Anniversaries are always a reason to celebrate and 20 years is already a long time for a volunteering program like RVM (which stands for Redemptorist Volunteer Ministries). For this reason, RVM invited the volunteers to the anniversary celebration in Bonn on Saturday, August 20.
Almost 120 guests, among them many former volunteers as well as delegations from Gent (Belgium), Kirchhellen (Germany) and even from Ireland could be welcomed by Father Jürgen Langer in the well-attended monastery church in Bonn. In his homily, Father Provincial Jan Hafmanns emphasized the importance of the project for the international cooperation of the Redemptorists. “I am proud to be part of such a wonderful project!” International, moreover, was also the service held by Fathers from Germany, the Netherlands, Indonesia and Ireland.
“We have been able to experience many things with the different places of assignment and countries of assignment, we have experienced incredibly good developments but also had to accept setbacks. We have experienced that many volunteers have completed a great year with us and have done very good work on-site, but we have also had to make real disappointments” summarized Father Jürgen Langer the work of the last 20 years. Over the past 20 years, more than 160 people have spent a year abroad with RVM.
Afterwards, some former volunteers looked back on their year, including the first volunteer of the project, Bodo Schwarz. He, too, underlined the importance on an international level. “Even today, the memories of my volunteer service in Philadelphia are still very present. They give me strength and courage to live out my Christianity in my everyday professional life, in my family and among my friends, to take on challenges in life and to assume responsibility for myself and others,” says Schwarz. He is now a teacher at CoJoBo and visits his old assignment site in Philadelphia, USA, every two years as part of an exchange with a group of students.
The new volunteers have already been sent to their volunteer sites – and so they will soon be back to discovering the world and doing good for 1 year!
Benedikt from Bonn, Germany