“Giving Your Precious Time” Thank You to Volunteers
At a ceremony on the 5th December, International Volunteer Day, Br. Laurence Kearns, Provincial of the West European Province, thanked the many volunteers who give of their time and talents in the Provinces’ services throughout Ireland, England, the US and Malawi.
Br. Laurence, on behalf of the Brothers and co-workers welcomed the volunteers who had gathered for the ceremony at Stillorgan. In thanking the volunteers he said that the work they do could not be over estimated, their generosity of time and talents made a vast difference to the lives of the people who attend the Orders’ centres. He went on to say that some volunteers had given more than 40 years of service to the Province. Many of them saying that in their years of volunteering they received back much more than they gave.
Br. Donatus Forkan, Prior General, in a video link from Rome, delivered a message of thanks on behalf of the Brothers. He said it was significant that this ceremony of thanksgiving was being held in a year which celebrated volunteerism and also celebrated the “Year of the Family of St. John of God”. He said that volunteers were a substantial and valuable part of the St. John of God family in the West European Province and worldwide. Volunteers were involved both on the frontline of services and in ancillary, but nonetheless vital, activities such as fundraising.
Br. Donatus went on to say that the tradition of volunteers in the Order went right back to the founder St. John of God, a layman who felt called to help the marginalized in society whatever the nature of their need, he himself having experienced life on the margins. The call and mission of St. John of God could not have been fulfilled and spread without the help of his first followers who were all volunteers inspired by the witness of his life and work
He said that volunteers were partners in mission, involved at the heart of things and the Order would always stand in need of more men and women who were prepared to devote some of their time in helping the Brothers and co-workers to enhance the quality of life of those who attend the services. He concluded by once again thanking the volunteers of the West European Province and throughout the world.
In conclusion a short liturgy took place during which the Brothers presented each volunteer with a pin in the shape of the staff used by St. John of God as he travelled to beg food and other resources for the poor and sick people who filled the early shelters that he set up.
The evening finished with refreshments and an opportunity for volunteers, Brothers and co-workers from many different areas of the Province to meet together.