Be To Care Day: Social Innovators for a World in Crisis (Rome, September 28-30, 2022)

In the context of the twentieth anniversary of Harambee, a foundation created on the occasion of the canonization of St. Josemaría to promote the development of aid initiatives in Africa, a three-day symposium was held in Rome at the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross (September 28, 29 and 30) on social innovation in the face of the challenges of today’s world. Entitled Be to Care, the event provided a space for reflection and dialogue on possible responses to the social challenges of our time.

On Wednesday, September 28, two round tables with experts in different fields addressed the characteristics of the social crises common today on the various continents and the responses that can be offered from different organizations and professional competencies.

The day began with a lecture by Msgr. Fernando Ocáriz on the Christian’s social responsibility in the message of St. Josemaría.[1]

Coordinated by the Opus Dei Centennial Committee, the entire day was dedicated to showcasing the work of various solidarity initiatives inspired by the teachings of St. Josemaría and sharing experiences. Introducing the sessions, the president of the committee, Fernanda Lopes, expressed her hope that this “brainstorming” would help in preparing Opus Dei’s centennial and, in accord with the spirit of St. Josemaría, contribute to the transformation of hearts as a driving force for social innovation. The 200 participants, representing 70 initiatives from 30 countries, were divided into nine working groups. At the end of the group meetings, some conclusions of common concern were shared. The value of experience, the help provided by the beneficiaries themselves of solidarity initiatives, trust in the new generations, who need to be encouraged in their generous and creative social sensitivity, and the aspiration for a training strategy that leads people to better serve others were criteria and objectives that received special attention.

Two other workshops were held in the afternoon. In the first, on the service mission of social initiatives, reference was made above all to listening, research and the needs stemming from the specific identity and communication requirements of the projects. The second focused on the legacy that the future centenary of Opus Dei could bring about in the field of social development.

The event concluded on Friday 30 with a day dedicated to social innovation and young people in Africa. Awards were presented for the international competition Communicating Africa, which aims to highlight the commitment to the construction of a realistic narrative about the African continent through documentaries and video clips made by people under 25 years of age.

[1] The full text of the conference is included in the “Study” section of this issue of Romana.

Romana, n. 75, July-December 2022, p. 231-232.

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