INTERVIEW WITH ALFONSO GIRALDO SAAVEDRA, PRESIDENT OF THE OMAEC ON THE OCCASION OF OUR ORGANISATION’S ADHESION TO THE GLOBAL EDUCATION PACT
At the beginning of June 2021, the World Organisation of Former Students of Catholic Education formalised the adherence of the World Organisation of Former Students of Catholic Education to the Global Education Pact by means of a communication addressed to His Holiness Pope Francis.
What are the specific points of convergence for a lay Catholic alumni organisation to commit itself to the Global Education Pact crusade?
Without a doubt, the universal mission of OMAEC is the defence of evangelical values and therefore the dignification of the person, understood in its broadest sense in the message of the Lord Jesus, which challenges us all to see ourselves as children of God. As committed lay people, we share the hopeful dream of educating promising minds from the heart, strengthening the family, promoting solidarity and generous dedication to those most in need, with the great responsibility of reducing the existing economic, social, religious and cultural differences, seeking real opportunities for change for present and future generations.
We also believe that education is a noble instrument for the transformation of the person and society, in fact, all the associate members of OMAEC are the fruit of it, millions of alumni of Catholic education in different fronts of society throughout the world, give testimony of a formation based on Christian values trying to give something back of the many blessings received.
Regarding the message addressed to Pope Francis, could you share with us some of the elements of the official communication?
It was a brief and simple message, with a historical account of how and when the OMAEC originated, highlighting the figure of its promoter, Saint Paul VI, when in 1967, in the midst of the post-conciliar period, he highlighted the role of the laity during the “World Congress of the Lay Apostolate”. In another section, the objectives of the Global Pact, whose purpose is fully aligned with the Vision of the OMAEC, were highlighted. In a third aspect we reaffirmed as a global organisation the commitment to contribute to the integral and sustainable development of the people and their natural environment, and finally we requested the apostolic blessing of His Holiness for all alumni associate members.
What role did Monsignor Luis Mariano Montemayor play in the “OMAEC’s Letter of Adhesion to the Global Education Pact”?
Monsignor Luis Mariano Montemayor is the Apostolic Nuncio in Colombia, through him as representative of the Holy See in the country, the letter of accession addressed to His Holiness Pope Francis was sent. Colombia formalised diplomatic relations with the Vatican City in the last century, in 1922, so that both the President’s personal letter and the communiqué of OMAEC’s adherence to the Global Education Pact were sent to the Holy See in the diplomatic pouch of the Apostolic Nunciature by the kindness of Monsignor Luis Mariano Montemayor.
What concrete actions will the OMAEC put in place to contribute to the Global Education Pact?
The structure of the OMAEC brings together committed Catholic lay alumni formed by more than 11 religious congregations, who, with the new presidency, have taken various initiatives in order to give more and more to others, These include the Youth Forum secretariat which aims to organise young alumni from around the world to listen to them and to make the world listen to them, to engage them in entrepreneurship programmes, as well as ongoing training in church social teaching and other skills needed in today’s world. We hope to act not as mere spectators, but as actors in a reality that confronts us and that we intend to help change, we have committed alumni from all over the world, professional men and women who contribute their work, time and resources without any financial reward, only the satisfaction of contributing from the qualities and charisms received the desire to do good, alumni, mature, favourite and blessed fruit of Catholic education at the service of humanity.