“As Diocesan Praeses of the Kolping Society Diocesan Association of Paderborn (1965 to 1972), and with the support of the General Secretary Gerd Ritzerfeld, I submitted a motion at the International Convention of the International Kolping Society in Salzburg in 1968: “The International Kolping Society shall provide development aid on its own”. This motion was adopted by a large majority. A small commission was formed, of which I was a member at the time. It had the task to plan a project with the Kolping Family São Paulo under the slogan “Campaign Brazil”, which was to serve in a special way the education and further training of young people. For this purpose, a trip to São Paulo took place in March 1969. The association “Social and Development Aid of the International Kolping Society – SEK” was founded on 20th August 1969 to put the development aid projects of the Kolping Society on a legal basis.
When I took office as General Praeses in 1972, the Kolping Society was represented in 14 countries – mainly in the German-speaking areas of Europe. At the end of my term of office (2002) the Kolping Society existed and worked in 60 countries around the world. In the worldwide Kolping Sociey we have jointly put the words by Pope Paul VI in the encyclical “Populorum progressio” into practice: “Development is the new name for peace.”
Prelate Heinrich Festing, former General Praeses of KOLPING INTERNATIONAL