On 16 October 2020 the ECWM held its annual general assembly. This time it was held telematically due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Representatives from 11 movements from 9 European countries took part. Three representatives of the WMCW (World Movement of Christian Workers) also took part
A highlight has been the election of the new president. Olinda Marques, a member of the LOC-MTC movement in Portugal, was unanimously elected to replace Petr Koutný, from the KAP movement in the Czech Republic, who had held the presidency for two years.
In addition, the activities carried out by the ECWM and its member movements in the period since the previous General Assembly, held in Ostend, Belgium in October 2019, have been reported.
We are pleased to have been able to hold this fraternal meeting, albeit through screens, and we have set ourselves up for the next assembly, scheduled for September 2021 in Lisbon.
Requiem for a Europe that must die, ode to a hoped Europe
1. In these Covid-19 days we see how the society and the popular and working classes are organizing themselves in solidarity and mutual support networks. We see the rebirth of community action and attention to the most unprotected people. We see how the bold work of health community is recognized every day, the central importance of domestic workers and those who care the sick and dependent people, the heroism of so many daily saints, as pope Francis likes to be called, despite to all difficulties and despite that we have the individualism virus inoculated since forever, and even more so by this predatory and fratricidal capitalism that has brought us to the edge of precipice.
2. For that reason, if the human tissue is being remade from the smallest, with many drops of love, humility and generosity, we aspire to see these dynamics in the authorities which govern us and also in the enterprises where we work. Thus, we are hurt to see how the governments of member States in Europe and in the community, institutions reproduce, in their own interest, some dynamics that have already taken place, as in the financial crisis 2008 and that must be overcome at this so serious moment.
To our brothers and sisters of popular movements and organizations
I often recall our previous meetings: two at the Vatican and one in Santa Cruz de la Sierra, and I must tell you that this “souvenir” warms my heart. It brings me closer to you, and helps me re-live so many dialogues we had during those times. I think of all the beautiful projects that emerged from those conversations and took shape and have become reality. Now, in the midst of this pandemic, I think of you in a special way and wish to express my closeness to you. In these days of great anxiety and hardship, many have used war-like metaphors to refer to the pandemic we are experiencing. If the struggle against COVID-19 is a war, then you are truly an invisible army, fighting in the most dangerous trenches; an army whose only weapons are solidarity, hope, and community spirit, all revitalizing at a time when no one can save themselves alone. As I told you in our meetings, to me you are social poets because, from the forgotten peripheries where you live, you create admirable solutions for the most pressing problems afflicting the marginalized.
I know that you nearly never receive the recognition that you deserve, because you are truly invisible to the system. Market solutions do not reach the peripheries, and State protection is hardly visible there. Nor do you have the resources to substitute for its functioning. You are looked upon with suspicion when through community organization you try to move beyond philanthropy or when, instead of resigning and hoping to catch some crumbs that fall from the table of economic power, you claim your rights. You often feel rage and powerlessness at the sight of persistent inequalities and when any excuse at all is sufficient for maintaining those privileges. Nevertheless, you do not resign yourselves to complaining: you roll up your sleeves and keep working for your families, your communities, and the common good. Your resilience helps me, challenges me, and teaches me a great deal.
Joint Statement of the Presidents of COMECE and CEC in the context of the COVID–19 pandemic: "LET US REMAIN UNITED"
LET US REMAIN UNITED
This is the time to show our commitment to European values
The COVID-19 pandemic and its dire consequences have hit Europe and the entire world with full strength. Putting to the test every person, family and community, the present crisis has exposed the vulnerabilities and apparent certainties of our politics, economics and societies.
Nevertheless, these trying times are also allowing us to re-discover our common humanity as brothers and sisters. We think of the many people who are sowing hope every day by exercising charity and solidarity. We would like to pray with deep gratitude for all those who serve their fellow human beings with empathy and warmth by supporting them selflessly: medical doctors, nursing staff, providers of basic services, law and order forces – and persons involved in pastoral care. We wish to pray for all the people who are suffering during this crisis - in particular the sick, the elderly, the poor, the excluded and children experiencing family instability. We also remember all those who passed away in our prayers.
Prayer for our hurting world
to you we come in these dark and hard times.
To you we come to explain you the pain and death
that causes the pandemic that decimates our peoples.
And we put the words of the psalmist into our mouths:
"Say to the Lord: “My stronghold, my refuge,
my God in whom I trust!”
He will rescue you… from the deadly pestilence…
He will give you refuge under his wings.
You shall not fear the terror of the night…
nor the pestilence that stalks by night,
and the plague that destroys at noonday (Ps 91,2-6).
in you we trust at this time
that so many of our brothers and sisters,
so weak, who are sharing in their flesh
the pain of the Passion and Death of Jesus Christ, your Son.
to you we come to thank you
for so many of our brothers and sisters
that bring up to date the Resurrection of your beloved Son,
giving himself up with all his strength to relieve so much pain.
We thank you for all the medical professionals
for everyone who works in hospitals,
for those who care for their sick elders at home,
for the parents and grandparents who, with patience,
explain this situation to their young children.
For the young people who mature by assuming this experience,
and draw conclusions from it for the future.
We thank you for all the public employees
and officials from our countries and cities
that make life and living together more bearable.
We thank you for the workers who make
that public transportation works,
that there are medicines in the pharmacies
and food in the shops and in the markets.
And we thank you for the working men and women
that make our lives easier in these times of confinement,
and for those who continue to work from home.
Yes, we thank you for so many signs of solidarity
and for the responsibility and seriousness
with which so many citizens face this difficult reality.
we are afraid of the future, and the economic consequences
that are going to result from this pandemic
that is affecting so many, many countries.
We're worried about the jobs that are going to be lost,
the workers who will have their labour rights violated,
or that their purchasing power will be reduced,
the poor and impoverished
they'll have to go through social services,
the small businessmen who will have to start over.
we are also concerned about
the global economic situation in the coming years.
Help economic experts find ways out
viable and in solidarity with all our countries,
especially with the poorest peoples
and with less means to overcome this situation.
We also introduce you to the refugee camps,
and all those who live badly in them.
Lord, you know their precariousness.
Do not allow this pandemic to become fattening
in them, the poorest and most abandoned,
or the homeless who live on our streets,
nor in the prisoners confined in our prisons.
we pray you for our rulers.
Let them have the wisdom that comes from you
so that they can make the right decisions,
and be sensitive to the pain of so many families
who suffer illness or the death
of their loved ones.
May they have no spurious interests
and be moved only by selfless service.
we pray for all the dead of this pandemic.
Welcome them into your loving and tender embrace
of a loving mother with the bowels of mercy.
May they rest in your peace and enjoy your presence forever.
We also pray you for their families:
give them your comfort and your love so that,
after this ordeal, they can look back at life with hope.
we finally pray you for us.
Make this difficult experience
that we now go through we know how to take advantage
so that in the future we can live life with meaning,
so that we know to reject everything that is superfluous,
so that we can make ours
the saving experience of your Son Jesus Christ
and so, knowing him, loving him and following him
as disciples who want to live their Gospel,
let us fulfil your will that our world
is truly the kingdom you have dreamed for us.
Josep Jiménez Montejo
24 March 2020
European Christian Workers Movement (ECWM) expresses its full support to all the initiatives taking place on 3rd March that is the International Free-Work Sunday Day. In this year 2020, the ECWM offers the following reflection.
In the world of work we are in a new situation that asks us to open new paths to fraternity, solidarity and sensitivity to suffering and injustice so that it is possible for people to be and to live. The social model in which we live, shaped mainly by the way of human work is conceived and treated, is a great obstacle for social organization and social relations and institutions to favour what they should always serve: that people can realize their being and can live according to their dignity, that we can realize our humanity in image and likeness of God. This is what is radically at stake today and for the future: that people can realize their being and live according to their dignity, and it is very important that we really take charge of this situation in which the social model that has been configured places us:
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