The first phase of the Fondacio Congress in Latin America ended yesterday, April 6, 2022, in Colombia. It opened with a forum on the future of young people and integral ecology, at the Javeriana University of Bogotá. Then, the Chilean and Colombian Fondacio delegates reviewed the past four years since the last Congress to help define new directions for the next term.
“This forum is a moment of collective thought on the two challenges that young people and integral ecology represent,” presented Olga Lucia Benavides, head of Fondacio in Colombia. She launched the first phase of the Fondacio Congress in Latin America on Saturday, April 2, at Javeriana University, Bogotá.
“Our goal today is to listen to the difficulties of a country and a continent, to feel and understand them. We must act in response, in order to build a more humane and just world.” Students, employees, businessmen and unemployed people took part in the forum. “We managed to bring together people from very different backgrounds. This is the whole value of what we are going to build together this morning.
“Let’s be creative for the future”
According to Raùl Troncoso, president of the Fondacio Training Institute in Latin America ( IFF America ), “this forum invites us to ‘look up’ and also to look deep within our being. He invites us to broaden our personal and collective consciousness, putting aside our habits and our prejudices. Every system, person, family or company experiences a moment in their life when they must change their approach and be creative to build the future together.
Prior to the forum, a virtual preparatory meeting took place on Wednesday 30 March. Diana Bodoya, General Manager of IFF América, Chile, shared the results of the discussions on Saturday morning.
Andrea Escobar, executive director of SojaDoy , an association working for food security in Colombia, led a working group of 35 people on youth. “It’s hard to sum up an hour and a half of anecdotes and life stories,” she says, before adding: “Very positive things came out. We talked about the deep desire that young people feel to be respected and at peace. They also shared their fear of failure and conflict with their families.
For Andrea Escobar, “they are powerful in their desire to change our world. They want to follow their intuition. They feel the need to believe in themselves. Our duty, as associations, is to understand where they want to go and to help them. New generations want more justice, understanding and support. We have to adapt, evolve and listen to them”.
future of planet earth
At the same time, Santiago Arango, professor of theology at the Javeriana University , led a workshop on integral ecology. “There is an urgent need for a paradigm shift , moving from anthropocentrism to biocentrism. Yes, the human species is different from other species on earth. We have a complex nervous system that allows us to discern, reflect, think…but that doesn’t make us superior!”
“We live together with other species. This living together is crucial to maintain our ecosystem. What is at stake here is not the Earth, which is programmed to revolve around the sun for many years: it is life on Earth itself. Santigao Arango added: “This problem affects us all. We must change our habits, especially the way we consume. We pollute every day… There is an urgent need to find a way to reduce pollution.”
Colombia is “the second most biodiverse country in the world. Unfortunately, we don’t take this seriously enough,” the professor said. “We need more training and education . All of us, Christians, believers, if we realize that what exists on earth is God’s creation, then we recognize our duty to protect it. Because when someone gives us something with love, we cherish it.
Word from the participants
Listen to the signs of the times
After the forum, the Chilean and Colombian delegates and several members of the Fondacio Board worked in groups. They reviewed the past four years since the last Congress, held in 2018 in the Philippines. This will help set new directions for the next term, which will begin in 2023. The Congress is the highest governing body of Fondacio. It takes place every five years.
“It’s a spiritual journey, listening to the signs of the times and the Holy Spirit. It’s a moment of unity and a time to ratify the fundamental reference texts”, emphasizes Yvonne Altorfer, member of the Fondacio Council in charge of preparing and running the Congress. For the first time, it takes place in three phases. The first will be held on four continents until June. After Lomé and Bogotá, it will take place in Versailles , France, from May 24 to 27, and in Asia , from June 18 to 22.
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 . There, the main orientations for the years to come and the texts discussed during the synodal process will be reviewed and approved. Share FacebookTwitter