Statement of the VIVAT Workshop, Leuven, July 10 – 15, 2016
We, the 20 members of VIVAT International, belonging to eight religious Congregations, Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Comboni Missionaries, Congregation of the Holy Ghost, Little Sisters of the Assumption, Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Society of the Divine Word, Religious of the Assumption, and a representative of the NGO “Convivial”, participated in a Workshop in Belgium, organized by VIVAT International from 10-15 July 2016.
The workshop has allowed us to come to a better understanding of the United Nations’ (UN) systems and mechanisms; history, goals, structures and organization of VIVAT, its relations with the UN, as well as “advocacy” which is its primary mode of action.
The workshop addressed many issues with the assistance of resource persons. This allowed us to come to a better understanding of the issues pertaining to human rights such as migrants, climate change and human trafficking. It was backed by the topics, Biblical perspectives of justice and peace, as well as Social Teaching of the Church.
In addition, the workshop opened our eyes to the various JPIC commitments of our congregations and we became aware of the importance of advocacy to change the causes of injustice. We also learned that the group in Belgium is in the process of forming the national branch of VIVAT International in Belgium. The technical support for translation by Fr. Georg Laun SVD, and the two translators, Fr. Vincent O’Grady CSSp and Mr. Alex Dechamps was helpful in enhancing our participation in the workshop.
Having participated in this workshop we see the need of networking at the grassroots and with the other NGOs at local, national as well as international levels, which will help us to create a greater awareness of those issues.
However, looking at the evolution of our congregations, average age and ongoing restructuring, we discussed other viable options for collaboration, such as promoting a European level network.
Hence, we commit ourselves to:
- Raising more awareness among the members of our congregations and among others members of VIVAT.
- Taking interest to work as a network and identify relevant issues that we can jointly address.
- Engage in advocacy and collaboration in Belgium that can later spread to Europe and other regions.
Adorers of the Blood of Christ, Comboni Missionaries, Congregation of the Holy Ghost, Little Sisters of the Assumption, Missionary Sisters Servants of the Holy Spirit, Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Society of the Divine Word, Religious of the Assumption.