The 6th edition of the Fondacio Congress opened in mid-January. For the first time, it will take place in three phases. The first will begin at the end of February with continental meetings which will be held until June, to reflect on future issues. The election of the President will take place in March 2023, before a meeting in Africa in May 2023.
What is Congress?
The Congress is held every five years. It is the highest governing body of Fondacio . It defines the orientations for the years to come and oversees the election of the leaders of the association. “It’s something that concerns us all,” says Yvonne Altorfer, member of the Fondacio Council in charge of preparing and running the Congress. The Fondacio Board is made up of a dozen members with representatives from all continents. They have a term of 5 years.
The last Congress took place in the Philippines in 2018. It anchored the purpose and vocation of Fondacio to work for a more humane, just and ecological world . Two years later, this renewed enthusiasm comes up against the Covid-19 health crisis, limiting actions and meetings. The digital transformation has pushed the association to reinvent itself. The Fondacio Board has integrated these new practices.
What is Congress talking about?
The Congress will take place in three phases. The first will be held on four continents, from February to June 2022 . Lomé, Togo, will be the start of phase 1, from February 26 to 1 March. Then, in Bogota, Colombia, from April 2 to 6; in Versailles, France, from May 24 to 27; and in Asia from June 18 to 22.
During this first phase, several meetings (live and online) will take place on each continent to launch the synodal process – ‘synodal’ meaning ‘to walk together’. “The Congress is a collaborative process”, says Yvonne Altorfer. “It is also a spiritual journey, of listening to the signs of the times and of the Holy Spirit. It is a moment of unity and a time of ratification of the fundamental reference texts.”
Then, the second phase, that of the election of the President, will take place from October 2022 to March 2023 . The third, all delegates will meet in May 2023 , in Africa.
4 themes for reflection
Four major themes for reflection have been identified:
– How to announce the Good News today and be bearers of hope?
– How to remain audible and credible to young people?
– How to better respond to the challenges of integral ecology: ecological transition and social justice?
– How can we be an international movement that trains leaders for the future?
4 forums on four continents
These themes will be addressed during forums organized on each continent:
– 26 and 27 February in Togo: “Social entrepreneurship and professional integration of young people” . Present in 10 African countries, Fondacio has worked for many years in the fields of education and agricultural entrepreneurship, with great impact.
– April 2 and 3 in Colombia: “Engage young people in integral ecology and social justice” . Two-thirds of Latin Americans are poor and/or live in difficult situations. They suffer from political problems and social injustices. The goal is to work together to build a more humane and fairer world.
– May 24 in France: “Laudato Si” . 70 to 80 people from Romania, Belgium, France and the United Kingdom are expected at Versailles to discuss together three major themes: integral ecology, ecumenism and youth.
– 18-19 June in Asia: “Social justice for young people” . In Asia, Fondacio is present in 4 countries (Laos, Burma, Malaysia, Vietnam) but has a network of young people in 17 countries. Fondacio ensures that young people receive a good education so that they pave the way for the implementation of social justice in their country.
A college of 100 delegates
The work of discernment will be carried out by a college of about a hundred delegates. The leaders (of countries, continents or projects) are participants by right. They represent half of the college. The other half is made up of people chosen by the countries, based on their commitment and willingness to contribute to Fondacio’s global leadership. They must be appointed before the launch of the first phase.
The next term
The list of people available to become President of Fondacio, following François Prouteau, will be known in October 2022. The principle is as follows: each country must send three names on a list of 43 people eligible for the GAD (the discernment assistance group) . The GAD will accompany the discernment of 5 to 9 people from this list. In October, the list of people available to be elected will be presented. The election will then take place on March 4 and 5, 2023, online .
Fondacio meeting in Africa
The New Mandate Launch Congress will be held in Africa from April 29 to May 7, 2023 . It should be a live meeting, with access to key moments online. François Prouteau will open the Congress. The college of delegates will validate the orientations and the texts discussed during the synodal process. A review of the outgoing mandate will take place before approving the main orientations of Fondacio for the years to come. After a ratification vote, François Prouteau will hand over responsibility to the new Board.
“How will our charism respond to the challenges of today’s world?
Francois Prouteau says:
“Many of us have experienced a convention. I hope for many of us this is also new. It’s new to all of us anyway, because even though we’ve been there before, every Congress is new. So we are all here to welcome the new.
To welcome novelty is first of all, in a Congress, to welcome the Holy Spirit, always new. The Holy Spirit always speaks to us in a unique global context: the signs of the times. What are they today? How will our charism respond to the challenges of today’s world? To the challenges of today’s societies?
We know there is a lot of hope today, and at the same time there are many, many crises. Many politicians, many religious personalities or men and women of culture are worried about the state of the world today.
The New Year period is a testimony to this. I received greeting cards that said “Courage! », « Courage Fondacio for this new year! Courage for this new congress, to respond together, with others, to the challenges of the world.
Yes, crises exist, but we all have the same desire to build a desirable world.
We are therefore going to be, in relation to this congress, full of hope. The Hope that our Christian faith, our spiritual life, gives us to build a more human, more just, more ecological and more fraternal world.
The second challenge of a Congress is to take stock of past years, to take a look at the orientations so that Fondacio is always renewed, in the freshness of its charism. And this requires the election of a President and a Board and also a renewal of our way of managing Fondacio, with work on the leadership and governance of Fondacio.
Finally, we will work specifically on themes for this Congress. The objective is to renew our charism, to respond to the challenges of today’s world and to continue to build Fondacio together. The charism of Fondacio is not limited to a few, it is in the whole community and a Congress is always a special occasion to show that the charism is among us, it is given to each one of us, to build and move forward.