None May Refuse Support to Catholic Action

Archbishop’s Urgent Statement at Christian Workers’ Conference

SPEAKING to the large gathering of men at the — National Christian Workers’ Movement annual conference at Sunshine Parish Hall on Sunday, September 28, his Grace the Archbishop quoted a recent utterance of the Holy Father. The Pope was addressing the Catholic Young Women’s Federation in Rome and he said: ” ‘Abstention from active work for God and for Christ in the present condition in Europe, you must know full well is in itself a grave sin of omission.’ These are very strong words coming from the Pope, dealing with a situation like our own,”‘ said Dr. ‘Mannix. “We have substantially and practically the very same pagan atmosphere to fight, and the very same problems to solve, and I have no doubt if the Pope were standing here, he would say the very same thing to you.”

The theme of the conference was “The Home,” which was considered under three heads, “Christian Marriage.” “Parents and Children” and “The Family Unit and Society.” the three rriain speakers being Rev. M. Caterinich, Sir Henry Digby-Beste and Mr. W. McMahon.

Mr. W. O’Keefe, diocesan president of the N.C.W.M., was in the chair and amongst those present were Revs. W. P. Hackett, S.J.; J. Ciantar. S.C.; M. Brosnan, B.A., PP.; C. Mayne, S.J.; B. Kennedy, B. M. Day and L. Egan.

In his address of welcome to the Archbishop the parish priest of Sunshine, Fr. Ryder, said that according to the reports of those who had been overseas Catholic Action in Australia could compare favourably with any other part of the world. Whatever success we had had here was in very large measure due to the wise guidance and wonderful sunport that Dr. Mannix had given it. Under present condition^, he said, none could hold back and refuse their full support to Catholic Action.


In his annual report the diocesan secretary, Mr. T. Cushen, said that the progress during the past 12 months had been very satisfactory. Membership had risen and there were now more than 1000 members in the N.C.W.M. in the Melbourne Archdiocese. Services and activities were growing and the spirit of the movement was at a very high level. Groups at West Brunswick and West Footscray had formed branches during the year. The former, although it had been in existence for only six months, already had over 90 members^ and was one of the most successful branches in the movement.

Groups were in process of formation at East Brunswick, Ascot Vale, Flemington and Castlemaine.

The two N.C.W.M. Co-operative Housing Societies had held their first annual general meetings in September and their reports were most satisfactory. There were approximately 60 members in the 22-year society and 126 in the 30-year society. Altogether, 40 members had started to build homes. Their applications for loans totalling about £46,000 had been granted, and four houses were completed and occupied.

Other services reported on were credit union, vocational guidance and employment bureaux, handy-man service, cooperative buying clubs and advice on taxation, gardening, social services and various other practical problems in the lives of adult workers.

A complete new training programme incorporating all the latest developments in Catholic Action was in course of preparation and would soon be ready. When it was, a new drive for branches, both within and outside the Archdiocese, Would be made.


Outlining the plans for the future, the national secretary of the movement, Mr. K. W. Mitchell, said that although great success had been achieved by the N.C.W.M,, until recently two problems had worried the executive and the leaders’ groups. Firstly, though there was great loyalty and enthusiasm amongst the ordinary members, there was no organised apostolic work undertaken by them, and it was of the essence of Catholic Action that every person who joined its army should become an active apostle. Secondly, there had not been, so far, any organised and systematised attack on the environment itself—in the factories, workshops and offices, in the homes arid the various places where men spent their leisure time.

The executive had now devised a plan which it felt confident would provide the solution to these two problems. Every, leader in the movement was asked to form a sub-leaders’ group comprising four or five members of his branch who lived in his immediate neighbourhood. The members of these sub-groups would, on the one hand, assist in the running of the branch and gradually take off the leaders’ shoulders all the organising and a d m i n i strative responsibility; and, on the other hand, would endeavour to form “teams of influence” in the environment through which they would spread the ideas of the movement and endeavour to Christianise the various spheres of -the work, the home and the leisure in which they spent their daily lives. Mr. Mitchell strongly urged all members to back up this plan and to develop and extend their apostolic activity so that the ultimate objective of the N.C.W.M., the Christianising of the whole environment of the workers, might be achieved.

In a stirring appeal for action, Rev. W. Hackett, S.J., said that the time for words had passed and it was now up to us to do sromething. Australians were altogether too apathetic, and if they did not bestir themselves now the country might well be plunged into the dreadful chaos that we had witnessed in Europe followed by the oppression of totalitarianism.


“If I could be carried away,” said his Grace the Archbishop, “I should have been carried away by that passionate address just delivered by Fr. Hackett. Everything that he said was something you have to take to heart, and the appeal that he made to you, in such eloquent and passionate language, is really the appeal that I have been making, much more feebly, for many years—not altogether without result—but now that the real Catholic Actionists have come into line with Fr. Hackett and Mr. Mitchell and others, I am looking forward to great strides in Catholic Action in the near future.

“When I listened to Mr. Mitchell explaining this new system, which apparently has been hatched between himself and Fr. Mayne, I think it has in it a great element of hope and progress. It is nothing very wonderful that any individual is asked to undertake, but everybody is asked to undertake something. Everybody can do something, and everybody make his own contribution. This scheme now put before you will yield very valuable results in the near, future.

“Another thing that occurred to me was that Fr. Mayne and Mr. Mitchell might seem to be making big demands upon you, but we are not asking you to do anything that the Communists are not doing already, and doing with marvellous results—from their point of view. They have no difficulty about spending their time and devoting their energy to the promotion of their own particular objective, and if only we are as much interested in Christ’s cause as they are in the cause of the Evil One, there ought to be progress on our side, and I have great hopes that you who have done so much already, will, under the direction of those who are leading you, do even greater things in the future. I am very proud of what you have done. I know that you have made considerable sacrifices (not greater than the Communists have made for their objective), but I give you credit for all that you have done, and I have great hopes that you will do even better things in the future.

“I am glad to know that your members are increasing — not rapidly, but with continued progress. There is no falling off. Though the progress may be slow, still it is sure and stable, and you have, needless for me to say, much work to do if you are going to Christianise Australia.

Sad Plight

“We are in a very sad plight at the present time. There is very little Christianity in Australia. There is very little goodness in the world. We are, perhaps, too strong in our pronouncements on the wickedness of the world. There is some goodness, but it is mostly humanitarianism. It is not Christianity and it is for you to try and make any goodness there is in the Australian world — not merely humanitarian, but real Christianity. You are going to succeed if you will put your shoulders to the wheel and keep at it. Do not be afraid because you are not making rapid progress—even though things go awry or amiss, and something on which you have great hones turns out to be a failure. We must have failures if we are to succeed. Of course, we here in Australia are not the only people fighting this battle for Christ. Europe is even in a much worse condition than Australia. I don’t know that any part of Europe is more pagan than Australia, but they have many difficulties there from which we are free. Nobody rpq]icps that and the sad state of Europe better than the Holy Father, and he is looking out over Europe and honing that Catholics will do their duty. The Pope was reported recently to have said, in hi= address to the Catholic Young Women’s Federation in Rome, regarding the grave situation in Europe: ‘Abstention from active work for God and for Christ in the present conditions in Europe, you all know full well is in itself a grave sin of omission.’

Strong Words

“These are very strong words coming from the Pone, dealing with a situation like our own. We have substantially and practically the very same pagan atmosphere to fight, and the very same problems to solve, and I have no doubt if the Pope were standing here, he would say the very same thing to you. He would say that seeing the problems that Australia now has to face; seeing the menace of paganism and Communism,* that the man or the woman. who stands aside and fail£ to do his or her duty to shoulder his or her responsibility, is guilty of a grave omission. I am sure you will take that to heart.

“All you wanted was a lead, and very likely you have every justification for blaming your leaders. If you like you can blame the Bishops of Australia. Perhaps the call was not sufficiently urgent; perhaps the call was not eloquently supported. At all events, you can blame anyone you like—me especially—but we must now face the facts as we find them. We are face to face with atheistic Communism in Australia, and what happened elsewhere can happen here; unless we do our best, Communistic atheism will gain a victory, and it may be a losing victory, in Australia.

“You yourselves are fathers of families, or have young brothers and sisters. You couldn’t do anything better than to use all your energy in doing all you can for the young people” of Australia. You would be following the example of the Communists, but you are trying to lead youth to Christ—they are trying to lead youth away from Him.

“You have wise leadership. I am glad to hear from your leaders that you are prepared to co-operate with them so zealously. If you get the lead, you are prepared to follow. Leaders or followers, the one thing that we must always remember is that unless the Lord bless them that labour, they labour in vain. We have to put all our confidence in God. We must try and make our own lives good Christian lives before we can make Christians of those around us. Try and make ourselves real, genuine Christians, not afraid to stand up for our Faith and follow Christ.

“I hope that God’s blessing in great abundance will rain upon your leaders and yourselves, and through them, and through you, that the menace of Communism in Australia may be stayed and rolled back, and that Australia may be saved from the fate that has fallen upon so many other nations.”


His Grace Archbishop Mannix carrying the Blessed Sacrament . in the procession through the Cathedral grounds at the close of the Forty Hours’ devotion, Sunday, October 5.


None May Refuse Support to Catholic Action (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 15 October 1947, page 19) (Trove)

Christian Workers conference at Frankston

Theme: “Our Work”

More than 250 delegates are expected to attend the annual conference of the National Christian Workers’ Movement, which is to be held at Frankston, on Sunday, September 29. The theme of the conference is “Our Work,” under which heading delegates will discuss three main topics:

(1) Our attitude to the job as a vacation;

(2) Our attitude to our fellowworkers;

(3) Our attitude to our employers. The third topic is expected to excite lively discussion, since it will emphasise that, just as employers have obligations to their employees, they, in turn, have corresponding obligations towards their employers.

The talks that will precede the discussions will be given by Rev. J. P. Gleeson, S.J.; Mr. W. O’Keeffe, and Mr. J. J. Barnes.


Christian Workers conference at Frankston (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 18 September 1946, page 8) (Trove)

The National Christian Workers’ Movement

The Story of “An Active Branch”

By R. J. DONOVAN, Hon. Sec., Richmond Branch

THE Richmond branch of the . National Christian Workers’ Movement has been featured in most of the daily and Catholic newspapers in recent weeks because of the practical way in which they have shown their interest in the Catholic youth in Richmond. I refer to the machine shop established by our branch, which was blessed and opened by his Grace, Dr. Mannix, on Sunday afternoon, August 4. Arising out of this publicity, numerous enquiries have been made by people unable to attend the opening as to who the National Christian Workers are and what are their objectives. In this article I will tell you something about our Movement and the various activities we are engaged in at Richmond. The National Christian Workers’ Movement is a Catholic Action organisation, binding ^together all adult workers in one

movement. It is a workers’ movement—it is run by workers —it is for the workers. It has nothing to do with’ an alleged body called “The Movement,” said to be working in trade unions, according to recent Com 1 -. niunist propaganda. The Christian Workers’ Movement is primarily a spiritual movement, concerned with the saving of souls, with the parish group as its basic unit of organisation. It works among Catholics, not non-Catholics. But it is not only concerned with their spiritual activities, but with the problems of the whole life of the worker —it wants to assist in the lightening of the burden of the worker—it wants to strengthen his family life. It wants to educate its members not by taking them back to school, but by inducing them to attend regular meetings, by the free discussion of their problems, in groups, by talks, lectures, debates, and by study and reading. NEEDS OF WORKERS It wants to help them to learn more about their religion—more about the Church’s social teachings, and lastly, how to apply these teachings to their everyday problems. The Movement realises that in the lives of Christian workers there exist many needs, and is prepared to establish services for every need that exists. It is hoped that the Movement will become a representative body, which will represent the views of Catholic workers and safeguard their real interests in national affairs. I have briefly explained what are to me the most important features of the Movement, and

I will now tell you how we went about forming our branch at Richmond and some of the services we have established in our few years of existence.


With the consent of our parish priest, the Rev. Fr. Lockington, our first Leaders’ Group, commencing twelve men, met together for the first time on, March 29, 1942. It took a few months for the Group to settle down, but as each Leader became more familiar with the Movement, the interest deepened and discussions became more enthusiastic and more to the point. For twelve months we studied, and at the end of that period we had fins hed our training and were ready to establish our branch. The Movement was inaugurated at a meeting held on Sunday evening, April 18, 1943, and about ninety parishioners attended .this meeting, at which they were told all about “the aims and objectives of the Movement.” A considerable number of those present joined up, and it .was decided to hold our monthly meetings on the first Sunday of every month. Our first move was to form a Diiission Group to study “Pattern for Peace,” and these men, by mutual consent, met in one another’s homes each Friday night. This was our way of introducing to one another men who had been residing in the same suburb and attending the same church for many years, but who were still complete strangers to one another. • We next interested ourselves in Credit Unions, because our investigations prove to us that very few men were in a position to save money; the expense incurred in rearing and educating a growing family was for ever mounting; lodge, doctor, insurance and school fees had to be paid; purchases were being made on the time payment and hire purchase and credit order systems; and a considerable number of our men were gradually falling into debt and had to borrow at very high rates of interest. On all sides we heard stories of the continual struggle to balance the budget. Hence cur reason for introducing the idea of forming a branch of Credit Union to our members. Twelve members formed a subcommittee to study Credit Unions and to devise ways and means of establishing one at

Richmond, and after three months of continuous study this committee reported that they were

prepared to take up the fight tc lighten the burden o£ the worker —our members. Members learned that a Credil Union was a group of persons bonded together by Christian charity for two reasons:

(1) To supply members of that group with a plan of systematic saving;

(2) To enable members to borrow money from that pool of savings at a very low rate of interest. The Credit Union was established at Richmond on February 18, 1944.

The following figures, after two and a half years trading, make interesting reading: 109 members have paid into the Credit Union £2000. 62 different loans were granted, amounting to £1355. Loan repayments totalled £810/13/’-. Part savings withdrawn from the bank was £440/4/2. Credit balance in the bank amounted to £623/18/1. Loans were granted for the following purposes: To settle accounts for clothing obtained on credit orders, and goods obtained on the time payment and hire purchase system. To pay for doctor, taxation, dental expenses, house repairs, yearly railway tickets, lodge, insurance, superannuation and holidays. The biggest loans granted were £400 (1) and £200 (1), to enable members to finalise the purchase of homes.


The above facts indicate that our Credit Union has been of considerable assistance to our members, and besides supplying a saving and a lending, scheme, has been responsible in no small way in inducing members to join our branch. While the sub-committee was studying Credit Unions we introduced the League of Masses.

A roster was drawn up, and by this means we guaranteed one member of our branch being at Mass and Holy Communion daily throughout the year. The Masses were offered for the Pope’s intentions, the safety of our service men and women, and the success of our Workers’ Movement. The League of Masses is still being carried on. Last month saw the commencement of regular monthly Holy Communions on the first Sunday pf every month, and our intentions for September will be for those charitable people who re ponded to our appeal for funds for the machine shop. Acting on a suggestion made by Rev. Fr. Lockington, we decided to reopen the St. Ignatius Club, which had been closed for some years. A working bee was formed from members, and the task of renovating the club was commenced. After about three months’ work we opened the club to our members and to senior members of the Y.C.W. All our meetings are held at the club. The Credit Union transacts its financial affairs at the club. In fact, the club has become our headquarters, and all our services are operated from there. Through the. reopening of the club we were able to give our members a further service. As in pre-war days, tobacco had been obtainable at the club; we found that we were justly entitled to our quota again. This service has helped in no small way to lighten the lot of our members.


During this time there had been no increase in our membership. On the contrary, there had been a steady decrease in attendances at monthly meetings, but never once was our faith in the ultimate outcome of our fight for Christ in doubt. In spite of a number of setbacks, we forged steadily ahead with our plans. We called a parish meeting, and at this meeting we introduced the Movement, and a series of speakers enumerated the various services we had established. As a result, a number of new members were enrolled. We next organised a meeting of the men of the parish, Dr. K. Rush being our guest speaker, who took for his subject,’ “The Responsibility of Parents in the Instruction of “Their Children.” The attendance was good and more members were enrolled. Another service we have introduced is the income tax service. All problems relating to returns —intact, any problem at all in the taxation field are dealt with by our taxation expert. Our next venture was to organise a- Christmas party for our Catholic children attending St. Ignatius’ School: When we thought:, up this idea we anticipated about 100 children attending, but three weeks before the function took place, to our alarm, the number had risen to approximately 350. However, we had been working for five months prior to this making toys—toys which were selling at an exorbitant price everywhere—and with an extra ‘effort by the working bee, we made the grade. Every child received a toy distributed by Father Christmas, plus a party cap and a bag of sweets. The children were entertained by a ventriloquist and Mickey Mouse Cartoons. Refreshments were set out in the quadrangle, and outside- amplification added to the fun. The function will be repeated this year. We” also have a wanted to buy,

sell or exchange session at our monthly meetings, and this session has proved not only a very popular one, but also a very valuable one to our members.


Considerable time was devoted to investigating the pros and cons of establishing a vocational guidance and employment bureau Richmond. After many months a plan was drawn up and our bureau was opened. Already a number of boys have been placed in positions, and it is fully expected that as time goes on more will avail themselves of the facilities placed at their disposal. We know that this service is a most important one, and it is hoped that other branches of the Movement will recognise this and take some action to establish a bureau in their parish. In ‘ furthering the spiritual education of members, arrangements were made for the Rev. Fr. Lockington to give a series of illustrated lectures on “The Ma s,” and these lectures have taken place over the past year. Recently we arranged public speaking and writing classes, and these take place every Monday night and are conducted by Fr. Lockington. At the completion of this series it is our intention to form a debating class. We have also established a Buying Club, and it is hoped that this will develop into a Cooperative Store. Our last service to be established was the machine shop. This was our biggest concerted effort, and has opened up a new avenue of thought for our educational authorities. Only those who have had something to do with enterprises of this_ kind have any idea of the difficulties and obstacles and apathy which have to be overcome in realising a plan such as ours was. It is hoped that this work will be an inspiration to other parishes similarly situated, and teach all Australians the lesson of standing on their own feet and sticking their own backs into a problem instead of lying down and asking “why the Government” or somebody else “doesn’t” do something about it.


The equipping of the machine shop which we established for our Catholic youth at Richmond cost a little over £1200. Judging by \he poor response forthcoming from our Catholic populace tc the appeal supported by his Grace Archbishop Mannix, on the opening day, it is apparent that very few Catholics realise the value of this machine shop to our youth, and just how many souls will be kept within the true fold by giving them a chance to make good and keep out of the “dead-end” job. We are left with the tremendous financial burden of £1000, and it is hoped that some of our good friends who can so easily afford to do so will recognise the value of this wonderful venture and forward donations to R. J. Donovan, 113a Richmond-terrace, Richmond, E.l; or to the editor, “The Advocate.” The machine shop can be inspected at any time. In conclusion, we feel that with numbers steadily increasing —we now have 220 members— the Richmond branch will be able to carry out -further new projects in the future. But no branch can afford to relax. If we want this Movement to spread throughout the whole of” Australia, we must work and fight unceasingly. The responsibility for our expansion cannot rest upon the efforts of any one person. Individually, we pan do little. Organised, we can do much to restore Christ to the workers, and restore the workers of Australia to Christ.

Lad at work in the machine shop of the Trades School, conducted by the Richmond branch of the National Christian Workers’ Movement.


The National Christian Workers’ Movement (The Advocate, Wed 28 Aug 1946) (Trove)

Archbishop to Bless and Open New Enterprise by Christian Workers’ Movement

Machine Shop at Richmond

By R. J. DONOVAN, Hon. Sac., N.C.W.

A MACHINE shop, the first section of St. Ignatius’ Trade School, Richmond, established to .train and protect boys from “dead-end” jobs, will be blessed and opened by his Grace Archbishop Mannix on Sunday afternoon, August 4, at 3 p.m. St. Ignatius’ Trade School has been established by the Richmond branch of the National Christian Workers’ Movement. Two years ego, a section of the members, under the leadership of Mr. Frank Murphy, set out to establish a Vocational Guidance and Employment Bureau to assist their members with their employment problems. Restricted by manpower controls, they interested themselves in the future welfare of the senior pupils of St. Ignatius’ School. Talks were given to the senior pupils of the school on pitfalls to be avoided, and the advisability of planning carefully for the future. The bureau was fully

explained, and, ^as a result, has been responsible” for placing many boys in good positions in the industrial world. The bureau always keeps in close contact with the boys and the employer. A great step forward was taken a year ago when it was decided to help the boys by training them to be technicians. To this end it was resolved to establish the “St. Ignatius’ Machine Shop” and give boys during their last two years at school training in the use of machines; training that would enable them to choose a trade that would not only appeal to them, but for which they would be entirely suited. Remarkable success followed their efforts. Despite difficulties that, at times, seeme<j[ insuper-

able, the machine shop is now equipped with modern machinery for both engineering and woodworking. All the machines are equipped with self-contained motors and a special diamond cutting machine has also been installed. A room off the machine shop has been reserved for drawing and theory/ The swinging over of the electrical installations to three-phase was a big undertaking, but this also has been completed and painters have transformed the colour scheme of the machine shop and the machines themselves. The National Christian Workers at Richmond hope that others will follow their lead and that similar establishments will be founded throughout Australia, and cordially invite all interested parents to attend the opening ceremony on August 4 to inspect the machine shop and to support this work for building a new youth— in the schoolroom.


Archbishop to Bless and Open New Enterprise by Christian Workers’ Movement (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 24 July 1946, page 4) (Trove)

Archbishop Beovich, Episcopal Chairman of YCS

THE first combined function of the Young Catholic Students’ Movement in Melbourne took place on the 14th inst, when nearly 200 leaders of the movement gathered at “Tay Creggan.”

They came from practically every one of the boys’ and girls’ colleges in the diocese. The rally was given additional prestige and significance by the presence of four members of the Episcopacy—the Archbishop of Melbourne (Most Rev. D. Mannix, D.D.), the Archbishop of Sydney (Most Rev. N. Gilroy, D.D.), the Archbishop of Adelaide (Most Rev. M. Beovich, D.D.),and the Bishop of Toowoomba (Most Rev. B. Roper, D.D.).

These members of the Bishops’ Committee on Education were holding a conference in Melbourne, and generously accepted the invitation to be present at the Y.C.S. gathering.

It was announced during the afternoon that the Bishops’ Committee on Catholic Action had asked Archbishop Beovich to become the Episcopal Chairman of the Students’ Movement, and that he had generously undertaken to guide the destinies of this youthful organisation.

He is the first member of the Hierarchy to assume this active leadership of a specialised Catholic Action Movement following the example of Bishop Henschke in the National Catholic Rural Movement, Bishop Gleeson in the National Catholic Girls’ Movement, and Archbishop Mannix in the National Christian Workers’ Movement.


Archbishop Beovich, Episcopal Chairman of YCS (Southern Cross, Friday 30 October 1942, page 3) / Trove