The event, hosted by the Catholic University San Anthony of Murcia – UCAM, was organised by the Federation of Catholic Family Associations in Europe – FAFCE. Raul Sanchez, secretary general of ELFAC, was invited to speak on the experience of large families associations.
The Congress respond to the invitation made by Pope Francis in his 2022 address to the members of FAFCE to foster a fruitful and effective spirit of communion and collaboration between European families, an authentic “antidote to loneliness“.
In the opening of the conference, the Archbishop Bernardito Cleopas Auza, Apostolic Nuncio to the Kingdom of Spain and the Principality of Andorra, mentioned the fundamental role of the family in taking care of the common home and stated that “the Family is a school of humanity”.
Mark Regnerus, President of the Austin Institute (United States of America), gave a passionate and insightful speech on “What Sociology Will and Will Not Tell You about Families and the Crisis of Loneliness”. He brought attention to how questions asked by sociologists and researchers shape the way of thinking and highlighted that “Without healthy families, egalitarian goals are pointless, as money can be redistributed, and spiritual capital cannot”.
Two round tables followed, the first dedicated to the creation and the development of networks of families, with the participation of Friederike Ladenburger, COMECE Legal Advisor, Antoine Renard, Honorary President of FAFCE and past President of the French Confederation of Catholic Family Associations (CNAFC), and Raúl Sánchez Flores, Secretary General of the European Large Families Confederation (ELFAC).
The second round table focused on how to bring the voice of the family in the public arena, with Carmen Fernandez De la Cigoña, Secretary General of the Catholic Association of Propagandists (ACDP), Mattia Ferrero, Vice-President of the Union of Italian Catholic Jurists (UGCI), Javier Rodriguez, General Director of the Foro de la Familia, FAFCE Spanish associated member, and Monika Zazula, Delegate of the Polish Federation of Family & Life Movements.
Between the 3rd and the 4th of May 2023, FAFCE held its bi-annual Board Meeting in Murcia (Spain). FAFCE Members from all over Europe gathered to exchange on their respective activities and on the work of the Federation at the European level.
The President, Vincenzo Bassi, stated: “These intense days of work here in Murcia are the fruit of long preparation, realised also thanks to the generous cooperation with the Catholic University St Anthony of Murcia (UCAM). This cooperation is also an example of how the world of the NGOs can work together with the world of the university to bring fruits for the Common good. I believe that with these three days, we could show how the family is the prism through which we can better understand and experience personal, spiritual, ecclesial and social and cultural life of everybody.And therefore, fight new ways to fight against the new pandemic of our times, the pandemic of loneliness.”
The Board of FAFCE, during its works, adopted a Board Resolution on “The crisis of loneliness in times of digital transition: family networks as agents of change”.