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Fe y Alegría [Faith and Joy]: educate at the borders

October 9, 2018

With this motto we have just celebrated the XLVII Congress of the International Federation of Fe y Alegría with Entreculturas of Spain, the host country, in the House of San José, El Escorial, from September 28 to 30. The 22 countries where we are present  in Latin America, Africa and Europe have participated.

We had already hosted another Congress in 2004, but in these last 14 years this Popular Education Movement has grown notoriously in many other countries and in the number of the people we have reached.

Friday was the day dedicated to young people, through the Solidarity Network of the same and the group called Generation 21; they made a street act in the neighborhood of Ventilla and ended up planting a tree in an urban neighborhood of Avda. de Asturias.

Saturday saw the opening of the Congress as such. Arturo Sosa, Superior General of the Society of Jesus, left us a message of great depth and significance for FyA that we will continue taking in because it will revitalize us a lot.

 “Fe y Alegría is also a great challenge and a huge shared responsibility. Her history and identity push her not to stop but accept the challenge of going beyond her own achievements, because she knows that the great work that has been accomplished is little in relation to what can be done to continue opening opportunities for quality education to the millions of young people who do not have it yet. José María Vélaz always dared more,” Arturo told us.

Then other colleagues, from our country and from abroad, brought us closer to the different frontiers: existential, geographical, gender, digital, intergenerational, ecological … without forgetting the internal borders, silence and reflection, passing from individualismto solidarity and from superficiality to the profound, to listen to the sound of silence.

The Eucharist on Saturday afternoon gave us the opportunity to continue being thankful and offering all that we were living and the path that opens before us from now on, with a renewed impulse. On Sunday morning in groups we gathered the ideas-strength of this Congress and put the finishing touch with a group of young people from the School of Music, Salamanca, who with their sounds and songs brought us to Africa.

Then on Monday, an institutional act around the motto took place at the Palacio de Cibeles, in Madrid, with relevant figures from various fields of our society who came together to continue opting for the right to education as the first right to be followed by others more in favor of all people.

There was of course the evening party opened by the Great Chiky, a magician who gave us a good time of laughter and admiration at his games, followed by a lively dance where products from different places were shared and in which we continued to express the joy of the re-encounter in FyA as a great family.

In my opinion, this Congress, and I have already gone to many, has marked a turning point, I dare say, in the International Federation and especially Entreculturas. The work of preparing and organizing everything has been immense, but it has been worth it. The diverse perspectives of FyA, both from inside and outside, have opened wide horizons to us, confirming us in the sense and mission of this Popular Education Movement, the mission of Jesus, as Arturo also reminded us.

This Congress has made much use of media, supported by our communication teams with the unsurpassed help of the computer specialists present at all times; we have enjoyed the wisdom of many companions, with the freshness and vital energy of young people. We have had solidly intellectual moments and messages and we have visited the future with the audacity of Fr. Vélaz sj.

God calls us from the frontiers and invites us to go on dreaming, committed to society, in constant local-global tension to continue putting in our collaboration to the dream of José María Vélaz sj, which is the dream of the same God Father and Mother of makinga more livable world for all human beings.

María Luisa Berzosa, FI



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