Our last letter of information (N° 2) was issued in November 2016, a few days after the meeting in Rome of our coordination team.
As agreed during that meeting, we intent to inform periodically on progress of actions being carried out in view of future gatherings designated as ‘Forum of the People of God”.
We remind that the first Forum occurred in Rome one year earlier (November 2015) under Council 50 designation.
The main topics developed in this letter are the following :
- Setting up the GCN coordination team
- Preparation of the 2nd Forum to be held in Aparecida (Brazil) in November 2018
- Relations with Church hierarchy
- Links with other gatherings already initiated in the same spirit
- Budget and Fundraising
- Book on Council 50 (1st Forum of the People of God, Rome November 2015)
The 3rd Forum is still planned for the Year 2021. Our African friends are already thinking over it.
GCN Coordinating team
In our letter N° 2, we already informed that Jean-Pierre Schmitz has taken over the responsibility of leading coordination of action for GCN. A Google group “GCN Coordination Group” has been created to share information between members of the team.
That Google group comprises the participants to our meeting in Rome last November including the members of the Brazilian team in charge of the preparation of Aparecida Forum. That Brazilian team will hold leadership for organization of that 2nd Forum of the People of God. The GCN coordinating Group will provide full support and ensure contacts and as close as possible connections with other groups engaged in similar gatherings throughout the World.
2nd Global Forum of the People of God Aparecida Brazil November 2018
Our Brazilian GCN coordination team is working hard on the preparation activities. As decided in Rome last November. Next important step will be the joint meetings to be held in Brazil and in Paris on June 24th, 2017. In case it is too difficult to get all concerned people together in the same place, the Paris meeting will be held through a Skype conference.
Joint meetings of preparation in Paris and in Brazil
Jean-Pierre Schmitz will travel to Sao Paulo to meet the Brazilian team. Due to time difference, a first part of the meeting will take place in Paris on the morning of the 24th, the joint part of the meetings will take place through Skype communication in the morning in Brazil and in the afternoon in Paris, and a third part of the meeting will take place in the afternoon of the 24th in Brazil.
Suggested agendas :
. For the first part of the meeting in Paris (eventually with Skype connection)
- Preparation of the joint meeting (in particular general theme)
. For the joint part of the meeting (with Skype connection)
- General theme of the Forum
- Program and contents of the 2018 Forum, articulation with the Synod of the Youth, process to involve movements around the world, in particular in Latin America and get contributions from them: articulation with local or regional forums or synods
- Speakers and other organizations and individuals to be invited
- International contacts to be established
- Support to the Brazilian team and contacts with local Church
- Preliminary budget and Fund raising
. For the third part of the meeting in Brazil
discussions on general organization, logistics, contacts in Brazil and Latin America countries.
On the 25th visit to Aparecida to see the location of the meeting, look at accommodation and transport facilities, and visit the National Shrine.
The following general theme was proposed by the GCN coordination group : “sharing the decision-making on the Church”. In view of better understanding of the Portuguese translation, the Brazilians suggest something like “democratization of decision-making in the Church”. Reference could be made to the “inverted pyramid”.
In October 2015, Pope Francis made known his intent to radically changed Catholicism itself when he called for a "revolution" in the concept of the Catholic Church. He said the Holy See should not be a top-down organisation with the pope in charge but rather an inverted pyramid where the summit — the pope — is below and in service to the "holy faithful people of God" at the top, according to an Associated Press report.
This should be discussed at the June 24th meeting.
It is important, even more in the Year of Laity, to make sure that the general theme involves the the people, the world and the Church.
You are kindly invited to send me comments and suggestions regarding the issues that will be addressed, or have to be addressed during those meetings, especially on the general theme
From Sao Paulo, contacts have already been made in Brazil and other Latin America countries : Argentine, Uruguay, Nicaragua. In Brazil, the group Kairos We are also the Church is also aware of the proposal and will accompany the preparation. Other local and national representation groups are being contacted for a meeting in Sao Paulo.
Within the framework of the National Council of the Laity of Brazil-CNLB (Conselho Nacional do Laicato do Brasil), a meeting of the Southern Cone of the CELAM ( Consejo Episcopal Latinoamericano), whose theme will be "lay in public life" (22 to 26 May, in Buenos Aires). GCN will send a letter, to be read at the event, calling on participants to engage in the construction of the Forum of Aparecida. Also remember that November 2017 November 2018 in Brazil will be declared the year of the laity by CNBB (Conferência Nacional dos Bispos do Brasil)
CELAMare programming a Latin American meeting that will be held in Belo Horizonte between 2018 and 2019.
Regarding other continents (Europe, North America, Africa, Asia), the GCN coordinating team will establish contacts with potentially interested organizations and individuals, starting with the participants to the 1st Global Council Forum (Council 50) in Rome in 2015. We also will make contacts with other forums in a similar spirit which may occur throughout the world.
Relations with the Church hierarchy
GCN actions are initiated mostly from grassroots by lay people and movements in various countries and continents. However Bishops and other Church authorities are welcome if they are in agreement with our main objectives and want to support us.
In this regard, we already sent letters to some of them to make them aware of what we are trying to do and ask for support.
Let’s give two examples:
Cardinal Kevin Farrell, Prefect of the Dicastery for lay people, family and life (Vatican)
Cardinal John Njue, Archbishop of Nairobi Kenya
Other letters may be sent and new contacts arranged. Here again suggestions would be welcome.
Third Global Forum of the People of God
After Aparecida in 2018, the 3rd Forum should occur in Africa (precise location not decided yet)
in 2021. Already, several African friends Kenyan already declared their high interest.
Links with other gatherings
The following gatherings are scheduled :
- Medan Indonesia (April 1-6th 2017)
Main themes on the Forum: Youth Working for Ecological Sustainability, Genuine Human Development, and Peace
- AYA/ATF (Asian Youth Academy/Asian Theology Forum) to be held in Indonesia in July 2017
- Synod prepared by the American Catholic Council in 2018 end of October in USA
- New Zealand Forum in 2017
Information on other events would be welcome
The following communication means are implemented :
Information letters N° 1,2 and 3 allready published and available on the website
The Council 50 Global Council Network Website http://www.council50.org
Page facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GCN15/
The GCN Google group : see above
Dedicated website for Aparecida under construction in Brazil - http://globalforumaparecida.blogspot.fr/
Budget and Fundraising
At present stage, we cannot give a precise cost estimate for the Aparecida forum, including the preparation activities. Together with the Brazilian team, we are working on that issue which will be critical for the success of the event.
The main expenses are the following:
- Administrative and logistic costs
- Costs related to invited speakers and others
- Financial support to participants coming from remote places who could not afford travel and accommodation expenses
We should know more on this in June.
Fund raising actions have already been initiated, mainly in France. Up to now, the financial contributions represent only a small part of what will be needed.
Everyone should be aware of that situation and try to help our fundraising efforts.
bank transfers can be made to the GCN bank account (continuation of the Council 50 account):
Account’s Owner : Reseau Européen Eglise et Liberté (EN-RE) Concile 50
Bank : CCM Seine Ouest (France)
IBAN : FR76 1027 8060 7500 0210 5210 423
BIC : CMCIFR2A
A GCN account will be created in Brazil for local activities
Book Council 50
Edited by François Becker in two languages (French and English), a book entitled “1st Global Forum of the People of God, Rome 2015 Council 50” is under revision. It should be available in a few months via internet. This book contains all the presentations and documents elaborated during the Council 50 gathering that took place in Rome on November 20 to 22, 2015, particularly the Council 50 Declaration which is still to be endorsed on the Council 50 website. You will be informed when it is available.