Father Jim: Expressing Love Through Volunteerism
This issue of the paper focuses upon love. Not simply the romantic notion of the word, but real love.
An example of love is volunteerism, and our February Volunteer of the Month is Father Jim Holland from Sacred Heart Church of the First Peoples. Not only is he our newest Treasurer of the Board of Directors for Boyle McCauley News, but he continues to volunteer for all sorts of organizations in our community.
Father Jim has sat on the Board of the Boyle McCauley Health Centre since 1997 and he is the chaplain for the Knights of Columbus in our neighbourhood. If one drives on the first block of 96 Street, north of 107A Avenue, one can see much of the development Fr. Jim has personally directed in the past seventeen years. Look at the new trailer by the rink. He got the trailer donated, and worked diligently with the City of Edmonton to get it hooked up and in running condition. As well, for several years he has been the recreation director for the McCauley Community League.
When Father Jim arrived at Sacred Heart I was working there in the Native Life Transition Program, and I can attest to what 96 Street was like in the early 90s. I, for one, appreciate the beauty surrounding the church now, as compared to the rather frightening atmosphere then. Fr. Jim was outraged to see the park next to his residence being used by drug dealers, and used as a toilet. Finally, of course, he became well known for the creative signs he put up near the park – based on the fact that many people, when he told them not to defecate in the park, responded, “I don’t see any sign that says it’s against the law.”
Many of us volunteer for many things in our communities, but few people are seen more frequently volunteering at casinos and bingos than Father Jim. I have known him for years and can attest to the fact that for him the love of God is first in his heart, which allows him to exemplify the spirit of that love. He believes strongly that acceptance, inclusiveness, and service are true examples of love.
As the priest from Sacred Heart, Father Jim works tirelessly to improve the condition in the inner city, working to make inclusiveness one of the hallmarks of his residence. I am not a Catholic, but every time I attend services at his church I feel warmly welcomed and I leave feeling part of a community. Everyone is welcome at Sacred Heart.
Thanks Father Jim, for agreeing to volunteer as the paper’s treasurer, and thanks for your continued contributions to all of the organizations you serve.