Integral ecology

"Be to Care", a congress to rethink social innovation.

Harambee Africa Internationalon the occasion of its 20th anniversary, in collaboration with the Opus Dei Centennial Committee, has organized at the end of September 2022 a International Congress in Rome: a space for reflection and dialogue on possible responses to the social challenges of our time.

Stefano Grossi Gondi-October 7, 2022-Reading time: 2 minutes
be to care

Photo: One of the tables at the Be to Care Congress ©Opus Dei

The symposium was held on September 28, 29, and 30 at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (Rome, Italy), with the presence of 200 participants, representing 70 initiatives from 30 countries around the world.

Work began on September 28 with two round-table discussions with experts from various continents, who reflected on the challenges of social innovation.

The 29th began with a lecture by Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz on Christian social action in the message of St. Josemaría (you can read the full conference here). Towards the end of his speech, the Prelate encouraged this meeting to be an opportunity to revitalize service to those most in need by working with everyone and making his own an expression of the founder of Opus Dei ("everything is done, and everything remains to be done"), which can also be applied to institutions and to the people who work in them, without being satisfied with what has already been done.

Fernanda Lopes, President of the Centenary Committee (2028-30), then presented the framework for this day of "brainstorming" with a view to Opus Dei's centenary: the transformation of the heart as the motor of social innovation. Among the aspects proposed for reflection and dialogue were: the sanctification of work and its consequences for the betterment of society; the transformation of the world from within; the social commitment of Christians; citizenship and social friendship; the attractiveness of bringing the Church's social doctrine to life; the importance of caring for the common home and for people, especially the most vulnerable; the connection between environmental sustainability and social sustainability.

After the 200 participants had worked in nine groups ("Promoting social sensitivity"), the spokespersons presented their conclusions, which revolved around various themes: the value of experience, the protagonism of the beneficiaries themselves, trust in the new generations, and training that leads people to better serve others. The day continued in the afternoon with the second workshop, "The service mission of social initiatives": listening to all people, research to find new needs, not losing the identity of the projects and the purpose that drives them, the challenge of communication. The last workshop dealt with the legacy that the future centenary of Opus Dei could bring about in the field of social development.

The different groups opened up a wide range of ideas. From attitudes and spaces for training and awareness-raising, to initiatives for greater professionalization of institutions, as well as platforms for sharing experiences, think tanks and spaces for intergenerational dialogue, among others.

Friday 30 concluded the event with a day dedicated to social innovation and young people in Africa.

The authorStefano Grossi Gondi

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