Brussels, 28 October 2021
From the 25th to the 27th of October 2021, FAFCE Members from all over Europe gathered in Strasbourg, France, for 3 days of conference, exchanges and high-level meetings.
Vincenzo Bassi, FAFCE’s President, stated: “There can be no sustainable development without intergenerational solidarity. And there can be no intergenerational solidarity without intergenerational balance. We are very pleased with the results of this meeting, where the representatives of the major Christian inspired family associations of Europe could finally meet again in person. Family associations are an instrument to counter loneliness, the real illness of our times“.
On the evening of the 25th, FAFCE organised, jointly with the World Union of Catholic Women’s Organisations (WUCWO) and in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the Council of Europe, a Conference on « Ecology of the Family and Integral Development ». The event was introduced by Mgr. Marco Ganci, Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the Council of Europe, and Maria Lia Zervino, WUCWO President General, who welcomed 50 participants offline, including 4 Ambassadors, and around 150 persons online. The hybrid event was launched on the occasion of the Amoris Laetita Family Year to recall the importance of the family when it comes to integral development. Family is indeed the first place of education, where children learn the preciousness of the Creation, with a special concern for the beauty of the complementarity between men and women, the beauty of welcoming life, and the joyful responsibility to offer all of this for free, as a gift to our communities for a sustainable future.
The event welcomed different perspectives, from the pastoral care with Mgr Zsolt Marton, Bishop of Vác, Chair of the Family Committee of the Hungarian Bishops’ Conference, to the concrete experience of families, with the strong testimony of HIRH Kathleen of Habsbourg-Lorraine, mother and Archduchess of Habsbourg-Lorraine, and a complete contribution of Prof. Giovanna Rossi, whose organisation, Nonni 2.0., represent Italian grandparents within FAFCE. The role of family associations as a bridge between all these actors was explained by Mr Jean Paillot, President of the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in the Department of Strasbourg, France. FAFCE President, Mr Vincenzo Bassi, concluded the event, recalling the economic, social and cultural role of families for the future of Europe, as the solution to a vivacious European demographic winter.
The evening was also the occasion to celebrate a milestone event for the Federation, with the ceremony of decoration of Antoine Renard, FAFCE Honorary President, made Knight in the Order of Saint-Gregory the Great. The short but significant ceremony was presided by Mgr. Marco Ganci, who underlined the spirit of service of Mr Renard, for the Church, for family associations and for the common good.
The next day, on the 26th of October 2021, FAFCE Members adopted a Board Resolution on “Families for Sustainable and Integral Development”, inviting the European institutions and national governments to take measures for the sustainability of their politics through the recognition of the role of families. They called for a special attention to be given to the freedom of families to pursue, in the best possible conditions and without obstacles, their joyful responsibility to care for the integral development of their children and overall of their community, in a positive dialogue between generations.
On the 27th of October 2021, FAFCE Members were happy to welcome online H.E. Mgr. Leo Cushley, Archbishop of St Andrews Edinburgh, and Chair of the Council of Bishops’ Conferences of Europe (CCEE) Family and Life Commission. They exchanged on the situation of families in Scotland and the future work of the CCEE on family, in the framework of the recently signed memorandum of understanding between FAFCE and the CCEE itself.
During this Board Meeting, two new organisations, the 72 Disciples Movement (Hungary) and the Association Welcome of Life (San Marino) formally presented their Membership application to join the Federation.
Last, but not least, Angelika Weichsel Mitterrutzner, President of the Catholic Family Association of South Tyrol (Italy), was elected as second Vice-President of FAFCE. She will now integrate the Bureau of the Federation, composed by the President, Vincenzo Bassi (Italy), the Honorary President, Antoine Renard (France), the 1st Vice-President, Cornel Barbut (Romania), and the Treasurer, Alfred Trendl (Austria).
The next FAFCE Board Meeting in May 2022 will take place in Hungary! 🇭🇺