ACI Newsletter September 21

Plenary Council proposals

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our September edition.

This month we lead with our new submission to the Australian Plenary Council, which holds its first assembly next month.

We recall the centenary of the birth of famed educator, Paulo Freire, who worked closely with leaders from the YCW and YCS in Brazil and also borrowed from the movement's see-judge-act methodology.

We announce our next webinar with noted Venezuelan lay theologian, Rafael Luciani, a theological expert to the Synod of Bishops, who also previously taught Sr Nathalie Becquart, our guest last month, at Boston College in the USA.

We also feature the video from our successful webinar marking the 50th anniversary of the death of YCW chaplain and chief drafter of Gaudium et Spes, Pierre Haubtmann. Vatican Cardinal Czerny sent us a beautiful message for the occasion, also recalling the influence of Peruvian liberation theologian, Gustavo Gutierrez.

We also take the opportunity to congratulate the Melbourne and Australian YCW on its 80th anniversary. We note the beatification of Polish YCW founder, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski.

And we include an appeal for volunteers to develop the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library.

Happy reading!

Stefan Gigacz
ACI calls for Lay Apostolate Council
ACI has released its latest submission to the Australian Plenary Council.

Key points include call for the establishment of an "Australian Catholic Council for the Lay Apostolate" (ACCLA) to advise the Bishops Commission for Evangelisation, Laity and Ministry.

It further calls for the provision of "direct funding to nationally organised movements that promote the lay apostolate as described in the Vatican II Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity."

In addition, ACI is calling for for the provision of financial support for "training in the theology and pedagogy of lay movements promoting faith formation and social transformation for priests, religious and lay people" as well as "research, publication and study to foster understanding of the lay apostolate and the application of Catholic Social Teaching."


ACI Plenary Council Submission in Response 2021

ACI Plenary Council Submission 2019
Rafael Luciani, The emergence of synodality: The Latin American experience
Rafael Luciani
Lay Venezuelan theologian, Professor Rafael Luciani, an expert to the Theological Commission of the General Secretariat for the Synod of Bishops, will join us for an ACI Webinar on Saturday 13 November 2021. He will address the theme “The Emergence of Synodality: The Latin American Experience.”

Professor Luciani will speak on ecclesiological and pastoral roots and implications of synodality, particularly in relation to the reform of parishes, the development of councils at parish and diocesan level, including the role of lay people.

Secondly, he will share the experience of the Plenary Council of the Venezuelan Catholic Church as well as local synods in Argentina, and the launch of the new Ecclesial Conference of the Amazon.


The Emergence of Synodality: The Latin American Experience

Paul Freire centenary
This month we celebrate the centenary of the birth of the great Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire, known for his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, which described the literacy education programs he had developed for promoting critical consciousness and action among the masses of Brazil's (and Latin America's) poor.

American scholar, Rich Gibson, has noted Freire's use of the Cardijn see-judge-act method. Yet the extent to which Freire developed his literacy education program on the basis of Jocist methods and indeed in partnership with Helder Camara and the Specialised Catholic Action movements has largely remained unknown in the English-speaking world.

Indeed, Brazilian Marist Brother Antonio Cechin even credits Freire's literacy circles as the origin of Brazil's Basic Ecclesial Communities.


Stefan Gigacz, Paulo Freire and the Jocist movements (Cardijn Research)


Luiz Carlos Cappellano - editor Eugenio Hansen, OFS / Wikipedia / CC BY SA 4.0
Melbourne YCW: 80th anniversary
YCW 1941
This month also marks the 80th anniversary of the formal launch of the Australian YCW in Melbourne in September 1941.

One of the movement's first actions was to organise a rally held at Xavier College, Kew in October of that year.

And a report in the Melbourne Advocate indicates that the YCW was already taking action to promote savings among young workers and to arrange boarding accommodation for young workers from the country.

Already, it was operating the biggest Australian football competition in Victoria. Not to mention its popular "learn to dance" classes."


Australian YCW celebrates 80 years (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Taking the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library to the next level
Volunteer Volunteerism Participation Volunteering
It’s already more than a year since ACI launched the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library (JCDL) in its current form in August 2020.

To date the site has received nearly 16,000 unique visitors, averaging 40 people per day over the course of this year. Those visitors have recorded nearly 106,000 document views. What’s more, the JCDL ranks in second place in Google searches for Cardijn in many countries, ranking only behind Wikipedia.

Yet, as Cardijn would no doubt have said himself: “We are still at the beginning!” There is much more to do.

But we need people with the skills to help us! We invite you to join us in this task.


Joseph Cardijn Digital Library: Call for volunteers (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Video: Remembering Pierre Haubtmann webinar
1965-Pierre Haubtmann - Le schéma sur l'Eglise et le monde
The video from our successful webinar marking the 50th anniversary of the death of Pierre Haubtmann, the French jocist priest who became the chief drafter of Gaudium et Spes, is now online.

Our thanks to Mgr Philippe Bordeyne, the new president of the John Paul II Pontifical Institute for Marriage and Family at the Lateran University in Rome, for a wonderful and enlightening presentation, and to Clara Staffa Geoghegan, executive secretary of the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, for her challenging response.

Fr Wally Dethlefs from Brisbane opened the session with a reflection on the famous opening lines of Gaudium et Spes: "The joys and the hopes, the griefs and the anxieties of the men of this age, especially those who are poor or in any way afflicted, these are the joys and hopes, the griefs and anxieties of the followers of Christ."

Sarah Prenger, president of the International YCW, who reflected on the significance of Gaudium et Spes in the context of the challenges facing the world, and young workers in particular, today.

Thanks also to Wally and Sarah as well as to Arnaldo Casali from the JP2 Institute, who compiled and edited the video for us.


Remembering Pierre Haubtmann, redactor of Gaudium et Spes (John Paul II Institute/YouTube)
A message from Cardinal Michael Czerny
Cardinal Michael Czerny SJ
We were also grateful to receive a message for our Pierre Haubtmann webinar from, Cardinal Michael Czerny, SJ, Under-Secretary of the Migrants and Refugees Section of the Vatican Dicastery for Integral Human Development, who recalled Haubtmann's “enormous contribution."

“To express my gratitude for Gaudium et Spes and to honour Fr Pierre Haubtmann, let me recall that, 50 years ago, we began reading Gustavo Gutiérrez’s A Theology of Liberation,” Cardinal Czerny wrote.

“We were all immersed in Vatican II, breathing and living Gaudium et Spes. At that time, the roots of A Theology of Liberation in Vatican II were not a question, but an assumption that remained implicit. A Theology of Liberation was simply “planted by the streams of water” (Psalm 1:3) of Vatican II.

“Today, 50 years later, to reread A Theology of Liberation is joyfully to rediscover the then new theology rooted and grounded in Vatican II.

“For this we give thanks to God, with the intercession of Pope St John XXIII and Pope St Paul VI, for Fr Pierre Haubtmann and his enormous contribution to the Church,” Cardinal Czerny concluded.


Cardinal Czerny honours ‘enormous contribution’ of Pierre Haubtmann (ACI)
Video: Sr Nathalie Becquart on Lay People and Synodality
Nathalie Becquart
Thanks also to Sr Nathalie Becquart, Under-Secretary of the Synod of Bishops, who presented on "Lay People and Synodality" at our August webinar, which attracted over 300 registrants. See below for the links to her slide presentation and the video.

Thanks also to former Australian National Charities and Not for Profits Commissioner, Susan Pascoe, now an expert advising the forthcoming Synod Assembly on Synodality, and Bishop Shane MacKinlay of Sandhurst, who responded to Sr Nathalie.


Lay People and Synodality (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Cardinal Wyszynski beatified
Stefan Wyszynski
As we reported recently, Polish Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski was a founder of the YCW in Poland.

He was beatified in a ceremony at Divine Providence Cathedral, Warsaw, on 12 September.


Blessed Stefan Wyszynski, YCW founder in Poland (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Stefan Wyszynski (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Stefan Gigacz, Cardinal Stefan Wyszynski - A founding JOC chaplain (Cardijn Research)
Melbourne YCW brochure 1940s
Melbourne YCW brochure
Read the brochure here.
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