Last June, GSIF Latin America was invited to take part in a significant international meeting, organized by the Pontifical Commission for Latin America (CAL) in Rome. The gathering served as a platform for Church aid institutions and organizations in Latin America to engage in dialogue, share experiences, and combine efforts to foster synergies, cooperation, and solidarity among Catholic-based organizations in the region.
Heidy Hochstatter, GSIF Latin America Regional Manager presented the work GSIF has been doing in Latin America to lead the region in joining forces and generate a more substantial impact. Heidy expressed, “This meeting provided us with an opportunity to showcase our initiatives, methodologies, and the challenges we face in Latin America. It’s also a call to shift away from the conventional, paternalistic, philanthropic approach and embrace a synodal model that emphasizes subsidiarity and empowerment. Such an approach would accompany processes in the medium and long term, ensuring a profound transformation of the reality of vulnerability in Latin America.
Cooperating for synodality entails prioritizing support for processes that drive the Church’s transformation in mentalities, practices, and structures, fostering greater synodality. This also involves striving to minimize the inherent power asymmetry that often arises between donors and recipients in cooperative efforts, as highlighted by Card. Michael Czerny S.J., the Prefect of the Dicastery for the Service of Human Development, in his opening address.
For Heidy, the experience was deeply meaningful on a personal level. She shared, “Participating in this space validated the processes carried out by the Congregation. Moreover, witnessing the organized, participatory, and committed efforts of other organizations has been truly inspiring. It reinforced the importance of supporting existing structures to ensure sustainable and impactful outcomes.” The gathering has strengthened the belief that GSIF is walking in unison with other organizations on a common mission. Heidy expressed her satisfaction: “I am genuinely gratified by our participation in this event, meeting the representatives of organizations already working in the region has reaffirmed our shared vision. It has also led to the establishment of stronger bonds, unlocking new opportunities for continuous funding of the Good Shepherd programs in the region.”