YCW congress in Canberra next month



A NATIONAL congress of the Young Christian Workers Union will be held in Canberra from August 21 to 25.

Recently the union’s national president. Miss Bernadette McEvoy, and the national chaplain, the Reverend Father Hugh O’Sullivan, visited Canberra in preparation for the congress.

One of the major concerns for the YCW is unemployment. Miss McEvoy said that about six years ago members had conducted a doorknock in areas where there was high unemployment. The doorknock had made members aware of the problem.

“Mainly it made us aware of the effects that unemployment is having on the lives of young people,” she said. Members had become aware of the “hiddenness” of unemployment. In many cases young people were isolated in their homes, watching television all day.

So YCW had arranged social functions to bring those isolated unemployed people together and had also organised co-operatives to provide work. Three manufacturing co-operatives, a printing co-operative and a small shop had been established in various State capitals.

Miss McEvoy said this had enabled the people who had been involved to gain a sense of power over their own lives. “It also trained young people in skills which made them eligible for other forms of work,” she said. “Also at that time we established some houses for homeless youth in Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne. Those houses were run by young workers in the movement and they made the houses available for young people who were homeless.”

“In reflecting on all of those things that wc have been involved in we discovered the need to be more aware of the causes of unemployment and to try to see how wc could respond to the unemployment situation in a practical way.” This had lead last year to a survey to find what people believed were possibilities for job creation in their areas. The survey had also sought information from young people on their relationships with the Department of Social Security and the Commonwealth Employment Service.

The congress in Canberra would enable the YCW to express its views on all of the areas which related to unemployment in which the union had been involved. When asked what was causing unemployment, Miss McEvoy said, “First of all, its important to say that we don’t understand very deeply the causes of unemployment and we see that there are deep causes of unemployment within Australia that often aren’t known or understood by people.”

This could lead to people blaming, for example, women in the work force or Asian immigration instead of recognising the mechanisms which caused the problem.

Father O’Sullivan said it was expected that the congress would be run from the YWCA building in Mort Street, Civic. But the congress would not be held in one place. It would be held where delegates met people in Canberra who were involved in unemployment. “There will be people who we will be wanting to present what we have done and to ask their comments and reflections,” he said. “We will want them to challenge them and for them to challenge us.”

Those taking part in the congress would be Young Christian Workers from around Australia. But there were many people in the Canberra area who were interested in this subject who would become involved in the congress through discussions. He said, “Each night when we come back we will be reflecting on the things we have learned and trying to work out where we go to from there to shape the national policy and the national action for the next number of years.”

Partly the congress was to help the YCW learn. “It’s also with the hope that we can present the things that we’ve learned to other people,” Father O’Sullivan said. For example, there were many questions about the whole structure of the Commonwealth Employment Service and the Department of Social Security. “We don’t know whether we are right with those things or whether we are pretty naive,” he said.

“We would like to talk to people from the CES and the DSS to let them hear what we have heard. Bounce back what they think and together come to some sort of an understanding of what might be a better method. I believe that we’ve got the ear of a lot of unemployed people and experiences with a lot of unemployed people over quite a number of years of continuous action. We really feel we therefore have something real to present to people but it certainly is not the whole answer.”

The YCW was not a service type organisation but was a worker-oriented organisation, in the mould of what trade unions had started to be. The YCW was a lay apostolate which sought to find the meaning in people’s lives. “To be involved, not because we see people in need and we are setting out to do good for them,” he said, “but because we, as human beings, have got a responsibility in the world and have a call to be involved in the sort of things that are happening. Unemployment is one of the big things. Many of our members are unemployed and many of them have been and so that is where a lot of our action has been.”

He gave an example of the types of difficulties which could be encountered when trying to help unemployed people. A project was begun in which goods, such as lawn mowers and bicycles, were bought from a city dump. After being restored the goods had been sold. This gave the people involved some money and a sense of purpose.

But they had found their unemployment benefits had been reduced because they had earned extra money and they had found it difficult to get more permanent jobs bccause they had stopped knocking on doors seeking jobs. If people did not continue seeking jobs they could lose their unemployment benefits. Work from the project could not provide meaningful pay or a secure future.

He also questioned whether the YCW should provide homes for homeless people. “We provide those things for people but what good does it do when the, private sector is doing all those things,” he said? “Is it really only hiding from the country the situation of homelessness of unemployed people?”

The Young Christian Workers Union was founded early this century by a Belgian priest to bring together young working people who he had seen were becoming alienated. Miss McEvoy said the Church had not reflected the reality of their experiences.

Father O’Sullivan said the YCW had been to help Christian workers involved with all of the struggles of the industrial revolution. It had become an international movement and in many countries many of its members were not Christians. While the movement had been Roman Catholic inspired many non-Catholics belonged to it.


YCW congress in Canberra next month (Canberra Times, Wednesday 18 July 1984, page 20)

Problem Of The Young Worker In Australia

The problem of the young worker in Australia in the light of Christian ideals was stressed at the Eighth National Conference of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, held at Adelaide last week. Messages to the Conference were received from His Holiness Pope Pius XII and from the Apostolic Delegate, Archbishop Carboni. Present were Archbishop Beovich, of Adelaide, Bishop Gallagher, of Port Pirie, Episcopal Chairman of the Movement, and 130 lay delegates and chaplains.

THE growth of the Young Christian Worker Movement in further fields, especially in the intllectual and cultural domains, would enable the movement to make an important contribution towards the rechristianization of society, the combatting of materialism and the triumph of the true Christian ideal of life, said a message from His Holiness Pope Pius XII to Most Rev. B. Gallagher, Bishop of Port Pirie, S.A., Episcopal Chairman of the Y.C.W., on the occasion of the Eighth National Conference and Tenth National Council of the Movement, held last week at Adelaide, S.A.

The message was received from His Excellency Monsignor Montini, Vatican Pro-secretary of State. Another message to the Conference was from His Excellency the Apostolic Delegate, Most Rev. R. Carboni.

His Holiness’ message read:

My Lord Bishop,

The Sovereign Pontiff, having been informed by His Excellency the Apostolic Delegate of the Eighth National Conference and Tenth National Council Meeting of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement of Australia, to be held in Adelaide at the beginning of October next, has graciously directed me to send to the participants, through the good offices of Your Lordship, the expression of His benevolent felicitation for the good work already accomplished, and a message of paternal encouragement for the future.


His Holiness nourishes the hope that the Young Christian Workers’ Movement of Australia may continue to grow daily in extension and in stature. By its extension to each and every diocese of the Commonwealth, it will bring the countless benefits of Catholic Action to the entire continent of Australia. By its growth to include further fields of action and other groups, especially in the intellectual and cultural domains, it will be enabled to make an important contribution towards the re-christianization of society, the combating of materialism and the triumph of the true Christian ideal of life.

So vast a programme can and will only be implemented by a deepening and intensification of the interior spiritual life of each member of die Movement, resulting in a profound personal conviction regarding die Faith and its responsibilities and hence a lively energetic apostolic spirit, always docile to the wise guidance of the Episcopate.

It is, therefore, to invoke abundant divine graces upon such praiseworthy endeavours, and in testimony of His particular benevolence, that the Holy Father cordially imparts to Your Lordship, and to the Chaplains, leaders and members of the Movement, His paternal Apostolic Blessing.

With sentiments of personal esteem and regard,

I remain,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

J. B. Montini,


The full text of Archbishop Carboni’s message will be published next week.

The Archbishop of Adelaide Most Rev. M. Beovich, officially welcomed 130 lay delegates and chaplains of the Young Christian Workers at the opening of the Eighth National Conference of the Movement in Australia Hall, Adelaide, on Monday 4 October. His Grace extended a special welcome to, and introduced Most Rev. B. Gallagher, the Bishop of Port Pirie, and new Episcopal Chairman of the Y.C.W. .


Bishop Gallagher said he considered it a great privilege to be present at the conference and to be associated with the Y.C.W. He wished to join with the National President (John Doherty) in expressing to His Grace, Dr. Beovich, the deep gratitude of all Y.C.W.s for the kind and gracious hospitality extended by the Archdiocese of Adelaide. Bishop Gallagher paid special tribute to the work of his predecessor, Archbishop Simonds, “who had guided so carefully and so successfully your steps in Catholic Action.”

His Lordship then read the messages which had been sent by His Holiness Pope Pius XII and the Apostolic Delegate in Australia, Most Rev. R. Carboni, for the occasion of die conference. In declaring the conference open, Dr. Gallagher urged the delegates to look ahead and extend their Apostolate.

Following the reading of the National Report, and messages from oversea Y.C.W.s by the secretary (Jim Wilson) the first of three papers to be presented during the conference was given by Brian O’Halloran. In his paper Brian O’Halloran brought out the problem of the young worker in Australia.


To understand the problem we had to ignore the world’s present values and look at the present situation of the young worker in the light of God’s plan for him. To do this we had to realize that God made the world to serve Man so that he would attain his eternal destiny through the world—not in spite of it.

God made every person with three aspects’—the physical, the’ spiritual and the religious. These three aspects were interlinked. Through diem the human person was meant to be developed and to realize his dignity. Looking at the world today it could be seen that many people gave no indication whatever of an interest in spiritual or religious activities.

Mr. O’Halloran then went on to point out how the influences on the young worker in the home, at work and at leisure were in contradiction to God’s plan for the young worker.

Referring to the incidence of divorce and the large number of unhappy homes Mr. O’Halloran said that these problems reflected the unwholesome situation of the husband and wife who failed to appreciate their obligation towards children. The situation resulted in frustration of the young worker through his not being formed through. a happy home environment in love, obedience, selflessness, honesty and consideration, responsibility and justice.

The home was the cradle of education and formation only when parents were capable of making it so. From the lack of education of children in the home there were many repercussions. Many , young workers today considered they had little or no responsibility towards the home.

Mr. O’Halloran, basing his statements on findings from facts gathered during the Home Campaign which was conducted recently by the Y.C.W. throughout Australia, said that many young workers spent six nights a week away from home and that only a small minority spent three or more in the home.

Other big contributing factors to the dehumanization of the young worker at home were the housing shortage and the lack of community life.


On entering into work a lad experienced a crisis because he was starting off in a completely new way of life. How he fared would be very greatly responsible for the salvation or damnation of his immortal soul.

The common attitude to work was wrong: rather than realizing that God meant young workers to be developed physically, spiritually and religiously through work, most considered that it was just something you have to do if you want to eat.

Mr. O’Halloran pointed out that to some extent the schools were failing in so much as many lads left school without the knowledge that work was a vocation. Further, school-leavers did not know what constituted a particular job other than by its title. As a result they had no idea to what type of job they were best suited.


The moral influences at work which so often were completely contrary to what he had been used to at school and at home were tremendous. Even though many things were contrary to his ideals, like misusing the boss’ material, poor quality work, sordid discussion on sex, etc., the young worker was a social being who desired company and companionship, and in order to be accepted by his fellow-workers he often conformed to their “ideals” or lack of ideals—the norm by which fellow-workers judged whether or not a lad was a good sport worthy of being accepted by “the boys” !

In some places there “still existed in Australia material conditions which failed to show a recognition of the fact that the young worker was a dignified person. Many factories had inadequate first aid facilities and numerous factories and workshops failed to provide proper safeguards, lighting and ventilation. (In support of this Mr. O’Halloran quoted Department of Labour and National Service figures which showed that 600 workers were killed in industrial accidents during 1953. More than 200,000 had been badly enough injured to miss three days work or more.)

Mr. O’Halloran spoke at length on the particular problem of the apprenticed Apprentices were often because of lo\V wages in their early years of apprenticeship, forced to become a burden to their parents at a time when they should be able to offer assistance.

So far as leisure time was concerned many Australian young workers were mentally inadequate to cope with leisure. This was so because they have not been educated as to the real meaning of leisure.


A great number of young workers spent a gOod deal of their leisure time in passive entertainment. God meant leisure to be a period of recreation through healthy sport and cultural education. Australia was greatly lacking in cultural life—yet culture was so. necessary for the development of the spiritual aspect of the human person.

Great problems presented themselves in the young workers’ leisure time through films, and literature which accentuated sex and violence.

Drinking had developed into one of the chief pastimes of young workers. Many young workers today considered the degree of their manhood was measured by the amount they could consume. Also they had the idea, from the world, that at parties and smokos you had to drink to get “happy” and “have a good time,” and be one of the mob.


Other points made ware that the lack of responsibility in the use of saving of money was the cause for many young men reaching the stage of marriage but finding themselves financially unprepared to provide for the basic requirement so necessary for the establishment of a happy future home life.

He also pointed out the problems which were associated with National Service Training.

In conclusion, he said: “God made every Young Worker with a Divine Destiny. Even though we are affected by Original Sin, we are still meant to go to heaven through the world and not in spite of it. Today the Young Worker has to achieve his Destiny in spite of Original Sin and the World. While the-world is not serving the Young Worker there is a problem. The Young Worker today cries out for a chance to live. The Y.C.W. must answer this call by building a new social order. “As Canon Cardijn said: “We have not come to start a Revolution, we ARE the revolution.”

Most Rev. Bryan Gallagher Episcopal Chairman, Y.C.W.


Problem Of The Young Worker In Australia (Advocate, Thursday 14 October 1954, page 8) (Trove)

Y.C.W. National Council in Session

Delegates, clerical and lay, are in Melbourne from all parts of Australia to attend the 8th National Council meeting of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement. The Council began with a retreat on Monday, September 8, and will close on Friday, September 12. Archbishop’ Mannix was present on Tuesday afternoon to welcome the delegates and the Episcopal Chairman of the Y.C.W., Archbishop Simonds, attended other sessions. The priests present were: Rev. Father Lombard (National ChapIain and Melbourne Diocesan Chaplain), Rev. Father McLaren (Melbourne Y.C.W.), Very Rev. E. Sullivan, D.D. (Perth Archdiocesan Chaplain), Father B. O’Shea (Brisbane’ Archdiocesan Chaplain), and Diocesan Chaplains from Maitland, Rockhampton and Ballarat in Rev Fathers B. Kennedy, J. Leahy and P. Bohan. Also observing at the Council is Rev. Father B. Lohan, from Canberra-Goulburn Archdiocese. The National President of the Y.C.W. is John Doherty, and the National Secretary is Bill Ginane. Lay delegates include the Archdiocesan and Diocesan Presidents from Perth (Ray Gleeson), Brisbane (Des. Hegarty), Rockhampton (Des. Mealey), and Melbourne (Brian Waldron). Other inter-State visitors are Brian O’Halloran (Brisbane secretary), R. Heffernan, H. Buckley (Ipswich), B. Lambert (Hobart), G. Freeman (Launceston), W. Clegg (Armidale, N.S.W.), A. Levy (Newcastle), B. McPherson (Newcastle), R. Hussey and J. Haskell (Adelaide), R. Phillips (Rockhampton), and L. Callinan (Ballarat).


Y.C.W. National Council in Session (Advocate, Thursday 11 September 1952, page 3) (Trove)

Ten Years of the Y.C.W. Movement in Melbourne

7th National Conference Opens in Brisbane on Sunday Under the presidency of his Grace Archbishop Simonds, Episcopal Chairman of the Young Christian Workers, a hundred lay-leaders and priest-chaplains from all parts of Australia will meet in Brisbane next Sunday for the opening of the seventh national conference (September 9-15).

To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the foundation of the movement in Australia, his Holiness Pope Pius XII is sending a special message and a recorded message has been received from Monsignor Cardijn, founder of the J.O.C. The main address at the conference will be given by Archbishop Simonds.

THE Young Christian Workers’ Movement on September 8, Our Lady’s birthday, celebrates the tenth birthday of its foundation in Australia. On September 8, 1941, the Young Christian Workers’ Movement received official mandate for Catholic Action from his Grace Archbishop Mannix.

From the very beginning, the Y.C.W. directed its efforts to the formation of leaders who would be truly apostolic. As early as Christmas, 1940, before the actual formation of the movement, an experimental leaders’ training camp was held at Mornington. The second leaders’ camp was held at Hanging Rock in Easter, 1942.

This work received a tremendous boost in 1943 when the Y.C.W. acquired its first property—a leadership training centre “Maiya Wamba” (House of Youth) occupying nine acres at Cheltenham. Since then, approximately twenty-five leaders from throughout the archdiocese have been in training at “Maiya Wamba” each week-end.

The purchasing of this property during the war and at a time when the Y.C.W. was having a battle to build up a stable organization was a sign of courageous confidence in the future of the movement.

The raising of the necessary finance for this venture was largely due to the efforts of the Melbourne Y.C.W. Men’s Extension Committee. This committee had originally been formed in 1942 to assist in the organization of the Xavier Youth Rally.

Mr. Frank Murphy was its first honorary secretary. Mr. Bernard Foley later became the full-time secretary of this committee. In 1947, Mr. Reuben Quirk succeeded him in this position.

Since their inception, both the men’s and ladies’ extension committees have made tremendous efforts to raise finance necessary for many of the Y.C.W.’s projects—including the purchase of the Albert Park Y.C.W. Hostel for underprivileged youth, the Hawthorn Y.C.W. Migration Hostel, and the staging of the Xavier youth rallies. This committee has so far raised over £100,000.


While these activities were taking place in Melbourne, the Y.C.W. had been spreading to other dioceses throughout Australia. In 1943 the Episcopal Committee of Catholic Action made it a National Movement and appointed his Grace, Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., as episcopal chairman.This was a historic year for the Y.C.W., as in addition to the

development previously mentioned, it was the occasion of the first national meeting of the Y.C.W. chaplains. On this occasion 110 priests from all over Australia were in conference for two days at the Convent of the Good Shepherd, Abbotsford. Largely due to the inspiration of his Grace, Dr. Simonds, this meeting was a huge success.

In 1943 the Y.C.W. in Australia appointed its first full-time worker; Frank McCann, now secretary-manager of the Y.C.W. Co-operative Trading Society, was appointed as national secretary by the episcopal chairman. The following year a preliminary national conference of chaplains and leaders was held at “Maiya Wamba.”

The first full-scale national conference was held at Brisbane in 1945. One hundred leaders and sixty chaplains from all over Australia were present, and his Grace Dr. Simonds presided. Subsequent national conferences have been held in Newcastle, Adelaide, Melbourne and Perth. In June, 1947, a great Y.C.W. international conference, was held in Montreal, Canada, to mark the fifteenth birthday of the Y.C.W. in that country, 42 countries were represented.

Ted Long, Melbourne diocesan secretary, and a member of the national executive, was seint to represent the Australian Y.C.W. at the conference.

It was as a result of ideas brought back from this conference that the Pre-Cana Conferences for engaged couples were started later in the same year. Since then the Pre-Cana Movement has spread throughout Australia. Some thousands of engaged couples have availed themselves of this tremendously important service since its inception.

In 1948 Frank McCann, national secretary, was sent by the Australian Government as a representative to an international youth conference in London. While Frank was in England the information he gained of the English Y.C.W. proved a great assistance to the movement when he returned.

In 1949 Frank McCann retired as national secretary to take over as secretary of the Y.C.W. Cooperative Trading Society in Melbourne. Terry Barker, who had been a full-time Y.C.W. national field-officer since 1947, was appointed national secretary in May, 1949.

In 1950 Terry Barker attended an international Y.C.W. conference in Brussels to mark the’ silver jubilee of the Y.C.W. The same year, the national chaplain, Rev. Father Lombard, returned to Australia after having studied youth and migration problems in the countries overseas at the request of the Australian Government.


Right from the beginning of the national movement in 1943, the Y.C.W. realized the need for publishing a newspaper which would be the voice of the movement in bringing Christian values to the young worker and the public in general. New Youth, a monthly paper, was first published in 1943. The appointment of Ken Treacey as full-time editor of New Youth in 1948 was immediately reflected in the standard of the paper.

The Y.C.W. is immensely grateful for the assistance and advice given New Youth at the time by the late Alan Powell, a prominent journalist on a leading Melbourne daily. David Burke succeeded Ken Treacey in February, 1949, until .February, 1951, and further improved the quality and standing of the paper.


Since Father Lombard s appointment as full-time Melbourne chaplain in 1944, and the appointment of Ken Treacey as fulltime Melbourne secretary in 1945, the Y.C.W. progressed rapidly in the archdiocese. Ted Long, who had been acting national secretary while Frank McCann was ill, became Melbourne secretary when Ken Treacey was appointed editor of New Youth in 1946. Noel Murphy, Frank Quinn and Bill Davies increased the Melbourne staff and led to a further expansion of services.

In 1946, the Y.C.W, acquired a hostel at Albert Park for under privileged youth. This hostel was later extended and accommodates 22 youths from St. Augustine’s Orphanage with Rev. Colin Miller as resident chaplain. In the same year, 1946, the first Y.C.W. Co-Operative Housing Society was registered. This has developed until at the present time, the Housing Co-Operative have a guaranteed capital of £3,000,000 and 2260 members; 720 homes have already been completed. In 1947 the Y.C.W. established an accommodation bureau as well as an apprenticeship and employment advisory bureau. These services did much to meet some of the major current problems of youth in Melbourne.

The Y.C.W. Migration Hostel at Hawthorn for young worker migrants from the British Isles was first purchased in 1948. The first batch of 34 migrants arrived in 1950. Regular batches of young workers from overseas have been arriving since that time. Rev. J. A. Carroll is resident chaplain at the migration hostel Another important development was the. purchase of a 25-acre property at Phillip Island in 1949 as a permanent camp-site for young workers.

Also in 1949 the Y.C.W. Co-Operative Trading Society was formed with Frank McCann as secretary. Since then 500 young families have obtained their home furnishings from this society on a co-operative basis.

The years 1949 and 1950 saw a considerable change-over of staff at Melbourne headquarters. Frank Quinn in 1949 was succeeded by Peter O’Donnell. In 1950 Dan Callahan and Ivor Davis joined the staff, replacing Ted Long, Noel Murphy and Bill Davies, who took up other positions, but continued to assist the development of the movement. Ted Long who joined the staff of the housing co-operatives, has recently returned to the Melbourne staff. Peter O’Donnell, who joined the Redemptorist Order, and Ivor Davis later left the staff in 1950.

The present fulltime workers at Melbourne headquarters are Ted Long, Dan Callahan, Bill Bainbridge, Bill Ginnane and Peter Kelly.

Rev. Father F. W. Lombard, National Chaplain, Australian Y.C.W., with Monsignor J. Cardijn, founder of the Y.C.W.


Ten Years of the Y.C.W. Movement in Melbourne (Thursday 6 September 1951, page 8) (Trove)

Canon Cardijn Anxious to Visit Australia

“CANON Cardijn is. anxious to visit Australia, not only because of his interest in the Australian Y.C.W., but also because his ardent desire to bring his movement to the aid of the teeming millions of the Eastern countries, where the human dignity of man is seldom recognised and his eternal destiny unknown,” said Rev. F. Lombard, Chaplain to the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, speaking recently at the welcome home organised by the Y.C.W. in Melbourne.

“I had the privilege of meeting him on many occasions,” said Fr. Lombard, “and, above all else, I was impressed with his intense, almost fanatical, love of the young workers of the world, and his determination to bring the Y.C.W. tq their aid. I heard him speak on one occasion in the King’s Way Hall, London, and despite the difficulties he had in expressing himself in the English language, it was easy for me to understand how, in his own country, he was accepted as the greatest orator of his day. I hope that we have the privilege of welcoming Canon Cardijn to Australia in the near future.

“The genius of Canon Cardijn,” continued the Y.C.W. Chaplain, “lies in the method which he discovered whereby young workers who have been robbed of their sense of responsibility and degraded to the level of machines and animals by our modern industrial system can be inspired and trained to uplift themselves and restore their fellow-workers to their rightful dignity as human beings and sons and daughters of God.

“This method of formation and training of leaders is not theoretical, for the young worker is trained in a practical manner out of life and in life. The problem of the young worker is discovered, is examined, and a solution sought, and then, finally, action.

“When Canon Cardijn established the Y.C.W., he had no thought of Catholic Action, yet when he visited the late Pope Pius XI the Holy Father said the work of the Y.C.W. is Catholic Action in practice. ‘Thank God, at last someone has come to speak to me about the masses of working class.’ Cardijn, therefore, in answering the problem of the young workers, had discovered for the whole of the Catholic laity a method for their apostolate.

“Canon Cardijn’s answer to the young worker’s problem was only discovered after years of trial and error. If any Priest or leader in the Australian Y.C.W. ever feels that, because a group has failed, that the Y.C.W. has failed, then they should remember that these reverses are as nothing compared to those encountered by Canon Cardijn. At the age of 67, he can now look back over the last 40 years—including years of imprisonment in a German camp— and, though success beyond his greatest dreams has been achieved, those years have known many hardships and reverses.”


Canon Cardijn Anxious to Visit Australia (Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1954), Friday 16 June 1950, page 12) (Trove)

Canon Cardijn Visits England

Canon Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers, is spending a few weeks in England and will broadcast next Friday in the B.B.C. Home Service, in the “Christian Outlook” series.

Addressing a 2000-strong Y.C.W. rally in London on Wednesday, Canon Cardijn emphasized that anti-Communism and anti-working class attitudes will not save the world.

“The solution,” he said, lies in mutual, understanding in order to build a social order based on Christian principles. Many Governments and businessmen adopt a purely negative attitude towards workers’ movements and particularly towards Communism. Our hope is not in the atomic bomb, but in the strength of the spiritual potentialities of the peoples of the world.”


Canon Cardijn Visits England (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 24 November 1949, page 5) (Trove)

Canon Cardijn Visits Germany

THE Young ChristianWorkers of Germany held their first national conference at Mannheim. Already before the conference, a number of informal contacts had been established with the Jocist movement in Belgium and France.

The visit of Canon Cardijn, founder of the Jocists Young Christian Workers, was undoubtedly an important factor in the work of re-education and reorganisation and gave German Catholic youth leaders a valuable opportunity of learning from experiences made in the outside world and of breaking through the isolation in which they have been living for many years.

Beginning his German tour at Cologne, Canon Cardijn, after a long conference with Cardinal Frings, addressed the Young Christian Workers of Cologne in St Michael’s parish hall He explained the nature and character of the Jocist movement which now exists in 52 countries throughout the world and described his impressions and experiences on hjs trip to Canada, the, United States,) Central and South America, which he undertook in 1946 at the express request of Pope Pius XII. ‘”


Accompanied by Fr. Sink, diocesan director of Catholic Youth, Fr. Cardijn visited the national headquarters of the Catholic Youth of Germany, at Altenberg near Cologne, the big industrial city of Essen where he addressed a large group of Young Christian Workers from Essen, Muehlheim-Ruhr and Oberhausen, Hardenhausen, Paderborn, and Aachen.

Everywhere his lectures were followed by a lively discussion in which the young Germans expressed their eagerness to cooperate with the Jocist movement. Fr. Cardijn was also told repeatedly about the great anxiety created among the young workers by the programme of deindustrialisation, whose full scope and consequences are not yet clearly realised everywhere.

The Y.C.W. of Germany have not yet been given their final organisational form. They will probably be established as a specialised section inside the Catholic Youth of Germany, whose headquarters are at Altenberg.


Canon Cardijn Visits Germany (Advocate, Wednesday 9 July 1947, page 21) (Trove)

A laborer’s prayer

Work of Italian Y.C.W.

A “Laborer’s Prayer,” written by an automobile worker in the Fiat plant at Miraflori, was read by Fr. Ernestino Bosco at the opening of the first National Convention of the G.I.O.C. (Gioventu Italiana Operair Christian, Young Christian Workers’ Movement), held in Rome.

The Priest explained that the worker who wrote the prayer had not been in the habit of going to chlfrch or meeting Priests. When the Priest approached him and urged him to pray, he said that he no longer remembered the prayers which he had learned in his youth.

In Your Own Words

So the Priest told him: “Speak to God in your own words, as you would to me, remembering Who He is.”

Thereupon the worker wrote the following prayer:

“Amidst the noise of our machines, let our prayer rise supreme into the sky to Thee, 0 God above all, Father of Infinite Goodness. In the poetry of our work, our thought is Thine, going out to Thee Who . watches over our families while we are away.

“From our forges, our shipyards, our factories and our mines, let our praise-rise to Thee, Creator of this blessed earth, to Thee Who created us in the likeness of Thy Son, Jesus. Give us always, 0 Lord, strength and health and the ability to perform our work as well as possible, so that our working masses may arise ever more towards Thee, to glorify Thee, Eternal God and Father of the universal human brotherhood. Amen.”

Jocists in Italy

The Jocist (Young,Christian Workers’) movement, which was started in Italy just over a year ago, aims at bringing religion to the workers in the factories and mines, and at organising the apostolate of workers among their fellow workers.


A laborer’s prayer (Southern Cross, Friday 2 May 1947, page 16) (Trove)

22nd National Conference of Christian Workers’ Youth

THE French Christian Workers’ Federation held its 22nd National Congress in Paris. About 500 delegates from all the federations of the home country and the empire, studied the serious living questions which face the youth of the working class. At the final session a summing up was given of the work of the various committees. Important aims include:

(1) Protection of the health of young people. The Christian Workers Youth has been doing, good work for a year already and intends to follow it up with the demand that the balance between the needs of the health of youth and the necessities of production should always be maintained. As regards sick persons, a “Sick Persons Law” has been drafted which the organisation claims should be enforced.

(2) Sounding a warning in regard to leisure facilities. Their scarcity, or their high cost, has the effect of a concentration on dances to such an extent that the physical health of young people suffers.

(3) Defining the independent position of the Christian Workers’ Youth with regard to the State, family protection movements, trade unions, and political parties.

(4) Drawing attention afresh-to the importance of apprenticeship, and protecting in this sphere the rights of natural educators, firstly the family.

(5) Demanding the enforcement of the law regarding marriage loans and asking for increase of dowry funds.

(6) Encouraging the formation of an international workingclass youth movement completely independent of politics. Economic problems in general were discussed from the point of View of the health, self-respect and educational needs of young workers.

A question on the results of the 22nd Congress of the French Christian Workers’ Federation brought the following reply from M. Gaston Tessier, the general secretary:

“I will not attempt to conceal from you that this gathering of young militants, tempered in the crucible of the Resistance Movement and trained by direct action brings great joy and hope for the future to an old militant like myself. The French Christian Workers’ Federation is extending its influence more and more amongst workers and young people; does not this fact promise us a useful and propitious career in the service of the working class? Our influence even extends to .North Africa, where we are taking firm hold.”

The discussions were naturally mainly around wages and prices. Whilst they were aware of the danger of a futile race between wages and prices, the delegates were of the opinion that an economic re-organisation was necessary. Skilled wages must be substantially increased. Increases in wages which would increase the productivity of labour, which is jeopardised by low standards of living, must be combined with a vigorous price stabilisation policy.

The federal office had made contact with the C.G.T. (Confederation of Labour) with a view to common action. M. Leon Jouhaux replied that his organisation whilst recognising the different stand taken by the Christian Workers’ Federation was anxious to work in unity with them for the benefit of the working class.

M. Gaston Tessier then stated: “I am sure that the concerted action of the Confederation of Labour and the French Christian Workers’ Federation will protect our common working-class interests and be of benefit to the whole working class. We are anxious to see this way of working become universal—it is in no way incompatible with our formula of ‘the free trade union in the organised industry,’ but will allow us to make this a reality.”


22nd National Conference of Christian Workers’ Youth (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Wednesday 17 July 1946, page 30)(Trove=