In the month of August HOAC (Hermandad Obrera de Acción Católica – Catholic Action Labour Fraternity) organized in Segovia, Spain, its 13th General Assembly. The theme of the meeting was “Building the Church in the peripheries of the working world. Justice, dignified work and solidarity”. The event was attended by 950 people, including supporters, guests and members of the organization. Panel speeches were delivered, inter alia, by the president of the Spanish Bishops’ Conference (CEE), Cardinal Ricardo Blázquez; the bishop in charge of Spanish Catholic Action, Monsignor Carlos M. Escribano, the bishop responsible of the pastoral care of workers, Monsignor Antonio Algora, the bishops of Bilbao and Coria-Cáceres, Monsignor Mario Iceta, and by Monsignor Francisco Cerro. During the Assembly participants set the goals and commitments of HOAC’s next six-year-programs. Increasingly unfair society. “HOAC men and women – states the final statement of the Assembly – intends to continue living in communion with the most precarious workers, cut out in their capacities as blue-collars and cut out from the working environment as a whole. We know and we share their suffering. HOAC is present in their lives and joins their struggles (also in conjunction with labour and social organizations) for the creation of a better society where work is dignified and where we can live as a true community”. Over the past years, the Fraternity denounced, “we have witnessed growing inequalities and injustice, whose consequences are suffering and dehumanization; loss of social and working rights of individuals, families and peoples; precariousness of working and living conditions; rejection of human lives and denial of human dignity based on the logic of capital gain that is painful, hurts and kills; cuts of public rights as well as of the claims of all those individuals and groups who are the main victims of this situation”. For HOAC, “these are the peripheries of the blue-collar world, which we feel the urge to support, now more than ever before. And since we are far from indifferent towards the realities of the modern world, we intend to progress as HOAC to convert ourselves to Jesus and be Church, Catholic Action incarnated in the labour and working environments”. A set of goals. “We intend to continue living the communion of goods, life and action with the poor, concretized in a set proposals”, HOAC claimed. In particular, the purpose of the Fraternity is “to accompany the lives of people and cooperate with them to ensure the conditions to live our humanity in full” and “contribute to a change in mentality”. Moreover, HOAC intends “to cooperate to bring about a change in public institutions so as to increase the service of people’s needs, especially the poorer brackets”, and “help create alternative experiences that may express and create the new mentality we need”. “We believe that the time has come to strengthen our commitment with renewed enthusiasm to bring the Good News, the joy of the Gospel, in the working environment: it belongs to it”, the Fraternity affirmed in a statement. Four resolutions. HOAC adopted four resolutions to echo the voice of a Church devoted to helping all those who suffer: “For a Europe of male and female workers”; “For an income that ensures dignified life”; “In favour of migrants. No to CIES internment centres for foreigners”; “Women striving for justice”. The funds collected during the Masses will finance four projects to strengthen a commitment worthy of labour inclusion in Bolivia and Spain”. “Renewed in the personal and communitarian encounter with Christ and joyfully transmitting the hope of the Gospel – continues the final statement of the Assembly – we celebrated the Eucharist in the cathedral of Segovia and convened in Plaza Mayor to publically call for ‘#trabajodigno’ (dignified work) whilst denouncing precarious employment which the working class in our Country is a victim of, making it hard to lead personal, family and social life”. In its commitment HOAC feels the vicinity of Jesus, “the labourer of Nazareth”, on the basis of the calling “to build the Church in the peripheries of the labour realms”.
The message of the Assembly of Hermandad Obrera de Acción Católica. The Church "in the peripheries of the working world"