Pope Francis’ educational movement known as “Scholas Occurrentes” began its mission in Jalisco last week, initiating its labors in Puerto Vallarta.
The Scholas International Educational Movement is a worldwide network of schools that aims to help empower young people most in need. Its roots are to be found in educational projects created in 2013 for children in impoverished areas in Buenos Aires, at the initiative of then-Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.
Citing its continuing expansion across the globe, in May of last year the pope signed a decree changing Scholas Occurrentes’ status from a pontifical foundation to “an international association of the faithful.”
Scholas Occurrentes is considered a leading secular movement promoting youth civic engagement, peace and human rights, while developing innovative pedagogical approaches and building educational communities.
The project has some celebrity supporters. During its inauguration last May, U2 frontman Bono praised the papal decree, which he said “adopts inclusivity into canon law” and gives a voice to young people doing their part to fight poverty and climate change through education.
The Puerto Vallarta encounter, which drew 400 adolescents to the Convention Center for “immersive sessions” between April 24 and 28, had the stated purpose of preventing and detecting situations of psychosocial risk in girls, boys and adolescents in the municipality.
María del Carmen Bayardo Solórzano, general director of the project, said volunteers carefully selected for the program have been urged to reject stereotyping and entrenched views about young people, and listen to what they have to say without stigmatizing them.