“Love one another just as I have Loved You” John 13:34

On 29 June, 38 people came together from parishes across Torbay Deanery to pray and reflect on the wonderful work undertaken by volunteers in our parishes.  Fr Mark Skelton, the Dean of Torbay, kindly hosted the event at his parish in Teignmouth. The event was organised by Carole Bryant, Caritas Development Worker.

At the event we reflected on Catholic Social Teaching and the message of Pope Benedict XVI that the Church’s deepest nature is expressed in her three-fold responsibility of proclaiming the Word of God, celebrating the Sacraments and the Ministry of Charity.  Our guest speaker, Raymond Twohig, invited people to think about the future of their parish.

In his recent message for World Day of the Poor, Pope Francis reminds us that this is a Jubilee preparation year when we are called to go out into the world as pilgrims of hope at a time when hope can sometimes be hard to find. He asks us to recognize and support the many volunteers who dedicate themselves passionately to those most in need. “We must thank the Lord for the people who make themselves available to listen to and support the poorest among us. They are priests, consecrated persons, lay men and women who, by their testimony, give voice to God’s response to the prayer of those who turn to him. This silence, therefore, is broken every time a person in need is welcomed and embraced.”

The event celebrated the amazing volunteers and their work. We also asked participants about the benefits of volunteering and hear are a few of the great responses:

“A feeling of being part of something bigger”

“A way of living out and expressing our faith”

“I believe that to show others the love of God, I should give my time and skills for the benefits of others. I think if we all did a little to help others, the world would be a better place.”

“Companionship, love and Warmth”

“To make a difference”.

“To help those in need”

“It is what God wants us to do – to help and love others.

We heard from Catholic Charities working in the Diocese – Catholic Children’s Society (Plymouth), SVP and Stella Maris about the importance of volunteers in enabling them to reach those in need and the opportunities they can offer us to live our faith through action.

If you would like to find out more about volunteering opportunities in the Diocese of Plymouth, please get in touch with caritas@prcdtr.org.uk and we can help to find opportunities to suit you.