Global Council Network

Current situation and prospects

First, let’s remind ourselves of the main dates:

Nov 2015 in Rome

1st Global Forum of the People of God (Council 50), around 100 participants from the five continents.

Nov 2016 in Rome

Decision to create the structure Global Council Network (GCN) and to organize a 2nd Global Forum of the People of God in the year 2018. The Brazilian representatives at that meeting confirmed their candidacy to organize that event in their country and made a first presentation of the possible venue, i.e. Aparecida, about half way between Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro and very important sanctuary in Brazil.

It was also agreed that a 3rd Forum would be envisaged on the African continent during the year 2021.

Brazil 2017

Visit of the venue facilities in Aparecida by the GCN Brazilian team and J.P. Schmitz. Teleconference meeting between Sao Paulo and GCN intl coordination group in Paris.

Brazil 2018

Decision to postpone the Forum and to relocate it to a new place close to Sao Paulo intl airport.

Two main reasons: easier access and less costly.

Brazil June 2019

Due to political and economical situation in Brazil, it appeared that holding a large scale gathering was becoming extremely difficult.

Meeting in Sao Paulo with a limited number of participants, mostly Brazilians, total 25 to 30 including 5 from overseas (USA, South Africa, Korea and Europe).

Preliminary report has been sent for comments to GCN Brazil and to our GCN intl coordination group. Same has been done for contributions received from overseas speakers.

Feed back from Brazil has not been received so far.

At the end of that gathering, it was agreed to organize in a first stage national meetings in as many as possible countries prior to a next Global Forum. Organization of such national meetings would be easier and much less expensive, cutting international travel costs and those relative to translations during the meetings (interpreters and necessary equipment).

It was agreed to hold a meeting in Brazil during the year 2020 with Portuguese speaking participants.

However, conditions in Brazil didn’t improve and then came the Covid 19 crisis. Everything has been put on hold and with the present situation, it’s impossible to schedule any new event, except contacts through teleconferences, emails or other communication means.

We are still considering a Global Forum in African Countries in the coming years. But also there the prospects are not so good, in particular due to the fact that in many of those countries, the Catholic hierarchy is very conservative and would not be happy to support, or even let them happen, such events.

Even though our GCN intl coordination group has currently very limited means, in particular regarding the financial resources, we still believe that holding national then international global forums of the People of God is highly worthwhile and a good answer to expectations of the grassroots levels. The first one (Council 50 in 2015) was a great success with strong effects on participants as well as on the various organizations of which they were representatives.

When they volunteered for organizing the 2nd Global Forum in their country, our Brazilian friends have shown how highly they were motivated in that project. Unfortunately, at that time, neither themselves nor anyone else expected the huge difficulties to come.

Whatever happens, keeping hope is an essential duty. Council 50 event occurred in Rome, but now it is obvious that forthcoming events in that wake have to take place outside of Europe and North America where it is becomes more and more difficult to involve younger generations in such events, which is much less the case in other parts of the world.

Maybe deep changes should be brought in our ways of defining our activities, increasing our means, improving communications etc. Any suggestions would be most welcome.

Let’s the Spirit assist firmly all of us in undertaking such tasks.

Jean-Pierre Schmitz
GCN Intl group coordinator