ACI Newsletter Oct 21

Cardijn Lecture: Sat 13 November

Dear Friends,

Welcome to our October edition. We begin with Pope Francis' blistering call for radical socio-economic change followed by Fr Jim Monaghan's challenge to the Australian Plenary Council to remember the "worker mission" and a recent webinar on "decent work" organisedby the English YCW and Christian Worker movements.

We are also pleased to announce that Venezuelan Professor and Synod of Bishops advisor, Rafael Luciani will present the inaugural Cardijn Lecture in a special ACI webinar on Saturday 13 November. Rafael believes that the forthcoming Synod of Bishops on Synodality will be the most significant Church event since Vatican II. Register below for the event.

We also congratulate Fr Orm Rush on his landmark recent book "The Vision of Vatican II", which has recently shared the ATF Literary Prize in honour of the late Adelaide theologian Fr Denis Edwards. Appropriately, both Orm and Denis belonged to the YCS.

From Europe, we hear that Pope Francis has written to the International YCW challenging young people to fight for the respect of worker dignity and to combat waste while former French YCW leader, Marlyse Strasser, shares her experience with the movement in a new video.

The International YCS, which is celebrating its 75th anniversary, is also calling on former members from around the world to contribute short videos recalling their experience with the movement.

And in a new book, American exYCW leader, Frank Ardito, recalls his battles against racism and violence as a youth worker in Chicago.

Finally, we recall Cardijn's triumph at the First World Council on Lay Apostolate in 1951, which prefigured many changes that would come at Vatican II just over a decade later.

Happy reading and watching!

Stefan Gigacz
Socio-economic models need to change: Pope Francis
Pope Francis
In a powerful speech to the Fourth World Meeting of Popular Movements, Pope Francis has insisted that while personal change is necessary, "it is also indispensable to adjust our socio-economic models so that they have a human face, because many models have lost it."

"I ask all the great pharmaceutical laboratories to release the patents" to allow "every country, every people, every human being, to have access to the vaccines."

"In the name of God, I ask financial groups and international credit institutions to allow poor countries to assure 'the basic needs of their people' and to cancel (their) debts.

"In the name of God, I ask the great extractive industries -- mining, oil, forestry, real estate, agribusiness -- to stop destroying forests, wetlands and mountains, to stop polluting rivers and seas, to stop poisoning food and people.

"In the name of God, I ask the great food corporations to stop imposing monopolistic systems of production and distribution that inflate prices and end up withholding bread from the hungry.

"In the name of God, I ask arms manufacturers and dealers to completely stop their activity, because it foments violence and war.


End monopolistic systems: Pope Francis (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Fr Jim Monaghan: The worker mission
Former Australian YCW chaplain, Fr Jim Monaghan, attended the First Assembly of the Australian Plenary Council this month in his capacity as vicar-general of Port Pirie Diocese.

In an intervention to the Plenary, he focused on "The Worker Mission."

"Through working life, human beings cooperate with their Creator," he said. "Yet the reality for so many workers is a total contradiction of this sacred relationship."

"The organisation of work has become an obstacle to the life of faith," he continued. "12 hour shifts, 7 day rosters, FIFO jobs have eliminated weekends and affected the cohesion of families."

"How many fathers are now visitors among their own children? Where does the Lord’s Day fit? The loneliness and stress of work – a breeding ground for addictions," he asked.


Fr Jim Monaghan, The Worker Mission (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Coming Synod a turning point: Rafael Luciani
Rafael Luciani
Venezuelan lay theologian and advisor to the Synod of Bishops, Professor Rafael Luciani, has described the 2023 Synod Assembly on Synodality, as the “most important event since Vatican II” and one that signifies a “turning point” in the way the Church approaches the Council.

Rafael will join us on Saturday 13 November - Cardijn's birth anniversary - to deliver the inaugural Cardijn Lecture for the Australian Cardijn Institute.

Elissa Roper, who has recently completed a PhD thesis on “Synodality and Authenticity: Towards a Contemporary Ecclesiology for the Catholic Church” at Yarra Theological Union and the University of Divinity this year, will respond to Rafael’s presentation.


Coming Synod a ‘turning point’: Rafael Luciani (Australian Cardijn Institute)

World Day for Decent Work
Decent Work
The England and Wales YCW teamed up with their sister movement the Movement of Christian Workers (MCW) for a seminar called 'Decent Work for All' to celebrate the World Day for Decent Work. Former YCW leader, Mary Foy MP, chaired the event.

YCW National President Marc Besford spoke of the issues facing young people while MCW leader, David McLoughlin, raised a range of issues including the impact of furlough, working from home vs being in the office.


YCW & MCW Decent Work for All Seminar (YouTube)
Denis Edwards book prize for Fr Orm Rush
Ormond Rush
Congratulations to Associate Professor Ormond Rush from the Australian Catholic University for his monumental recent book, The Vision of Vatican II, Its fundamental principles, which recently shared in the award of the 2021 ATF Literary Trust Theological Book Prize in honour of the late Adelaide priest and theologian, Fr Denis Edwards.

Appropriately enough, Fr Orm was a member of the YCS as a high school student in Queensland while Fr Denis was a YCS chaplain in Adelaide.

In his book, Fr Orm discerns 24 hermeneutical, theological and ecclesiological principles for understanding and implementing the orientations of the Second Vatican II.

Currently, he is advising the Australian Plenary Council and the Synod of Bishops.


Denis Edwards Book Prize for Fr Orm Rush (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Respect worker dignity, reject culture of waste: Pope to IYCW
Holy See Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin has written to the Brussels-based International YCW on behalf of Pope Francis for the movement’s postponed international council, which was finally held via Zoom last month.

“His Holiness trusts that in this time of economic and social crisis, the Council’’s deliberations will reaffirm the efforts of young people to advance the Kingdom of God through the building of a more just and equitable society which leaves no one behind and which promotes respect for the fundamental rights of all, including that of safe and dignified employment,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.

Both the IYCW and its counterpart, the ICYCW, also elected new international teams that will coordinate the work of the movement as it approaches the centenary of its foundation in Belgium in 1925.


Respect worker dignity, reject culture of waste: Pope to IYCW (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Chicago YCW leader Frank Ardito fought racism and violence
Street Level Disciple
Former Chicago YCW leader, Frank R. Ardito Jr. has published a new book “Street-Level Disciple” documenting his experiences working with young people and local communities.

The book details his life in civil service, his attempt to spread discipleship in his workplace, and his struggles in fighting racism, violence, and hatred in the city of Chicago.

The author invites his readers to join him as he performs his duty as a public servant in the Englewood and West Town Communities and the Upper North region of Chicago. Found within the pages are the people, events, and problems he met along the way while fulfilling his calling.


Street Level Disciple


Street Level Disciple - A memoir by Frank R. Ardito Jr. (YouTube)
Cardijn's triumph: The World Congress on Lay Apostolate 1951
World Congress on Lay Apostolate 1951 participants
This month we celebrate the 70th anniversary of one of Cardijn’s greatest triumphs, i.e. his keynote speech to and decisive influence over the First World Congress on Lay Apostolate in Rome from 7-14 October 1951, which helped set the stage for Vatican II.

Recalling Cardijn’s keynote speech entitled, “The World Today and the Lay Apostolate,” Brazilian Bishop Helder Camara would later characterise Cardijn’s ” complete panorama of the great issues of the present time” as having a “very great impact” on him, “one of the greatest of my life.”

In the longer term, however, the most important impact of Cardijn’s speech and the work of his allies was the change in perspective introduced by the Congress, writes Stefan Gigacz.


Cardijn’s triumph: The World Congress on Lay Apostolate 1951 (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Joseph Cardijn, The world today and the apostolate of the laity (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn and the First World Congress on Lay Apostolate 1951 (Cardijn Research)
Working with the IYCW during the 1970s
Marlyse Strasser-Thommen
Former French YCW and International YCW leader, Marlyse Strasser, has recorded her memories of her YCW experience in an interview with Sam Kuijken, an archivist at KADOC, the Catholic Document Centre at Leuven, Belgium.


Working with the IYCW during the 1970s (KADOC Leuven)
International YCS celebrates 75th anniversary
The International Young Christian Students (IYCS) movement has launched a year of celebration of the 75th anniversary of its foundation at international level in Paris in 1946.

In a video for the occasion, secretary-general, Innocent Odongo, has invited former members from around the world to share their memories by recording a two-minute video clip as follows:
  • Introduce yourself: name country
  • Share your favorite moment in the movement
  • Your wishes for the IYCS 75th Anniversary.
Send your videos to:

The clips will be shared during a special online celebration to take place on 13 November 2021.
Cardijn Anniversary Mass, Perth Northern Region, 6pm, Sat 13 November
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