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The data presented below appear on the website of the Vida Ascendente Movement that was created by Mons. Osvaldo Montferrand a few years ago. However, I think it is worth repeating them to you "so as not to forget the human voice for which we older people still have a preference".

The Movement, born in France in 1962, arrived in Argentina through Sister Amalia Von Wulffen, secretary to Archbishop Carlos Galán, secretary general of the Argentine episcopate. She became familiar with French publications, translated them and began to gather groups of people in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires. In the 1970s, Fr. Montferrand began to gather groups of seniors in Zárate (province of Buenos Aires).

By 1980, these groups had spread to different cities in this diocese. Argentina adhered to an "Exhortation on the occasion of the Year of the 3rd Age" during the organization of the first World Assembly on the Ageing of the World Population by the United Nations in 1982. Sister Von Wolffen and representatives of Vida Ascendante participated in this meeting.

International meetings followed: the 1985 one in Rome is considered fundamental because Archbishop Pironio received the worldwide approval of the movement. (which was later definitively confirmed by a decree of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in March 2001).

In 1989, the Department of Family Pastoral Care of CELAM organized workshops on the 3rd age:

- in the process, groups were created in Asunción (Paraguay) in Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia;

- in 1990: other groups were created in Campinas (Brazil.)

- 1991-1992: Spread of the movement in Concepción (Chile) and Asunción (Paraguay).

- 1994: Third international meeting of VAI in Miami; on this occasion this is what Father Montferrand said: "The insertion of the movement in our Latin American countries has characteristics different from those known in Europe. The development of the movement in poor villages means that it is the need for well-being that emerges first, putting spirituality in the background.  »

At that time, we benefited from the logistical support of Spain: documents were provided by Barcelona parents, then translated from Catalan by Mrs. Isabel Escayola.

-1994-1997: years of the meetings of the countries of the "Southern Cone" respectively in Montevideo and Asuncion where Argentina, Uruguay, Paraguay and Brazil were present

-1998: First national meeting of V.A. in Buenos Aires: drafting of the national statute and constitution of the first national coordination team.

In 1999, in Ciudad Del Este (Paraguay) took place a 2nd meeting of lay leaders of the Southern Cone organized by CELAM. Countries organized workshops, representatives of V.A. of Argentina (elected at national level as coordinators) were ignored by delegates of the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires.

From this meeting, the movement began to work independently as a church-approved lay movement, serving in dioceses and parishes where it was accepted.

Here is what Father Montferrand said at the time: "Until the beginning of the twenty-first century, we can speak of a first part of the history of the movement. At the international level and since CELAM, there has been a very marked expansion thanks to the approval of the pastoral care of the elderly and the pontifical support for work under the sign of the "evening charisms" proper to the elderly.

In our country, the Secretariat for the Family and the Elderly has never understood the need for a specific pastoral care for the elderly.

At the level of the hierarchy, the work of lay movements is not encouraged, they are considered foreign and closed (without the idiosyncrasy of the country and not integrated into the organic pastoral ministry). In the years that followed, the lay members of the movement were trained so that they could begin to assume their leadership roles. Since then, I accompany and collaborate in everything that comes up, but without directing or deciding. »

Some key dates:

- 2002, the National and Southern Cone Coordinator begins to be integrated into the work on the pastoral care of the elderly of the episcopate as representative of Vida Ascendente

- 2003 is held the 1st Latin American meeting of the pastoral care of the elderly in Panama, organized by the DEPLAI of CELAM

- 2008: meeting of the Southern Cone in Lima where representatives of Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay draft the "Lima Charter" defining strengths, opportunities, weaknesses and challenges for older persons

-2011: Meeting of the Southern Cone in Paraguay where the final document of Aparecida and its significance for the churches of Latin America were discussed

-2011: The UN establishes the 1st. October as International Day of Older Persons

2013: Bishop Bergoglio (Argentina) is elected pope and takes the name of FRANCIS

I conclude with the words of Father Montferrand:

"Here I think we must make a pause in our history, because a very different stage begins for the universal Church and also for our movement. The election of Pope Francis was the moment when the place of the elderly in the church was recognized; thus is affirmed the need to consider them as an integral part of the Church, playing their proper role and transmitting the riches of age. Structures are difficult to change, but we have the impetus that the Pope has transmitted, with this very clear vision of the current needs of the world and of our Church, as they were present in the drafting of the final document of Aparecida.  »