Our volunteers are the heart and soul of Missio! Last week, we were honoured to spend time with Veronica in Cardiff Archdiocese.
Veronica has been volunteering as a Red Box Local Secretary for nearly 40 years. Sadly, she has had to retire now, but we were so happy to meet her and bring her a special Gold medal, certificate and flowers for all her years of support.
‘I might as well!’
Veronica initially got involved with Missio almost by chance. She shares:
‘We joined the parish and I was just looking for ways to get involved. There wasn’t much community back then, although there is now. Then Fr Frank Thompson, who was a Mill Hill Missionary, stationed at Courtfield (a missionary centre which was nearby) came to do a talk at the parish. At that time there were a few Red Boxes around in the parish, but really, it all needed geeing up. I thought if nobody was doing it I might as well! I wasn’t work at the time; I had fouryoung children! So I was busy but I could be available.
‘And it was lovely, because with the Red Boxes you could actually go round to people’s houses and count the money there; it was like parish visiting, you got to know people. This is what I found valuable, because I got to know people in the parish. If I’d just been going to Church every week, I might not even have got to speak to them.
‘At the start it was just me, but later I was joined by a couple of promoters. It was nice; people could see you counting the money and knew that it mattered. Every little bit goes into the pot and helps.
‘I still have a handwritten letter from the National Director at the time when I first started as a Local Secretary, and some from the Diocesan Director, who used to write lovely personal ‘thank yous’ after we sent our cheques from the collections.
‘Before COVID-19, I used to collect around £1500 a year, just from the Red Boxes.’
A quiet inspiration
Like most of our volunteers, Veronica is very modest about her contribution. When asked what inspires her, she said simply:
‘That’s a difficult question. You try and do the best you can. We’re supposed to be apostolic and spread our faith aren’t we? And doing that sort of work is very fulfilling. You just try and do better.’
We chatted about the Holy Father’s recent visit to the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. She adds with a smile:
‘I think Pope Francis is amazing. He’s the same age as I am, and doing that job when sometimes he might just want to sit down and watch Coronation Street or something!’
A prayer for Christian Unity
Veronica has seen many changes in the Church since she was young. One thing she is particularly passionate about is Christian Unity. She says:
‘I think it’s good over the years how we’ve come to appreciate the other churches and come together more. When I was younger we were quite separate from other Christians, which was sad.
‘I remember as a child walking past the Protestant school and I wondered things like “do they have the same sort of dinners as we have?” I thought they were completely different. We’ve come a long way since then.
‘God is looking after it all and it’s all one big plan. It’s not them and us; it’s all of us together.’
Thank you so much, Veronica, for all your amazing work for Missio. We couldn’t do what we do without people like you!
We depend on our wonderful volunteers to help us ignite God’s love and spread our message throughout the dioceses and online.
If you’d like to give your time to Missio, we’d love to hear from you! Whether you have a few minutes, a few hours, or plenty of time, find out how you can get involved here.