ICMICA Pax Romana and the culture of service to others
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
I knew the Pax Romana Movement at the University of Lomé in Togo in 1997 when I entered the University of Lomé through a friend in sociology, then president of MIEC Pax Romana Togo named Nicolas Kalgora who was also a cohabitant at the university hostels at Villa Bodjona.
I was seduced by the presentation of the Pax Romana Movement, by its slogan which is: “The Preferential Option for the Poor”, that is to say, putting yourself at the service of the weaker than yourself intellectually, spiritually, morally, materially and financially. This is how I have since then relentlessly clung to this Movement by becoming president in Togo (2000-2003) and then, Pan-African Coordinator of MIEC (2003-2007). I like to share in these lines, the mission of service which is supposed to be ours as members of Pax Romana, one of the largest and oldest organizations of the Catholic Church in the world, which will celebrate its centenary in 2021 therefore next year and of which we should be very proud.
Indeed, the PAX ROMANA Movement was born in Friborg in Switzerland in 1921 in the after the First World War, therefore in a context of socio-economic and political crises as well as lack of unity and love of neighbor between individuals, families and between social groups, particularly in Europe. This Movement was approved by Cardinal GASPARI’s letter of June 5, 1921 to Max GRESSLY, then President of the “International Union of Catholic Students”. Thus, the Pax Romana Movement having been founded on the initiative of the students, is made up 25 years later, in 1946, of two branches which are: the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) and International Catholic Movement for Intellectuals and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA). Catholic students at that time, seeing the peace-loving world and families divided by war, pledged to translate their faith into action through concrete interventions in the culture of peace, the fight against social injustice and the hegemony of certain peoples over others. It was this commitment through action for the reconciliation of families divided by war and for the culture of peace by these first students in Europe, which brought PAX ROMANA’s name to the Movement. MIIC Pax Romana, bringing together Catholic professionals, executives and intellectuals of all kinds and belonging to different sectors of activity, lends itself so well over time to the accomplishment of this mission of service to others and to be in the world , the voice of lay Christians thanks to the consultative status that Pax Romana enjoys with the UN.
Even today, we are faced with the same realities: inter-ethnic, tribalist wars, geopolitical interest for the control of both natural and mineral resources with a governance based on personal grabbing or often by the ruling class, of public goods at the expense of the people. All of this challenges ICMICA Pax Romana to act in the light of the Catholic faith confessed by its members so that peace can prevail on earth.
The mission of Pax Romana which is the Preferential Option for the Poor must be lived in our families, in the church, in our workplaces and therefore in society in order to translate faith into action and in truth . During the special meeting of Abidjan in Ivory Coast in October 2018 of ICMICA Pax Romana Africa, one of the challenges raised is to work more closely with the episcopal conferences of the bishops of our countries and regions in order to better to rejuvenate spiritually for this noble mission of service to others by faith in action as Saint John recommends: “Little children, do not love in words or in speeches but in deeds and in truth” (1Jn 3:18 ).
Often, we hide behind the lack of time not to be of service to others but know that this is more a matter of management problem or the question of time management since in the twenty and four (24) hours we have there are eight (8) hours per day for work, eight (8) hours for service to others and eight (8) hours for rest. It is enough to manage your time well on a daily basis and we will be able to bring help to others by professional assistance on the intellectual level, moral or relational support by spending time with those who need our presence by their side, material or financial assistance to someone who is in need according to the exhortation of the psalmist: “A poor cry; the Lord hears it “(Ps 33: 7) because,” Let each of you not be concerned with your own interests; think also of those of others ”(Phil 2, 3-4).
Likewise, having time for sharing and debates on themes relating to spiritual awakening based on the social doctrine of the church (DSE) and on service leadership are as many services as professionals, executives and intellectuals MIIC Pax Romana Catholics can voluntarily return to their living and working environment in order to positively impact others. In addition, since a holy spirit must live in a healthy body, it is the duty of ICMICA Pax Romana members to initiate or participate in community work in their living and working environments. This civic participation in community activities contributes to the prevention of conflicts, to the culture of the spirit of acceptance of the other, of tolerance, of the love of neighbor for living together; factor of peace, social cohesion and development.
May God revive ICMICA Pax Romana for a commitment of its members in a free service to others to make a difference in light of the Catholic faith in an increasingly selfish, neocapitalist world where rendering free service to others seems to be ‘impossible. This, in order to work for the edification of Christian leaders animated by the spirit of service in favor of the dignity of the human person for a world of social justice, a new Africa and for a more just world desired by God who we invites us to show our solidarity with the poor (cf. Mt 5, 3).
Dr Jules Yaovi WAHARE
Development anthropologist, University of Lomé,
Secretary General of ICMICA Pax Romana Africa,
Former Coordinator IMCS Pax Romana Africa
Tél : (00228) 91 73 35 37/ 99 51 65 00/ Email : firstname.lastname@example.org