Webinar: Laudato Deum: Pope Francis’ new apostolic exhortation

Our next ACI webinar on Tuesday 10 October 2023 will focus on Pope Francis’ newly announced apostolic exhortation, Laudato Deum, which is due to be published on 4 October.

Special guest for our webinar will be Jacqui Remond, former director of Catholic Earthcare, currently a lecturer at Australian Catholic University and a member of the Vatican Ecology Taskforce.

Joining her will be Tony Smith, a former YCW leader from South Africa, now animating parish groups in northern Tasmania.

Also joining the panel will be Sherie Chant, a teacher at Kolbe College, Rockingham, WA, Irene Baik from the Parramatta YCS and other community leaders.


7.30pm, Tuesday 10 October 2023



What happened to the US Church’s labor links?

While summertime may be over in the US, the spirit of this “Hot Labor Summer” continued into autumn, when the United Auto Workers declared a strike against America’s “Big Three” automakers, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis (a multinational corporation that includes Chrysler Motors), the first time all three major U.S. automakers were targeted in U.A.W. history, writes Michael O’Brien at America Magazine.

While the nation will watch to see both the economic and political effects of the strike, the presence of the Catholic Church has played a hand in the mission of the United Auto Workers long before this most recent strike, O’Brien says.

Connections between the church and U.A.W. activism go all the way back to the fight to save Poletown, Mich., a neighborhood of Detroit (the U.A.W.’s birthplace) named for the presence of the predominantly Polish immigrants who first came to the community seeking jobs in the auto industry.

“Historically, the United Auto Workers has been among the unions most informed by Catholic social teaching,” Joseph McCartin, the executive director of the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor at Georgetown University, told America. “I think this is because so many auto workers were Catholic when the union was being formed in the ’30s and ’40s in cities like Detroit and Flint, and also because a number of the activists who were involved in the early U.A.W. were influenced by their Catholicism.”

However, Clayton Sinyai, the executive director of the Catholic Labor Movement, told America that he felt there could be a stronger Catholic presence in the current U.A.W. strike, much in the same way that Msgr. George Higgins, known nationally as “The Labor Priest,” served as the chairman of the U.A.W.’s public review board.

He noted that despite the church’s historic connection to labor, there was not much evidence of a strong Catholic presence during “Hot Labor Summer.” That contrasts with past experiences of strong union action when Catholic leaders were side-by-side with labor officials. Mr. Sinyai told America, “I think there are still a few [prominent Catholic] figures, but not on the level that Msgr. Higgins was at.” He noted that he would “love to see someone [at the U.S. bishops’ conference] doing that work.”

“The shrinking size also explains a lot about the alienation of the church and the labor movement that were very close in the mid-20th century. In the ’50s and ’60s, probably every pastor had union members on their parish council. They understood what the labor movement did, and that’s a lot less true today,” he said.


As the U.A.W. strike expands, Catholics are asking: Where’s the modern-day labor priest? (America Magazine)


United Auto Workers

RIP Fr Joe, sociologist and YCW chaplain

Maltese YCW chaplain and sociologist, Fr Joe Inguanez, 80, has died while swimming at a beach in Gozo.

Fr Inguanez, who was born in Ħal-Għaxaq in 1943 and ordained a priest in 1970, “was an intellectual whose gentle yet uncompromising views of society and Catholicism in modern-day Malta won him plaudits from those whose attention he commanded,” writes Matthew Vella at Malta Today.

“Having headed Discern, a Catholic think-tank that used applied research to keep guiding the Maltese Church, Inguanez, who lectured at the University of Malta’s Department of Sociology and had also been its head of department, became a prominent cleric in Maltese society,” he continues.

“Apart from his towering persona in his field of academia, Inguanez stood apart from many of his fellow clerics for promoting an intellectual criticism of the Maltese Catholic Church.h

He was also spoke out against what he saw as lack of leadership in the Church

“I honestly feel that the Maltese Church is at a standstill.  This is always dangerous but much more so in times of the rapid change we are experiencing at both the ecclesial and social sphere,” Inguanez had said at a time of historic reforms in civil liberties,

“One cannot stop one’s boat in a flowing river. Critical decisions need to be taken urgently. However, blood-letting is not a solution. While every Christian has to take an action – even through the promotion of healthy public opinion – the institutional leadership of the Church needs a shake-up.”

“In Malta, we need to re-create the conscience of Vatican Council II. The Church still needs updating. Change is a neutral concept and instead of being afraid of it we should turn it into a positive dynamic of our being both at the material and spiritual level… This is what Pope Francis is not simply telling us to do, but is also showing us how to do it by his example.”

He believed the Maltese Church had to emphasise social issues like immigration. “On immigration, the Church in Malta is doing a lot when it comes to hands-on assistance and this is in line with Pope Francis’s message. What it should do more is by way of denunciation of the policies which exclude migrants.”

He also insisted that the Church’s critique should address both Malta’s actions and the European Union’s. “We need a critique of what the European Union is doing with regards to these human beings. Individualism has made us very selective where human rights are concerned.”

“Fr Joe was a true Cardijn disciple, always concerned to promote the life and vocation of young workers, workers in general and the lay apostolate, particularly through his untiring support for the YCW,” ACI secretary, Stefan Gigacz, wrote in a message to the Maltese ZHN (YCW).


Sociologist Joe Inguanez, intellectual and prominent cleric, dies aged 80 (Malta Today)


Fr Joe Inguanez / Malta Today

Webinar: Training for transformation – The Paulo Freire method

Mauritius priest and social activist, Fr Filip Fanchette, will be the presenter for our next ACI webinar on Tuesday 12 September at 7.30pm AEST.

He will address the topic “Training for transformation – The Paulo Freire method.”

Paulo Freire

Born in Recife, Brazil in 1921, Paulo Freire, was an educator, who became best known in the English-speaking world for his book “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” which explained his method of consciousness-raising among the illiterate poor.

During the early 1960s, Freire worked closely with Archbishop Helder Camara and other Brazilian lay leaders from the jocist movements, who were also among the pioneers of the Basic Christian Communities movement. As Freire acknowledged himself, his methods owed much to the see-judge-act method of the jocist Specialised Catholic Action movements.

Freire was imprisoned for 70 days following the military coup in Brazil in 1964, ending up in exile in Bolivia for a short period before moving to Chile where he was able to continue his educative work.

A Christian socialist, he later worked for the World Council of Churches in Geneva as a special education adviser.

He died in 1997.

Filip Fanchette

Mauritian Fr Filip Fanchette studied for the priesthood in Rome before eventually going to study and work with the Paris-based INODEP (Ecumenical Institute for the Development of Peoples), whose founder and first president was Paulo Freire.

He later followed in Paulo Freire’s footsteps to become director of adult education at the World Council of Churches.

Since then, Fr Filip has worked around the world training grassroots groups. For example, he contributed greatly to the development of the DELTA training program in Kenya, organized by Anne Hope and Sally Timmel, later written up as Training for Transformation.

As a result of his work a small team who had participated in the training started working informally in the UK with a number of groups. Participants included church groups, community projects and workers in NGOs. The team members also applied the principles in their own work settings, including academic social policy, theology, community work and industrial mission.

He will present the ACI webinar together with several of his former students and collaborators from South Africa.


Date and time: Tuesday 12 September 2023, 7.30pm AEST



New lay chaplain for Catholic uni students

Greg Lopez

The International Catholic Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) has announced the appointment of Dr Greg Lopez, lecturer at Murdoch University, Perth, Western Australia, as Assistant Coordinator of its Commission of Animators & Chaplains for the Asia-Pacific region.

Now a management lecturer, Dr Lopez has had extensive experience working with young people. He belonged to the La Salle Sentul high school Young Christian Students (YCS) team in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

In 2001, he worked as an intern with the Catholic international development agency, CIDSE, and the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) supporting their advocacy efforts in the WTO Doha Development round.

From 2003-2008, he was a volunteer coordinator for the Young People for Development (YPD) network.

He has been a member of the Cardijn Community International since 2002 and was previously a board member of the Australian Cardijn Institute. Currently, he is a member of the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library working group.

In his role with the IMCS, Greg will be tasked with supporting Fr Jiju Kevillil SJ, the Coordinator of the Asia Pacific Commission of animators and chaplains, coordinating meetings of the chaplaincy team, assisting with the formation of current and future animators and chaplains. He will serve a two year term.

Quote from Greg: “This is an immense blessing, honour, and responsibility. Cardinal Cardijn promoted organisations in which young people are given responsibility and the opportunity to exercise their God given mission. I am grateful for the opportunity to accompany these young people in fulfilling this mission.”

Quote from Fr. Dr. Jojo M. Fung, SJ, IMCS, International Ecclesiastical Assistant:

IMCS is as strong as the lay animators and chaplains who accompanied the tertiary students are adequately formed in the Catholic Papal and Social Teachings of the Church. IMCS counts our blessings in having Dr Greg Lopez as an assistant coordinator of APCAC as he brings with him his competent experiences in management and advocacy with the international development agency, CIDSE, the Scottish Catholic International Aid Fund (SCIAF) in the WTO Doha Development round.

Quote from Bertha Samponu, IMCS Asia Pacific Coordinator:

As the student organization, the presence of chaplains and lay animators plays an important role to assist and accompany. To lead and coordinate the region, a student coordinator must have a good chaplaincy team where she/he can share and ask for advice and suggestions.

On behalf of IMCS AP, I am pleased to welcome Dr Lopez, and look for more meaningful assistance to the students’ leaders, national movements’ teams, regional coordination, and the AP- Chaplains, Animators and Elders Commission.

Video: Léon Ollé-Laprune & the origin of the see-judge-act

Stefan Gigacz presented the August ACI webinar on Léon Ollé-Laprune, the French philosopher, who first articulated the method that we today know as the “see-judge-act.”

Born in 1839, Léon Ollé-Laprune studied philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris. As a student, he read the works of Alphonse Gratry, who had been chaplain at the ENS. As a Christian, he modelled his life on that of Frédéric Ozanam, seeking to make himself a “lay apostle.” As a social activist, he followed in the footsteps of Frédéric Le Play, the pioneer sociologist whose method of social enquiry so influenced Cardijn.

As an academic, he influenced a whole generation of future French leaders, including Jean Jaurès, founder of the French Socialist Party, the sociologist Emile Durkheim, and the philosophers, Maurice Blondel and Henri Bergson.

Writing in 1896, he advised students to learn to “see clearly, judge and decide” in order to address the challenges of the time.

Léon Ollé-Laprune died in 1898, 125 years ago this year. The method he inspired would sweep the world with Cardijn’s Young Christian Workers and its sister movements before being adopted by Pope John XXIII in 1961 and by the Second Vatican Council in 1965.


50 years of Gustavo Gutierrez’s Theology of Liberation

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first English edition of Gustavo Gutierrez’s landmark book, Theology of Liberation, writes Leo Guardado, a presenter at the Cardijn Conference in Cincinnati in 2018.

“That first edition of Gutiérrez’s book served as a primary introduction to a new way of doing theology and becoming church with the poor and insignificant,” Leo writes.

“A Theology of Liberation is a significant book about the insignificant ones of history who live in insignificant worlds. Insignificance is the prism for grasping what is at the heart of the book, what it points to, what it resignifies. For something or someone to be considered significant means that it is recognized as something known, confirmed as something important. Conversely, that which is insignificant lacks meaning, does not convey anything of importance, does not transcend itself in signification. Insignificant ones exist without leaving a mark in history, and ultimately, they lack historical presence.

A Theology of Liberation discerned the irruption of the presence of the poor into a world of signification, with the biblical claim that it is insignificant persons who most signify and make present the presence of God. In the original Spanish introduction to the book, Gutiérrez clarified that the book’s real question is the theological status of the process of liberation; phrased differently, it is about the deep meaning of faith and the mission of the church in a world of captivity. To be Christian, to be church, the book argued, is to live permanently a process of liberation whose referent is always the mystery of God made flesh, who in radical freedom chooses what is insignificant for God’s own revelation. To grasp the irruption of the presence of the poor, one must undergo an epistemological rupture, a new way of encountering and reading reality through faith in the living God.”


Leo Guardado, 50 years later, Gustavo Gutierrez’s ‘A Theology of Liberation’ remains prophetic (America Magazine)

Accompany the marginalised: Pope to Spanish workers

In a message for the 14th General Assembly of the Spanish Christian Workers Movement (HOAC) in Segovia, Pope Francis urged Catholics to accompany people struggling on the margins of the economy.

Pope Francis addressed his message to participants in the HOAC meeting from 12-15 August 2023, which bears the theme “Building Bridges, Tearing Down Walls: The Church in the World of Work Weaving Bonds of Fraternity”.

Work founded in human dignity

In his message, the Pope expressed his appreciation for the movement’s dedication to helping the Church accompany Catholics in the workforce.

Recalling his words in Evangelii Gaudium, he noted that work is “an essential component of life and human dignity”.

“Work is not simply a productive activity, but a means by which we cooperate with God in the work of creation and realize ourselves as human beings,” he said.

The Pope added that human labor helps us to be “co-creators and to participate in building a more just and fraternal world.”

Pope Francis added that it is the Church’s mission to walk with people in all aspects of their lives, including participation in the workforce.

Accompanying people on the peripheries

He said the Church especially needs to accompany people who are on the peripheries of the world of work.

“Our commitment cannot be limited to isolated speeches or actions,” he said, “but must be a constant witness of solidarity and support to people in situations of labor and social vulnerability.”

The Church’s mission with workers, he added, includes being close to people who have lost their jobs or suffer from a lack of employment opportunities.

Christians cannot remain enclosed in the walls of our church buildings, he urged, inviting everyone to reach out actively to those in need and to seek “just and lasting solutions” to job insecurity.

The Pope lamented the fact that unemployment continues to affect many families, saying the Church bears the responsibility of standing in solidarity with “people who face despair and exclusion due to joblessness.”

He concluded his message by encouraging the members of Catholic Action to “weave bonds of fraternity, bear the light of the Gospel, and build a more just society.

“I urge you to continue to be God’s people in the midst of working life, and to continue to weave stories of love and solidarity,” concluded Pope Francis. “The Church needs you.”


Pope: Church must accompany workers in midst of job insecurity (Vatican News)

ACI Annual General Meeting: Tuesday 22 August

ACI will hold our fifth Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 22 August 2023.

Since we launched in August 2018, we’ve held more than 30 webinars and co-organised one international conference in Leuven, Belgium.

We had some success in influencing the outcome of the Australian Plenary Council’s statements on lay apostolate and formation.

We’ve published 275 articles on our website and built up our newsletter mailing list to just over 1500 now.

The Joseph Cardijn Digital Library now contains over 1500 documents in French and approximately 500 in English with more being added on a monthly basis.

Altogether our websites drew 1.1 million visits last year.

But there’s so much more to do! Hence, this invitation to our readers to join the ACI Cooperative as a member shareholder. As a non-profit coop, there will be no dividends – not in the financial sense anyway, just the satisfaction of contributing to the promotion of the Cardijn message in the 21st century.






Léon Ollé-Laprune: See Judge Decide or the origin of the See-Judge-Act

ACI secretary Stefan Gigacz will present our August webinar on Léon Ollé-Laprune, the French philosopher, who first articulated the method that we today know as the “see-judge-act.”

Born in 1839, Léon Ollé-Laprune studied philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure (ENS) in Paris. As a student, he read the works of Alphonse Gratry, who had been chaplain at the ENS. As a Christian, he modelled his life on that of Frédéric Ozanam, seeking to make himself a “lay apostle.” As a social activist, he followed in the footsteps of Frédéric Le Play, the pioneer sociologist whose method of social enquiry so influenced Cardijn.

As an academic, he influenced a whole generation of future French leaders, including Jean Jaurès, founder of the French Socialist Party, the sociologist Emile Durkheim, and the philosophers, Maurice Blondel and Henri Bergson.

Writing in 1896, he advised students to learn to “see clearly, judge and decide” in order to address the challenges of the time.

Léon Ollé-Laprune died in 1898, 125 years ago this year. The method he inspired would sweep the world with Cardijn’s Young Christian Workers and its sister movements before being adopted by Pope John XXIII in 1961 and by the Second Vatican Council in 1965.

Stefan Gigacz

Originally from Melbourne, Stefan worked for a short time as a personal injuries lawyer. While at university, he became involved in a local parish YCW group. In 1978, he became a fulltime worker for the movement, working in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney and later for the International YCW.

Later, he completed master’s degrees in canon law and legal theory. From 1997-2000, he coordinated an international project to document the history of the YCW before taking up a position as a project officer with the French Catholic development agency, CCFD-Terre Solidaire. From 2006-2008, he worked as a pastoral worker in a Melbourne Catholic parish. Since then, he has worked as an editor and journalist for a series of Catholic online publications.

From 2012-2018, he worked on his PhD thesis on the role of Joseph Cardijn at the Second Vatican Council, now published under the title “The Leaven in the Council: Joseph Cardijn and the Jocist Network at Vatican II.” He now resides in Perth, Western Australia, where he devotes his time to the development of the Australian Cardijn Institute.

Webinar details

Tuesday 8 August 2023, 7.30pm AEST

Registration link:


Gérard Lutte, champion of street children

Former Belgian YCW and European YCW collaborator, Gerard Lutte, who lived and worked for the last 30 years of his life in Guatemala, has died at the age of 94.

A psychologist by training, he authored a number of books and studies.

In Guatemala, he founded the Movement of Street Children (MOJOCA) to which he dedicated his life.

Explaining this he wrote:

Mojoca has always worked with young people living on the streets. We have welcomed them, guided and educated them, let them play a role in society again. They do this from their own strength because taking care of themselves is in their DNA. Since the COVID-19 crisis broke out, our daily reality has been thoroughly shaken up. The streets are empty, deserted. People are frightened. Our own young people, in turn, are now taking to the streets in search of those who live a similar life. To help them. Because, you know, there is no food, no shelter, no opportunity to earn any money. Who else cares about their fate?

To fulfill our mission of helping street girls and boys organize to defend their rights, improve their quality of life and integrate into society as responsible citizens, we must follow a star that guides our path: this star is the identity, the philosophy, the fundamental values of the street girls and boys movement.

In a tribute to Gerard, the International YCW and the International Cardijn Association noted:

Gérard, born in Belgium, lived for many years in Rome and for the last 30 years in Guatemala City. He was the soul of a network of friendship and struggle in Belgium, Italy and Guatemala. Gérard was a collaborator of the Belgian YCW in the 1970s and a collaborator of the European YCW and the International YCW in the 1980s. He took part in the International Council in Sao Paulo in 1987.

He is the founder of MOJOCA-Movimiento de Jovenes de la Calle in Guatemala. Until his death, he devoted all his strength and conviction to this movement.

As far as the YCW was concerned, Gérard was always present, always ready to support the movement. He was a great soul with a strong fighting spirit. He leaves us, but his testimony, so powerful, remains anchored in each of those who knew him and in the societies to which he contributed to make them fairer and more human!

We share the grief of his family and his many friends, to whom we offer our most sincere condolences.


In the empty streets of Guatemala City young people face hunger, Mojoca offers them help (We Social Movements)

Katharine Massam to head Uni of Divinity academic board

The University of Divinity has announced the appointment of Professor Katharine Massam as Chair of the Academic Board for a term of three years, commencing in January 2024, Vox reports.

Katharine, who is a member of the ACI board, will succeed Reverend Associate Professor Frank Rees, who has served as Chair of the Academic Board since 2017. Professor Massam is the second woman to be appointed to this senior role at the University since its creation in 2005.

UD Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Sherlock commented:

The Academic Board and the University Council were unanimous in electing Professor Massam to this vital role, paying tribute to her wise leadership and significant experience in theological education and research over several decades. She brings a longstanding commitment to innovative and collaborative approaches to teaching, research and mentoring, not only in her primary discipline of religious history, but across a wide range of fields. I very much look forward to her contribution to academic integrity, educational innovation and ensuring the continuing excellence of our students’ experience.”

In response to the appointment, Katharine said:

I’m honoured by this appointment and look forward to taking up the role in 2024. I know we are all aware of the complexity of this time for the colleges and the University, and for theological education within the wider sector. I feel very sure that the Board will engage the challenges well, shaped significantly by Frank’s leadership and mentoring of a collegial culture. I am very much looking forward to working with the Board and with colleagues across the University in all the various tasks ahead.”

Katharine is a historian of religion, with particular interest in cultural and theological understandings of prayer and work. Her most recent book A Bridge Between: Spanish Benedictine Missionary Women in Australia (ANU Press, 2020) is recognised as a “model of how religious history, in its broader bearings, can be written” and was shortlisted for the NSW Premier’s Award in Australian History in 2021.

She has served variously as Academic Dean and Research Coordinator at Pilgrim Theological College, is Secretary of the Religious History Association, and a founding member of the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies.

More recently, she has co-cordinated the Jocist Women’s History Project.

Congratulations from the ACI team, Katharine!


Professor Katharine Massam appointed Chair of the Academic Board (Vox)

Webinar: John XXIII & Pacem in Terris 1963 – 2023

Catholic Social Teaching specialist, Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR, will present the July ACI webinar on “John XXIII and Pacem in Terris 1963 – 2023” marking the 60th anniversary of the publication of the encyclical.

He will explore the astonishing parallels between Paul John XXIII trying to defuse the Cold War and Pope Francis’s efforts to end the conflict over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Pope John published Pacem in terris (lit. ’Peace on Earth’) on 11 April 1963 just two months before his death.

The encyclical sets out the rights and obligations of people and their states, as well as proper interstate relations. It emphasises human dignity and human equality in endorsing women’s rights, nuclear nonproliferation and the United Nations.

Coming just six months after six months after the Cuban Missile Crisis and in the middle of the holding of the Catholic Church’s Second Vatican Council, the encyclical made a great impact at the time and has continued to resonate.

Biographer Peter Hebblethwaite characterised it as John’s “last will and testament” while the pope himself described it as his Easter gift following its publication on Holy Thursday 1963.

Bruce Duncan

Bruce Duncan was ordained a Redemptorist priest in 1971. He studied economics and political science at the University of Sydney so he could pursue his deep interest in Social Justice. During this time he was one of the founding editors of National Outlook magazine.

He was a member of the Melbourne Catholic Commission for Justice, Development and Peace (1994-2007), and a consultant with Catholic Social Services Victoria (1998-2007).

Beginning in 1986, he taught at Yarra Theological Union and coordinated the program in social justice studies until his retirement in 2021.

He was also one of the founders of the advocacy organisation, Social Policy Connections, and of the Yarra Institute for Religion and Social Policy.

Webinar details

Tuesday 11 July 2023, 7.30pm AEST

Register here:


Pope plans apostolic letter on St Therese

In his General Audience on 7 June, just before he left for surgery, Pope Francis announced that he is planning to issue an apostolic letter on St Therese of Lisieux, patron saint of the YCW and Catholic Action.

Before beginning his talk, he walked with his cane to a large reliquary containing the relics of St Thérèse that was placed on a table near where he sits to deliver his catechesis, Our Sunday Visitor reports. He placed a large white rose before the ornate reliquary and stood a few moments in prayer.

“Here before us are the relics of St Therese of the Child Jesus, universal patroness of missions,” the pope explained. “It is good that this happen while we are reflecting on the passion for evangelization, on apostolic zeal. Today, then, let us allow the witness of St. Therese to help us. She was born 150 years ago, and I plan to dedicate an Apostolic Letter to her on this anniversary.”

He continued:

She is patroness of the missions, but she was never sent on mission. She was a Carmelite nun who lived her life according to the way of littleness and weakness: she defined herself as “a small grain of sand.” Having poor health, she died at the age of only 24. But though her body was sickly, her heart was vibrant, missionary. She recounts in her “diary” that her desire was that of being a missionary, and that she wanted to be one not just for a few years, but for the rest of her life, even until the end of the world. Therese was a “spiritual sister” to several missionaries: she accompanied them from her monastery through her letters, through her prayer, and by offering continuous sacrifices for them.

Without being visible, she interceded for the missions, like an engine that, although hidden, gives a vehicle the power to move forward. However, she was often not understood by her fellow nuns: she received “more thorns than roses” from them, but she accepted everything lovingly, patiently, offering even these judgments and misunderstandings together with her illness. And she did this joyfully, for the needs of the Church, so that, as she said, “roses might fall on everyone,” especially the most distant.

Now, I ask, where did all this zeal, this missionary strength, and this joy of interceding come from? Two episodes that occurred before Therese entered the monastery help us to understand this.

The first concerns the day that changed her life, Christmas 1886, when God worked a miracle in her heart. Shortly after that, Therese would turn 14 years old. As the youngest child, she was pampered by everyone at home. Returning from midnight Mass, however, her very tired father did not feel like being there when his daughter opened her gifts, and said, “Good thing it’s the last year!” Therese, who was very sensitive and easily moved to tears, was hurt, and went up to her room and cried. But she quickly suppressed her tears, went downstairs and, full of joy, she was the one who cheered her father. What had happened?

On that night, when Jesus had made himself weak out of love, her soul became strong: in just a few moments, she had come out of the prison of her selfishness and self-pity; she began to feel that “charity entered her heart, with the need to forget herself” (cf. Manuscript A, 133-134). From then on, she directed her zeal toward others, that they might find God, and, instead of seeking consolations for herself, she set out to “console Jesus, [to] make him loved by souls,” because, as Therese, Doctor of the Church, noted, “Jesus is sick with love and […] the sickness of love cannot be cured except by love” (Letter to Marie Guérin, July 1890). This then was her daily resolution: to “make Jesus loved” (Letter to Céline, 15 October 1889), to intercede for others. She wrote, “I want to save souls and forget myself for them: I want to save them even after my death” (Letter to Fr. Roullan, 19 March 1897). Several times she said, “I will spend my heaven doing good on earth.”

Following the example of Jesus the Good Shepherd, her zeal was directed especially toward sinners, to “those far off.” This is revealed in the second episode. Therese learnt about a criminal, Enrico Pranzini, sentenced to death for horrible crimes: he had been found guilty of the brutal murder of three people, and was destined for the guillotine; but he did not want to receive the consolations of the faith. Therese took him into her heart and did all she could: she prayed in every way for his conversion, so that he, whom, with brotherly compassion she called “poor wretched Pranzini,” might demonstrate a small sign of repentance and make room for God’s mercy in which Therese trusted blindly. The execution took place.

The next day, Therese read in the newspaper that Pranzini, just before laying his head on the block, “all of a sudden, seized by a sudden inspiration, turned around, grabbed a Crucifix that the priest handed to him and kissed three times the sacred wounds” of Jesus. The saint remarked, “Then his soul went to receive the merciful sentence of the One who declared that in Heaven there will be more joy for a single sinner who repents than for the ninety-nine righteous who have no need of repentance!” (Manuscript A, 135).

Such is the power of intercession moved by charity; such is the engine of mission! Missionaries, in fact – of whom Therese is patroness – are not only those who travel long distances, learn new languages, do good works, and are good at proclamation; no, a missionary is anyone who lives as an instrument of God’s love where they are. Missionaries are those who do everything so that, through their witness, their prayer, their intercession, Jesus might pass by.

This is the apostolic zeal that, let us always remember, never works by proselytism or constraint, but by attraction: one does not become a Christian because they are forced by someone, but because they have been touched by love. With so many means, methods, and structures available, which sometimes distract from what is essential, the Church needs hearts like Therese’s, hearts that draw people to love and bring people closer to God. Let us ask this saint for the grace to overcome our selfishness and for the passion to intercede that Jesus might be known and loved.


Pope plans to write document dedicated to St. Thérèse of Lisieux (Our Sunday Visitor)

Pope Francis, Catechesis. The passion for evangelization: the apostolic zeal of the believer. 16. Witnesses: Saint Therese of the Child Jesus, patron of the missions (Vatican.va)


Vatican Media

Webinar: Catholic social justice and the Labor Party 1900-1940

Emeritus Professor James Franklin will address the subject “Catholic social justice and the Labor Party 1900-1940” at our next ACI webinar on Tuesday 13 June.

In Europe in the early twentieth century, Catholics like Marc Sangnier and Joseph Cardijn were concerned about justice for the workers and had a plan on what to do about it.

At the same time in Australia, Catholics were also concerned about justice for the workers and acted to bring it about. But the political context of the two continents was completely different, and so were the plans. Or perhaps the plans were not so different as might appear at first.

The Australian plan had much less explicit theory and much more pragmatism and politics, and much more success in implementation. The moderate wing of the Australian Labor Party developed a politically feasible plan that has made a major contribution to the system of “regulated capitalism” or “market socialism” that we live in today.

Prof. James Franklin

James Franklin

James Franklin is the editor of the Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society and an honorary professor at the University of New South Wales, Sydney.

His books include Corrupting the Youth: A History of Philosophy in Australia, Catholic Values and Australian Realities, The Real Archbishop Mannix and The Worth of Persons: The Foundation of Ethics. and most recently, Catholic Thought and Catholic Action, Scenes from Australian Catholic Life.

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RIP Betty Villa

Betty Villa, vice-president of the International YCW from 1961-65, has died in her native Philippines at the age of 96.

We remember her by sharing this video she recorded for the Cardijn Community International Vatican2+50 Conference held in Manila in 2012.

RIP Betty and thanks for your lifetime of commitment.

Message from Cardijn as recorded by Betty Villa

Betty quoting Cardijn again

New YCW bishop for Mauritius

Pope Francis has appointed Mons. Jean Michaël Durhône as the Local Ordinary for Port-Louis Diocese in Mauritius, ACI in Africa reports.

In the latest administrative changes made public by the Holy See Press Office on Friday, May 19, the Holy Father also accepted the retirement of Maurice Evenor Cardinal Piat from the pastoral care of the Diocese of Port-Louis.

Born in June 1973 in the Diocese of Port-Louis, the Mauritian Bishop-elect was ordained a Priest for the same Diocese in August 2005 after completing his priestly formation at the Seminary des Pays-de-la-Loire in the Catholic Diocese of Nantes in France.

The alumnus of the Belgium-based Lumen Vitae Institute where he obtained a licentiate in Moral Theology, Pastoral, and Catechesis has been serving as Secretary General of the Episcopal Conferences of Indian Ocean (CEDOI).

Since his ordination to the Priesthood, Mons. Durhône has previously served in various positions, including Vicar of St. Louis Cathedral of Port-Louis Diocese; Diocesan Chaplain of the Young Christian Workers Movement; and Diocesan Head of Catechesis.

He also served as the Parish Vicar of Sainte-Hélène, Curepipe, and Saint-Sauveur, Bambous.

Outside the Indian Ocean Island nation, the Mauritian Bishop-elect served as the Parish Priest of Our Lady of the Visitation parish in France.

Once ordained Bishop to succeed Cardinal Piat, a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans/Holy Ghost Fathers), Mons. Durhône is expected to administer as the 14th Local Ordinary of the Mauritian Diocese, which has an estimated population of 331,713 Catholics representing 26 percent of the total population in the Diocese, according to 2021 statistics.

The 1,882 square-kilometer Diocese that was erected as Vicariate Apostolic of Mauritius in June 1837 was elevated to a Diocese in December 1847.


Pope Francis Appoints Bishop in Mauritius, Auxiliary Bishop in Madagascar (Association of Catholic Information in Africa)

Jean-Michaël Durhône (Catholic Hierarchy)

Young people are the change we need: Pope Francis

Young people embody the change that we all need, Pope Francis writes in the preface to an book by Gaël Giraud and Carlo Petrini entitled “The taste to change. The ecological transition as the path to happiness” (Slow Food Editore and Libreria Editrice Vaticana).

“The good that appears as beautiful carries with it the reason why it must be done. This is the first thought that arose for me after reading this beautiful dialogue between Carlo Petrini, whom I have known and esteemed for years, a gastronome and activist known all over the world, and Gaël Giraud, a Jesuit economist whose contributions I have recently appreciated in La Civiltà Cattolica, where he writes qualified articles on economics, finance and climate change,” Pope Francis wrote.

He continued:

What the two authors bring forward in this exchange is a sort of ‘critical narration’ with respect to the global situation: on the one hand, they elaborate a reasoned and compelling analysis of the economic-food model in which we are immersed, which, to borrow a writer’s famous definition, ‘knows the price of everything and the value of nothing’; on the other hand, they propose several constructive examples, established experiences, singular stories of care for the common good and the commons that open the reader to a look of goodness and trust on our time. Criticism of what is wrong, stories of positive situations: one with the other, not one without the other.

The authors, Petrini and Giraud, one a 70-year-old activist, the other a 50-year-old economics professor, find reasons for trust and hope in the new generations, he added.

Usually we adults complain about young people, indeed we repeat that the ‘past’ times were certainly better than this troubled present, and that those who come after us are squandering our achievements. Instead, we must admit with sincerity that it is the young people who embody the change we all objectively need. It is they who are asking us, in various parts of the world, to change. Change our lifestyle, so predatory towards the environment.

Change our relationship with the Earth’s resources, which are not infinite. Change our attitude towards them, the new generations, from whom we are stealing the future. And they are not only asking us, they are doing it: taking to the streets, demonstrating their dissent from an economic system that is unfair to the poor and an enemy of the environment, seeking new ways forward. And they are doing it starting from the everyday: making responsible choices about food, transport, consumption.

Young people are educating us on this! They are choosing to consume less and experience interpersonal relationships more; they are careful to buy objects produced following strict rules of environmental and social respect; they are imaginative in using collective or less polluting means of transport. For me, seeing that these behaviours are spreading to become common practice is cause for consolation and confidence. Petrini and Giraud often refer to youth movements that, in different parts of the world, advance the demands of climate justice and social justice: the two aspects must be kept together, always.

Pope Francis further notes that the fact that the two authors, one an agnostic and one a Jesuit, represent different points of view and cultural backgrounds adds to the book’s richness.

“This objective fact does not prevent them from carrying on an intense and constructive conversation that becomes the manifesto of a plausible future for our society and our planet itself, so threatened by the nefarious consequences of a destructive, colonialist and domineering approach to creation.

“A believer and an agnostic speak and meet, albeit from different positions, on different aspects that our society must take on board in order for the world’s tomorrow to be still possible: it seems to me something beautiful! ” the pope concluded.


Pope: Humanity must change our relationship with Earth’s limited resources (Vatican News)

Healing the split between faith and life

Expecting only those with a “religious vocation”, a miniscule percentage of the total Catholic population, to carry the mission of the whole is a recipe for disaster, writes Sr Christine Burke IBVM in Catholic Outlook.

“We would all love our Church to look a lot more like the face of Christ: to actually be a sign of God’s love in our world,” she continues. “We would like them to change. But this is asking us to change – to listen to those who think differently – to try to understand where they are coming from, with them to seek the best way forward. It is asking that we speak honestly about the build up of barnacles on the Barque of Peter, that we take a hand in scrubbing off the mess. But even deeper than that, it is asking us to risk coming closer to the one we are called to model our life on.”

She continues:

For 1500 years at least, an attitude has been fostered in our Church which limited the power and responsibility that flows from baptism to a few, to the ones who had “a vocation”.  They were not all sleek and well-toned like the stars of the exercise routine, but they were the ones who were committed to really following Christ. In vaunting this more “heroic” following, a shadow message was clearly broadcast: those who chose to marry and have families and/or a profession or trade were the “also-rans”.

There were two clear defining differences: the chosen few gave up the joys and struggles of a relationship supported by sexual intimacy, and they committed to giving time and effort to prayer and action for others. Looking down any list of saints, those who have taken this step outnumber married people about 100 (if not 1000) to 1! The message was clear: if you are serious about following Jesus, priesthood or religious life is the best direction to take.

Expecting a miniscule percentage of the total Catholic population to carry the mission of the whole is a recipe for disaster. Our Church is contemplating the failure of this model: we are seen as irrelevant, disgraced, divided. While the Second Vatican Council (1962-65) noted the split between faith and life (Gaudium et spes, 43), for many younger people, the message of Jesus has been negated by the actions of the Christian community.

Vatican II reshaped the message. All are called by baptism to step up and live out “being Christ” in our world, the life of Jesus as a fully grounded human being – his prayer, his action for justice, and his shaping a community (as priest, prophet and king) is a call to every one of us. Pedestals need to be removed and all must contribute if our vision of a world where reconciliation, care for our planet, and peace is to gain a foothold.


Christine Burke IBVM, Synodality: is it for them or for us? (Catholic Outlook/La Croix International)

Rebel bishop Jacques Gaillot has died

France’s “rebel bishop” Jacques Gaillot, who was removed from his Normandy diocese of Évreux by Pope John Paul II in 1995 after 13 years died of cancer on 12 April aged 87, The Tablet reports.

Transferred by the Vatican to Partenia, an extinct ancient diocese in Algeria that became his internet home, he was received “as a brother” by Pope Francis 20 years later.

As a bishop, he was a strong supporter of the YCW and other Specialised Catholic Action movements. In 2000, he was a guest speaker at the 75th anniversary congress of the International YCW in Brussels.

“In 2009, he came to share and discuss with young people (at a YCW national assembly),” recalled former French YCW national president Stéphane Haar.

“His words, which were full of love and evangelical demand, struck many jocists.

“This should be a Church of the marginalised, not a Church that marginalises,” he told his farewell Mass in Évreux almost two decades before Pope Francis spoke about a Church “going to the peripheries”.

Reflecting his popularity, 20,000 people flocked to the Norman town for the Mass from France, Germany and the Benelux countries. Four French bishops attended it.

He said his 28 months of military service in Algeria in the late 1950s turned him into an activist. “Excess violence pushed me to non-violence,” he said.

After studies in Rome and ordination, he spend the next decade teaching in regional seminaries. He took over Évreux diocese in 1982.

Gaillot was soon defending conscientious objectors, opposing nuclear weapons and supporting anti-apartheid activists. He tried to convince his brother bishops to decide that married men could be ordained priests.

As Church criticism of his activism grew, Gaillot called the head of the French bishops an “ayatollah” and compared the Vatican’s Congregation of Bishops to the East German Stasi police.

After his dismissal, the outspoken bishop moved in temporarily with Paris squatters, published about two dozen books and spoke frequently at conferences or in interviews.

As bishop of Partenia, he continued to work for the rights of the excluded. With Albert Jacquard and Léon Schwartzenberg, he founded the association “Droits devant!” to support undocumented immigrants and Roma, whom he helped to house in gymnasiums or squats in conjunction with the “Droit au logement” (DAL – the Right to Housing).

A defender of the Palestinian cause, he denounced arms sales and nuclear testing (he embarked on a Greenpeace boat to Tahiti), visited prisoners, and more.

He sided with homosexuals, divorced and remarried Catholics, condom users afraid of Aids and other “sidelined” people.

In 2015, he met with Pope Francis who urged him to keep up his activism for migrants and refugees, telling him he was a “gift” for the Church.


Tom Heneghan, French ‘rebel bishop’ Jacques Gaillot dies at 87 (The Tablet)

Claire Lesegretain, France’s “rebel bishop”, Jacques Gaillot, dies at age 87 (La Croix International)

Remembering Fr Bob, the larrikin priest – and YCW chaplain

Melbourne is mourning the passing of Fr Bob Maguire, a priest well-known for his work with the poor in inner city South Melbourne and elsewhere.

Born in 1934, Fr Bob, who was also once chaplain to the Ashburton YCW, died at Cabrini Hospital on 20 April.

During that period, the Ashburton YCW lost 12 of its members, who had all been drafted for military service in Vietnam. He himself joined the Army Reserve at that time, rising to the rank of lieutenant-colonel.

Former Melbourne YCW leader, Frank Barber, recalls him as a YCW chaplain who sometimes addressed training weekends at the Maiya Wamba YCW camp.

In 1973, he was appointed parish priest of Sts Peter and Paul Parish in South Melbourne, a position that he made his own until 2012.

In 2003, he and his colleagues created the Father Bob Maguire Foundation to expand and continue his social justice and charitable work.

“Father Bob was not just a much loved family member but was loved by all Australians for what he stood for,” his family said in a statement.

“Despite his high profile in the media, he was always on the job, especially for the disadvantaged families and individuals for whom he had great love and compassion,” the statement said.

“He wanted nobody to be left behind and always saw and believed in the good in people, but he knew that there were many whom he referred to as the unloved and unlovely. These were his real passion.”

“He believed so much in the power of the church to do good. I’m not a crazy church person, I was just drawn in by his energy, just to keep helping people,” commented comedian, Marty Fields. “Anyone who put out a hand to Fr Bob always got something back in it. … all the homeless people know Fr Bob, no-one had a bad word about him …

“His ability to reach beyond his church and put aside the politics of everything, and just say, ‘this is what we’re here for … get out there and get me some more money to put some pencils and papers on the desks of children of homeless people. ‘

“He didn’t worry about ads on TV, or spend any of his money on marketing … it was all word of mouth, all goodwill,” Fiends added.

Church officials also paid tribute with Melbourne Archbishop Peter Comensoli describing him as “a fierce friend of the downhearted, the broken and the lost throughout his whole life.”

“Vale Fr Bob Maguire, priest, pastor, prophet, poet, friend of the poor, clown of God, human being…and a huge influence on my early life who led me to the priesthood,” wrote Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge, originally from Melbourne, on Twitter. “Thanks, old friend, now rest in peace…but let the fire in the belly blaze forever.”


Bob Maguire (Wikipedia)

Father Bob Maguire Foundation

Veterans reunite for 50th anniversary of footy premierships (Herald-Sun)