The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of VIVAT International. Sadly, this year is also marked by the COVID-19 global pandemic, lockdowns, global economic instability and protests against racial discrimination. Our lives are marked by daily uncertainties. Some of us have lost dear and near ones to COVID 19. Given this situation, what is the significance of celebrating the 20th Anniversary of VIVAT International?

Starting in November 2000, two congregations, VIVAT today has a membership of twelve congregations with about 25,000 members present in 120 countries. Over the years VIVAT has undergone many changes in structure and organization, in membership and function, and in its charter and statutes. However, what has not changed is the vision, mission, goals and objectives of VIVAT international, which as the name VIVAT indicates, is a prayer and longing that all may “live”. VIVAT strives to defend, sustain and promote life for all beings through its advocacy and lobbying mission at the United Nations and grassroots activities by members.

In many countries VIVAT members have organized themselves as national branches and groups which take up issues proper to the locality and context. VIVAT members have taken up issues like the rights of the indigenous people, gender issues, mining and, land grabbing, to mention a few. In 2010 when VIVAT celebrated its 10th anniversary, it reiterated its commitment to be the voice of the voiceless through its activities in justice, peace and reconciliation.

Right now, as we celebrate the 20th Anniversary, VIVAT is witnessing a crucial moment in its journey with timely evaluation on its current structure, nature and organization. Various Ad Hoc Committees are working on different aspects of VIVAT International.  We are hopeful that the new VIVAT that will emerge, will make this Organization more relevant and effective for all its members.

We want to thank all the persons, groups and congregations that have worked sincerely and faithfully in various offices and capacities in VIVAT International, all these years.  Without your support and commitment, VIVAT would not have reached where it is today- a recognized NGO at the UN and an agent of change at the grassroots.

During our travels to provinces and regions, we often hear statements like: What is VIVAT doing? It is for each one of us to ask:  What can I/we do to make VIVAT more effective in its ministry to the poor, to women and children, in promoting social development and upholding the human rights and dignity? On behalf of VIVAT Board of Directors, we exhort all members to take greater interest in VIVAT activities, learn more about it and to ask: in what way can I uphold the core values of VIVAT International as an instrument of change at the service of the social dimension of mission?

Though our efforts are like a drop in the ocean, let us not give up hope in our advocacy for the poor and vulnerable, to stand together for life, dignity and human rights.