Select your language


We celebrated in Madrid from September 13 to 19, 2023, the 10th anniversary of the international meetings of Vie Montante Internationale (VMI).

Celebrating a birthday is an opportunity to remember a birth or reborn which was the theme chosen for the meeting.

As VMI has reached a respectable age (she was born in 1985), not quite yet that of a senior or an elderly person, it was interesting to take stock of her rich past and to ask ourselves the right questions. questions following the pandemic which has left deep marks within its members and in the face of the challenges that will face it in the coming years.

This is what the leaders of the 19 member countries and the speakers who responded to the invitation of the executive committee wanted to respond to during the various meetings and interventions which punctuated the stay in the Spanish capital.

On September 13 and 14, a Steering Committee took place whose members were elected in Santo Domingo in 2018 and which was to close the 2018-2023 term.

This mandate saw collaboration with the Dicastery for the Laity, Family and Life with two flagship actions: participation in the Congress in Roma in 2020 entitled “The Richness of the Years” which showed the multiple facets of the presence of elderly people in the Church at the service to others and participation in the World Day of Grandparents and the Elderly: 2021 “I am with you every day” (Mat 28,20), 2022 “In old age they will bear fruit” (Ps 92,15 ) and 2023 “Mary got up and left in haste” (Lc1,39).

During this committee, the governance of the movement was recalled in a few figures and the holding of an intermediate steering committee in Rome in 2020.

Mention was made of the trip to Uganda which brought President Monique Bodhuin and ecclesiastical assistant Mgr François Maupu to meet members of Life Ascending Uganda, the latest movement to become a member of VMI and the country's ecclesiastical authorities.

From September 15 to 19, the General Assembly of the association was held during which interventions responded to the theme of “Reborn” proposed for the meeting.

  • Father Luis Romero of the Spanish Episcopal Conference encouraged those present not to feel sidelined by life, but to be active subjects in the mission “Do not be afraid”.
  • Bishop Maupu gave some points of reference on the theme of “Reborn” based on Jesus’ interview with Nicodemus and the three reflections.
  • Father Joan Bajo, Interdiocesan Advisor of Vida Ascendente Catalog spoke about his work dedicated to pastoral reflection in the field of gerontology.
  • Mgr Juan Martinez Camino, auxiliary bishop of Madrid, spoke of the role of the elderly in the Church.
  • Father Bajo and Alvaro Medina, former President of Vida Ascendente, addressed the theme of the value of elders, bearers of roots and memory, of their place within society and the Church.

Two trips punctuated the meeting:

  • At the Francisco de Vitoria University in Madrid where the work of their faculty was presented in the context of spiritual accompaniment of the elderly.
  • A tourist trip offered by the Spanish movement Vida Ascendente to discover the magnificent historic city of Segovia, located northwest of Madrid, famous for its emblematic Roman aqueduct.

The General Meeting and its statutory part included:

  • The election of a new Executive Committee:

President, Monique Ptak (France) – Vice-president Jaime Tamarit (Spain) – secretary, Mercédès Montoya (Spain)

Appointment of Mgr Christian Nourrichard, ecclesiastical assistant

And Janusz Ptak, project manager (financial strategy and communication)

  • Election of continental coordinators:

Marta Melo Antunes (Portugal) for Europe – Orlando Cacéres (Peru) for Latin America and the Caribbean – Barthélémy Mopiti (DRC) and Prosper Diatta for French-speaking Africa – Charles Atim for English-speaking Africa and Philip Ting for Asia.

The new President presented her program and the objectives of the new executive committee team which includes, among others:

  • Development of Pastoral Care for the Elderly,
  • Initiatives at the call of Pope Francis and the teachings of the Encyclical “Laudato Si’” and the Apostolic Exhortation “Laudate Deum”
  • Strengthening teamwork with the various bodies of the association
  • New ways of communicating, informing, training (zoom meetings, thematic conferences, training, renewed website, newsletters).

The association's predecessors paved the way by creating VMI forty years ago with the intuition of a very ambitious and even prophetic project in the service of the elderly.

For us, heirs of this beautiful project, the call to “Reborn” which was a leitmotif and which accompanied the entire meeting could be broken down into different actions depending on the realities experienced by the countries, their possibilities and their means.

Monique Ptak

President of Vie Montante Internationale


Madrid 2023v2