Das Bonifatiuswerk der deutschen Katholiken unterstützt katholische Christen überall dort, wo sie in einer extremen Minderheitensituation, in der Diaspora, ihren Glauben leben.

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News from Northern Europe and the Baltic States

A New Home - CONSECRATION OF THE CHURCH in Södertälje in Sweden

Many guests have travelled from afar in order to participate in the festivities celebrating the church consecration. Photo: Hans Andersson

The Chaldean church and the affiliated parish hall in Södertälje has been completed. It is dedicated to the Virgin Mary and was consecrated on 8th December 2017 by the Bishop of Stockholm, Cardinal Anders Arborelius.

It provides a new home for 5,000 Chaldean Christian refugees and, at the same time, is an important symbol that stands for the unity of all Catholics. Previously, the Chaldean Christians used a former Protestant church, which was far too small, to celebrate Mass. On a normal Sunday, half of the congregation had to follow Mass by video transmission or in the street.

Cardinal Arborelius thanked the Bonifatiuswerk and all donors from Germany for their generosity and solidarity. Without this support, the new church building would not have been possible. It was not only supported with financial means from Germany; the new church windows were also built there. The eleven windows are the largest windows, each made from a single piece of glass, ever to be installed in a Swedish church. 

St. Mary’s Monastery on TAUTRA is Expanding

St. Mary’s Monastery on Tautra. Photo: Patrick Kleibold

St. Mary’s Monastery on Tautra is a symbol of the blossoming Catholic Church, which was illegal in Norway until 1843.  The new building of the Cistercian nuns’ monastery in the Trondheim Fjord was completed in 2006. Initially, it was inhabited by seven sisters. By now this number has more than doubled with 16 sisters living there. As a result of this pleasing development, the monastery has become too small. Therefore, a new wing accommodating eight monastic cells, four of which shall be wheelchair-accessible, is to be built.

The Cistercian Nuns are a community wishing to enable its elderly fellow sisters to take part in this community into their old age.  Especially in this regard, monastery cells with wheelchair access are required. 

Renovation completed in Nuuk on Greenland

After the snow melted in spring and the temperatures rose, insulation of the exterior walls were completed. Photo: Christian Noval

Work is done in what is the world’s largest diocese in terms of surface area. “The renovation of the parish centre, consisting of the church, parish rooms and residence for the priests is done,” Pastor Christian Noval from Nuuk explains. The church renovation has been completed with replacing the glass of the windows. Last spring the walls of the parish hall were painted and the bathrooms were finished.

The Catholic Parish of Christ the King, which belongs to the Diocese of Copenhagen, was the first and remains the only Catholic parish on Greenland. After 50 years the church, parish rooms and residence for the priests were in dire need of renovation.

The parish centre in Nuuk, including the church, parish rooms and residence for the priests, was being renovated in an environmentally-friendly manner with the aid of the Bonifatiuswerk, in order to bring it up to an environmentally sound standard. In the future, the parish centre will be the central venue for the 350 parishioners, who live spread across Greenland. 
The Bonifatiuswerk supports the renovation with a subsidy amount totalling EUR 477,000.

Video: Project Posts of the Bonifatiuswerk During World Youth Day in Iceland

World Youth Day in the Diocese of Reykjavik. Photo: Norvell Joseph Salinas

Ivan Sovic is an Assistant for Pastoral Planning in the Diocese of Reykjavik. Together with numerous youths, he prepared World Youth Day, which took place in Iceland from 24th to 25th March 2018. Sovic spent two days in Landakot School in the Parish of Christ the King in Reykjavik together with 120 participants. Through education, spiritual content and games, both their faith and their kinship grew. World Youth Day 2019 in Panama was also heavily promoted in Reykjavik.

Unnur Guðný Maria Gunnarsdóttir, Catechism Coordinator in the Diocese of Reykjavik, also helped organise World Youth Day in the Nordic diaspora together with numerous volunteers. The Bonifatiuswerk subsidises both personnel posts in Iceland from 2017-2019 with EUR 55,000 each.

Click HERE for the link to the video.

Nordic Catechists’ Conference at the Bonifatiuswerk

Catechists and school priests meet for a conference at the Bonifatiuswerk. Photo: Sr. Th. M. Müller

As part of Europe Week, the Northern European Catechists’ and School Priests’ Conference convened at the Bonifatiuswerk. Twelve catechists and school priests exchanged ideas about new catechetic material and methods of imparting the faith in their respective countries. A further focal point of the conference was on sharing information about the work of the Bonifatiuswerk.

Monsignore Georg Austen regards the support the aid organisation provides as a partnership and mutual enrichment. "It is very important to us at the Bonifatiuswerk to provide a framework for the extremely fruitful co-operation of the catechists and school priests of the Northern European countries," Austen explains. "I am impressed by their mutual appreciation. They learn with and from each other how imparting the faith can be successful in today’s climate. We, in Germany, are also learning from our Nordic neighbours."

Diocesan Branches of the Bonifatiuswerk Experience Latvia

Group photo with Bishop Pavlovskis and students wearing traditional Latvian costume. Photo: Sr. Theresita M. Müller

As part of Europe Week, the Northern European Catechists’ and School Priests’ Conference convened at the Bonifatiuswerk. Twelve catechists and school priests exchanged ideas about new catechetic material and methods of imparting the faith in their respective countries. A further focal point of the conference was on sharing information about the work of the Bonifatiuswerk.

Monsignore Georg Austen regards the support the aid organisation provides as a partnership and mutual enrichment. "It is very important to us at the Bonifatiuswerk to provide a framework for the extremely fruitful co-operation of the catechists and school priests of the Northern European countries," Austen explains. "I am impressed by their mutual appreciation. They learn with and from each other how imparting the faith can be successful in today’s climate. We, in Germany, are also learning from our Nordic neighbours."

Awakening of Estonia’s Church and Anticipation of the Pope

Visit to the Mother Teresa Sisters in Tallinn. Photo: Manfred Deister

From 20th to 24th May the Secretary General of the Bonifatiuswerk, Monsignore Georg Austen, and members of the Bonifatiuswerk went on a project visit to Estonia. “It is pleasing to see how the Church is growing in small steps,” Monsignore Georg Austen comments.

This is how houses of prayer were renovated, the first Catholic schools were established, new monasteries were created, and street children projects, as well as social and pastoral aid, got off the ground. During the trip, the group visited the cathedral in Tallinn, which is currently being renovated, as well as a youth centre in Kodesma and various religious orders. “During every encounter we felt the anticipation of the Pope’s upcoming visit in September, which is a great opportunity for the Church in Estonia,” Monsignore Austen explains.

This trip provided an opportunity to discuss future projects and to consolidate the co-operation. “We are pleased to be able to welcome Bishop Philippe Jourdan as our guest when launching the diaspora campaign in November in Osnabrück,” Monsignore Georg Austen states.

2017 Annual Financial Report – Strong Partner for Catholics in the Diaspora

Bonifatiuswerk Sponsors Projects to the Amount of EUR 14.5 Million

The Bonifatiuswerk has published its financial report 26th of june in Leipzig (Germany). from left: Martin Guntermann director of the Bonifatiuswerk), President of the Bonifatiuswerk Heinz Paus, Secretary General of the Bonifatiuswerk Monsignore Georg Austen. Photo: Theresa Meier

Where living your faith in the diaspora faces challenges, the Bonifatiuswerk supports people as a reliable partner. During the 2017 financial year the “Aid organisation for the faith” sponsored a total of 776 projects in the diaspora in Germany, Northern Europe and the Baltic States to the tune of EUR 14.5 million, the Bonifatiuswerk announced during its financial statement press conference.

Projects in the diaspora regions in Germany were sponsored to the amount of EUR 4.6 million, while projects in Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Iceland received EUR 2.8 million and those in Estonia and Latvia were subsidised to the amount of EUR 506,000. In Northern Europe, building projects received EUR 961,000 in sponsorship, while EUR 135,150 went to the aid for children and youths. In addition, the trainee programme was subsidised with EUR 88,000. Whilst in Estonia and Latvia, building projects received subsidies totalling EUR 368,500 and the aid for children and youths received EUR 57,000, the dioceses of Riga, Liepaja and Jelgava were provided with 7 BONI buses to the total value of EUR 20,398.36.

Heading North – Trainee Seminar of the Bonifatiuswerk

Former and future trainees with Msgr. Georg Austen, Project Coordinator Anna Nick and Project Consultant Julia Jesse. Photo: Theresa Meier

"I want to expand my horizon, gather new experiences and get to know the Church in a different way." Patrick Alexander Vitt from Paderborn has deliberately decided on a “Traineeship in the North”. Within the scope of this programme by the Bonifatiuswerk, he will support the Newman Institute in Uppsala (Sweden), the only Catholic university college in Scandinavia, over the coming months.

He will be joined by a further 16 youths from all over Germany, taking the opportunity to gather experience in church institutions in Northern Europe and the Baltic States.

In order to be well-prepared for their upcoming stay abroad, the future trainees of the Bonifatiuswerk met for a two-day seminar at the Bonifatiuswerk in Paderborn in July. Here the young people exchanged ideas, for example on issues of intercultural communication. A number of former trainees of the Bonifatiuswerk joined the new participants in Paderborn to share their experiences with their successors and to pass on useful tips for their journey.

"It is great to see that so many young people take a break from their habitual everyday life to support the Bonifatiuswerk with their work. The focus is not on performance, but rather on seeing the time spent abroad as a school of life, in which you will meet interesting people and experience an international and spirited Church. This is certainly not a one-way street. We would like to thank you very much for your commitment and God bless you," the Secretary General of the Bonifatiuswerk, Monsignore Georg Austen, told the trainees before they embark upon their upcoming trip.

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Interview about Tautra

Sister Gilchrist describes life in Tautra, a spiritual oasis for visitors.

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Attention: New Sponsorship criteria!

Please be aware of new sponsorship criteria concerning aid from the Diaspora Kommissariat for building and transport aid!

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