Catholic Social Days, Poland, Portugal

Social Days: a debate between faith and society The second European Catholic Social Days opened in Madrid on September 18. The first event of the kind was held in Danzig, Poland, in 2009. European bishops promote the initiative, ongoing until September 21, with the purpose of reflecting on the theme: “Christian faith and the future of Europe”, regarding the ongoing challenges (from the economic to the demographic crisis, from secularization to cultural and political transformations) against the background of present religious experience, and Church social teaching. CEE (Council of European Bishops’ Conferences) and COMECE (Commission of the Bishops’ Conferences of the European Community) promote the event in Madrid, in conjunction with the Spanish Bishops’ Conference, attended by 200 participants from thirty world Countries. The first day was opened with a Mass celebrated by the bishop of Calahorra and La Calzada Logroño, president of the Commission for Social Pastoral Care of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference Msgr. Juan José Omella Omella, followed by welcoming speeches by Cardinal Antonio Maria Rouco Varela, apostolic administrator of Madrid, Angelo Bagnasco, archbishop of Genoa, CCEE Vice-President, and Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich, COMECE president. The dean of the ecclesiastic University of Saint Damaso (Madrid), Fr Javier Prades López, delivered the first panel lecture titled: “The contribution of Christian faith for the present and the future of Europe: the human person”. Panel speeches and workshops scheduled for the next few days will focus on migration, youth, cross-generational solidarity, volunteering and culture of solidarity, freedom of education, family policies, human life in the era of technological innovations. The main working sessions can be followed via streaming on the website Poland: two days dedicated to the family in Lodz “In the family there is space for everyone”: it is the theme of the charismatic Forum organized in the Polish city of Lodz (Poland), September 20-21 by the Centre for Renewal in the Spirit with the support of Jesuit fathers. The meeting, addressed to adults, will be accompanied by a religious Workshop for children aged 7-12. “In the next two days we wish to tackle the relationship between parents and children along with the problems and joys in children’s education”, said Inga Pozorska, member of the group “Strong in the Spirit”. The program of the event includes five conferences on the following themes: God fights for your family, marriage according to God, Difficult family – family to love, Why young people don’t go to church and If you love – speak. The reflections will be held by priests and by lay people. There will also be singing, dance and drawing lessons for children, along with common prayers and religious services. Portugal: “Promoting the Pastoral Care of Health” During the 29th meeting of Social Pastoral Care, held in Fatima September 9-11 last, on the theme, “Confession of faith and social commitment”, Msgr. Vítor Feytor Pinto said that “thirty years since its establishment the Pastoral Care of Health is facing a new beginning, considering the challenges, sensitivities, and potentials pertaining to this sector, that can be used in the new evangelization”. “There can be no social communication without health programs, there is no one who doesn’t want to be in good health, and the Church must grasp this opportunity to show that from the evangelical message comes the promise of a better quality of life, greater happiness, and sounder values”, the prelate added. According to the former national coordinator the Church must “step up its commitment in Health Pastoral Care”, which can play “a fantastic role” not only in healthcare, but also by conveying more wellbeing to all people through prevention and major protection: “the challenge of closeness to individuals, the extraordinary choice in favour of the poor are fundamental, because many people today need assistance but are lacking financial means, and the free offer of spiritual goods that the Church can offer could provide the true answer to all their needs”. Recalling the permanent contacts and the excellent relations developed with the Ministry of Health and university faculties, Msgr. Pinto concluded by saying that “thirty years of work in this sector have constituted a need of humanity, of concern towards others, of deep faith in the mission entrusted by God”.

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