27 April 2023,

Next week the Presidents and Delegates of FAFCE Member and Associated Organisations will gather in Murcia (Spain), for their biannual Board Meeting, from the 2nd to the 4th of May. For the first time in the history of FAFCE, its Board Meeting will take place in Spain and it will be hosted by the Catholic University Saint Anthony of Murcia (UCAM), with which there is an ongoing cooperation, in the framework of the European Chair on Public Policies, Taxes and Family. This will be an important moment for Catholic family associations throughout Europe to exchange and establish the priorities that will determine their work and guide their actions in the next semester at the European level. For the first time ever, two new observer delegates will take part in the Board Meeting, sent respectively from the Bishops’ Conferences of the Nordic Countries and of Albania.

The gathering will start with an International Congress, on the 2nd of May, devoted to Family networks: “Antidote to loneliness”, with the desire to respond to the invitation made by Pope Francis in his 2022 address to the members of FAFCE to foster a fruitful and effective spirit of communion and collaboration between European families, an authentic “antidote to loneliness“, since “by their very nature, they are called, in communion with the pastors and local Churches, to leave no one behind“. The conference, co-hosted with the UCAM University and in cooperation with the Council of European Bishops’ Conferences (CCEE) and the Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Union (COMECE) will see the participation of Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza, Apostolic Nuncio to the Kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Andorra, and Bishop Arūnas Poniškaitis, Auxiliary Bishop of Vilnius (Lithuania) and Vice-President of the Family and Life Commission of the CCEE. As a key-note speaker the program of the event will feature Prof. Mark Regnerus, President of the Austin Institute (United States of America) who will speak on “What Sociology Will and Will Not Tell You about Families and the Crisis of Loneliness”. Two round tables will follow, the first dedicated on networks of families, with the participation of COMECE, CNAFC, and ELFAC representatives, and the other one to how to bring the voice of the family in the public arena, with speakers from the Catholic Associations of Propagandists, the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists, and FAFCE Spanish associated member, the Foro de la Familia.

On the 3rd of May, FAFCE Board Members will have an exchange of views with Prof. Regnerus and Att. Mattia Ferrero, on the current issues raised by the use of gender wording in EU documents. Later that day, that will be devoted to the FAFCE Development and fundraising needs, a Holy Mass for FAFCE Board Members will be celebrated in the UCAM University church. On the 4th of May, an online presentation on the consequences of online pornography consumption will be conducted by Amanda Zurface, Catholic Church Outreach Specialist for Covenant Eyes, a United States based software company specialised in fighting online addictions and the consequences of pornography.

This event represents an important step forward in the direction of the development of networks and family associations and engaged actors at the service of the common good, in Europe and beyond.