VIVAT Mexico Addressing Violence and Migration

Paul Rahmat SVD

VIVAT International-Mexico (VIVAT Mexico) conducted its second workshop on June 13-15, 2023. The workshop occurred in a boiling summer at the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate (OMI) Retreat House, Tepoztlán, in Morelos, Mexico. 

Eighteen participants attended the workshop. These included six of the seven VIVAT member congregations working in Mexico: CSC, CMS, MSCS, OMI, SSpS, and SVD. Besides that, three other lay people associations, in partnership with the VIVAT member congregations, took part in the training:  Asociados Oblatos, Asociados de la congregation Santa Cruz, and Fundación Arnoldo Janssen AC. The VIVAT team – Paul Rahmat, Fabian (Kachi)Adindu, and Daniel LeBlanc – from the New York and Geneva offices facilitated the workshop.

The three-day workshop presented a range of topics to be discussed, including VIVAT’s history, structure, membership, and action plan, as well as the UN structure and mechanism, for instance, the High-Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development and Voluntary National Review. It also provided an in-depth analysis of Mexico’s social, economic, and political situation and offered a spirituality of the JPIC ministry from Catholic Social Teaching. The participants from each congregation had an opportunity to share their activities and best practices in JPIC’s ministries. We have learned from that sharing that VIVAT member congregations in Mexico have been actively involved in and taken care of migrants. 

On the last day of the workshop, the participants worked on their action plans. VIVAT Team introduced VIVAT’s strategic planning and joint action plan. The team also facilitated a process for making an action plan for VIVAT Mexico based on the VIVAT joint Action Plan and Mexico’s social context. They identified the major issues and challenges to be addressed. 

The Workshop came up with two concrete results. First, they identified and chose the issue of violence as a common concern to address and focus on in the five-year action plan. Secondly, they declared their commitment to implement the action plan through a joint statement by the end of the workshop. 

At the end of the workshop, the participants were requested to evaluate the workshop. Overall, participants were satisfied with the organizing and process of the workshop. Some suggested improving the workshop’s translation skills and dynamic so that people don’t get tired. 

The VIVAT team was grateful to the VIVAT Mexico led by John Kennedy SVD for organizing the workshop very well. We also thank the OMI congregation for providing their retreat house to conduct the workshop. The presence of the provincial leader, Fr. Ariel Martinez OMI, in the last two days of the workshop has demonstrated his leadership support to the Mexico VIVAT group. VIVAT Mexico is the first National Branch/National Group to conduct a workshop in person after the COVID-19 pandemic.  Enhorabuena, VIVAT México!

Paul Rahmat SVD