who have been and will be willing to accept appointments!

Because an appointment should not be considered a life-long commitment, the NEC is soliciting applications for our Commission Chairs―National Formation, National Justice Peace and Integrity of Creation, and National Youth/Young Adult, and the Tau-USA Editor in this newsletter. The NEC will solicit applications for other appointed positions in future Tau-USA editions.