Pope attending II Meeting of popular movements, with collaboration of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace

July 2, 2015

From 7th to 9th of July, in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, Bolivia, the II Meeting of popular movements will take place, with the collaboration of  the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and the Bolivian government.

More than 1500 delegates from different Latin American popular movements and delegations from other continents, along with a significant number of bishops and pastoral workers are expected to take part in this second edition of the Meeting. On July,  9th,  the Holy Father,  pope Francis will join the meeting and will address a message to participants.

This meeting wants to promote mutual understanding and collaboration of grassroots organizations and the local churches of the countries of the Americas. Encouraging the presence of people and organizations from varied perspectives, origins and mentalities, we are called to promote a real culture of dialogue, which encounter can do. In the coming together of peoples, individuality is maintained despite all differences (cf. Evangelii Gaudium n. 236).

The press conference to present the World Meeting of Popular Movements 2015 will take place at 11 am on 6 July in Santa Cruz de la Sierra – Bolivia.

Last October, Cardinal Turkson addressed the first meeting of the group, saying:

Pope Francis continually reminds the Church to go to the peripheries of human existence and embrace the excluded, the marginalized, those who are rejected and in danger of being discarded.

Individuals and whole families, communities and whole peoples, exist precariously – often with enormous sufferings – on the margins of all societies, not just the so-called “poor” or “developing” or “Southern” ones. Sadly, practically every country today seems infected with the “throw-away” culture, and experiences growing populations of marginalized and rejected, especially among the young and the old.

Faced with the challenges of globalization and indifference, Evangelii Gaudium calls on both the Church and the world to listen to the cry for justice and to respond with all our strength (see EG n. 188). Both as Church and as societies, we must learn to include the excluded. This means to reach out to those on the periphery and welcome the marginalized to become full members of our communities, economies, and societies.

But what is essential is first to listen humbly: not only to the sufferings, but also to the expectations, hopes and proposals which the marginalized themselves have. They must be protagonists of their own lives, and not simply passive recipients of the charity or plans of others. They must be protagonists of the needed economic and social, political and cultural changes.

In order to do so, they organize themselves into popular groups and movements. Over a hundred representatives of such organizations are gathering from all over the world for the meeting to take place here next week. They will meet to share, discuss and face five key topic areas: the growing challenges of housing, work, land, violence and environment.

The Church wants to make its own the needs and aspirations of the popular movements, and to join with those who, by means of different initiatives, are making every effort to stimulate social change towards a more just world.