02.06.2016: “We don’t leave anyone alone “!

Meeting with ‘dynamite’: The Continental Assembly of the Kolping Society of Europe held its session in Vienna

Vienna was the center of Europe for one weekend – at least from the Kolping point of view. About 45 delegates from almost 20 member states of the European Kolping Society held their annual Continental Assembly from May 20 to 22 here. 

Apart from the reports of the European President and the European Praeses and the dealing with questions relating to structures and statutes, the delegates also treated the topic “generations in community” in an educational part. The problem of becoming of age and the social isolation poses a big challenge in practically all European countries. The Kolping Society meets this challenge with different approaches ranging from associational offers, visiting services and “care at home” to special accommodations for older people. On this occasion Kolping Austria presented the concept of the two Kolping Houses “Living together” in Vienna, where people in need of care and mothers with children live under the same roof. The guests had the opportunity to directly experience the concept of care and support, during one afternoon by participating in various “active groups”, e.g. in the garden group, a singing group or a “sitting football” match where most of the players play in wheel chairs.

Moreover, the delegates of Kolping Europe treated the current refugees’ crisis, a challenge, according to the European Praeses Josef Holtkotte, that can only be met together. Instead of the fear from the refugees, the wish to treat them with dignity should be in the foreground; he named the biblical character of the Good Samaritan.

In the frame of the meeting also two Austrian Europe politicians were honored who co-shaped for years the cooperation on the continent: Othmar Karas, delegate and vice-president retd. of the European Parliament, and the former General Secretary of the Council of Europe, Walter Schwimmer. In his words of thanks Karas quoted the founder of the Kolping Association, Adolph Kolping: “If everybody gave his best within his own circle the world would soon change to the better”! and impressed with a both brief and expressive definition of the principle of subsidiarity rooted in the Catholic social teaching: “We don’t leave anybody alone, who cannot help him/herself.” In times like these a principle with dynamite.

The members of the continental meeting. Fotos: © Kolping Österreich

from left to right: Representative for European issues Anton Salesny; European Praeses Josef Holtkotte; delegate and vice-president retd. of the European Parliaments Othmar Karas; former president of the European Council Walter Schwimmer and Margrit Unternährer, President of the Kolping Sociey Europe.