This presentation is intended for people wishing to discover Icmica Pax Romana, in particular when taking on responsibilities in the international network or at the local level. The objective is not only to better understand Icmica but also to see how to contribute. Many of these relections are explored in depth in the guide: « Living a spirituality of action ».
I General presentation
Icmica Pax Romana is a global Christian community of intellectuals and professionals, a federation of movements present in some sixty countries and an NGO with consultative status with the United Nations.
Pax Romana was founded by students of the Catholic University of Fribourg in Switzerland at the end of the 19th century. In July 1921, it was officially recognised by Pope Benedict XV. He gave it the name “Pax Romana” which is also its original mission: peace in the spirit of the Catholic Church. In 1946 Pax Romana reformed itself by creating two branches: IMCS for students and IMCS for graduates. It also created transnational networks by profession: engineers, doctors, lawyers, artists, teachers…
Here you can see a video summary. Some historical texts are also available here.
Who are we?
– A global Catholic community of lay intellectuals and professionals, organised in small communities, who seek to respond to the calls of the Christian faith and the challenges of the world, in their areas of responsibility.
– A federation of autonomous lay movements that cooperate, decide on general orientations and elect their leaders. This federation is governed by statutes that are available here.
– An NGO accredited by the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
– A space to experience cross-cultural friendship, participatory and committed church life.
The raison d’être
The raison d’être is the existence of a service recognised as useful by those for whom it is intended:
– To people: to offer spiritual guidance, especially in the stages of life that require delicate decisions. This service is essentially provided by the local movements.
– To society: to contribute to its democratic development, by promoting the common good and caring for others, especially the poorest.
– To the Church: to encourage an evolution so that it can better ensure its mission of proclaiming the Gospel.
The Mission of Evangelisation – Humanisation
The primary mission is the evangelisation of ourselves, our movement and the environments in which we carry out our responsibilities. To avoid misinterpretation, we often use the expression “humanisation, in the spirit of the Gospel”. This topic is developed in the guide, Living a spirituality of action » page 12.
Constituent and associated movements
The Pax Romana network is composed of movements. They belong to 2 categories:
– the constituent movements which intervene in the orientations of Icmica through their right to vote and the payment of the annual subscription
– the associated or corresponding movements which participate in the actions and debates but without voting rights.
The list of these movements can be found here.
To become a member of Icmica Pax Romana, you can apply on the website.
The coordinations bring together movements because of a common objective:
– Geographical, for countries belonging to the same area, for example a sub-continent
– By profession: also called international secretariat for engineers, artists, lawyers, teachers…
For example, the Siiaec brings together engineers, agronomists and economists.
– Thematic: on a common subject such as democracy, church reform.
Delegations to International Institutions
Pax Romana is accredited to the UN in Ecosoc New York, to Unesco in Paris, to the Human Rights Council in Geneva and in Vienna. Pax Romana is also a member of the Council of Europe’s International NGO Conference in Strasbourg.
Management of the association
The international team and the International Council
The international team consists of the President, the Secretary General, the Treasurer and the International Chaplain. The International Council includes the International team plus the Vice-Presidents elected by the Plenary Assembly. The current list of their members is available here.
The Plenary Assembly
The Plenary Assembly meets every 4 years. The last one took place in Barcelona in November 2016. The next one has been postponed due to the pandemic and replaced by an online synodal process culminating in an online assembly on 11-12 December 2021. This assembly includes the election of a new leadership team, also through an online process.
Because of its origins, Miic Pax Romana is an association under Swiss law with its headquarters at 3 Rue Varembé in Geneva. This office has no staff, the work is done entirely by volunteers.
Budget and financing
The income that ensures the functioning of Icmica Pax Romana comes solely from its own resources, on the one hand the contributions of the constituent movements, according to a scale also defining the right to vote, and on the other hand the individual contributions of members. The average annual level of income is CHF 8000 for the movements and CHF 3000 for the individuals.
The level of commitment of Pax Romana members is relatively modest compared to similar movements. It requires a continued effort to raise awareness of the importance of its mission in the world today. Payment of a contribution can be done online by credit card, Paypal or bank transfer.
The average annual level of expenditure is approximately CHF 12000. This is divided into 50% for office rent and charges, 20% for administrative costs, 20% for network animation costs and 10% for accounting and accounts certification.
The current income and expenditure situation allows the movement to survive, but not to develop. This is why we have decided to continue to reduce expenses by regrouping the secretariats of Icmica and Imcs in a single place, and to seek new sources of financing through a better use of the assets of the two movements.
II What we do
These are the activities whose objective is the development of the members and the movement, in the different fields, intellectual, spiritual, relational…
Sharing of experiences and reflection on the current challenges
Since the pandemic, many activities have taken place online. For example
Among the themes discussed recently:
– Synodality and its meaning for lay movements.
– Christians and the crisis of democracy
– Migration and democracy: Esclusi-Inclusi
Celebrations of the Word of God
For the first time, technology allowed the collective expression of a global Christian community, bringing together members of Icmica and Imcs. They were organised according to liturgical time, at Advent, Lent, Easter and especially Pentecost, which is traditionally the feast of Pax Romana See Easter 2020 celebration
Formation is an essential element in the development of people and the movement. A prototype session was organised jointly by Miic and Miec, the programme of which is given below.
Rereading the history of the movement and its members.
The rereading is a fundamental exercise to deepen our mission. These are stories of life journeys, or the sharing of personal spiritual experiences. For example the story of Victor. The video produced for the inauguration of the year of hundredth anniversary of Pax Romana, contains many testimonies from members. All members are invited to share their life testimony. You can signal your intention by sending a message
They are prepared on the occasion of specific events, and often as part of a collective involving local organisations. For example :
– the declaration of solidarity with students and civil society leaders in Myanmar.
– Becoming Anti-Racist : a challenge for Pax Romana, following the racist crimes in the USA.
Participation in international institutions
Accreditation in these institutions allows us to provide grass root testimonies and reflections on the topics of our competence. Here is some recent activity at the Council of Europe.
Participation in Ecclesial Institutions
At the international level, official relations are mainly with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life, and with the Secretariat of State because of our presence in international institutions. Relations also exist with the nunciatures to the international institutions.
It is defined by 5 criteria: 1 Reflection based on experience, 2 with a universal (catholic) perspective, 3 oriented towards personal and social transformation (integral liberation), 4 based on discernment and not following directions from elsewhere, 5 done in community, not just individually. More info on the 5 key elements is available on the website.
All the relationships described here are at the international level, but they can all be adapted to the local level in appropriate forms.
A strong cooperation has been developed between Icmica and Imcs. This cooperation is essential for the survival of both movements. Icmica can provide continuity and support to Imcs members and conversely Imcs can provide a better understanding of developments in society and a stimulus for action.
Specialised Catholic Action Movements (Miacs)
We share the same spirituality with the Miacs, but in different milieus: workers, rural people, independants, children. See the presentation of the Miacs. Most of these movements also exist at national and local level. This cooperation is very important, it strengthens us but also makes us aware that our way of thinking is not universal, but specific to a certain milieu.
The Miacs had a long reflection on the Covid pandemic and its effects, which ended with a common declaration entitled: From crisis to conversion .
Other religious organisations.
Many cooperative relationships exist with religious orders such as the Jesuits, Dominicans and Franciscans. This cooperation can be joint work such as advocacy in Geneva, or support from religious orders to the movement’s chaplaincy.
Civil society platforms
Among these platforms are Catholic-inspired NGO platforms such as the CCIG in Geneva, the CCIC in Paris or the CINGO in Strasbourg, as well as civil society platforms such as UNESCO’s Clong.
The main current communication tools are
– the Icmica Pax Romana website in three versions: English, French and Spanish. The English site is the most complete, as not all articles are translated into the three languages.
– The newsletter exists in two versions, weekly and monthly, and in 3 languages. The monthly version is distributed to about 2000 members and the weekly version to 300 members with responsibilities in Icmica. Anyone can subscribe here.
– Among the social media, Miic Pax Romana International has :
– A Facebook page in addition to the many movement Facebook pages.
– A Youtube channel
– A Twitter account
and uses numerous WhatsApp groups created as needed.
Communication is an essential part of the life of the community, members are invited to share information by sending it to the secretary general, or to a person authorised to intervene on the site.
But these different means would require a more professional organisation, capable of defining an overall strategy and its application according to the means used and of ensuring its daily management.
III Building the future
Continuing and developing the current dynamic
There is still a lot of work to be done to complete the actions undertaken:
– The spirituality guide needs to be translated into French and English and distributed. The movements are invited to contribute to the updating of this document based on their own practice, by providing additions.
– Celebrations of the Word of God or testimonies of the spiritual journeys of members. In order to develop, these celebrations must be taken over by the movements.
– Cooperation between Icmica and Imcs should also be developed through joint actions at regional and local level and at global level through the management of the Pax Romana center.
– The pilot training programme for Icmica and Imcs leaders has been carried out and must now be developed.
Celebrating our 100th anniversary
On July 21th we had our centenary celebration. Over 400 people join us. Here are the messages of the 2 presidents, Kevin Ahern and Ravi Tissera
Identify new challenges.
The synodal process
This process is a preparation of the next assembly with 3 main steps :
The first step in this process is to listen to each other, to understand better the challenges of each member movement and how it responds to them.
The second step is to identify some key issues to be explored further in order to define directions for the future of the movement.
The third step is to take the necessary decisions, some of them during the assembly itself in December.
Themes for debates
Here are some examples of issues that need to be discussed and decided upon:
– The management of the association, by giving each Vice-President responsibility for the whole of Icmica Pax Romana, in areas such as communication, thematic reflections, training, etc.
– The extension of Icmica Pax Romana, through the presence in new countries, or the development in countries where it is already present…
– The deepening of the mission of Icmica Pax Romana and its diffusion among the members
– The development of international awareness, so that all feel more part of a global community.
– Mentorship, or how to strengthen the relationship between Icmica adults and Imcs students, to help young people find their place in society.
Giving ourselves the means to achieve this.
How can we make better use of members’ skills? What organisation should be put in place so that a greater number of volunteers can contribute to the service of the whole.
How to increase the regular contributions of movements, members or other actors?