Solidarity with Myanmar

Dear Friends,

The situation of the people in Myanmar has been a concern for the Australian Cardijn Institute for some time, particularly since the coup d'état in 2022. For this reason, we have chosen to title this month’s newsletter “Solidarity with Myanmar” and we have launched our Lenten appeal to support the work of the Young People for Development (YPD) movement, who are working with young refugees and displaced people.

Solidarity with Myanmar is just one example of the actions of the lay apostolate, which we highlight in this month’s newsletter. Indeed, it is like a meditation on the work of Christ’s apostles: the IYCW campaign to end gender discrimination and the action of the Adelaide YCW to learn from young indigenous leaders about their culture and their life experiences; Dr Paul Lentern’s reflection on the lay apostolate; and a translation of Cardijn’s explanation of the content of Catholic Action.

Synodality embraces the breadth and depth of the lay apostolate. We have deliberately placed Pope Francis’ ten areas of study for the forthcoming session of the Synod on Synodality at the head of the newsletter so that you can examine the articles and the extent to which they provide content for studies which fit with Pope Francis’ concerns.

You will also find items addressing the role of the laity in the Church and the part that bishops and priests have played and continue to play in the formation of the lay apostolate.

May you find our March edition of the newsletter informative and insightful.

Together with Pope Francis, we also pray for peace in the suffering countries of Palestine, Israel, Sudan, Syria and so many other places.

Pat Branson
Ten themes for Synod study groups
Pope Francis has written to Synod Secretary General, Cardinal Mario Grech, outlining ten discussion points that Study Groups will examine ahead of the second Synod session in October 2024, Vatican News reports.

“As it will not be possible to carry out this study in the time of the Second Session,” which will take place on October 2-27, 2024, the pope said.

However, the Study Groups will offer an initial report of their activities at the Second Session and will aim, if possible, to conclude their mandate by June 2025.


Ten themes for Synod study groups
Lenten solidarity appeal for Myanmar
Lent is a time when we remember the life of Jesus in the period leading up to his death and resurrection. It's also a time of sacrifice, which means making whole, as well as for thinking - and acting - for others.

In this spirit, we at ACI have decided to focus our Lenten efforts this year on offering support to the Young People for Development (YPD) network of the Karen people, an ethnic group, whose communities work with young people and refugees displaced and affected by the long-running civil war.

We're already 60% of the way to our target. Please give generously!


Solidarity with young people from Myanmar

Africa leads on lay apostolate
The “Listens and Speaks” program of the Uganda National Catholic Council of Lay Apostolate (UNCCLA) has distinguished itself in formation of the laity, as well as the strengthening of Catholic families in the East African country, ACI Africa reports.

In an interview with ACI Africa on Wednesday 6 March, an official of UNCCLA said that the program, which was launched in January 2022, and has recorded over 50 episodes so far, is “way ahead of time” as it has equipped the laity with information on various topics including the synod and family life.


Africa leads on lay apostolate
IYCW launches equity and equality campaign
'The fight for gender equality is far from over," IYCW leaders note in a message for International Women's Day 2024. "Women continue to face discrimination, violence, and unequal opportunities in various parts of the world. It is our collective responsibility to stand up against these injustices and work towards a future where every woman can thrive and reach her full potential."

"To all the women out there, know that your voice matters, your dreams are legitimate, and your potential is limitless," the message continues. "Today, we are celebrating you and all that you have achieved. May you continue to inspire and empower others with your strength, compassion, and resilience!"


Let's be the Change for a World with Equity and Equality! (IYCW)

Webinar: Bishop Peter Cullinane
For our April webinar, we will again follow up on our “Mission and vocation of lay people” theme with Bishop Peter Cullinane, emeritus bishop of Palmerston North, Aotearoa-New Zealand.

The webinar will take place on Saturday 6 April 2024 at 10am Sydney time, 12 noon Wellington time.

Register now

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Indigenous pilgrimage launched with Fr Tom Gleeson
Former Adelaide YCW chaplain, Fr Tom Gleeson, has been working with the local Indigenous community in Willunga, South Australia, to develop a new pilgrimage path known as Padninthi, or “walking together along the Tjilbruke Dreaming Story.”

Among the Indigenous community leaders involved is Australian Synod on Synodality participant, John Lochowiak, who is of of the Walker clan, who have blood relations with the Kaurna, Ramijarri and Ngarrindjeri people, and also of Polish descent.


Padninthi Indigenous pilgrimage launched
Video: Paul Lentern on the lay vocation
This is the video from our March ACI webinar with Paul Lentern on “Promoting the mission and vocation of lay people.”

Gospel: Lek hackeri - Come follow me!
Jesus wanted to be a rabbi. When he had finished his secondary schooling (Bet Talmud), he went to his local rabbi to ask to be taken on as his apprentice (Bet Midrash).

The rabbi replied with two words: “Lek hackeri” (Come, follow me). Some fifteen years later, when he began his ministry, Jesus did not wait for people to ask to follow him. He seized the initiative and used the two words that his apostles never expected to hear. One such man was Matthew, the tax collector.


Lek Hackeri (Come, follow me) (Gospel Enquiries)
Reflection: What is your karma saying about your dogma?
We have all seen bumper stickers like the one above, writes Richard Pütz. But what does that mean to us and the world we operate in?

In Hinduism, karma is the relationship between a person's mental or physical action and the consequences following that action. It also signifies the implications of a person's actions in their current and previous lives. In Buddhism and some other religions, karma is the force produced by a person's actions in one life that influences what happens to them in future lives.

In short, I am more powerful than your beliefs (dogma).


What is your Karma telling you about your Dogma? (Cardijn Reflections)
Another Indian Cardijn bishop
Pope Francis has named former Indian YCS chaplain, Father Prakash Sagili, as the Bishop of the Diocese of Khammam, South India, Radio Veritas Asia reports.

Fr Prakash is a priest of the Cuddapah diocese, currently the coordinator of the Conference of Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) Health Apostolate.

Congratulations, Bishop-elect Prakash!


Another Indian Cardijn bishop
Synodality: What boundaries for dioceses?
The Vatican II Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops, Christus Dominus, called in §22 for diocesan boundaries to be revised in order to make them of a more humanly governable size, writes Stefan Gigacz.

The Sydney Archdiocese did this during the 1980s, giving rise to the Parramatta and Broken Bay. Melbourne, on the other hand, declined to implement this decision on Vatican II.

Is it time to revisit this issue in light of the Synod on Synodality?


Stefan Gigacz, Synodal boundaries for dioceses? (Cardijn Research)
Document: Cardijn on the call to the apostolate of the baptised
In this article translated into English for the first time, Joseph Cardijn sets out his conception of Catholic Action.

"Everyone who is baptised is called to the apostolate, because they are baptised," Cardijn wrote in 1938, anticipating what Vatican II would teach nearly thirty years later. "Each time that the theme of workers collaborating with God is spoken of before a popular audience, whether socialist or communist, people feel uplifted and declare themselves ready to devote themselves to the apostolate."

What are the characteristics of this Catholic Action? Each lay person has an apostolate in their milieu (environment) which is their own. Only he or she, in his or her family or professional environment, etc., can speak of and achieve this. Moreover, only he or she can say: “I believe in God.” If he or she doesn't say this then something is missing from the kingdom of God.


Joseph Cardijn, The content of Catholic Action (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Adelaide YCW day with Indigenous leaders
Adelaide YCW leaders recently spent a day with local Indigenous, national and Church leaders. (Left to right):Ema Bovoro - Young Indigenous Represenative, John Lochowiak - Chair of NATSICC, Hon. Amanda Rishworth - Minister of Family and Social Services of Australia, Raijeli Bovoro - Young Indigenous Represenative, Fr Dean Marin - Vicar General, Adelaide Archdiocese.


Adelaide YCW Facebook
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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