FOUNDED 170 YEARS AGO
When the Frankfurt National Assembly adopted the Paulskirche constitution in 1849 and in the same year the German revolution, which had begun in 1848, ended, committed laymen and priests founded the Bonifatiuswerk of German Catholics during the third German Catholic Convention (Katholikentag) in Regensburg. The 170th anniversary of the founding day was on 4th October 2019. "This anniversary is an occasion for us to pause and take a look at the roots of our aid organisation, which is one of the oldest in Germany," said the Managing Director of the Bonifatiuswerk, Monsignore Georg Austen.
The aid organisation was named after Saint Boniface, who dedicated his life to the proclamation of the faith. "We, too, want to stand up for this cause and contribute our faith and our abilities," says President Heinz Paus. This commitment is particularly evident in the large number of projects, which the Bonifatiuswerk has been able to support throughout its history. After the Second World War, more than 2,000 destroyed churches were rebuilt in Germany alone. In fact, from 1949 until today, more than 11,500 churches, chapels, community centres and pre-schools have been supported.
Another visible sign of support are the yellow BONI buses, of which about 600 are currently on the road in the diaspora regions in Germany. They are used to take the faithful to Sunday Mass in widely dispersed villages, to take children to the nearest day-care centre, first communicants and confirmants to catechism or to organise shopping for refugees. Up to 40 vehicles are added every year. More than 1.000 projects are supported annually by the aid for children and youths. The Catholic day-care centres in Eastern Germany alone receive an annual subsidy of 550.000 euros, and the religious children's weeks are supported with 420.000 euros.
A new addition in 2013 was the faith aid, which supports missionary projects throughout Germany and thus for the first time in Catholic regions. With the funding of missionary personnel posts, the Bonifatiuswerk also wants to address people who are strangers to faith in order to give them access to the essence of faith. Overall, the Bonifatiuswerk is able to support projects with 15 to 17 million euros annually.