FIRST INTERNATIONAL CARITAS NETWORK MEETING IN PADERBORN
At the invitation of the Bonifatiuswerk, five Caritas representatives from Northern Europe met in Paderborn in August for the first international Caritas network meeting. The event took place in close cooperation with the Caritas Association for the Archdiocese of Paderborn (Caritasverband für das Erzbistum Paderborn e. V.).
The focus of the five-day meeting was on exchanging ideas and networking across national borders. For example, strategies to address current social issues with regard to migration and integration were discussed in depth. As growing churches dominated by migration, Caritas organisations in Northern Europe are very active in this field.
The guests from Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland and Iceland informed themselves about aspects of Caritas work in the Archdiocese of Paderborn. In addition, the guests learned about the tasks, goals and working practices of the Bonifatiuswerk and were made aware of the aid organisation’s funding policy and methods. Various experts from both organisations, as well as Caritas board members Esther van Bebber and Josef Lüttig and the Executive Directors of the Bonifatiuswerk Monsignore Georg Austen and Ingo Imenkämper were on hand for sharing ideas and meeting each other. “This network meeting gives us great inspiration to grow the mutual trust between the Bonifatiuswerk and the Caritas organisations in Northern Europe. This is a sound basis for deepening the cooperation with a view to potential projects, especially in the diaconal and youth sector,” explains Simon Rüffin, Head of Missionary and Diaconal Pastoral Work in the Bonifatiuswerk.
The international guests visited a workshop for people with disabilities run by Caritas Homes and Workshops Paderborn (Caritas Wohn- und Werkstätten Paderborn e. V.) and a monastery in Arnsberg, which gave them vivid impressions of the successful cooperation between Caritas and pastoral care. The network meeting was supported by funding from the Federal Foreign Office.