A call for a world-wide Young Christian Workers’ movement, which will operate among the masses in factories, mines and offices was made by Canon Cardijn, founder of the movement, when he addressed the rally held in Brussels recently to celebrate the organisation’s twentieth anniversary.
The rally was one of 200 held throughout the country to mark the anniversary. Among the 10,000 who attended a meeting in Ghent were English, French and Dutch representatives. After the meetings two days were devoted to. international study groups at which many foreign delegates were present.
CANON CARDIJN’S CHALLENGE
Canon Cardijn gave a most stirring speech which opened with a challenge to the members as to whether they were prepared to accept and live in the world of barbarism and slavery which the present regime imposed. He spoke of the crusade that was needed to raise the dignity of the worker and continued:
“Are you ready to lead this crusade? Will you be Tonnets and Garcets who died at Dachau? Will you be the giants of the Faith? Will you be the builders, justifying the hopes which the J.O.C. places in you? Will you make the world accept the statute of the Worker Youth—that statute of liberation where it is not a question of any printed words, but of something alive expressing itself through your very presence?
LEADERS WERE GIANTS
“Remember the first thirteen years of the J.O.C. Remember 1912 and 1935, when J.O.C. leaders were then giants. Inspired by faith alone, they discovered those tremendous truths—the divine dignity and the eternal destiny of every worker. Every worker has his own divine vocation here on earth and by this vocation no one can take his place. Your task is to build a Christian world. The hour of the deproletarianisation of the working class has come; the hour of the real revolution has rung.
“There can be no question of a sacristy or drawing-room J.O.C. We have no use for an instrument which works outside the masses. Jocism must be within the factories, the mines, the offices, the workers’ quarters. . . . This meeting is the decisive event in the history of the world, for it alone can transform the masses so that they can continue Christ’s mission.
Mr. Pat Keegan, Britain’s delegate at the .meeting, described Canon’ Cardijn as the best ambassador whom Belgium could send abroad and Jocism as the best export from Belgium. He promised the meeting that they would build a world J.O.C.
In a message written for the anniversary, Cardinal Van Roey spoke of the “conquering apostolate” of the Jocistis, the fruitful work they had done for the young workers and of the openly Christian spirit and Catholic sense with which they had always been animated and which they had always tried to spread in society, especially among the workers’ families.
“Jocists,” he added, “will strive to establish in the torn world that peace which is so desired through their apostolic action on minds and hearts, through the dissemination of the Christian principles of justice, equity and charity, through establishing the security and ennobling of work by the concord and collaboration of the social classes.”
Y.C.W. Rally in Belgium Call for World-wide Movement (Advocate, Wednesday 26 September 1945, page 7) (Trove)