VIVAT International held a workshop for members of affiliated religious congregations in Northern Latin America and the Caribbean from the 24-28 October 2010. The workshop took place at the conference center of the Divine Word Missionaries in Quito, Ecuador. Thirty-one women and men religious from seven institutes, serving in nine countries, took part.
Zelia Cordeiro, SSpS, led the participants in reflecting on the history, vision, goals and objectives of VIVAT, with some assistance from Petra Bigge, SSpS, John Converset, MCCJ and Daniel Le Blanc, OMI who led the group in a discussion about networking. The team also provided some insight into the inner workings of the United Nations and how VIVAT and its members can contribute to JPIC causes within the UN system. The participants shared their concerns, activities and experiences in the service of Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation [JPIC] in a way that was enriching for all.
The participants noted the many problems that impede persons created in the image of God from living fully human lives, ranging from the violence of wars and civil strife, the drug trade, trafficking in persons and other crimes to widespread corruption within governments and extensive damage to the environment by transnational corporations. In the selfish quest for private gain there is no respect for the common good nor for human cultures. The sad result is seen in subhuman living, displaced and wounded people and countless early deaths.
The participants pledged to “network” in order to collaborate with each other, VIVAT and the UN in addressing common concerns. They pledged to deepen their knowledge of VIVAT, the UN and of ways of working together to support Human Rights with an emphasis on eradicating poverty, empowering women and creating a culture of peace and of sustainable development. They will ask their religious institutes to participate more directly in VIVAT and to foster the participation of their members in the JPIC activities of VIVAT from the very beginning of the formation process. To promote the well-being of the whole human person so that all may enjoy the fullness of life that Christ came to bring [Jn 10:10] is to be at the service of the Reign of God.
On the 29th October, the day after the close of the VIVAT workshop, five Comboni Missionary Sisters and seven Comboni Missionary brothers and priests met at the provincial house of the Comboni Missionaries in Quito. After extensive sharing on their personal and congregational spiritualities of JPIC and their respective experiences of JPIC activities, they committed themselves to deepening their commitment. They were also able to identify causes in which, without making them exclusive, they could collaborate more closely. These are Migration, with an emphasis on Trafficking in Persons, and Ecology, with particular attention to mining. All were grateful for the opportunity to get to know VIVAT more closely as well as to meet with each other as Comboni Missionaries.