Volunteers Week is a time to celebrate the invaluable contributions of volunteers across the globe. For Catholics, this week is also an opportunity to reflect on the spiritual dimension of volunteering and how it aligns with our faith. As followers of Christ, we are called to serve others with love and humility, embodying the teachings of the Gospel in our daily lives.

Volunteering is more than just an act of kindness; it is a profound expression of our faith. In serving others, we imitate Jesus, who “came not to be served but to serve” (Mark 10:45). Every act of service, no matter how small, is a reflection of God’s love and mercy. Volunteering allows us to live our the corporal work of mercy, which include feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, and visiting the sick.

The call to serve is deeply embedded in Catholic teaching. The Catechism of the Catholic Church emphasises that “participation in communal work and prayer represents the privilege and responsibility of each Christian” (CCC 2179). Volunteering provides a tangible way to respond to this call, offering our time and talents for the benefit of others.

Throughout history, countless saints and faithful Catholics have exemplified the spirit of volunteerism. St Vincent de Paul, known as the patron saint of charitable societies, dedicated his life to serving the poor and marginalised. Mother Teresa of Calcutta, who founded the Missionaries of Charity, spent her life caring for the sick and dying. These examples inspire us to see volunteering not just as an occasional activity but as a way of life.

Volunteering not only benefits those we serve but also enriches our own spiritual lives. It helps us to develop virtues such as compassion, patience and humility. Volunteering fosters a sense of community and solidarity, reminding us that we are all part of the Body of Christ. It also provides an opportunity to encounter Christ in those we serve, deepening our relationship with Him.

Volunteers Week is a special time to honour the dedication and hard work of volunteers who selflessly give of themselves for the betterment of others. As Catholics, we are reminded of our call to serve with love and humility, following the example of Christ. Let us use this week to recommit ourselves to the service of others, knowing that in doing so, we are living out our faith and bringing God’s love into the world.

May our efforts as volunteers reflect the light of Christ and inspire others to join us in building a more just and compassionate world.