A Ton of Aid for Mocoa
During a week of solidarity organized by the University of La Sabana, the university community gathered over a ton of food and other necessities destined for the victims of Mocoa, a community in the southern part of Colombia, buried by an avalanche in the month of April. The commodities were given to the military authorities handling relief efforts for distribution to victims of the avalanche.
University of the Andes, Chile
A Program for Instructors of Religion
The University of the Andes has offered for the first time a “Program for High School Teachers of the Catholic Religion,” aimed at professionals and those with degrees in various disciplines. The purpose of the course is to form teachers in a way that responds to the concerns of young people in the twenty-first century, and to provide future religion teachers with an interdisciplinary preparation that enables them to transmit effectively the essential elements of the faith.
A Work Camp
Students from Kianda High School dedicated their Easter vacation—April 18 to 22—to assisting a rural school in Kitui, a village about 120 miles east of Nairobi. The girls taking part gave classes to the primary school pupils. In Nairobi they had previously obtained books to donate to the school and collected food donations for the local people.
A Conference for Cooperators
On April 22, a conference for cooperators of Opus Dei was held in Lisbon. News about activities carried out by faithful of the Prelature all over the world was presented, and a study session was held on the guidelines for the work of evangelization that were proposed by the General Congress of Opus Dei, held in Rome the previous January. Mass was also said for deceased cooperators and for the intentions of those taking part.
Music of Mozart
On Saturday April 8, in the church of Sant’Andrea della Valle in Rome, the Aventino Chorus and the Roma in Canto orchestra interpreted pieces by Mozart to support a project at Centro Elis to assist young people living in difficult circumstances. The project seeks to provide after school activities for immigrant students from the Tiburtino district, boys who live in shelters, and children and teenagers from the poor neighborhoods surrounding Rome. The program is completely free, and offers activities every day, between three and six in the afternoon.
Ibiúna, São Paulo, Brazil
Digital Communication and Public Opinion
In January, a group of Brazilian university students gathered at the Sitio de Ibiúna Conference Center to consider the challenges faced by the communications media in the digital age. Among the speakers were Alexandre Gonçalves, a journalist from the Columbia Journalism School, who spoke about the impact of social media on public opinion. The journalist and writer Marcelo Cavallari, who works for one of the major daily newspapers in Brazil, spoke about forms of journalism existing before and after the advent of the digital era. The conference also included debates on recent movies and documentaries related to the world of communication.
Las Condes, Chile
Visit of Greek Orthodox
Archbishop of Jerusalem
The Greek Orthodox Archbishop of Jerusalem, Atalla Hanna, gave a conference at the University of the Andes about the situation of Christians living in Palestine. The archbishop is one of the most recognized voices in the quest for peace between Palestine and Israel. During his visit he was shown around the university grounds and met with academic authorities and the university chaplain.
Initiatives of Solidarity
Students from the University of Montevideo took part during Holy Week in a program entitled “Easter: an Encounter with Others.” It was organized by the volunteer center at this university. Students from various fields of study visited homeless people and families in the city to celebrate Easter with them. They offered them hot chocolate and distributed 160 Easter eggs donated by students, teachers and university staff.
During the first half of 2017, another group of students from the university took part in the reconstruction of homes and in other social work in the city of Dolores, partially destroyed by a tornado in 2016.
São Paulo, Brazil
Those in charge of Vepinho, a volunteer project aimed at helping boys in the sixth to ninth grades in the district of Pedreia, São Paulo, were invited to a national meeting to present the best educational experiences in the country —A Map of Education— in the nation’s capital of Brasilia. The Vepinho program has been underway since 2002 and offers classes of educational reinforcement, talks on human virtues, and sporting activities. The majority of the volunteers are university students from São Paulo. The educational results for the boys involved in the program are reflected clearly in the improvement in their school grades.
Pastoral Conferences for Priests
On April 24, at the Enxomil conference center near Oporto, the twenty-first annual pastoral conference for priests was held. The topic for this year was “Ethics and Communication: what you hear whispered, proclaim upon the housetops (Mt 10:27).” About one hundred diocesan priests attended. Among the speakers were José María Pardo, Director of Studies and Professor of Moral Theology in the University of Navarra School of Theology, and João Franco Reis, from Catholic Voices Portugal.
Economics and the Church’s Social Doctrine
From May 22-26, a seminar was held on “Economics and the Social Doctrine of the Church” in the classrooms of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross. It was organized by the Markets, Culture & Ethics Research Center at that university, in collaboration with the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture and the Catholic Research Economists Discussion Organization. The participants were graduates in economics, business schools, and related fields.
The key principles of the Church’s social teaching were discussed, including topics such as the dignity of the human person, freedom, subsidiarity, solidarity, and the common good. Speakers then went on to deal with some aspects of the economy that have ethical relevance, such as the theories of maximization of benefits, policies on salaries, the market, globalization, poverty, and development. In the course of the sessions, the participants delved deeply into the content of papal encyclicals that explain the Church’s social doctrine, viewed in relationship with some of the more important texts in the field of economics.
Twenty Awards from Scholarship Project
Students at the Viaró school in Barcelona collaborated with their personal savings to enable twenty boys in Kenya to enroll in the Eastland College of Technology in Nairobi. This was made possible by the Scholarship project, a program that provides financial help to boys and girls who otherwise would not be able to obtain a basic education. This project, organized by Harambee International, is carried out in Cameroon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Nigeria, Kenya, and Ivory Coast. A number of schools in various cities of Spain assist this initiative.
The boys receiving the twenty scholarships to pursue professional training live in the Sinai slum in Nairobi, a large are of tin shacks near the school. Most of the children living there have very limited educational and work opportunities.
Romana, No. 64, January-June 2017, p. 182-185.