Editor’s Note: The DC Service Corps class of 2019 – 2020 introduces themselves through personal reflection on what matters most to them. 

In my inaugural FMS blog post I will be writing a little about who I am and what I care about.  I will start with who I am. My name is Matthew Lawrence Fichter. I am a 26 year old from Gaithersburg, MD where I was born and raised as the youngest sibling in a family of four sisters and one brother.  I am pretty close to all members of my immediate family despite some living further away in the great states of Arizona and Montana. In addition to being a son and a brother, I am also an uncle to one nephew, and two nieces (Addy, Blake, and Emmy).  

I was baptized into the Catholic Church at St. John Neumann parish in Gaithersburg, and grew up attending mass regularly on Sundays and taking CCD education courses one night a week during the school year.  Though my parents were committed to helping me grow in faith and knowledge of the Catholic teachings, I was never much interested in Catholicism or religion as a child or teenager. I often begrudged going to mass and missing out on activities with my friends in the neighborhood.  Once college came around in Fall 2011 and I was off to study Civil Engineering at the University of Maryland, God and taking steps to grow in my faith was just an afterthought. I had freedom and with that freedom I chose not to go to mass or to take time regularly out of my day to pray.  None of my friends were Catholic or religious, so the decision was quite an easy one for me. It was not until the summer of 2015 in my 22nd year that things started to change.  It was during the debates for 2016 presidential election that truth and discovering truth became an obsession.  I wanted to understand important issues and topics and to know the right answer and approach to resolving those issues.  Suddenly the faith rooted foundation my parents established for me as a child became increasingly relevant. Slowly throughout the summer, it was the Church and its teachings that I kept finding myself turning to for answers.  By the time summer was over, I was still quite unsure of the right answer to who should be president, but there was one thing I did know for sure. I wanted to know more about who God is and how to go about serving Him. Today I am still in search of the answers to these questions, but pray this year in the DC Service Corps program will lead me in the right direction. 

There are many things I care about, but I will summarize three of the most important things on my list.  At the top are family/friends, God, and helping others. Part of the reason I chose to apply for the DC Service Corps program is its proximity to home.  While several of my siblings are far west of DC, my parents, brother, sister, and nieces and nephew are only minutes and hours away from the nations capitol.  I can visit with them along with my closest friends that still reside in Maryland and Northern Virginia. In addition to being close to family and friends, the DC Service Corps is committed to helping its volunteer members grow in relationship to God.  Through the opportunity to work at the Father McKenna Center that serves others suffering from homelessness and poverty, I also hope to live out my goal of serving others in this coming year.  

Fr. McKenna Center Volunteer