“The Forum was conceived as a place of dialogue and exchange among Catholic Inspired NGOs in order to offer a strengthened Christian witness at the international level. It is at the service of the common good of humanity, the defense of human life and dignity, as well as the promotion of global peace in a spirit of communion and generosity.” (Extracted from https://foruminternational.org/welcome/message-committee-secretariat/)

(Photo credit: Vatican Media)

From 5 – 7 December, 2019, Alice Tan (Malaysia – Vice-President of Fondacio) and Marc Bezançon (France – Director of Fondacio Development) represented Fondacio at the Forum Assembly in Rome. A total of 139 participants from 101 Catholic Inspired Organisations participated at the Forum and deliberated on the theme “Moving toward a more inclusive Society” whilst thematic groupings were made on the following topics: Human Rights, Development, Health, Education, Family, Migration and Youth. Inspiration was also drawn from the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

At the end of the Forum, participants had the opportunity to meet His Holiness, Pope Francis at the Vatican. In his address, he proposed 3 ways in which Catholic-Inspired Organisations could be strengthened: “Formation of members, taking the necessary means, and coordinating initiatives through teamwork.” He concluded by assuring those present, “The Church and the Pope need your work, your commitment and your witness at the frontiers of the international community”. And he encouraged them to “move forward with courage and ever-renewed hope”.

In the personal encounter with the Pope, Alice and Marc both said to the Pope, “We love you. Thank you for everything that you have done.” And the Pope said, “I need it, pray for me”. They were filled with joy through this unforgettable encounter and said that the blessing from the Holy Father was certainly for the whole of Fondacio!