Setting the course for the future

Setting the course for the future

Representatives from 43 countries have decided in Lima on a new General Statute for the worldwide social association. In terms of content Kolping International wants to commit itself even more to sustainability and environmental protection in the future.

From 25. to 28. This year's International Convention of the International Kolping Society took place in the Peruvian capital Lima on September 7, 2017. About 200 delegates from 43 countries worldwide came together to discuss and decide on future work contents of the worldwide association. The International Convention is the highest decision-making body of the Catholic social organization.

At the center of the conference was the conclusion of a reform process that had already begun in 2012: with a new self-image and the revision of the International Constitution, the International Kolping Society wants to set the course for the future. In order to continue to be attractive for the members, one wants to give oneself a modern face with new structures, forms of networking and ways of communication, it was said at Kolping. For example, the new General Statutes strengthen the role of the laity in the association: the spiritual leadership of a Kolping family is no longer exclusively reserved for a Catholic priest. In the future, lay people and women can also ame the office of the Praeses.

Ecological responsibility

In terms of content, the association wants to focus more intensively on ecological ies in the future. Therefore, the discussion of the encyclical "Laudato si" was also on the agenda of the General Assembly. "With this writing, Francis has hit directly into the heart of the Kolping Society," said Markus Demele, General Secretary of Kolping International, "our worldwide projects always pursue the goal of giving people on the margins of society a home. In Europe, for example, this is done through youth housing projects, in Latin America through vocational training, and in Africa by promoting rural development."

The fight against poverty is a central aspect in the encyclical "Laudato si", the appeal not to do this at the expense of the environment and the coming generations, the other. "This papal impulse for more sustainability, the concern for the common house, is to be taken into account even more strongly in the future at Kolping International and in the National Kolping Societies", ared Demele.

"Protecting the common house"

Therefore, in the coming years, one wants to pay more attention to the fact that one's own projects are not only economically and socially sustainable, but also ecologically sustainable, said the Secretary General. As an example, he cited agricultural farming methods that do not use artificial fertilizers: "Many of our farmers in Africa are already very successfully using organic fertilizers made from goat manure, which they produce themselves. But promoting sustainable farming methods is only one aspect of many. Each individual Kolping National Kolping Society will look concretely at what form of project work it can contribute in its environment to protect our common house, our world."

In Lima, Demele was pleased with the "enthusiasm and energy" with which the delegates wanted to implement more sustainable action in their countries: "We had a wonderful confusion of languages: Indians and Latinos, Europeans and Africans in between. But there was a great harmony because everyone felt that they share the common values, have a common understanding of what they want to change in this world."This gives hope that together we can achieve "something great," says the secretary general.

Kolping International is a catholic social association with approximately 400.000 members in 62 countries, inspired by the teachings of the priest and social reformer Adolph Kolping (1813-1865). With the help of its own specialized organization for development cooperation, the Social and Development Aid of the Kolping Society, the association has been contributing to overcoming poverty worldwide since 1968. Support for vocational training, in agriculture and for business start-ups should enable people to make positive changes to their situation themselves.

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