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Buenos Aires – Traditions, Ties, Plans: The Migrantes Foundation’s visit to Argentina

The Migrantes Foundation Delegation spent an intense, week-long visit in Argentina. The pastoral visit ended yesterday after seven days of consultations, new acquaintances and meetings that helped pave the way to new partnerships, small and large. It is now time to take stock and reflect on the experience. The visit started with a meeting with the coordinators of the Argentine Catholic Commission Foundation for Migration (FCCAM) which brought the delegation to the subject of how past migratory flows between Italy and Argentina compare with today’s, considering the economic and political situation. The institutional meetings with the Apostolic Nuncio to Argentina, His Excellency Msgr. Emil Paul Tscherring, His Eminence Cardinal Mario Aurelio Poli, Archbishop of Buenos Aires and primate of Argentina, and His Excellency Bishop Carlos Malfa, member of the Permanent Commission of the Argentine Bishops’ Conference, focused on the migrants’ ties with Italian traditions, their strong religious devotion in a new land, popular religion and the international influence of Pope Francis with his concrete actions.

The meeting at the Italian Embassy with Ambassador Teresa Castaldo, Consul General Richard Smimmo, director of the Cultural Institute Prof. Maria Mazza, Embassy Counsellor Martin Lorenzini, was also a very thorough and fruitful encounter where the central theme was the new mobility from Italy and how the reception of migrants is still alive in a country that has always welcomed migrants. Presentations from the “Report on Italians in the World” of the Migrantes Foundation in Buenos Aires (Institute of Culture and Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina) were evocative and passionate, giving students the opportunity to ask the Italian guests questions and leading to an interesting and productive comparison between two distant and yet culturally very close realities.