The Antilles Episcopal Conference (AEC) Commission for Integral Human Development will be hosting its first webinar on Wednesday, September 7 at 6 p.m.
Some may be prompted to ask: what is Integral Human Development? What is the role of the Commission?
In an article, Bishop Francis Alleyne OSB of Georgetown explained that in the Roman Curia there are a number of departments set up to oversee specific areas of administration of the Church. Each department is referred to as a Dicastery.
For example, there is a dicastery that oversees the doctrine and faith of the Church, one that focuses on the mission of the Church, another guides the Church on liturgy and worship, and there are several others.
The bishop wrote that in each conference of bishops, in our case the AEC, commissions are set up corresponding to various dicasteries of the Roman Curia. In the AEC there are commissions for Liturgy, Family and Life, Doctrine, Evangelisation, to name a few. One such commission is for Integral Human Development.
In a motu proprio (a formal pronouncement of the Pope) of August 17, 2017, Pope Francis established the Dicastery for Integral Human Development. In that document Pope Francis stated:
In all her being and actions, the Church is called to promote the integral development of the human person in the light of the Gospel. This development takes place by attending to the inestimable goods of justice, peace and the care of creation….. This Dicastery will be competent particularly in issues regarding migrants, those in need, the sick the excluded and marginalised, the imprisoned and the unemployed, as well as victims of armed conflict, natural disasters and all forms of slavery and torture.
Bishop Alleyne underscored, “The concept of Integral Human Development can be traced back to Pope Paul VI in his encyclical (official letter of the pope to bishops of the Church) Populorum Progressio (Progress of Peoples). Pope Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in particular, in subsequent encyclicals have further articulated for us the understanding of human development and what constitutes its being integral.”
According to the Bishop, the popes speak of the “blossoming of each human person given their gifts, potential, opportunities and possibilities, it is about each person becoming the best expression of themselves.”
That it becomes integral is about the development that happens because of communion with others, in family, with the wider community and at the national, regional, and global platforms of life, Bishop Alleyne explained.
Most of all, he highlighted, it happens because of deep communion with the divine, with the Creator in Jesus Christ and moved by the Spirit. It is the Gospel call to have life and have it abundantly, have it to the full.
“Or in the words of St Irenaeus ‘the glory of God is in the person fully alive, but the life of every person is the vision of God’”.
Bishop Alleyne stated that the AEC Commission for Integral Human Development will be reaching out to dioceses with a series of webinars to reflect with the faithful of the region on the evidence of God’s glory alive among His people of the Antilles, and on ways to develop and further enhance that glory.
Reflections would also address the elements in this region that threaten the life and development of God’s people, to name those elements, and articulate the steps necessary to reduce and eliminate those threats.
On Wednesday, the Commission will reflect on the formation of the human conscience and the biblical and synodal perspectives of Integral Human Development.
This webinar will be open to all but is especially addressing itself to those already engaged in social outreach and members of diocesan commissions for Integral Human Development. A link for this forum will be shared soon.