Since 1971, the Glenmary Group Catholic Volunteer Program has welcomed over 20,000 volunteers from across the United States to the home missions for a week of missionary service. The goal of the program is to connect young people with God, help them find Christ in others, and teach them to serve others first and put themselves second.
While service is the foundation of the program, it also strives to develop community and to deepen faith through the context of shared experiences. Volunteers come not only to serve but also to learn about the rich culture and traditions present in the Appalachian regions where they serve. It aims to broaden volunteers’ understanding of the causes of poverty, oppression and injustice—and how their life choices can impact these issues.
Today, the program site is located on Joppa Mountain in Grainger County, Tenn., which has been fondly nicknamed “Toppa Joppa.” The previous home of the volunteer program was the Glenmary Farm in Lewis County, Ky.
For more information about this catholic volunteer program at Toppa Joppa, please contact Joe Grosek, director of Glenmary’s volunteer programs via email, or call 606-202-3658.
What is Glenmary?
Glenmary is a Catholic society of priests, brothers and lay missioners who serve primarily in Appalachia and the deep South. Glenmary was founded in 1939 by Father William Howard Bishop, who had a dream that the Catholic Church would be present everywhere in the United States.
Glenmary has served mission churches in 14 states with the goal to return developed parishes to the care of the local diocese. We can then move on to new mission territory.
Glenmary is proud that more than 120 parishes are former Glenmary missions. Our missions are in counties where less than 1% of the population is Catholic, as high as 75% claim no faith affiliation at all. Poverty averages 20%, almost two times the national average.