Our History

 It began with a question from Connie Shearer to Fr. Patrick O’Neill:
How do we involve lay people in service to the communities in need Florida through the Church?

Catholic Volunteers in Florida was the answer to that question. Originally known as the Augustinian Volunteers, our organization was founded by Fr. Patrick O’Neill  on Easter Sunday (April 3rd) 1983 at St. Thomas University in Miami.  On September 1, 1988, Archbishop McCarthy, in consultation with Rev. O’Neill, founder, and John Geiger, Executive Director, changed the name from Augustinian Volunteers to Catholic Volunteers in Florida (CVIF).

CVIF was organized to mesh two growing needs:

      1. The interest among people (particularly Catholic laity) to give service to the community, live out our faith and promote Catholic Social Teachings.
      2. The expanding need for human services in throughout the state of Florida due to growing population, growing migrant labor force, and budget cuts.



Archbishop McCarthy
Bishop Snyder
Bishop Ricard
Bishop Noonan (Current)


John Geiger (1983-1999)
Greg Darr (1999-2000)
Richard Galentino (2000-2008)
Elaine Fowler (2008- 2014)
Elizabeth Buckley (2014-current)



“You are not here to merely make a living.
You are here in order to enable the world
to live more amply, with greater vision,
with a finer spirit of hope and achievement.
You are here to enrich the world,
and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”

– Woodrow Wilson