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ODS 17 and “doing with others”: a view from America EN

by | Nov 4, 2020 | Partners | 0 comments


ODS 17 and “doing with others”: a view from America

Fernando Guzmán Catena

Lay Claretian 

Lic. in Social Work 

Specialization in International Cooperation


Whether we are a little more or a little less familiar with the Sustainable Development Goals and Agenda 2030, I find it interesting, as a Claretian Family and more broadly as a Church, to continue reflecting on the relationships that exist between this “master plan” proposed by the UN and our inspiring horizons and evangelical-prophetic “meaning organizers.

From America, we feel encouraged to dialogue in-depth with ODS number 17. The last objective of the list; the one that wants to contribute with “away” to concretize the other 16; the one illustrated with a figure of circles that have an intersection in the center of the graphic

In SOMI-MICLA we have been making increasing efforts in the generation of synergies and articulations in at least three levels:

– Between the entire Conference and the Congregation’s Teams (General Procure, General Secretariat of JPIC, and CMF Team at the UN).

– Between the Claretian Organisms of the continent (9 in total). 

– Between these Organisms and a wide constellation of social, environmental, peasant, indigenous, and workers’ organizations (“Where you say peace, justice, love, I say God!”).


In this last sense, it is necessary to point out that the SOMI area of the Claretian Family in America has been traveling its own path of “alliances to achieve the objectives. When we listen to the constant calls to intensify the “multilateralism” as a way of approaching the great challenges of Humanity, we cannot but think what rich conversation this idea can establish with our practices of “pastoral co-responsibility” and “macroecumenical dialogue” on some specific themes. 

This “pastoral co-responsibility” among Claretian Organisms of America and the “macroecumenical dialogue” exercised with our allies is reflected in the initiatives that are emerging around the three priorities of SOMI-MICLA (Human Rights, Migration and Extractivism). They constitute us and show us as a single “missionary body” that wants to respond more openly and effectively to problems that cross us, but at the same time exceed and surpass us. 

Taking two writings of the magisterium of Francis – located in temporary extremes of his pontificate – we find appeals and inspiring provocations for this task that we have to ally ourselves and converge in the response to these three clamors/interpellations. 


– In Evangelii Gaudium (2013), the disturbing figure of the polyhedron encourages us to continue seeking strategic “complicities” from a unity that respects and values the diversity of our American peoples. It is a question of allying ourselves by recovering the best aspect of each one, of each Claretian Organism that is established in these territories and communities, of every organization that today seeks the Kingdom of God without naming it. And while we are achieving this rooted and eccentric dialogue, we must guarantee clarity and protagonism to the poor, to their cultures, to their potentialities, to their ways of conceiving the world (leaving no one behind).


– Meanwhile, in Fratelli Tutti (2020), we are once again faced with the urgent call to recover an unrestricted sense of brotherhood, at the global level. This profound sense will be the only effective response to the cry of Humanity in pain and punishment for the COVID 19 and so many other pre-existing “pandemics”. This appeal echoes with a beautiful practice of our missionary communities: the open dialogue with every person and organization “of goodwill”. 


In the Americas, we are clear that effective and lasting alliances are urgently needed that go beyond the people who today have leadership roles in the church and outside of it. The Claretian Family in these lands has to continue proposing the long term “social-pastoral policies” that are the pillars of plans rooted in the feelings of the people and that healthily transcend the functional structures (which today are these, but tomorrow maybe others). The “logic” of the alliances, in this sense, is very evangelizing for us: it puts the aim high and helps us to vanish particular interests or desires. It relocates us, it makes us humble, without ceasing to remind us of the dimension and urgency of the contributions that Humanity and Mother Earth require today. 


Finally, I would like to mention one aspect that ODS 17 fully embraces, and that is the area of International Cooperation. It is not a question of discovering or inventing anything new here. SOMI MICLA is also called to dialogue with this topic of ODS 17. And it can do so from a concept that is very old in the Congregation, but which today is recovering great vitality and transforming power: the communion of our goods. How hopeful it is to imagine a continent that gives shape to that of the “economy at the service of the mission”! And that it does so through concrete mechanisms of cooperation between projects, initiatives, advocacy actions, etc. The General Procure of the Congregation should find in SOMI MICLA a valid interlocutor and a reference to carry out a missionary proposal of organized solidarity.



150 years ago our founder-inspirer lived his Easter. He saw the need to “do with others what I cannot do alone”. And so, through an evangelical whisper that comes from the past, he plants a current sentence for us. Today, his sons and daughters, we dare to tell him: not only because we cannot, Antonio, but also because problems of Humanity require symphonic solutions; voices and hands that harmonize answers. 


That is what alliances are about…


Fernando Guzmán Catena

Lay Claretian 

Lic. in Social Work 

Specialization in International Cooperation



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