ACI Newsletter April 22

May Day

Dear Friends,

We're a bit late with this month's edition, owing to the Easter break and other work. On the plus side, we're just in time to highlight the Feast of St Joseph the Worker and May Day next week.

We were also planning to have a webinar next with South African Dominican, Fr Joe Falkiner, on his experience with the YCW under apartheid. Unfortunately, Fr Joe is not well enough to do so. Let us keep him in our prayers and hopefully we will be able to reschedule the event shortly.

And in late news we mourn the death in Brisbane of John Maguire, ecclesiastical assistant to the lay auditors at Vatican II.

Meanwhile, we feature a talk for the occasion by Bishop Vincent Long of Parramatta in which he addresses several current worker issues.

We present an excellent social enterprise, Cooee for Coffee, an initiative by the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes Diocese to provide training and employment for local young people.

German former YCW chaplain, Fr Paul Schobel SJ, issues a powerful call for peace in Ukraine. Another Jesuit, Luiz Fernando Klein explains Pope Francis' understanding of holistic education.

For historians and researchers, we issue a Call for Papers for our Jocist Women Leaders seminar to take place at the Catholic Documentation Centre in Leuven, Belgium in October.

We also remember Fr Hugh O'Sullivan, chaplain to the Adelaide, Australian and International YCW Asia-Pacific region, on the 25th anniversary of his death.

The videos of our two most recent webinars focusing on Alphonse Gratry and Caroline Chisholm are now available.

Kevin Peoples offers a colourful memoir of his time as a YCW leader in rural Victoria.

And we conclude with an important distinction insisted on by Cardijn at Vatican II between the "apostolate of the laity" in the world and "the apostolate of the faithful" common to all baptised. A particularly relevant distinction for the forthcoming Second Assembly of the Australian Plenary Council!

Stefan Gigacz
Workers need secure jobs, fair pay: Bishop Vincent
In a message for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, Bishop Vincent Long OFM Conv has highlighted the challenges many people face in working more than one job to make ends meet – and the flow-on effects of that decision.

Bishop Long, chair of the Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, acknowledged in the message that working more than one job is a positive choice for some people.

“But for others it is a matter of economic necessity,” he said.

“They are cobbling together multiple part-time or casual jobs to try to make ends meet.

“This work is usually poorly paid and insecure. There is little career progression. Casual and seasonal workers are not entitled to paid leave even when they are sick or must care for others. It is a stressful and uncertain way to live.

“Much of this work is undertaken by women. This type of work is hard on family life. It makes it difficult for young people to get a start in life.”


Workers need secure jobs, fair pay: Bishop Vincent (ACI)
Coffee initiative transforms lives
Cooee for Coffee staff
An initiative in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes is having an enormous impact on regional communities, helping locals to find employment and purpose in their lives.

Established by CatholicCare Wilcannia-Forbes, “Cooee for Coffee” provides training and employment for people living in some of the most remote parts of Australia.

CEO Anne-Marie Mioche says the initiative came about from a desire to assist those in need of employment in a way that supports the local community.

“There’s very high levels of disadvantage in the Diocese of Wilcannia-Forbes, and in places like Wilcannia real jobs are very difficult to access,” she explains.

The Cooee for Coffee van immediately became a training centre aimed at directly helping those impacted by financial hardship, substance abuse and domestic violence, providing individuals with an opportunity to break the cycle of disadvantage and to become economically secure.

“The coffee van’s success gave us the courage and the vision to want to do it in other places and so when an opportunity came up in Bourke, we thought would give it a go,” Ms Mioche says.


Coffee initiative transforms lives (ACI)
RIP John Maguire, chaplain to the Vatican II lay auditors
John Maguire
Former Brisbane priest and YCW chaplain, John Maguire, who became ecclesiastical assistant to the lay auditors at the Second Vatican Council, died on 28 April at the age of 91.

John was a close friend of Pat Keegan, a founding leader of the English YCW and the first lay auditor to address the Council. It was at Keegan’s request that Paul VI appointed him as ecclesiastical assistant to the lay auditors.

John was present for several critical moments of the Council, including the dramatic Black Week at the end of the Third Session in November 1964.

He was also with Cardijn for his episcopal ordination in February 1965. He and Keegan were also with Cardijn, who wept with anguish, on the day he received his red cardinal’s hat.


RIP John Maguire, chaplain to the Vatican II lay auditors (ACI)
Lay down weapons in Ukraine

The names of little known places are now added to the list of towns and villages around the world that are associated with the worst war crimes, writes former German YCW chaplain and worker priest, Fr Paul Schobel SJ.

"Bucha, Busova, Makariv – to mention just three – already represent thousands, perhaps even tens of thousands of murdered civilians in Ukraine: knocked off their bikes, tied up, violated and deliberately executed. Decomposing corpses line the streets.

"There is no one here who is not filled with disgust when mass graves have to be dug and dead bodies identified. No wonder that in our country, too, more and more people want to put an end to these atrocities by using military force and striking with tanks and grenades.

"Once again we are experiencing the dull instincts that war unleashes in people – the sadistic desire to violate, torture and bestially massacre others. There is no war in human history in which marauding, demoralised troops do not drag a trail of cruelty and horror behind them."


Lay down weapons in Ukraine (ACI)
Call for Papers - Jocist Women Leaders Seminar
Joie et Travail
The Jocist Women Leaders Project team is organising an international seminar on the theme “Making Daily Life Vast and Beautiful” at Leuven, Belgium on 28-29 October this year.

It will be a hybrid workshop co-sponsored by the American Academy of Religion, University of Divinity, Melbourne, King’s College, London; KADOC – KU, Leuven and the Australian Cardijn Institute, Perth.

As part of a wider project, this international workshop will explore whether and how Joseph Cardijn’s theological method, (“See-Judge-Act”) including its emphasis on the truth of experience, enabled significant contributions by women.

We invite proposals of 200 words for
  • Individual papers of 15-20 minutes
  • Research reports of 10 minutes
Please include a short biographical note (100 words) indicating how this work relates to your wider interests and whether you are likely to attend in person or online.
Proposals should be submitted to

Katharine Massam, University of Divinity, Melbourne by 31 May 2022.


Call for papers – Leuven Seminar, October 2022
Pope Francis on education
Pope Francis
Francis considers schools as being free of geographical boundaries and walls. He calls each school “a platform for drawing close to children and young people,” writes Luiz Fernando Klein, SJ. "Indeed, a school is not an end in itself; it is a platform, a support area that serves as a base for other operations. Schools are also 'privileged places of personal development.'

"The school is not enclosed within boundaries and schedules; it goes beyond them. Addressed to the surrounding reality and to the world, it offers an educational program for the whole of life.

Pope Francis recently reflected this broader vision of the school in his video message for the 20th anniversary of the founding of the Latin American Federation of Colleges of the Society of Jesus (FLACSI).


Pope Francis on Education (ACI)
Remembering Fr Hugh O’Sullivan: 25 years
Hugh O'Sullivan
The Australian YCW together with ACI, the Cardijn Community and YCW Holdings will commemorate the 25th anniversary of the death of Fr Hugh O’Sullivan with a dinner, mass and other events to be held in Adelaide on the weekend of 28-29 May.

Fr Hugh (1939 -1997) was best remembered as Chaplain of the Australian YCW and also served with the international team in Asia Pacific, based in Hong Kong.

From his first parish appointment until his passing, he used his ability to relate easily to people of all ages, coupled with his profound grasp of the mission of the YCW and was able to wear so easily the two hats that adorned him: essentially faithful to the traditions of the Church, he did not balk at social agitation when it was needed.

His book ‘The Clatter of Wooden Clogs’ on the dignity of work was the fruit of his lifetime reflections on justice and continues to be used today in AYCW for the formation of leaders and mentors alike.

The event is being jointly organised by Australian Young Christian Workers Movement, Australian Cardijn Institute, Cardijn Community Australia and YCW Holdings.


Fr Hugh's 25th anniversary commemoration (ACI)
Video: Caroline Chisholm's Lay Apostolate
Caroline Chisholm's Lay Apostolate - 500
Our April ACI webinar highlighted the incredible work of British-born Caroline Chisholm, particularly with newly arrived young women immigrants to Australia.

Clara Staffa Geoghegan's talk showed how Chisholm's work foreshadowed the Vatican II concept of the lay apostolate in the world.

Rodney Stinson laid out the highs and lows of the currently stalled efforts for her canonisation.


Caroline Chisholm's Lay Apostolate (ACI)
Memoir: Tipping the world on its head
Kevin Peoples
In a new memoir, Kevin Peoples recalls his YCW experience:

"My Auntie Poll asked me once what the YCW was. Polly lived with us on and off in the 1950s. She spoke with an Irish brogue, which rubbed off on me. Her question was prompted because I had started my own YCW team. The rag-tag team, made in the image of God, came in the back door at home and sheepishly made their way to the front room, which was only used when we had visitors. Up in the front room I lit a candle, we read the gospel and talked about our lives. Serious talk. Without knowing much what happened behind the door, Polly thought it all looked strange behaviour for young men. It was difficult to know where to start when she asked me the question.
Polly listened with growing scepticism as I explained the YCW.

"When I told her I was Christ in the world that was too much. She raised her eyes to heaven and whispered, ‘Jesus, Mary and Joseph’. Looking at me straight in the eye she told me gravely that the YCW was not only dangerous, but a distinct threat to my health and mental state and if I had any brains I would leave all that stuff to the priests. She was of course half right. The YCW was dangerous.

"I joined the YCW in my late teens following a visit by the Ballarat Diocesan full-time YCW worker, Jim Ross. This was around the mid-1950s. Jim spoke to a small group of leaders of the then Catholic Young Men’s Club (CYMS) in Terang. I listened intently but I was not convinced we should move from the CYMS to the YCW. That changed when I spoke to Jim on the way out. I asked him where he was sleeping that night. He said ‘I don’t know’. I asked him where he slept the previous night. He said, ‘On the beach at Warrnambool’. I joined the YCW at that moment and it transformed my life."


Kevin Peoples, Tipping the world on its head (ACI)


Dennis Jarvis / Wikipedia / CCA BY SA 2.0
Apostolate of the laity vs apostolate of the faithful
Women workers
With only two months left until the Second Assembly of the Australian Plenary Council, it is worth recalling a key distinction insisted on by Cardijn at the Second Vatican Council, writes Stefan Gigacz.

In fact, one of Cardijn's key frustrations in his work with the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate in 1961 was the confusion and conflation by Commission members of the concepts of "apostolate of the laity" and "apostolate of the faithful."

For Cardijn, the "apostolate of the faithful" related to those tasks that lay people "carry out in religious life properly speaking (e.g. their participation in the Holy Sacrifice, in works of charity, etc.)."

In contrast, "apostolate of the laity" (or "lay apostolate") related to the tasks that lay people "exercise in temporal life (in their profession, civic life, etc.)."

The consequence of confusing or conflating the two, Cardijn observed, was "fail(ure) to adequately highlight the necessity and importance of the proper and irreplaceable apostolate of lay people in temporal life."

"This point seems to me, however, to be decisive in the world of the present and the future!" he insisted in a note for the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate."

Is it not equally or even more decisive today?


Stefan Gigacz, "Apostolate of the laity" vs "apostolate of the faithful" (Plenary Reflections)
Video: Signs of the Times: From Alphonse Gratry to Vatican II
Gratry webinar
Our April ACI webinar focused on the life and work of the 19th century French priest, Alphonse Gratry, a key influence on Joseph Cardijn.

US philosopher, Madonna Clare Adams, explained the ongoing significance of Gratry's work while Stefan Gigacz illustrated Gratry's influence not only on Cardijn but on the development of the "inductive," "signs of the times," or "see, judge, act" method adopted by the YCW and Vatican II.


Clare Adams, Père Alphonse Joseph Auguste Gratry

Stefan Gigacz, Alphonse Gratry: Precursor and prophet of Vatican II


Signs of the Times: From Alphonse Gratry to Vatican II (ACI)
IYCW International Team meeting, Quito, Ecuador, 1993
Hugh O'Sullivan in the middle row in the yellow jumper
Editorial Note: The purpose of the ACI Newsletter is to share information and promote discussion. Citing or linking to articles does not imply any endorsement by ACI of the authors' views.
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