ACI Newsletter Nov 21

Cardijn Lecture

Dear Friends,

This month we were proud to present our inaugural Cardijn Lecture with Venezuelan lay theologian, Prof. Rafael Luciani, synodality specialist, Dr Elissa Roper and former US YCW national vice-president, Nancy Conrad (video below). We also note the jocist inspiration in the history-making Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean this week.

Please don't forget the Australian YCW celebrates its 80th anniversary with a webinar featuring former YCW leader and CEO of Australian Volunteers International, Bill Armstrong AO, and current Australian YCW president, Marilyn Bellett.

And in a few days, ACI will join with the Earthworker Cooperative and other groups to host an international Arizmendi Gathering focusing on the relevance of cooperatives, particularly worker cooperatives today.

Lots more news too, including Pope Francis' call for more action to combat child labour, the 60th anniversary of the YCW International Council in Rio de Janeiro in November 1961, when Cardijn called for the movement to go beyond its traditional Catholic base and reach out to young workers of all faiths. An important reflection too from Emeritus Bishop Peter Cullinane emphasising that Church ministries must serve the Church's broader mission.

We congratulate ACI director, Katharine Massam, on her appointment as professor at the University of Divinity. We are proud to have such an eminent scholar on our team. And finally we lament the passing of Bishop Bill Wright of Maitland-Newcastle, himself a YCS leader in his youth, who died on 13 November, Cardijn's birth anniversary.

Stefan Gigacz
Fair wages needed to fight child labour: Pope
Child labour
Extreme poverty, the lack of employment that can support a family and desperation are the major drivers of exploitative child labour, Pope Francis told an international conference on the theme “Eradicating Child Labour, Building a Better Future.”

“If we want to stamp out the scourge of child labour, we must work together to eradicate poverty (and) to correct the distortions in the current economic system, which concentrates wealth in the hands of a few,” he said.

The Vatican COVID-19 Commission of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development supported the conference, which was organised in collaboration with the Permanent Mission of the Holy See to the U.N.’s Food and Agriculture Organisation.


Fair wages needed to fight child labour: Pope (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Australian YCW 80th anniversary
YCW 80th anniversary
On 23 November, the Australian YCW, the Cardijn Community and ACI will present a webinar to commemorate and celebrate the 80th anniversary of the foundation of the movement in 1941.

Keynote speaker will be Bill Armstrong AO, former YCW leader from Victoria, who later had a distinguished career in international development.

Responding to Bill will be Marilyn Bellett, current president of the Australian YCW.

A historic Ecclesial Assembly for Latin America and the Caribbean
Asemblea Eclesial
The Ecclesial Assembly for Latin American and the Caribbean takes place this week from 21-28 November 2021.

An event that involves lay people, religious and clergy, it is the fruit of a decision taken by the bishops of the region at Aparacida, Brazil, in 2007 that “the laity should participate in discernment, decision taking, planning and execution” with respect to life in the Church.

Structured in line with the classical see-judge-act, the key preparatory document for the assembly focuses on several areas for action, including the need to promote “integral ecology,” a solidarity-based and sustainable economy at the service of the common good, a culture of peace, interculturality, the promotion of democracy and renewal of the Church.


Document for the journey towards the Ecclesial Assembly of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAM)
Mission, ministries and co-responsibility
Bishop Peter Cullinane
"The front line of the Church’s work is the Christian people whose lives are leaven in the dough of all the ordinary circumstances of ordinary life, writes Emeritus Bishop Peter Cullinane of Palmerston North, Aotearoa-New Zealand.

"The purpose of ministries within the Church is to provide nurture and formation for that mission. It is the mission that matters."

"Another starting point for renewal can be found in the experience of small base communities pioneered by the Church in some countries in South America and Asia... The Christian Base Communities in South American countries grew out of lay people coming together to pray and reflect on the Scriptures and on their life situations, using the Catholic Action principle: “see, judge, act”.


Mission, ministries and co-responsibility (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Arizmendi Gatherings for Australia and the Americas
Fr Arizmendi with vocational school teachers and alu,ni
The Earthworker Cooperative in Australia and Solidarity Hall (for the Americas) are hosting two gatherings to mark the passing of Fr José María Arizmendiarrieta (Arizmendi) (22 April 1915 – 29 November 1976), founder of the Mondragón Corporation, the largest integrated network of worker co-operatives in the world, based in the Basque Autonomous Community.

Themes to be explored include:
Arizmendi the person – reflecting on his life
Arizmendi in action – the Mondragon experience
Arizmendi’s legacy – inspiring the social/solidarity economy today.
Speakers will include:
  • Prof. Katherine Massam (historian and ACI board member) – reflection on the life of Arizmendi
  • Elsa (Uka) Pinto and Leo Suares (Timor Leste co-operators) – on the shoots of cooperation in Timor Leste
  • Dan Musil (Earthworker Secretary) – on the Mondragon legacy and Earthworker
  • Colin Long (Victorian Trades Hall Council) – a reflection on the future of cooperation.

Arizmendi Gatherings for Australia and the Americas (Australian Cardijn Institute)


Arizmendi Gathering (Australia/Asia-Pacific): online via Zoom
Cardijn Lecture – The emergence of synodality
Emergence of synodality
Thanks to all who joined our inaugural Cardijn Lecture with Rafael Luciani, Elissa Roper and Nancy Conrad on Saturday 13 November.


Rafael Luciani - Cardijn Lecture 2021 - The emergence of synodality: The Latin American experience (YouTube)


Synodality and Reform (Google Slides online version)
Synodality and Reform (PPT version)

Rafael has kindly also shared the following documents for further reading:
Medellin as a synodal event: From collegiality to synodality
From the synod on synodality to the synodalization of the whole church

And Elissa Roper has also shared a list of references for her response:
The experience of Australian Catholics
Edit this to insert text.
60th anniversary of YCW International Council of Rio de Janeiro
This month marks the 60th anniversary of the YCW Second International Council in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Although not directly related to Vatican II, it was an important occasion for the YCW to restate its basic principles and for Cardijn to deliver a significant address calling for the movement to open up to young workers of other faiths, including Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam.

It was also a key opportunity for key jocist bishops from Latin America to meet, less than one year before the Council was to open in October 1962


Joseph Cardijn, Extend the YCW to other Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims (Cardijn@Vatican2)

Joseph Cardijn, Closing address to the YCW International Council in Rio de Janeiro 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

International YCW, The apostolic nature of the YCW (Cardijn@Vatican2)
Young domestic workers at Vatican II
Young domestic worker
"Young domestic workers at Vatican II? Unless they were serving any of the 2500 Council Fathers and 500-odd periti and other officials, there were certainly no young domestic workers there," writes Stefan Gigacz.

"Yet in a powerful indication of how Cardijn viewed the priorities for the Council, he fought hard to get the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate to address their plight.

"Actually, Cardijn had a lifelong concern over the exploitation of domestic workers, perhaps inspired by the fact that his own mother, Louise Van Dalen, had been one herself.

"Fifty years later in 1961, the YCW which now existed in 90 countries, was developing action to educate and defend the rights of those young workers, particularly in the Third World as it was then becoming known."


Joseph Cardijn, Young domestic workers at Vatican II (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Congrats, Katharine Massam, professor at Uni of Divinity
Katharine Massam
Congratulations to ACI director, Katharine Massam, who was appointed a Professor of the University of Divinity by the University Council on 10 November 2021.

Katharine is currently the Coordinator of Studies in History and Research Coordinator at Pilgrim Theological College. She is noted for her outstanding contribution to Learning and Teaching, Research, and Leadership in the Academy.

“Professor Massam is an outstanding historian of religion known for her creativity and collaboration,” said University of Divinity Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Sherlock. “In her teaching and research, she has a rare ability to create community through history, drawing out the stories that make us who we are in new and surprising ways. It is a great delight to share in this recognition of her rich contribution to theology, spirituality and history at the University of Divinity and in many other spheres.”


Congrats, Katharine Massam, professor at Uni of Divinity (Australian Cardijn Institute)
RIP +Bill Wright: From YCS to bishop of Maitland-Newcastle
Bishop Bill Wright
Bishop Bill Wright of Maitland-Newcastle, who had been a YCS leader in his youth, died early this month on 13 November.

In a tribute to Bishop Bill, another former YCS leader, Teresa Brierley, recalled that "YCS was so critical to our formation as Christian leaders, not only then but now and in all of the intervening years."

"Bishop Bill died on the birthday of Joseph Cardijn, (13 November 1882 – 24 July 1967)," she continues. "Joseph Cardijn was a Belgian priest who devoted his life to bringing Christianity to the working class and advocating for an end to the dehumanising influences that were enforced onto them. He began the Young Christian Worker Movement (YCW) from which the YCS has its origins.

"I wonder if this is what led Bishop Bill to explore some of his priestly ministry in places like Moree and Mt Druitt. Like Joseph Cardijn, Bishop Bill saw the priesthood of the ordained as a means of bringing positive change and hope to those he encountered."


RIP +Bill Wright: From YCS to bishop of Maitland-Newcastle (Australian Cardijn Institute)
Cardijn meets Buddhist monks in Bangkok in 1965
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