by Nicolas Kress, Cap Corps DC 2023-24
My “call to Cap Corps” started towards the end of my Master’s program in
Physiology and Biophysics at Georgetown University when one of my professors
informed me of a one year service program opportunity at So Others Might Eat (SOME).
When I contacted the director at SOME, she made me aware that the “SOME Long-
Term Volunteer Corps” had been paused for the 2023-2024 term, however she referred
me to the “Cap Corps” which was another service program that placed volunteers in
organizations like SOME. This seemed like it was just what I needed as my goal for the
next year was to pursue a year of service and positively impact the population of whom I serve.
After learning more about the Capuchin Franciscan Volunteer Corps (Cap Corps), I realized that God, in His own way, had presented me with this program that would bring me closer to Him through kind acts of service as well as intentional Catholic community with other volunteers. I valued the opportunity to live in the nation’s capital
serving the poor and underserved while living with a community of people well-grounded in their Catholic faith. During the past year, I felt as though I was going to weekly mass like every Catholic should, however I had not taken the time to reflect and witness how God was working in my everyday life. I saw this one-year program as a great opportunity to grow spiritually in the community in addition to learning about the struggles and hardships that the underprivileged patient population faces.
One person who has greatly impacted my life spiritually was my Grandfather. He
was always my number one role model growing up and I loved him very much. He
would always treat everyone with respect regardless of their day job, show kindness
and empathy to others, and bring positive energy and laughter to many people. He
taught me to tackle my goals in life, one step at a time and put my faith in the Lord.
Being a very humble, but stern man, he attributed much of his strength, health, and
success, to his strong faith in God and his wondrous works. His confirmation saint was
St. Francis and the saint on his tombstone was St. Anthony of Padua, a friar of the
OFM, which made me appreciate and connect with the program even more. Cap Corps
seemed to resonate with the spiritual journey I was seeking in my life and I believed it
would help me to serve the marginalized populations in Northeast D.C.
Upon starting Cap Corps, the pillars of Community, Service, Simplicity, and
Prayer, became evident in day-to-day life as a volunteer. Daily community dinner and prayer allow for reflection of the day's work and recognition of God’s presence within their lives, which was new to me. Living simply in a house with other volunteers has been a challenge due to the various needs of the people living in the community. It has taught all of us to be more resourceful, understanding, empathetic, and cognizant of the things that are important in community life. All of us volunteer at different work sites such as Christ House, Spanish Catholic Center, Don Bosco Cristo Rey High School, and SOME. With the Cap Corps pillars at the forefront of our one-year volunteer experience, it reinforces a kind, gentle, and caring atmosphere to be there for one another despite the many challenges that may arise in the community or at our work sites. Throughout my Cap Corps experience, I have grown stronger in Franciscan spirituality and become more appreciative of the values of providing service to the poor and marginalized communities, having unique dignity for each person, and witnessing the beauty in all creations. I am very glad that I answered the “call to Cap Corps” and will be sure to incorporate what I have learned into my life moving forward.