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)

Widespread Growth of Australian Y.C.W.

Second Annual Conference Reveals Remarkable Progress

THE success of this conference has exceeded my most optimistic anticipations,” said the Episcopal Chairman of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, his Grace the Most Rev. Dr. J. D. Simonds, in his concluding address to those present at the 1945 Australian Y.CAV. National Conference.

This conference — the second annual conference of the Australian Y.C.W. chaplains and leaders—was held in Brisbane, at the kind invitation of the Archbishop of Brisbane (Most Rev. Dr. J. Duhig), from August 21 to 24. The conference was held in the main hall of All Hallows’ Convent, Brisbane.


The attendance of priests and Y.C.W. leaders was impressive. The 100 leaders and 60 priests present were representative of the following 13 dioceses of Australia—Cairns, Townsville, Rockhampton, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Armidale, Maitland, Sydney, Wagga, Sandhurst, Melbourne, Ballarat and Port Augusta.


Although the conference occupied only three days (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) the whole week was devoted to special Y.C.W. activity. Features were:

Sunday, August 19.—One-day retreat for Y.C.W. leaders at the Marist Fathers’ Monastery, Ashgrove. 100 leaders made the retreat, which was splendidly conducted by Rev. V. Arthur, of St. Michael’s, North Melbourne.

Archbishop’s Welcome to Y.C.W. Visitors.—On Monday night in the Brisbane Leader Hall, his Grace the Most Rev. J. Duhig, publicly welcomed Dr. Simonds, the visiting clergy and Y.C.W. leaders to Brisbane. In heartily welcoming the visitors, Dr. Duhig said here in Australia both the nation and the Church needed youth, and he was sure that- youth would not fail them.

He had seen the Y.C.W. Movement and leaders in action in Melbourne and had been impressed. He felt sure the conference would be a landmark in the history of the Church in Australia. Dr. Duhig was eloquently supported by Mgr. English (Vicar General) and Justices N. Macrossan and E. A. Douglas. Dr. Simonds, Rev. F. Lombard (chaplain, Melbourne Y.C.W.), Frank’ McCann (National Secretary of the Y.C.W.) and Frank McClean (Townsville Y.C.W. President) responded on behalf of the visitors. During his address, Dr. Simonds gave an inspiring explanation of Catholic Action and of .the Y.C.W. Movement’s part in it. He pointed out that Catholic Action was as old as the Church. “It was not the Popes,” he said, “who opened the priesthood to the laity—it was Christ. The Popes have merely reminded us of that fact. The Y.C.W. must begin in the parishes; first with small numbers of leaders who would be trained in the technique of the movement. The Y.C.W. was an apostolic movement—an official sharing in the Bishop’s apostolate.”


Holy Mass was celebrated by Rev. F. W. Lombard in All Hallows’ Hall at 9.30 a.m. on Tuesday, August 21, to mark the opening of the conference. At the conclusion of Mass Dr. Simonds, who presided throughout the conference, delivered his opening address. Congratulating priests and leaders on the zeal which had brought them to Brisbane for this important conference, Dr. Simonds also reminded them that the Sacrament of Baptism enabled us to share in the life of Christ and therefore in the priesthood of Christ. Confirmation added to this sharing in the priesthood of Christ.

The priests and leaders had separate conferences on the Tuesday. The following papers were read to the priests: “The Choice of Leaders,” by Rev. R. Walton (Toowoomba); “Spiritual Formation,” by Rev. D. J. Stewart (Townsville); “The Gospel Meditation,” by Rev. A. Tynan (Brisbane).

The leaders heard and discussed these papers: “Leaders’ Group Organisation,” John Maguire (Camberwell); “General Branch Organisation,” Ted Long (Melbourne); “Diocesan and National Control,” Frank McCann (National Secretary). On Wednesday and Thursday, priests and leaders met in. general conference and the following papers were submitted to them: “Contact and Influence,” by Don McKenna (Brisbane president); “The General Enquiry,” by Ted Long (Melbourne secretary); “Services,” by Frank McCann (national secretary); “Vocational Groups,” by Rev. J. Mclnerney (Melbourne); “Rehabilitation,” by Rev. F. W. Lombard (Melbourne Diocesan Chaplain). Each paper was followed by discussions among small groups and in this way many useful suggestions were forthcoming when group leaders reported back to the general assembly. The conference was brought to a close with a summary of the proceedings by Dr. Simonds. His Grace thanked everyone present for their zealous co-operation and the hard work they had put into the conference. He also expressed pleasure at the outstanding success of the conference, which had exceeded his most optimistic anticipations.


Thursday afternoon and Friday were devoted to a meeting of the Provisional National Committee. The committee, which is only a provisional one, is, for the present, appointed by the Episcopal Chairman and consists of representatives from each diocese where the Y.C.W. is established. The national secretary’s report revealed the continuous growth and development of the movement throughout Australia. The movement now has groups in 20 Catholic dioceses in Australia; has a membership of ten thousand and can claim 1000 leaders partly or fully trained. Reports were submitted by representatives of other dioceses represented, and they showed favourable progress.

A large agenda was gone through by the committee on a variety of items, including the 1946 national programme for the Y.C.W.; consolidation of leadership training; extension of services; assistance in industry and rehabilitation; inter-diocesan relationships and the next annual conference. At the conclusion of the meeting a vote of thanks to his Grace Dr. Simonds for his invaluable service as chairman of the conference and committee was carried with warm acclamation, on the motion of Rev. D. J. Stewart (Townsville), seconded by Ted Long (Melbourne).


On the Thursday night, 300 members of the Y.C.W. and N.C.G.M. of Brisbane attended a rally which commenced with devotions and Pontifical Benediction in the Holy Name Crypt, Brisbane. His Grace Dr. Duhig addressed the youth and called on them to accept the challenge to serve God gloriously in and through their youth. Later, the youth were entertained in the Leader Hall by a showing of a Melbourne Y.C.W. film and a short concert programme.

It can be safely said that the Y.C.W. representatives came to Brisbane for the definite purpose of helping to propagate the movement in Australia, Many priests and leaders had come at heavy personal sacrifice; they did it willingly that they might assist the conference—contribute to it what they could and take from it what would help them in the work of their apostolate.

Leaders who had met previously only in correspondence are now personal friends, brought closer together in their common work of forming a new youth to build a new Australia. By now, the great and historic gathering at Brisbane has dispersed and the leaders who were there are back at their normal daily work again, a work in which they will live and spread Christ.

Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., Episcopal Chairman of Y.C.W., with delegates to the National Conference of the movement, recently held at Brisbane.


Widespread Growth of Australian Y.C.W. (Advocate, Wednesday 5 September 1945, page 8) (Trove)

Power House Of Christian Youth

Y.C.W. Training Centre Opened By Archbishop

“I TAKE a deep interest in the movement, and I would be quite unworthy of my position if I did not realise its value. I have no misgivings about its prospects of great success.” This was stated by his Grace the Archbishop in opening “Maiya Wamba,” the training centre of the Y.C.W. movement, in Weatherall-road, Cheltenham, on Sunday last.

“I can assure you that you could not have given me a better birthday present than to give me the opportunity of coming to this function and formally open ‘Maiya Wamba,’” said his Grace. “We are greatly privileged in having with us to-day the Bishop of Kimberley. I know he was anxious to be here, but it looked as if he would be now on his way to his distant diocese. However, Providence intervened, and he lost his place on the ’plane. In consequence, he was able to avail himself of the opportunity to be with us to-day. These buildings have already been blessed and, as it were, baptized, and this is the day of their Confirmation. They have been given the aboriginal name of ‘Maiya Wamba,’ and it is very appropriate on the day of Confirmation of this institute that we should have the Bishop of the aboriginals here. I am delighted that an aboriginal name was selected for this institution. To my mind ‘Maiya Wamba’ is a musical and very appropriate name.

Tribute to Archbishop Simonds and Fr. Lombard

“I am sorry,” added his Grace, “that Archbishop Simonds is not here to-day because this movement owes a great deal to him. I know he is most deeply interested in the Y.C.W.M. and that his hopes for the future of Australia are largely, if not almost wholly, centred in the movement. I regret that circumstances do not permit him to be here, but I am sure he is with us in spirit, and he has made a notable contribution to the funds. “Nobody has done more for the movement than Fr. Lombard, who is really its father in Melbourne. His enthusiasm and indefatigable zeal have already carried him a long way. I would ask his executive committee to spare him as much as possible and not to make more use of him than could be reasonably expected. I am delighted to avail myself of the opportunity on this occasion to return him my most grateful thanks for what he has done for the youth of Melbourne, and, by his example, I hope, for the youth of the whole of Australia. It is a pleasure to me to do whatever I can to assist this movement. I hope it will increase in usefulness in the years to come and that it will be a backbone to Catholicity and Christianity in Australia.

Time for Action

“I need not dwell upon the need of the movement. Fr. Lombard and other speakers have already dealt with this aspect, and the time for talking about it is really over. It is the time now for doing things. You are asked to put your hands to the plough, and I know you are not going to look back. There is a heavy responsibility on the movement I know the generosity of the Melbourne people. They have never been known to fail, and they are not going to fail to support this admirable institution. The contributions that have already come in show that the appeal has touched the hearts of the people. Collections were also taken up to-day in the various churches, and I am confident when the amounts are made known that Fr. Lombard and his committee, who have given such notable assistance, will have easy minds and consciences. I congratulate Fr. Lombard, and I thank, in a special way, the laymen who came to his help and urged him to go forward and not trouble about finances. I know that the people of Melbourne can be relied on to meet the financial responsibilities, and the institution will be able to face the future without being hampered by a heavy debt. I thank all those who nave helped this movement, and I also thank those who have come here to-day in such splendid numbers to show sympathy with the movement and to inspect this splendid property. I hope your sympathy will never lessen, and that this great institution, where youths will be trained for their important work, will fulfil our highest hopes and expectations. May the Confirmation of ‘Maiya Wamba’ to-day be a memorable event in the history of the Y.C.W. movement.”


Rev. F. Lombard, P.P., said he hoped his Grace would be spared to be with them for many years. There was no diocese in Australia where the interests of youth received greater consideration than in the Archdiocese of Melbourne. “Maiya Wamba” was a power house to infuse a Christ-like spirit amongst Australian youth, and it was the Church’s answer to the problem of youth. He believed that present-day youths were just as good as youths of the past, but they had to face graver difficulties. In the workshops and factories religion was belittled, and many youths failed to stand up against the forces surrounding them. It was necessary that boys and girls should be specially trained to face the difficulties, and the Y.C.W. movement had been set up to enable boys to lead Christian lives.

Taking the Offensive

It was a movement of action and attacked the evil. Youth movements had been very successful in France, Belgium, England and Ireland, and he was confident that the Y.C.W. movement would be equally successful in Melbourne. At “Maiya Wamba” leaders, would be trained, and they would study the problems of daily life. The purpose of the movement was to make youths see that Our Blessed Lord was a Leader beyond all other leaders, and to implant in their minds the need for spreading the principles of Christ. Already some 200 boys had had a course of instruction at the Home. The cost of the building and 10 acres was £5000, and, in furnishings and improvements, from £1500 to £2000 was spent. He hoped that a generous response would be made to the appeal for funds. It meant much for the Church in Australia to make the movement a great success. Already £1400 or £1500 had been subscribed, and be hoped that the amount would be increased to £2000 by that day’s appeal. In addition, special collections were to come from the various churches. A long subscription list was afterwards read, and among the donors were Archbishop Mannix, £100, and Archbishop Simonds, £10. The day’s collection exceeded £1000. Other speakers were Mr. L. McLennan, chairman of the committee; Bishop Raible, P.S.M.; Mr. E. Long, president of the Y.C.W. movement; Mr. Field, M.L.A.; and the Mayor of Moorabbin. Apologies for inability to be present were received from Archbishop Simonds, Hon. A. A. Calwell (Minister for Information), Hon. I. Macfarlan, K.C., and Mr. H. M. Cremean, M.L.A. A vote of thanks to his Grace was carried with acclamation at the instance of Mr. P. J. Mitchell, seconded by Mr. C. Clements. A guard of honour was furnished by 1500 Young Christian Workers, who displayed their fine standards. The property, which has spacious grounds, was inspected by the large assembly, and favourable comments were made on its situation and its suitableness for training work. At the close of the speech-making, Solemn Benediction was given in the open by Bishop Raible.

Among those present together with his Grace the Archbishop and Bishop Raible were Very Rev. J. M. Murphy, S.J.; Very Rev. J. Meagher, S.J.; Very Rev. T. Considine, S.J.; Very Rev. J. Ciantar, S.C.; Very Rev. H. Bakker, P.P.; Rev. Frs. A. J. Martin, Cullinan, (S.A.), Lande, G. and N. Coughlan, O’Donnell, Arthur, Hunter, J. O’Rorke, O.P.; Aquinas, O.F.M.; Vill and Kupke, P.S.M.; Dorias, S.S.S.; T. Daly, J. A. Kelly, O’Neill, English, Catarinich, D. Coakley, Hardy, J. F. Kelly, J. Perkins, Rovira, Dando, S.J.; Hannan, Sullivan; Rev. Bro. Jerome; Messrs. Field and Mullins, M’s.L.A., and the Mayor of Moorabbin. Before the opening ceremony selections were played by St. Vincent de Paul’s Boys’ Band and the Irish Pipers’ Band.

“Maiya-Wamba” Rhymes with Rhumba

At the opening of the Y.C.W. Training Centre at Cheltenham on Sunday there was some variety among the crowd in the pronouncement of the name, “Maiya Wamba.” According to Dr. Herman Nekes, P.S.M., the missionary philologist and authority on aboriginal linguistics, who suggested the name, the closest approximation to the native inflection would rhyme with “rhumba.” The word “Maiya” (rhymes with “high-ya”) means “house” and occurs substantially in all Australian native languages, while “Wamba,” which means “men,” is peculiar to the north-west tribes of the Yaora (Broome) and the Njol-Njol (Beagle Bay). The combination, therefore, means “House of Men.”


“Looking Back and Looking Forward”

Acknowledging birthday greetings at “Maiya-Wamba” on Sunday, his Grace the Archbishop said: “! will always endeavour to keep in touch with young people. After all, I am not as old as I might be. In a letter I received some time ago from South Australia, the writer told me he was not an old man, though he was 84. This is the right way, 1 think, to look at life, looking back and looking forward.”


Power House Of Christian Youth (Advocate, Wednesday 8 March 1944, page 7) (Trove)

130 Priests Attend Y.C.W. Conference

Role of Clergy and Laity in Catholic Action Discussed

Archbishops Mannix, Simonds, Tweedy at Sessions

THE Y.C.W. is a movement with vision — the vision of an enthusiastic Catholic youth leading the youth of Australia to the cause, of Christ the King,” said His Grace the Coadjutor-Archbishop of Melbourne, Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., in an important address on the Young Christian Workers to members of the Hierarchy and clergy at a Y.C.W. conference last week. Archbishop Simonds is the Episcopal chairman of the movement. Represented at the conference, besides the four Victorian dioceses, were the dioceses of Maitland, Wilcannia-Forbes, Wagga Wagga (N.S.W.), Toowoomba, Townsville (Queensland), Adelaide, Port Augusta (South Australia), Hobart (Tasmania) and Perth (WA).


“The rising tide of paganism,” continued his Grace, “is not destined to engulf the Church of God, for we can see that the Holy Spirit is already brooding anew over the modern chaos to produce a new human world. The most significant inspiration of the Divine Spirit in our days is that by which He has reawakened in the Church the consciousness that the apostolate of Christ’s Kingdom is not a reserved occupation of the clergy, but is the normal radiation of Christian life by every member of the Body of Christ. The Y.C.W. is youth’s response to that awakening.

“It is an authentic movement of Catholic Action. It has merited many striking eulogies from Pope Pius XI., who, among other things, did not hesitate to say: ‘We have given the definition of Catholic Action and that definition has been perfectly interpreted by the Young Christian Workers.’

“To organise a similar apostolate amongst Australian youth is our high purpose and privilege. I am sure you feel with me that your presence here to-day is destined to become historic, for you are helping to enkindle an apostolic flame in the minds and hearts of young Australians, that will undoubtedly be glowing with its brightest intensity in future years that we shall not live to see.


“The part which the priest has to play in Catholic Action is a very important one, but, at the same time, it is a delicately adjusted role. Pope Pius XI. applied to the chaplains, or ecclesiastical assistants of Catholic Action, the words of the Psalmist: “in manibus tuis sortes meae.” That is the. reason why this conference has been convoked, for I realise that the fate of the Y.C.W. in Australia in its initial stages will be largely in the hands of the clergy. In outlining the role of the priests, the Pope said: ‘The ecclesiastical assistants should be the soul of the associations, the sources of energy, the inspirers of the apostolate, the representatives of episcopal authority.’ These are, of course, normal priestly activities. But the Holy Father was careful to add that the direction of the responsibility of the associations must be left to the” laity. As ministers of Christ and dispensers of the mysteries of God your function will be to form the leaders and members of the Y.C.W. in a thoroughly Catholic spirit, and to give general guidance to the technique of the apostolate according to the directions of the Hierarchy. But the work of the apotolate and the management of their groups are the responsibility of the youth themselves.


“The spiritual formation of the leaders and members is by far your most important work. It is therefore fundamentally important that every ecclesiastical assistant should have clear ideas upon the nature of the lay apostolate, and its relation to the Mystical Body of Christ. The call to Catholic Action is not just a new technique to meet present difficulties by adding lay curates to the clergy because of deficiencies in their ranks. Catholic Action is essential to the very life of the Church. The laity’s right to participate in the apostolate has existed from the beginning, but its importance and its responsibilities are being revealed in a fresh light in modern times. It is a direct consequence of their membership in the Mystical Body of Christ; and the authentic sign of this right is the indelible sacramental character impressed on their souls in the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. Though all the sacraments confer sanctifying grace by which, in St. Peter’s thrilling words, we become partakers of the Divine Nature, three of the sacraments imprint on the soul an indelible character. According to St. Thomas’ beautiful teaching, this character received in the sacraments is actually the character of Christ, or as the word implies, an express image of the beautiful soul of Christ our High Priest, indelibly impressed on the soul. Its triple form indicates the member’s rank in the Mystical Body, and the degree in which he has been admitted to share in the priesthood of the Divine High Priest. “While, therefore, sanctifying grace incorporates us into the Divine Life of Christ, the sacramental character is the seal of our incorporation into the powers of Christ, in particular his priestly powers. This participation in Christ’s priesthood by sacramental character is not a mere passive one. It enables the baptised member to become a co-offerer of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, directly and personally. It confers on the confirmed member the right and the duty of teaching, admonishing and strengthening others in their duty to God. Whilst through the character of Holy Orders the ordained priest becomes so closely identified with Christ that he is able to offer the Eucharistic Sacrifice and confer the sacraments in the person of the Divine Redeemer. Confirmation is therefore the sacrament of Catholic Action; indeed, St. Thomas does not hesitate to call it a quasi ordination. It does not, of course, incorporate the recipient into the administrative and teaching authority of the Hierarchy, but it entitles him to be formally invited to assist in the apostolate. So when he receives this commission he acquires no new rights beyond those already given by the character of Baptism and Confirmation.


“It will be your chief function to inspire your leaders with’ a profound realisation of their dignity as members of the Mystical Body, and to fire them with an enthusiasm for Christ their Leader, and for His holy cause in which they have a personally responsible interest. They must know their Leader intimately, for to know Him is to love Him. Therefore, the prayerful study of the Gospel, which puts before them the fascinating personality of Christ, and which teaches them His spirit and His standards of judgment and action, is an integral part of the formation of Y.C.W. leaders. But since the Christian priesthood has two great functions, the apostolate for souls and the liturgical worship of God, it follows that those who are called to share in the apostolate must also actively share in the liturgical worship and prayers of the Church. Both Pius X and Pius XI insisted that the formation of the leaders will not be complete until they have acquired an intense supernatural spirit, that must be drawn from its ‘foremost and indispensable fount, which is liturgical – worship.’ It is also important, of course, that as they are being made more vividly conscious of their incorporation into the Church’s apostolate and worship, they should also grow in loving appreciation of the unique relation which the Blessed Mother bears to the Head and the members of the Mystical Body, and the providential part that she exercises -in the apostolate as the Mother of Divine Grace.


“This whole formation will require long and-patient effort, but I am happy to be able to announce that his Grace the Archbishop has already taken a step which is of. prime importance in the task of training. A property with extensive grounds has recently been purchased at Cheltenham, where selected . groups of leaders will be able to spend each weekend in a course of training and direction uncler one of the chaplains. This action of the Archbishop in setting up for the Y.C.W. leaders a novitiate, that will be the powerhouse f spiritual and intellectual energy of the movement, is destined to have a profound nfluence on the future of its apostolate.


“Side by side with the spiritual formation of the militants goes your responsibility f general guidance in the technique of the apostolate according to the directions of the hierarchy. The special field of the apostolate of the Y.C.W. is that vast mass of Australian youth whose lives are, for the most part, cast in an environment that is either coldly indifferent or actively hostile to the Christian spirit. The Y.C.W. is not just another defensive club that aims at segregating its members and sheltering them from the corrosive influence of their environment. It is a militant and apostolic movement that is determined to take the offensive by penetrating into the environment of the workers, and impregnating its movements and activities with the spirit of Christ.

“Its organisation is first of all developed on parochial lines, for the parish is the canonical unit of spiritual life. But when its spirit has been captured by leaders and groups, it will then grow by division, in order to regroup itself into specialised movements. These will bring the apostolate into the special environments peculiar to groups of workers in factories, workshops or professions. Particular groupings according to common interests or environments form an essential part of Catholic Action and this is the next big development of th6 Y.C.W. which must be organised. But the Holy See has strongly insisted that the specialised movements must always retain a unity, for this is indispensable to Catholic Action. The Y.C.W. will fulfil this function of unity for all the future specialised movements of youth that will develop according to the different industrial or professional environments.


“We have opened this conference with the celebration of the Holy Sacrifice in honour of the Holy Spirit, to Whom this fair land of ours was first dedicated as the Southern Land of the Holy Ghost. Only the irresistible power of the Divine Spirit can rechristianise the mass of Australian youth, and we wish to offer the Y.C.W. to the Holy Spirit as a willing instrument in that gigantic task. You who generously offer to co-operate in that work of the Holy Ghost must bring to it an enthusiastic optimism that springs from profound confidence in the power of the Holy Spirit and the efficacy of prayer and work in His Name.

“Each morning we ascend the altar in those conditions of tranquillity and spiritual security that belong to the priesthood. It is especially in those moments of grace that we must have compassionate thought for that vast mass “of Australian youth which the voracious industrial machine drags each morning into its inhuman vortex, and after a day of soulless service to the machine is cast out again each evening into homes or places of amusement from which the spirit of Christ has been mostly excluded. More than once the great Heart of our Divine Master was so moved to. compassion at the sight of a crowd fainting with physical hunger, that He gave them miraculous bread. He is surely more deeply moved at the sight of the spiritually starving youth of to-day, and even more anxious to multiply through, the hands of His modern apostles the spiritual bread that endureth unto life everlasting.’ “During the present year the Episcopal Committee for Catholic Action requested me to undertake the direction of the Young Christian Workers’ Movement, which promises to develop into one of the most fruitful activities of the lay apostolate. It was thought fitting that the first conference called to organise the movement on national lines should be a conference of members of the Hierarchy and clergy, whose duty it will be to guide the beginnings of this important movement. I have therefore profound pleasure in bidding you a cordial welcome to the conference, and I express my sincere gratitude for your presence.”


130 Priests Attend Y.C.W. Conference (Advocate, Thursday 28 October 1943, page 7) (Trove)

Archbishop Simonds Defines Policy of Young Christian Workers

Archbishop Simonds Defines Policy of Young Christian Workers

Inspiring and Directive Address to Chaplains

ARCHBISHOP SIMONDS Episcopal Chairman, Y.C.W.

T H E policy to be followed iii the formation and development of the Young Christian Workers was clearly defined by the recently – appointed episcopal chairman of the movement, his Grace the Coadjutor-Archbishop, Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., Ph.D., in a decisive address to close on fifty Y.C.W. chaplains and priests interested in this field of Catholfc Action, on Thursday last, June 17.

His Grace, who was in Belgium when the J.O.C. was being organised by its founder, Canon Cardijn, spoke with intimate knowledge of the movement, its problems, and the specific aims of the Holy See in its regard. His impressive address was listened to with great attention.

After thanking Fr. Lombard for organising such an impressive gathering of priests interested in the Apostolate of Youth, Archbishop Simonds said that it was not his original intention to make a formal address to the conference. He had come to hear from them the fruits of their experience in Young Christian Workers’ organisation, and to listen to the discussions concerning- its prospects and problems. However, the presence of so many enthusiastic young priests gave him an opportunity, as the newly – appointed episcopal chairman, to outline some points of policy which he wished the movement to follow, and he felt sure that they would give him loyal co-operation.


“The guiding principle of the Y.C.W.,” said his Grace, “must be an unswerving determination to follow loyally and enthusiastically the directions and advice on Catholic Action that have been given by the Holy See. In the particular form of Catholic Action in which we are engaged it is fortunate that we have the Belgian and French J.O.C. as a guide, for it is admittedly the finest example of the Church’s apostolate amongst the workers that has yet been evolved. It was pronounced by the late Holy Father a “model of Catholic Action.” In reality, it is more than that; it embodies an ideal which stamps it as the most essentially .Christian movement amongst the social organisations of the Church. In Belgium and France, where it reached its highest degree of success with 400,000 members, it has, unhappily, been emasculated or driven underground by Nazi tyranny. But we feel sure that its eclipse is only temporary, and it is gratifying to know that a very vigorous branch of the parent tree flourishes in Canada with a membership already/ amounting to 40,000 active Young Christian Workers. It is my sincere hope, and it shall be my ideal, to produce in Australia a movement of Young Christian Workers, organised on similar lines and inspired by the same ideals.


“I happened to be in Belgium during some of the period when the J.O.C. was being organised by its founder, Canon Cardijn, and know something of the problem it was created to solve and the methods it employed with such success. It has been stated on reliable authority that nine-tenths of the Belgian boys and girls, who began their industrial life at the age of fourteen in factories and work shops, abandoned all religious practice and were lost to the Church within a few months. The figures seem incredible, but it is admitted by those in close touch with the industrial youth of Belgium, that they are not exaggerated. Since most of these children spent from six to eight years in the Catholic schools, the strength of materialistic socialism in Belgian industrial life was recognised as the greatest challenge to the Catholic life of Belgium. Though the problem in Australia may not be so appalling, yet everyone in touch with youth knows very well that the defections of our Catholic youth in the postschool age reach depressing proportions. The number of boys who have never been to the Sacraments since they left school is far too large, and it is our special apostolate to spiritualise the lives of these spiritual defectives as well as the great mass of unbelieving youth.


“The founder of the J.O.C. was determined that its work should be thorough; that it should cover the whole person of the adolescent with an entire formation—religious, intellectual, social, vocational and moral. The organisation is based on local groups, united into regional federations, which are, in turn, grouped into national federations. Since the Bishops have appointed me national chairman of the movement, I propose to carry out their wishes by following the successful plan of Canon Cardijn, aiming at the organisation of parochial, diocesan, regional and national federations of the Australian Y.C.W, The movement must embrace young boys and men from school-leaving age to about twenty-five, for it would be impossible to get the best leaders if the movement were confined to those between fourteen and eighteen years of age. It will be organised on a parish basis, with, small cells for training under a “militant” lay leader or chaplain. For some time in Australia the chief burden of the formation of leaders will be the responsibility of the chaplains, but in due time we shall have an army of militant lay leaders, who will be the dynamic force of the movement.


“You have already been given a technique for training the leaders, and have been working on it with a great measure of success hitherto. Some of the chaplains are inclined to question the value of the ‘Gospel Enquiry,’ and think that the leaders could be more effectively trained if the work of their formation were entrusted to the Legion of Mary. I feel bound to make it clear that the Y.C.W. of Australia must follow loyally and with enthusiasm the directions that have been given by the Holy See in the matter of Catholic Action at work. The constitution of Catholic Action has been given to the Church by the Holy Father, and in following out that constitution loyally we may be sure of doing the work of God. It is fundamental to Catholic Action that it must be controlled by the Bishop, for Catholic Action is a share which the laity receives in the Apostolate of the Bishops. It is .the Bishop who is charged with the responsibility of giving an apostolic mandate to a particular lay movement, and of directing the formation of its leaders and its activities. The technique by which the J.O.C. militants have been formed has been so eminently successful, and has been so enthusiastically commended by the Holy Father, that I should be afraid of frustrating the will of the Holy See by allowing any auxiliary body, however estimable, to divert its spirit and inspiration into other channels. In his Encyclical Letters, and also in his private letters to Bishops, Pius XI. laid’ down the constitution and the spirit of Catholic Action, but he gave what was perhaps his most compelling teaching on ‘the matter when he instituted the liturgical feast of Christ the King. By the institution of this great festival he wished to impress on all Catholics their mysterious incorporation into the Mystical Body of Christ, and to recall them to a new loyalty and enthusiasm for Christ their Leader and King. This is precisely the driving force and inspiration of the Y.C.W. movement —an intense loyalty for Christ their Leader in a pagan world.


“In the spiritual formation of the Y.C.W. leaders we shall not confine ourselves to the ‘Gospel Enquiry,’ which is only a first step towards enthusing the leaders with loyalty to Christ. It is a disappointing fact that so few of the Y.C.W. members are to be found at Holy Mass during the week days. Perhaps the present disorganisation of family life may largely account for their absence, but our Catholic youth must be deeply impressed with their membership in the Mystical Body of Christ and be taught to realise their active participation in the sacramental life of the Church and its worship. Pope Pius X. once said that ‘the source of a truly Christian spirit is to be found in active participation in the Holy Mysteries and the Church’s prayers.’ Pope Pius XI. repeated his predecessor’s words with even greater insistence. In obedience to these directions from the Popes the J.O.C. devoted several years to an attempt to bring the workers into intimate contact with the great mysteries of Christ as they are lived each year in the cycle of the Church’s feasts. Beginning with Baptism, the militants set out with the determination of impressing on each member and prospective member the great truth that by Baptism man is born to a life that is divine, and incorporated into membership of the Mystical Body of Christ and the communion of saints. Mass renewal of baptismal vows, sometimes made in the presence of socialist workers, created a deep impression of their solidarity in Christ. It was no uncommon sight to see a group of socialist workers standing round a haptismal font, whilst a J.O.C. enthusiast explained to them the significance of the incomparable rite which was being enacted there, and the nature of the citizenship conferred. A whole year was devoted to an intensive campaign on behalf of the sacramental life conferred by each sacrament, and the year devoted to Christian marriage made a most profound impression upon the members.


“Side by side with the spiritual formation, proceeds the technique of enquiry and contact. The method used is the old scholastic one of ‘observation, judgment and action,’ and hence it would be rash to desire to substitute any other. The leader questions the young workers to draw out their observations on the moral and material conditions in their homes, places of work, and general environment. With the help of the chaplain all then try to reach a sound, conclusive judgment on these conditions, and whenever it is found necessary a constructive course of action is decided upon and carried out.

“I hope that in the near future we shall have a national conference of priests interested in the Y.C.W., and that we shall be able to organise in Australia a national movement of Young Christian Workers with a spirit and a technique similar to the parent body. I appeal to you for loyal cooperation in carrying out this plan, no matter what may be your predilection for a particular ideal of training. With the enthusiastic and loyal co-operation of the priests there is no reason why the grace of the Holy Soirit should not succeed in developing in Australia a Y.C.W. like the parent body, which merited from Pope Pius XI these stirring words:

“You are the glory of Jesus Christ! Your action is the highest form of Catholic Action in the Church!'”


Archbishop Simonds Defines Policy of Young Christian Workers (Advocate, Thursday 24 June 1943, page 5) (Trove)

Bishops’ Statement on Catholic Action

The Episcopal Committee on Catholic Action—his Grace the Archbishop of Melbourne, Most Rer. D. Mannix, D.D., president; his Grace the Archbishop of Hobait, Most Rev. J. D. Simonds, D.D., secretary; and his Lordship the Bishop of Mail-land, Most Rev. E. Gleeson, D.D.—following its fourth meeting has authorised the publication of the following statement.

AT the general meeting of the Bishops of Australia and New Zealand which was held in Sydney on September 13, 1937, an Episcopal Committee was appointed to undertake the work of stimulating and directing the work of Catholic Action throughout Australia and New Zealand for a period of five years. At the first meeting of the committee, which was held in Melbourne on November 3, 1937, it was decided to set up a National Secretariat of Catholic Action which would accept the direction of the Episcopal Committee in co-ordinating existing organisations of Catholic Action and assisting each diocese to form the necessary diocesan groups as units of a National Movement of Catholic Action. Following its fourth meeting, the Episcopal Committee wishes to indicate to the Hierarchy the main lines upon which the National work has been undertaken, and to suggest some general directions in which the National body should be guided to function.

It was realised from the beginning that progress in the early stages would be slow, and that spectacular results could not be expected. The leaders of Catholic Action have wisely refused to set up extensive and grand organisations within a short time. They have preferred to concentrate on the arduous task of training leaders in every walk of life, so that the new movement would be imbued from the start with the right spirit and would use the soundest methods, tested and proved in other countries and carefully adapted to our own needs. They have realised that the layman must be formed in the spirit of Christ, must study well the means he is to employ, and know thoroughly the environment he. is to penetrate and transform before he can act effectively on it.


The task of the lay movement in Australia is made particularly difficult by the huge distances which separate our main centres of life. It is not as easy here as it is in more densely populated lands to organise conferences or communicate ideas; nor in a country which has just passed from the missionary stage are there always to spare for this new work those priests whose inspiration and guidance are so essential.

The coming of the war itself, which has taken off so many men for military and patriotic service, has further held up development. Nevertheless, no one who has seen the work of the last three years can fail to be deeply gratified at what has been accomplished. We rejoice at the great, though almost imperceptible, changes which have come over the Catholic life of this country, at the vigorous and self-sacrificing spirit being manifested everywhere and among all, particularly among our young men and girls.


In the beginning it was not possible to do more than organise discussion groups for people who were ready to meet together with the intention of deepening their own spiritual lives and informing themselves on the Catholic attitude to the main questions of the day. Gradually, these groups are being changed into groups of leaders, who are prepared to go out and gather the mass of people of their own kind into strong and comprehensive movements. Much excellent literature has now been compiled for their use in the form of handbooks and programmes, pamphlets and special books, which set out the practical means for creating and maintaining these movements. To be commended are the courage and patience of those who have pioneered •in these groups, who have been prepared to experiment and thus discover the most efficient methods.


We approve also the line which has been followed by the National Secretariat in the development of the Catholic Action movements—namely, that of specialisation. This policy—repeatedly insisted on by the late Holy Father—was confirmed by his successor, the present Pontiff, Pius XI., in his first public pronouncement on Catholic Action: “For the apostle, to be listened to, must speak, not to representatives of some abstract humanity which would belong to all countries, to all times; and all conditions, but to a particular group of one’s own kind, in a particular country, at a particular level of the social hierarchy. That is one of the golden rules traced by the ever-lamented Pontiff who was the great promoter of Catholic Action, and who remains now its invisible inspirer.”

Thus the principle is itself beyond doubt or argument, though the exact limits and scope of specialised bodies have to be worked out in Australia and New Zealand according to our own conditions.

It is gratifying to see the progress that has been already made along those lines, and how organisations of farmers, university students, school children, married women, professional men and women, have already developed in this way. Thus each section of the community addresses itself to people of its own kind. This policy—by which trained apostles within different sections of the community dedicate themselves to the transformation of their own particular environment—is the one which promises most for the restoration of Australia to Christ.


Catholic Action is not a mere aggregation of individual activities, but a single organisation which comes into existence and operates under the direction of the Bishop. Those who wish to join in this grand apostolate must, therefore, become members of diocesan organisations established directly by the Bishop and must play their part according to plans designed by him. It is obvious that unless the labours of individuals are consolidated by being linked up in diocesan and, finally, national movements, they will achieve little. The conditions of Australian life to which we have referred require that local organisations should receive the aid and advice that only a national office can provide, that they should have available the programmes drawn up by experienced persons, and that they should join-in the great campaigns of the National Movement. This will provide a feeling of confidence, a concerted force, a conquering spirit and a series of beneficial services that are quite essential for success.


Consequently, we have given our approval to the National Catholic Rural Movement as the official specialised organisation for the Catholic rural community. His Lordship the Bishop of Wagga Wagga (Most Rev. F. A. Henschke) has been appointed Episcopal Chairman of the Rural Movement, signalising the incorporation of this movement of Catholic Action with the official apostolic mission of the Church in Australia.

We urge the formation as soon as possible of a National Movement for Catholic girls. We hope that similar procedure will be followed in due time for young workers, for adult workers, for students, for married women and for groupings of professional men and women.


The adoption of these principles will -enable our organisations to grow according to a clear and well-considered plan. Such a plan has been, already drawn up by the National Secretariat of Catholic Action, Its adoption will prevent duplication, unnecessary competition and waste of effort.

It is based on the very sound principle that, in order to prevent many evils and to give that strength and unity which are so necessary to-day, there should be only one large organisation for the mass of Catholics in any milieu.

We recommend all Catholic organisations which desire to be associated with Catholic Action to take this plan into serious consideration and to consult the diocesan authorities when preparing new developments within their own ranks.

It is most desirable, also, that the diocesan authorities in turn should not commit themselves to policies which may have a bearing on national issues, without first taking counsel with the National Secretariat—the administrative organ of the Episcopal Committee —which is in a position to know the mind of the Episcopal Committee. The national unity and strength which we all desire can only be attained if all agree, loyally to co-operate in the national plan, the preparation and supervision of which is one of the most valuable functions of the National Secretariat.


This co-ordination is all the more desirable because of the very nature of the problem which Catholic Action is designed to meet. It is nothing less than the complete rebuilding and reform of modern society; not a mere tinkering with details, not the filling in of occasional gaps. It includes in its scope almost all modern issues except those pertaining to purely economic or purely- political affairs. It involves, as the late Holy Father said, not only a change of individuals, but a change of the whole environment in which individuals live—in effect, the making of a new world whose traditions and institutions will be based on Christian teaching.

This magnificent and inspiring programme will not be achieved by isolated and haphazard efforts, however noble and energetic, but only by the drawing together of these changed individuals into collective and disciplined mass movements of Christians combining their prayers, their talents and their actions towards the restoration of all things in Christ. The Supreme Pontiffs, clearly foreseeing the calamities which now have come upon society, have established in Catholic Action a spirit and a technique particularly adapted to bring about this reform of men and of institutions.


It is scarcely necessary to remind Catholics that Catholic Action—especially in these times when political passions have grown so fierce—must stand clearly apart from all politics. Consequently, it is undesirable that leaders in Catholic Action should also act as leaders in political movements, though they will retain, of course, the normal rights of citizens to belong as ordinary members to such political parties. Great care should be taken that local political matters be not discussed at meetings of Catholic Action bodies and that the movement be not used in any way for the support of political parties.


Attention is called to the valuable results that would follow from the more systematic organisation of the sale and distribution of Catholic literature. If efficient press units are established in parishes for this end they will not only give considerable assistance to the Catholic press, but will also be able to place popularly-written and inexpensive pamphlets in the hands of Catholics and non-Catholics alike. The National Secretariat is now able to supply detailed information on the practical organisation of press units to those who wish to undertake this valuable apostolic work.


We are pleased to see the generous collaboration of Catholic Action with other Catholic organisations, whether they be pious, charitable or. socioeconomic. It is not the wish or the intention of Catholic Action to supersede existing Catholic bodies or to take dver work which they are performing satisfactorily, but rather to assist and support them in every way. In turn, these other bodies should do all in their power (as auxiliary societies) to further the growth of Catholic Action and collaborate in its campaigns.

Moreover, those auxiliary bodies should not enter into competition with Catholic Action by adding to their present activities new works of a kind that fall within the sphere of Catholic Action. They should, rather, seek to carry out more perfectly the purpose for which they were originally formed, and by which they can be of great value to the Church.


We remind Catholic Actionists that their work is not mainly for themselves. The fact that they are seeking their own sanctification is assumed. Catholic Action does not exist merely for those who are convinced Catholics; rather, its main purpose is to enable those whose faith is already firm to assist those who, under the pressure of the pagan environment in which they dwell,” are inclined to be led astray. Thus, certain restrictions on membership, which are necessary in other Catholic societies, are not so advisable in Catholic Action, which must be able to attract to its ranks many who would not readily accept heavy religious obligations.

However necessary this may be for the ordinary members of such movements, it is to be constantly emphasised that the most careful attention must be given to the sound preparation of those who are chosen to lead and direct these movements and to the maintenance of a lofty standard of energy and sacrifice in the groups or committees of such leaders.


We call on the clergy, on whom falls particularly the essential task of the formation of lay apostles, to renew their valuable aid to this work. We recall the words of his Holiness Pope Pius XI., addressed to them:

“It is, therefore, your chief duty, Venerable Brethren, and that of your clergy, to seek diligently, to select prudently and train fittingly these lay apostles.”

And again:

“Catholic Action, although of its nature a work for the laity, can never begin, nor prosper, nor produce its proper fruits, without the assiduous and diligent activity of the priests.”

Already we have received with joy accounts of the self-sacrificing labours of numerous priests, who, though already burdened with pastoral duties, have given themselves to this necessary and fruitful task. We have been particularly gratified to notice the attention which has been given in recent years in the ecclesiastical seminaries to the instruction of students for the priesthood In the principles of Catholic Action. The groups of chaplains who meet together regularly in many places are building a body of information which will be most valuable to themselves and their lay collaborators. For only the priest can inspire the leaders of Catholic Action with that apostolic zeal, that sense of vocation and responsibility which must animate all their actions. The purpose of all such formation must be to produce true leaders and apostles—enthusiastic, energetic people with an attractive personality, able to use their own judgment in a crisis, capable of controlling and administering their own groups and movements, in obedience to their Bishops and in close collaboration with the clergy.


In conclusion, we give our blessing to those valiant soldiers of Christ who have already laboured so courageously for the establishment of His kingdom on earth. We confidently look forward to a most glorious harvest from the seed which they have sown. We renew our appeal to all the laity to take their proper place in Catholic Action, and thus to extend and support those magnificent projects the success of which is of such importance for the Church and for our fellow-citizens.


Archbishop of Hobart. August. 23, 1941.

Bishops’ Statement on Catholic Action (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 4 September 1941, page 25)(Trove)

The Christianising of our Debased Industrial Life


PREACHING recently at Pontifical Mass in St. Mary’s Cathedral, Hobart, His Grace, Archbishop Simonds made striking references to the cleavage between Capital and labor, the degradation of the working man in the” modern industrial machine, and -the splendid hope of the restoration of dignity and decency to the workman in the spirit of Catholic Action which is fast spreading over the world.

JESUS Christ the Workman at a craftsman’s bench is an alluring inspiration for those Christian workers of the twentieth century who are so anxious to Christianise the toil of modern industrialism instead of allowing it to degrade and demoralise them. Those of you who are familiar with the history of industry during the last couple of centuries know that a great industrial evolution—or revolution — developed during the eighteenth century when the newly invented power-driven machines began -gradually to displace the individual skill of the artisan. From this radical development the face of industrial life was changed. The ownership of the means of production passed from the hands of the workman to those who controlled capital, and with this change began most of the economic ills which afflict society to-day.

Dignity Debased.

Unhappily the economic philosophy which dominated men’s minds, at the time, encouraged the unhampered exploitation of labor, and violently resisted protective or ameliorative measures on behalf of the exploited workingman. The worker, in a condition of isolation and poverty, was forced to sell his labor on the cheapest market or suffer the cruel fate of unemployment, and slowly but surely the dignity of man became debased as he was gradually subjugated to the machine. As the victims of this system began to organise to protect their mutual interests, the laborer became conscious of his own strength and of his essential position in the industrial world. A growing chasm between the worker and his employer began to yawn, and there developed the modern state of class-warfare, which is one of the most tragic features of contemporary life. As Pope Pius XI sadly remarked, on the labor market of to-day men are sharply, divided into two classes, as into two hostile camps, and the conflicts between these two parties convert the industrial world into an arena where two armies are engaged in conflict. This line of cleavage cuts right through the whole of our social life, and as long as this condition perseveres society must be continually subjected to industrial conflicts tending towards the violence of revolution rather than to the peaceful evolution of social harmony.

Plan of Society.

Is there any Christian solution for this grave social evil except the gloomy prospect of slavery offered by the exponents of Atheistic Communism? Yes. , The Catholic Church, through the voice of her modern Pontiffs, proposes to the world a plan of society, in which the present class war may be replaced by a reign of social peace based upon the Christian virtues of justice and charity. Pope pius XI appealed for reorganisation of both Capital and Labor within each J;rade or industry by a realignment of men into occupational groups, which would replace the present class-warfare. The organisations that exist at present in industry are all on class lines; they are unions of employers alone or of employees alone, but not of employers an& employees. Wherever men have a common interest in trade or profession, the representatives of both Capital and Labor in each trade or profession should be united in joint occupational boards, sharing the interests of the trade, and meeting regularly for discussion on all points of disagreement, and for the purpose of promoting their mutual interests and this common good of all those affected by the industry.


All the occupational unions in any country would naturally be federated into a National Council of Co-operation, which would possess a large measure of autonomy in planning the economic life of its particular occupation. These autonomous unions would be able to defend the interests of all those who had any stake in the particular calling, and resist the growing tendency of the State to arrogate to itself the right of complete control. Just as every citizen in our present regime must belong to some political electorate, and be a member of some municipality, so he would belong to some occupational group or other, according to the profession or calling he pursues or according to his interests.

Pope Pius XI thus envisaged a society organically reformed and reestablished upon a true social basis, whose members co-operate for their mutual benefit in a spirit of social justice, while the soul of the whole order is charity, combined with a recognition of the dignity and the rights of man.

Human Dignity.

As a first step in implementing this Christian organisation of social and industrial life, the Popes have appealed for a recognition of the inherent worth and dignity of human labor, so that the workingman may enjoy that measure of self-respect and social esteem that is due to him. In the days of the individual artisan, whose skill produced the finished product of his particular trade, labor was invested with a radiance of its own, and appealed to the tradesman as a thing of joy. But in the mass production methods of our machine age, with its minute division of labor amongst factory “hands,” the workman has tended to become a mere appendage to the machine, and it generally happens that the repetition of monotonous and uninspiring actions is all that is required of him in his daily toil.

Is it possible to idealise or even to Christianise the soulless mechanism of modern industrial life ? Yes. Even those who take no account of the spiritual nature of man and his supernatural destiny must realise that when man is incorporated into a vocational organisation of production, such as is envisaged by the Pope, his relation to society is immediately elevated. He is no longer applying himself to his toil merely as a means of providing himself with the necessities of life, but is also conscious that the fruit of his labor is of value to the community. The usefulness which members of mast of the professions render to society is obvious to us. For example, we feel a sense of obligation and of gratitude to the medical man whose professional skill assists us to regain our health after a serious illness, and it is more or less apologetically that we offer him our fee, for his service to us is not something that can be, equated to a money value.

Under the workingman’s contribution to society is similarly realised, he has not attained to that position in society which the dignity of human labor demands. But when he is incorporated as an essential member in a vocational organisation of production, he will cease to figure in society as one who sells his labor as a mere wage-earner in order to keep body and soul together, and the social character and usefulness of his labor will be recognised in the community.

Young Christian Workers.

But for the Catholic there is something much more elevated and spiritual in the Young Christian Workers’ movement which began in Belgium about fifteen years ago, and which is fast spreading to most civilised countries. The members of this virile, organisation have taken their inspiration from Christ the Worker at His carpenter’s bench. In this lofty concept all human industry is capable of offering worship and glory to the Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost.

St. Justin tells us that Jesus Christ at His carpenter’s bench fashioned the raw material of timber into simple works of his craft, such as ploughshares and yokes, which supplied some humble human need. As a lowly carpenter He was thus continuing, extending, and evolving the creative work, by which as the Word of God He created the universe at the beginning of time. In his characteristic fashion Papini asks us to imagine how, as the pale shavings curled beneath His plane, or the sawdust dropped to the ground to the strident rhythm of His saw, He must have thought that it is a law of life that all base material must be transformed and refashioned if it is to become the useful friend of man.

Soon He would leave His bench, where He labored on base matter, to toil for souls. But the same principle would guide His work in the realm of the spirit. For just as a. plough-share was fashioned by Him from the gnarled and twisted trunk of an olive tree, as also the most hardened and unregenerate soul can be transformed by the discipline of grace into a being fit for the Kingdom of Heaven. The young Christian worker, conscious of his incorporation into Christ by grace, proclaims that work is not a curse or a slavery, but is a co-operation and collaboration With the Creator of our race. This is a refreshing conception of life and labor. It has already proved to be a veritable revolution, for these young men have already succeeded in giving a mystic significance even to the whirring wheels of modern industrialism.

Catholic Ideal.

This is the spirit of Catholic Action. I exhort everyone who wishes to see the Christianising of our debased industrial life to pray for and to work for the expansion of these ideals. What new grounds for hope are here! The new order for which the Popes have appealed has its heralds in these young Catholic Actionists who are determined to bring to bear uppn their daily toil the religion of Jesus the Carpenter.


The Christianising of our Debased Industrial Life (Southern Cross (Adelaide, SA : 1889 – 1954), Friday 29 March 1940, page 7) (Trove)

Catholic Action Conference Concludes

St. Patricks Cathedral Crowded for Dialogue Mass Archbishop Simonds on the Lay Apostolate

AN edifying demonstration was given by Catholic Actionists in the metropolis and from various country centres on Sunday morning, when they were present with delegates, attending the Catholic Action conference in Melbourne during the week, at a dialogue Mass celebrated in St. Patrick’s Cathedral by Very Rev. Dr. P. F. Lyons, Adm. The nave was entirely filled by young actionists, whose presence in such very large numbers on an extremely wet morning was most encouraging. The responses to the celebrant were clearly given by the congregation in place of the altar boys. A very large number received Holy Communion. His Grace the

Archbishop of Hobart, the Most Rev. Dr. Simonds, secretary of the Episcopal Committee on Catholic Action, presided.


The occasional discourse was preached by the Archbishop of Hobart, based on the text: “You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood.” His Grace said:

“I am deeply moved by the sight of such a magnificent gathering of young members of the lay apostolate this morning. By your corporate presence around the altar, and by your active participation in the Sacrifice of the Mass, you are to-day demonstrating your enthusiasm for the cause of Christ, and your determination to use the great prerogative which you possess as sharers in His priesthood to bring the charity and the grace of Christ to your fellow-men. You have chosen a most happy means of demonstrating this solidarity with Christ as participators in His priesthood by arranging the dialogue Mass at which we are assisting this morning. It is a vivid reminder that the Sacrifice of Christ is also your sacrifice, and that you are veritably privileged to share in the exalted office of His priesthood. A clearer realisation of this great truth of our Faith is one of the best fruits of Catholic Action.

“The other day a writer who was describing the pontificate of the late Holy Father remarked that Pope Pius XI. gave to the laity an official status in the Church and a share in the priestly office of Christ. It is not theologically correct to say that Pope Pius XI gave to the laity an official share in the priesthood of Christ. The Pope cannot change the Divine Constitution of the Church. The share which the laity has in Christ’s priesthood was given to them by Christ Himself. What Pope Pius XI did was to bring into very vivid relief this doctrine that had become somewhat obscured in the minds of the faithful. By the very fact of your incorporation into Christ’s Mystical Body through the Sacrament of Baptism, you participated in that priestly power of Christ, which was subsequently strengthened in the Sacrament of Confirmation. “St. Thomas teaches us that there are two ways in which we may be incorporated into Christ—that is, by an incorporation into His Divine Life, and by an incorporation into His Divine Power. As soon as we receive sanctifying grace in Baptism, we are raised to the supernatural state, and thereby made “partakers of the Divine Nature,” as St. Peter teaches us. One of the effects of this grace is that the Holy Spirit, indeed the three Divine Persons of the Blessed Trinity, dwell in our souls as Divine Guests. To help us nourish and foster that Divine Life, Christ our Blessed Lord has bequeathed to us the seven Sacraments. Of these seven Sacraments, four are particularly designed to promote and develop this spiritual growth in our souls. In the Most Blessed Eucharist, the very Source of Divine Life comes Himself to be our spiritual nourishment. In the Sacrament of Penance we may recover the life of grace if it is unhappily lost by mortal sin. The Sacrament of Matrimony is designed to build up the Mystical Body by the generation, not so much of children of men as of children of God. And in the final Sacrament of Extreme Unction, the soul is strengthened in grace to undertake its last step in the journey towards God.

Structural Formation

“But there are three of the seven Sacraments which are given but once—Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Orders. These three Sacraments incorporate us into the power of Christ in a manner peculiar to themselves. They are Sacraments which pertain to the structural formation of Christ’s Mystical Body, for, besides conferring grace, they fix the relations which members of that Body bear to the Head—Jesus Christ. By each of these Sacraments a seal or character is imprinted indelibly upon the soul.

St. Thomas teaches us that the character which is imparted in these Sacraments is none other than the character of Christ’s priesthood, and that each Sacrament expresses a different degree of this share in the priesthood of Christ. By Baptism we were initiated into the first degree of the priestly power of Our Divine Lord, for we thereby became capable of offering acceptable Sacrifice to God. You are exercising that power this morning by your share in the Sacrifice of the Mass offered with Christ and through Christ. In Confirmation you were initiated into a second degree of the royal priesthood, and commissioned to proclaim publicly the Faith that is in you and carry the Faith of Christ to those who do not possess it. The confirmed Catholic is a militant soldier in Christ’s army, spreading the Faith and the charity of Christ amongst his fellowmen. St. Thomas regards Confirmation as standing midway between Baptism and Holy Orders, conferring upon its recipients a second degree of the share in the priesthood of the Eternal High Priest. For this reason it is in a special manner the Sacrament of Catholic Action, and may be regarded as a species of ordination for the Catholic Actionist.

“How noble, then, and inspiring is your vocation! St. John Eudes says that the masterpiece of God’s hand is Jesus Christ, and the noblest and most august element in Jesus Christ is His priesthood. By your vocation to Catholic Action you are, called to exercise that degree of Christ’s priesthood which you possess by carrying the spiritualising power of Christ’s grace to a secular and degenerate world. Your leader is Jesus Christ, the Great High Priest, and your ideal is the building up of His Spiritual Body by a co-operation with the Hierarchy in their sacred calling. “Millions of men to-day are uplifting the clenched fist as a symbol of hatred and malevolence, and a challenge to the Spirit of Christ. There must be no hatred or malevolence in your apostolate, but the charity of your Master. His hand is also uplifted, but it is not a clenched and menacing fist, but a hand pierced with a nail that fixed it to the Cross.

His hand was uplifted to bless and absolve, not to menace. May the charity of Christ inspire all your zealous works of Catholic Action, and help you to fulfil your mission as members of a chosen generation and a royal priesthood.”




Catholic Action Conference Concludes (Advocate (Melbourne, Vic. : 1868 – 1954), Thursday 2 March 1939, page 4) (Trove)