Faith without an expiration date

The Bonifatiuswerk of German Catholics opened this year's diaspora campaign on Sunday. The stamp was collected during church services for catholic parishes in minority situations. To kick off the campaign, a church service was held in Berlin with Berlin Cardinal Georg Sterzinsky.

November was again dominated by the diaspora campaign, organized by the Bonifatiuswerk of German Catholics. Under the motto "Don't get tired of talking about HIM", the aid organization, which is active throughout Europe and has its headquarters in Paderborn, appeals in particular to the faithful to speak more again about Jesus Christ and his message. Striking: The poster motif selected for the upcoming campaign shows a boy talking to his grandmother about Jesus Christ. Thus, Diaspora Sunday, which takes place in all parishes on Sunday, should specifically draw attention to the fact that it is often the children who unabashedly ask the questions of faith. "With their questions, their amazement and their experiences, children and young people often lead us anew on the trail of faith," emphasizes the Secretary General of the Bonifatiuswerk, Monsignor Georg Austen. And so it comes into view "that we can learn from each other – the younger from the older, but also the older from the younger". Of course, Austen says it's important for parents and grandparents to pass on faith to their children and grandchildren by their own example, but also by telling them about their hopes, wishes, dreams, fears and confidence from faith. "Today, however, we see that many adults have become strangers in the home of faith. And so the children and young people often experience faith like a tin can whose contents have long since passed their expiration date. This cannot and must not be allowed to happen," the 49-year-old Secretary General underlines.

To put faith at the center With this year's motto "Don't get tired of talking about HIM", the Bonifatiuswerk also encourages people not only to discuss structural reforms, staff shortages and the dwindling of faith. Above all, it is a matter of again "putting the content of faith at the center of the conversations," emphasizes Monsignor Austen. As a further dimension of this year's campaign, the priest also sees the conversation with HIM: "Faith is only alive in our hearts when we enter into conversation with God through prayer and in the joint celebration of the divine service."People should again take time for prayer in their hectic everyday lives and draw strength from it for themselves and for others.

Creating spaces of faith With the nationwide collection of the Diaspora Sunday, the Bonifatiuswerk especially supports projects that create spaces for faith. Last year, it raised nearly 3 million euros, which is used for building and social projects and the purchase of parish vehicles. One of many projects is the multigenerational house in Hamburg-Wilhelmsburg. Here, preschoolers and seniors meet to hear the stories of Jesus Christ together, celebrate the feasts of the church year and sing. For the elderly, an opportunity to pass on their own faith and to revive it through the questions of children. Financial support is also provided for the Religious Children's Weeks (RKW), which take place regularly in the dioceses of eastern Germany. Here boys and girls can experience community as believers, because in the school and in the hometown there are usually only a few Catholic children of the same age. The motto of this year's Diaspora Sunday picks up on RKW's core concern: To pass on the faith to children and young people in an appropriate, child-friendly way, even in everyday situations or during vacations. Especially at the RKW, there is an intergenerational learning of faith from each other. "To speak of faith is to speak of life," emphasizes Monsignor Austen. Unfortunately, people today often separate faith from life. "It is particularly important to ask questions about the meaning of life, about illness, happiness, birth and death, but also about the value we place on respect for human dignity and creation for the individual." Here, according to Austen, it is important "not only to help young people interpret and discover life from faith. But also that the community of the Church encourages and helps us to celebrate and consolidate the faith."

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