Posted On 2015-11-25 In Projects

Covenant Culture: A New Form of Communication, for Businesses, for Relationships Between Managers and Employees

MEXICO, CIEES, by Maria Fischer •

“What a great message for CIEES at this moment,” wrote Carlos Barrio, President of CIEES in Argentina, on the WhatsApp CIEES international group page referring to the discourse of Pope Francis on 7 November at St. Peter’s Square to 23,000 people, members of the National Italian Institute for Social Foresightedness (INPS), highlighting the importance of the right for time off, a retirement pension, maternity leave among other rights connected to the right to work “based on the same nature of the person and his transcendental dignity.” Coincidentally, or as usually said by Alexandre Peixoto from CIEES in Brazil, “God-incidentally,” while 10,000 kilometers away and moved by similar worries, the Third Iberian-American Congress of Schoenstatt Managers and Executives was beginning in Monterrey, Mexico. “He added a reflection/trigger question for meditation: if we are convinced that the family should be included in the Kentenich enterprise, I ask myself: What should an “organic salary” be? Should it only be guided by the market if the value of the market is insufficient for living with dignity and if the enterprise is profitable?” – A topic which questions and opens horizons that took place throughout the entire congress, in which with clarity, as so few times the concept of covenant culture glistened, but not like an up-to-date slogan so frequent and in danger of being worn out by inflationary use, but like a concept of formal questioning.


Covenant culture: to implant the Christian paradigm in the world of business

The one who placed the entire congress under the challenge of covenant culture did happen to be a CIEES member. In reality, there were two people: Pope Francis with his message to Schoenstatt and his messages to the business world, before and after the congress, and the Most Reverend Rogelio Cabrera López, Archbishop of Monterrey, in his homily for the opening Mass at the Monterrey Industrial Club on Friday morning.

“The Gospel has outlined for us what happens in the world of business: corruption. It shows us a corrupt administrator, but at the same time very clever. And that is precisely what happens in the world. We all want respect for the law, but in the background there is a counter-value, an equivalent,” he said. “The Lord presents a criticism to the believers. If in the world there is cleverness in business, why, when it has to do with proposing the Christian paradigm, why is the ability to implant a Christian model for dealing with business in the world worn out?”

Referring to the topic of culture, he highlighted: “For a while now, in the Church, they are speaking of a culture to stress that in the Christian life and society, there cannot be fragmentary visits, but that culture is the ability to establish harmonious relationships with God, with others and with nature.

You are Christians who believe that personal and social life cannot be unattached, so when an manager forgets his attachment to God, he ends up destroying all moral attitude.

What preserves one on the correct way is maintaining the attachment to faith. In this way, God becomes the foundation for human and social life.”

Assuming the topic of covenant culture in the motto for the congress, he said: “In this covenant culture, there is an attachment which cannot be broken. Through it, the Church demands and highlights that there cannot be some with a high position and others who are rejected.

Whoever believes in covenant theology cannot accept that there are rejected groups; whoever believes in covenant culture feels obligated to enter into dialogue with others. He can never consider others simply subjects in a business.

In Christ we come to the fullness of the New Covenant. He is the most beautiful expression of the Covenant with the Lord.

No believer can be happy only looking at himself and seeking his own success. One cannot only think of money and profit without thinking about people.

God makes an interpersonal covenant. There is no way to wager for human dialogue, where we make it possible for nobody to be excluded from a life of dignity like God wants.

In this covenant, we also see ourselves attached to the environment. Therefore the Church exhorts us to think of the ecological dimension. We can no longer contaminate the environment.

St. Paul says today, ‘you can mutually counsel each other because God has given you the wisdom to do so.’ May the Lord inspire you and give you the joy to continue forward. May God bless you.”

Encounter culture is covenant culture that creates solidarity. Pope Francis’ message to the Schoenstatt Movement. “We gave you a book of the audience.” Knowing that the Archbishop has to leave immediately after Mass, María Teresa Ramírez, manager of Editorial Nueva Patris, runs to still meet him in the procession as he is exiting. She manages to give him the book that has already been given to many bishops yet is unknown to many Schoenstatters. “He was very happy,” she comments. “He thanked me for the beautiful gift with this important message.”


A new paradigm: reconciliation between family and work

Among expositions of real life cases and fundamental topic discourses, the congress developed with its more than 130 participants. There were managers and CIEES executives from ten countries and invitees from other Schoenstatt initiatives (IKAF from Switzerland/Germany) and Christian (His Way at Work, UNIAPAC). The enterprise Synchro in Brazil with its oratories, many of its employees have sealed their Covenant of Love and with their generous contributions for informational support of the Schoenstatt Rosary Campaign of the Pilgrim MTA; Editorial Nueva Patris with its contribution to take the pedagogical message of Father Kentenich to the world outside Schoenstatt through books and e-books; the Shrine of Work alive in the enterprise of assessment for businesses not yet mature – each one of the contributions with the great potential, not to copy, but to inspire, motivate and apply in other environments with a spirit of creativity and freedom.

Carolina Dell’Oro, from Chile, married with six children, philosopher and a professor of Philosophy at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, Partner-Director of the Concili Consulting Firm, teacher at the University of the Andes, and participant in diverse courses at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, presented passionately and clearly on a change in paradigm in relationship to work and family: integral reconciliation between both entities with initiatives which include flexible working times, child-care facilities, maternity leave, fair wages, having the family as maximum importance, as the shareholders are or perhaps more. She says that it is not enough with the businesses having a list of benefits: “What is really important are the criteria each organization has, that is, it is OK to have the benefits, but they should be in line with the meaning of the company.” In this respect, Dell’Oro says that at the time of reconciling the family with work, there are three types of organizations. First are those who render to their employees the benefits the law obliges them to do, that is, post-natal care, childcare facilities among others that which is basic in order not to fall into the “illegal category.” Second are those called culture pro conciliation where the children are not called a “burden” and there exists the ability to understand that the family is a fundamental part of the employee and the fact that he feels tranquil at home will help him to improve his labor capacity as well.

Finally there are the companies who opt for co-construction and leading roles as key concepts. The first refers to people, in conjunction with the organization, who develop the policies and benefits they want to have, since they know better than anyone what are the real needs at the time of wanting to reconcile work and family. They know how to state it exactly: “The key to reconcile family and work are the priorities. First in the life of people is their family and their children, this does not mean not dedicating time to work, but that one must prioritize. You have to plan, respect the hours and distinguish the spaces. I propose to the schools that they give time to correction, that there be no emails with the teachers at 9 PM. If, I, as a coordinator need something for tomorrow, I have to foresee it at 4 PM, and I cannot be calling at night because the respect for space is broken. In the same way, family relationships cannot interfere at work, except in the case of an emergency. It is not logical for a teacher to answer his own child’s questions while he is teaching.

Revolution? Yes, in full force. What a shame that there was not enough time for discussion.


The company, place of creative life work

The entire Saturday morning was dedicated to the presentations by Peter Freissle, South African and founder of His Way at Work (HWAW), an initiative linked to the Regnum Christi Movement with the mission to equip and form managerial leaders to transform their work culture into the Light of Christ. Key words: Consecrated companies, decisive difference: treating workers. They were complemented by other managers connected to HWAW, among them the partners of Synchro where they seek synergy between the concepts of HWAW and Schoenstatt.

Carlos Barrio e Lipperheide, author of the book “To live the company organically,” and of other precious books on the life of prayer at work and work in the life of prayer. In his programming conference, he proposed an original and profiled contribution starting from the charism of Father Joseph Kentenich, and in the line of Evangelii Gaudium and Laudato Sí: “The great question which I have been asking myself for quite some time is “from our Kentenich view, what can we contribute as original to the companies?

Is there something “ours” to say and develop or should we resign ourselves to seek other sources and inspirations for a model for companies and their work?

Do we have nothing new to say and to contribute?

Should we be good Catholics, be faithful to our state of being, consecrate ourselves to the Blessed Mother, work honestly and nothing more?

Is there something that is properly ours that we can contribute to the companies?

I profoundly think that we have some “good news” to contribute to the managerial and workforce world which Father Kentenich has left us as a legacy, a great message for our world and in particular for the managerial world, something that is proper to our charisma.” – The response posed by Carlos Barrio: the great gift which translates into a task – thinking and living organically, a great legacy from Father Kentenich. From the definition of the same, the question comes forth of how to build organic work that

  • Unites
  • Is creative of life
  • Encourages
  • Is organic
  • Generates joy

Masterfully, Carlos Barrio later depicted a panorama of the basic strengths of thinking and living organically to attach them to the graces that flow from the Schoenstatt Shrine, so familiar to the Schoenstatters. There were no real life cases lacking, like the recent scandal of the Volkswagen diesel motors.

Once again the great desire to be able to enter into a more profound dialogue… work that remains within the next two years, until the next congress in November of 2017 in Lima, Peru.


The warmth of home

The report cannot end without gratefully mentioning the warmth of home offered by the Mexican team of CIEES led by its president, Raúl Treviño. The words “I felt at home” and “you feel the warmth of Home” were frequently heard. It began with the warm reception at the hotel – being greeted by the image of the MTA, files/folders and credentials well-equipped, chocolates, a welcome cocktail, two dinners with music and dancing, moments for coffee and candy, simultaneous translation into English and German, the talks and the laughter, the prayers, the Nueva Patris stand, the Belmonte postcards and pamphlets, the closing Mass with the impressive preaching of Father Rafael Fernández, greetings, goodbyes and surprising reencounters on the flights to Dallas or at the airport and the intense discussion, although brief, on the mission and vision of CIEES which continues on social networks.

Abundant fruitfulness still to be reaped, allowing oneself to be inspired and perhaps formally questioned by other charisms, as Marcelo Scocco from Spain said, “But always from our own identity, our charism and our history…. Thus we continue growing in covenant culture and in the pedagogy of Father Kentenich.”


More photos


12 de noviembre de 2015 – CIEES 2015
Original Spanish: Translation: Carlos Cantú, Schoenstatt Family Federation, La Feria, Texas USA – Edit: Melissa Peña-Janknegt, Elgin, TX USA

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