Fr Hal Ranger, reluctant to retire at 87

Senior Toowoomba priest, Fr Hal Ranger credits Cardijn with his reluctance to retire, ABC News reports.

At St Patrick’s Cathedral, where he is Associate Pastor, Father Hal, 87, leads mass, or “meetings of the team” as he calls it.

“The game is out there in the world,” he said.

“You get the team together to kind of re-align yourself with the spirit of the team, listen to the word of God and talk about it a bit.

“Then you go out the door to live that out in the nitty-gritty of the real world.”

Father Hal puts his reluctance to retire down to a meeting many years ago with Belgian Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, who was 84 when he said to him, “If you’ve got the health and the energy and a bit of adrenaline, then why not?”.

He remembers his mother taking a job at Toowoomba’s Willowburn Mental Asylum to work with “the broken, isolated people the rest of the world didn’t want anything to do with”.

Father Hal says being there for the “battling people looking for meaning in their life” became a theme in his life, but also pitted him against the Catholic Church’s rigid traditions.

“There were times I seriously thought about how I can really live meaningfully and peacefully and with energy in the system, so I rebelled a bit against it,” he says.

“But I was never tempted to throw the whole baby out with the bath water.”

Father Hal believes the biggest barrier between the church and the people it wants to connect with are the churches themselves.

“This will come across as a bit of a heresy, but I think the building that we’re sitting in and other church buildings and the institution that the church has kind of got itself locked into is almost foreign to the gospel,” he said.

“I really don’t think Jesus, if he were here today, would be building churches.

“If there is value in gathering big groups of people, then use the town hall. Once you build something like this, I think it gives a message of being cut off from the rest of the world.”


Young and old reflect on life as Catholic priests in 2022 (ABC News)


Father Hal Ranger has been a Catholic priest for 64 years.(ABC Southern Queensland: Belinda Sanders)

Newark synod synthesis highlights “priesthood of the laity”

In its diocesan synthesis for the Synod on Synodality in 2023, the US Archdiocese of Newark has called for “significant formation” on the “priesthood of the laity” and in “lay leadership.”

The recommendations include:

Provide significant formation regarding “the priesthood of the laity” and how each person is called to be a disciple of Christ through baptism for members of the laity and Church leaders.

The report noted that “many parishioners are more focused on their local concerns rather than on global issues.”

“Pastors, parish staff members, and school and campus leaders can facilitate “lifelong learning” by gathering groups to read, study and reflect on the many resources available to know more about the faith and contemporary issues the Church is speaking of,” the synthesis continued.

Small Christian Communities

Giving examples, the synthesis noted that “parishioners can be invited to come together for Small Christian Communities, Bible study, books, journal studies, etc., on parish or deanery levels.”

It concluded that there was a need to “help parishioners who are unsure how to reach out to the margins: the poor, former Catholics, unchurched, younger generations, and others.e


“Training is needed in ways to gently reach out to others and invite them into the life of Christ,” the synthesis added, calling for “lay leadership training in parish leadership, ministries and groups, social justice and outreach.

Cardinal Joseph Tobin CSsR welcomed the report, saying:

The synod consultation process provided the Archdiocese with a new opportunity, not only for the prayer, dialogue and discernment called for by Pope Francis, but also a way to think concretely about how to address issues on the local level. A goal for the synod listening sessions was to reach as many people as possible throughout the Archdiocese. As the Archdiocesan planning team began to organize the diocesan consultations, they provided information sessions so that everyone could learn about the Synod and ways they could participate. It was hoped that parish pastoral councils, with some additional training, could facilitate the listening sessions in their respective parishes. This was very effective in gaining participation from a significant number of people. In places that did not have functioning pastoral councils, other leaders were called upon to facilitate the listening sessions.


Diocesan Synthesis Synod on Synodality (Archdiocese of Newark)

Reaching the peripheries: France’s Worker Mission

Next week we are holding another special event to look at the work of the French Catholic Church’s Mission Ouvrière, the worker mission established 80 years ago to reach out to working people.

Many of us will remember Pope Pius XI’s famous lament to Cardijn that “the greatest tragedy of the 19th century was the loss of the working class to the Church.”

Others will recall the famous book, France, Pays de mission – France a mission country -, written by YCW chaplains, Henri Godin and Yvan Daniel, which showed the extent to which the Church had lost touch with the masses.

Since then, Pope Francis has reframed that mission as a mission to the “periphery,” meaning reaching those people beyond the reach of the Church’s traditional structures.

And this is the work of the French Mission Ouvrière, which continues to provide a framework for the YCW, the Christian Workers Movement, a children’s movement, workers priests and a whole range of apostolic groups.

Could it offer a model for Australia today as the Church seeks to implement the decisions of the recent Plenary Council?

To discuss this and other issues, we’ve invited Jackie Hocquet and Bernard Schricke, both former YCW leaders, now working with Caritas France, to explain the Worker Mission model.

Read more

The French Worker Mission (translated document)

Mission Ouvrière Nationale (French)


Thursday 22 September 2022, 7pm AEST


Webinar: Gerard Philips, architect of Lumen Gentium

2022 not only marks the 60th anniversary of the opening of the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 but it is also the 50th anniversary of the death of Belgian theologian, Gerard Philips, the architect of the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium.

ACI has therefore invited Professor Mathijs Lamberigts, former director of the Vatican II Centre at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, to be the presenter for our 13 September webinar entitled “Gerard Philips, Theologian, senator and promoter of the laity.”

Gerard Philips, theologian, senator and promoter of the laity

Born on 29 April 1899, Philips was an early and enthusiastic collaborator of Joseph Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement. During the 1930s, he played a key role as chaplain in the development of the Flemish Catholic students movement. Continuing his work with Cardijn, he promoted Specialised Catholic Action among generations of Belgian seminarians.

In 1952, he published his landmark book, De leek in de Kerk, translated into English as “The laity in the Church.” In 1957, he achieved further prominence with his keynote address to the Second World Congress on Lay Apostolate in Rome.

As a peritus at the Second Vatican Council, Philips was called on by Cardinal Léon-Joseph Suenens to write what became the first draft of the future Dogmatic Constution on the Church, Lumen Gentium. Later, he collaborated closely with French peritus, Pierre Haubtmann, in the drafting of the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World, Gaudium et Spes.

To these tasks, he brought his knowledge as a theologian but also the skills of diplomacy and negotiation that he had developed as a co-opted senator in the Belgian parliament

Originally from the Diocese of Liège, Gerard Philips taught at the University of Louvain (Leuven) from 1944 until his death on 14 July 1972.

Mathijs Lamberigts

Mathijs Lamberigts

Mathijs Lamberigts is Emeritus Professor at the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies, KU Leuven, where he remains a member of the Research Unit on the History of Church and Theology.

An academic librarian from 1989 to 2000, Professor Lamberigts was Dean of the Faculty of Theology and Religious Studies at Leuven from 2000 to 2008, and again from 2014 to 2018.

For 15 years, he was a member of the Religious Sciences working group of the Belgian National Foundation for Scientific Research (FNRS) and is also a member of the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium.

He is a member of the editorial staff of several leading theological including. Augustiniana, Corpus Christianorum. Series Latina, Ephemerides Theologicae Lovanienses, Melitta, Recherches de Théologie et Philosophie médiévales, Revue d’Histoire Ecclésiastique, and Sacris Erudiri.

Date and time

Tuesday 13 September, 7pm AEST



Gerard Philips (French Wikipedia)

Gerard Phiips, The 25th anniversary of the YCW (French)

Gerard Philips, Reflections of a theologian (French)

Mondragon limits maximum salaries to 6x

Writing in The New Yorker magazine, Nick Romeo investigates the secrets of success of the Mondragon worker coops – now the world’s largest worker coop group.

Romeo writes:

The Mondragon Corporation, as it’s known, is a voluntary association of ninety-five autonomous coöperatives that differs radically from a conventional company. Each co-op’s highest-paid executive makes at most six times the salary of its lowest-paid employee. There are no outside shareholders; instead, after a temporary contract, new workers who have proved themselves may become member-owners of their co-ops. A managing director acts as a kind of C.E.O. within each co-op, but the members themselves vote on many vital decisions about strategy, salaries, and policy, and the votes of all members, whether they are senior management or blue-collar, count equally.


When individual coöperatives do well, their members share in the profits. When times are hard, the coöperatives collectively support one another, sharing funds and reallocating workers among themselves to preserve jobs. During the pandemic, workers at many Mondragon co-ops voted to temporarily reduce their own salaries or hours until markets recovered; people who felt sick were trusted and encouraged to stay home.

Six-to-one maximum pay ratio

If JPMorgan adopted Mondragon’s six-to-one pay ratio, ​​Dimon’s compensation would be capped at six times that of his lowest-paid employee; while it’s hard to estimate his hypothetical salary too narrowly, he would almost certainly make less than a million dollars instead of the more than eighty-four million dollars he earned in 2021, and his decisions would be subject to approval by workers. Furthermore, if JPMorgan were a Mondragon co-op, its profits and staff would sometimes be shared with Basque co-op versions of Bank of America and Wells Fargo.


It’s easy to assume that such arrangements must impair productivity. But multiple academic studies have found that coöperatives with worker governance and ownership are as profitable as or more profitable than ordinary firms. Researchers note that, in co-ops, incentives are better aligned: people benefit directly when their co-op succeeds, and so they are more committed. (The same principle motivates work at many startups.) They also find that democratic governance empowers workers to suggest improvements and increases their satisfaction.

Will it be repeated?

Mondragon’s network of co-ops, many clustered along Spain’s Deba River, has managed to survive nearly seventy years of capitalism’s creative destruction. Its persistence suggests that there are fairer and more sustainable ways of doing business. But whether a version of its model could be replicated outside of one beautiful region of northern Spain is an open question, debated within Mondragon and beyond. The collective has a unique history, and its density powers a rare feedback loop in which coöperative values shape institutions, which then reinforce the same values, spiralling outward to define an entire way of life. Mondragon is an inspiring and successful experiment. Will it ever be repeated?


How Mondragon became the world’s largest coop (The New Yorker)

Video: Australia’s Indigenous Science Network

Mark Linkson was the presenter for our August ACI webinar on “Australia’s Indigenous Science Network.”

A former YCW leader from Adelaide, Mark has taught in Indigenous communities in northern Australia and the Torres Strait islands for more than 30 years. He also taught for two years in Ethiopia.

With this wealth of experience, he has become the Australian coordinator for the Indigenous Science Network (ISN), a global initiative based in Australia that promotes the use of Indigenous science in education and highlights the work of Indigenous scientists.



Mark Linkson, Indigenous Science Network (ACI)

Respect: Confronting violence and abuse

The Australian Catholic Bishops Conference has issued its Social Justice Statement for 2022-23 addressing the theme “Respect: Confronting violence and abuse.”

It explains the major issues as follows:

The Australian Institute of Health and Welfare reports that “family, domestic and sexual violence is a major national health and welfare issue that can have lifelong impacts for victims and perpetrators. It affects people of all ages and from all backgrounds, but predominantly affects women and children”.

The statistics concerning violence against women and children in Australia are shocking. One woman is killed every nine days by a current or former partner while one in six girls and one in nine boys were physically or sexually abused before age of 15. Some groups are more vulnerable than others.

Apart from physical violence, women and girls with disabilities experience all forms of violence at higher rates than men with disabilities, or people without disabilities. A staggering 65% of women with disabilities report experiencing at least one incident of violence since the age of 15 and women with disabilities are twice as likely as women without disabilities to have experienced sexual violence. Australian Bureau of Statistics figures reveal that young women aged 18-34 were 2.7 times as likely as those aged 35 and over to have experienced intimate partner violence in the 12 months before the 2016 Personal Safety Survey.

Meanwhile more than 10,900 calls were made to elder abuse helplines across Australia in 2017-18. Women outnumbered men among these callers in each state and emotional and financial abuse were the most common types of elder abuse reported. People who identify as LGBTQI+, people living outside major cities, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds are also more vulnerable to violence than other groups.

Family and domestic violence is a painful and complex reality for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.


Respect: Confronting violence and abuse (Office for Social Justice)

Respect: Confronting violence and abuse (Social Justice Statement 2022-23)

Review: ‘A World after Liberalism’

In the past few years, several murderous racists have shown a strange interest in demarcating their complicated relationship with Christianity, writes Jeet Heer at Commonweal.

Payton S. Gendron, who was arrested for shooting ten Black people at a Tops Friendly Markets store in Buffalo in May, raised the issue in his heavily plagiarized manifesto. In a “questions and answers” section, he takes up the question “Are you a Christian?” According to Gendron, “No, I do not ask God for salvation by faith, nor do I confess my sins to Him. I personally believe there is no afterlife. I do however believe in and practice many Christian values.”

It’s the issue of “Christian values” that makes Gendron’s affiliation with Christianity more complex. For the manifesto makes clear that Gendron’s racism includes the belief that “Christian values” are a significant component of “White culture.” He also accuses Jews of being demonic.

Gendron lists an array of other killers as his inspiration. They include Brenton Tarrant, who killed fifty-one Muslims in New Zealand in 2019, and Anders Breivik, who killed seventy-seven people, mostly teenagers, in Norway in 2011. Both men also defined themselves as unbelievers but cultural Christians, acting to defend the faith against secular and infidel (largely Islamic) foes. In his manifesto, Breivik told his followers that they “don’t need to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus to fight for our Christian cultural heritage.”

These three murderers are a new breed of crusaders: political Christians who kill on behalf of a faith whose tenets they don’t believe in. They are the most extreme and violent manifestations of an upsurge in white Christian identitarian politics throughout the lands formerly known as Christendom.

It’s one of the many merits of Matthew Rose’s A World after Liberalism: Philosophers of the Radical Right that it helps answer the question of how a figure like Breivik could both disavow Christian belief and claim to kill on behalf of “our Christian cultural heritage.”


Christianity’s Postliberal Critics ‘A World after Liberalism’ (Commonweal)

ACI AGM online Tuesday 30 August 2022

The ACI Annual General Meeting for 2022 will be held via Zoom on Tuesday 30 August 2022 at 7pm AEST.

Our first guest speaker will be Sarah Prenger, who has just recently completed her term as president of the International YCW. Sarah is currently completing a master’s in Catholic Social Teaching in her home country, Germany.

Also joining us will be Sarah’s compatriot, Bernhard Bormann, another former IYCW leader, who is now a member of the leadership team of the International Cardijn Association, an alumni network for YCW members.

Registration link

And please also note the Zoom link:

Registration is required.

Nomination of directors

ACI Rules are attached or may be consulted online here:

Please particularly note Rule 47, which sets out the procedures governing the election of directors.

In accordance with this, I advise that:

i) ACI currently has seven directors. No directors are retiring at or prior to this AGM.

ii) Nominations are open for further directors as the AGM may decide. All financial members are eligible to stand for election.

iii) Responsibilities and duties of directors are set out in the attached document. They may also be consulted at the following link:

iv) No remuneration is payable to directors.

v) Nominations must be made as follows:

A nomination must:

(i) be signed by 2 or more members; and

(ii) provide details of the qualifications and experience of the person nominated;


(iii) be accompanied by a notice in writing signed by the nominee consenting to

their nomination.

(d) The nomination and the notice of consent must be lodged with the secretary of the co-operative at least 30 days before the annual general meeting. (See Rule 47 (5) (c).

Nominations therefore need to be sent to me, the secretary, by 31 July 2022.

Financial membership

Please ensure that your membership is up to date prior to the AGM and/or become an ACI patron.

The annual membership fee is (a very modest) $12.

Bank details for payments:

Account name: Australian Cardijn Institute Cooperative
Bank: Great Southern Bank BSB: 814282 A/c No.: 51304905

Pay online here:

Draft Agenda

The chairperson, Mr Brian Lawrence is to deem if we have a quorum and then open the meeting with a prayer.

1. To confirm the Minutes of the Annual General Meeting held on Saturday 28 August 2021. See attached minutes.

2. Any matters arising from the Minutes of the 2021 Annual General Meeting.

3. To receive from the Board, Auditors, any officer of the ACI, any member of ACI, any reports upon the transactions, affairs of the Australian Cardijn Institute for the year end of 30/06/2021.

4. Income and Expenditure Statement and Balance Sheet for the year end 30/06/2022. Mr Michael Rice to present. See attached Report.

5. Election of Directors: Present Board Members are: Mr Brian Lawrence (President), Messrs Stefan Gigacz (Secretary), David Moloney, Michael Rice (Treasurer), Desmond Ryan and Katharine Massam. During the year, Mr Greg Lopez resigned as a member of the board.

None of their terms of office are expiring this year. No nominations have been received for further members of the board.

The Board is seeking to further improve its expertise and is looking for suitable candidates with special skills in marketing, religious, theological and other relevant disciplines and in order to increase gender and age diversity.

6. Guest speakers: Sarah Prenger, former president of the International YCW, currently completing a masters in Catholic Social Teaching in Germany, and Bernhard Bormann, member of the leadership of the International Cardijn Association, the alumni network of the IYCW.

7. National and International Reports: Mr S. Gigacz

Websites/Newsletter: Mr S. Gigacz

Other reports as required

8. Our “Notice of Meeting” is online here:

Members are encouraged to email the secretary Mr S.R. Gigacz by 23 August 2022 with any voting intentions, questions for the annual meeting or suggestions: 

9. ACI Plan for 2023-24

12. General Business


Secretary/Director: Mr S. Gigacz

Email: or

Phone: 0491 077 033.

ACI Registered Address: 56 Austin Rd, Seaford, Vic, 3198.

Thanking you and looking forward to seeing you all on 30 August.

Stefan Gigacz


Australian Cardijn Institute Cooperative Ltd
Incorporated in 2018
(Cooperatives National Law Application Act 2013)
ABN: 19211591334

Webinar: Australia’s Indigenous Science Network

Mark Linkson will be the presenter for our August ACI webinar on “Australia’s Indigenous Science Network.”

A former YCW leader from Adelaide, Mark has taught in Indigenous communities in northern Australia and the Torres Strait islands for more than 30 years. He also taught for two years in Ethiopia.

With this wealth of experience, he has become the Australian coordinator for the Indigenous Science Network (ISN), a global initiative based in Australia that promotes the use of Indigenous science in education and highlights the work of Indigenous scientists.

Mark Linkson

ISN’s work

Founded at a meeting in Darwin in 1998 for people attending the Australian Science Teachers’ Conference (CONASTA) and the conference of the Australasian Science Education Research Association (ASERA) who were interested in Indigenous science, ISN has expanded to include people from all over the globe and includes academics, researchers and classroom practitioners.

Its key means of communication is a bulletin released four times per year, offering a compendium of articles, resources, opinion, academic papers and conferences related to Indigenous science, teaching and education.

The network’s aims are:

  • To promote First Nations science, teaching and education
  • To support all educators who would like to improve their knowledge and understanding of Indigenous science and how to access and use it in their teaching
  • To involve Indigenous scientists, educators and community members who support the inclusion of Indigenous knowledge in teaching science and are open to dialogue and sharing about their own experiences.


Tuesday 16 August 2022, 7.00pm AEST



Indigenous Science Network

Pope Francis to Pax Romana: Be agents of social change

In a personally signed letter to the Pax Romana movements on 22 July 2022, Pope Francis called on Catholic students and professionals to work for the spread of the Gospel, its values of justice, peace and solidarity, and to be agents of social change.

Pax Romana, which comprises two movements – the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS) and the International Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMICA) – has just concluded its centenary year commemorating its foundation in 1921.

In his letter, Pope Francis thanked Pax Romana leaders for maintaining a “spirituality of action” and for fulfilling “your mission of addressing the spiritual and material needs of young people in tertiary educational institutions throughout the world.”

“I am likewise appreciative of the contribution you have made within the Church,” the pope continued, “and for the notable fruits that have been borne in nurturing leaders and supporting the faithful in promoting Catholic social leaching in the Americas, Africa and Asia.”

“Your vital apostolate encourages young people to take the lead in striving for a more just social order within their countries,” the pope noted, even though “not all of you live in environments that easily facilitate the pursuit of your dreams or that help you to grow in faith.”

“Support one another in the life of faith and the pursuit of virtue. In a world of widespread inequality, may you be mindful too of your fellow students and peers in so many parts of our world whose dreams are threatened by war, injustice, and political, economic and ecological crises. Keep them in your prayers and support them by works of practical solidarity,” the pope added.

Recalling the theme for World Youth Day 2023 – “Mary arose and went with haste” – he urged leaders “to ‘arise’ like Mary, and work for the change you want to experience within your communities

“Demonstrate and spread the (Pax Romana) values of ‘Respect and Integrity, Trust and Solidarity, Diversity and “Inclusivity, Transparency and Accountability” so that “your service to the liberating message or the Gospel will be effective and will bear lasting fruit,” Pope Francis concluded.

“Pope Francis is clearly very familiar with the work of Pax Romana,” commented Australian Cardijn Institute secretary, Stefan Gigacz. “The Uruguayan intellectual and Pax Romana member, Alberto Methol Ferré, was a major influence on Francis’ thinking as were many Argentinian chaplains of the JUC, the local member movement of the IMCS, including Lucio Gera.”

The Australian Cardijn Institute ( is a corresponding member of Pax Romana ICMICA ( ).


To the Members of the International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS-MIEC) Pax Romana and the International Catholic Movement for Intellectual and Cultural Affairs (ICMCA-MIIC) Pax Romana

I send prayerful good wishes to the students and professionals celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the International Movement of Catholic Students – Pax Romana. Your Movement received official recognition by the Holy See in 1921, and I am pleased that you have maintained your spirituality of action and fulfilled your mission of addressing the spiritual and material needs of young people in tertiary educational institutions throughout the world. I am likewise appreciative of the contribution you have made within the Church over this period, and for the notable fruits that have been borne in nurturing leaders and supporting the faithful in promoting Catholic social leaching in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Your vital apostolate encourages young people to take the lead in striving for a more just social order within their countries.

Over the past Century, Pox Romana has enabled many university students and young professionals to grow in their faith and to work for the spread or the Gospel and its values of justice, peace and solidarity. I encourage you to continue to be agents of social change, steadfast in your efforts to help build a more inclusive, harmonious and sustainable world. Be ever ready to give the best of yourselves in meeting the challenges that lie ahead, attentive to the signs of the times and committed to the service of the poor, the vulnerable and the underprivileged.

Dear young friends, at this stage of your lives, you have much energy and a plethora of opportunities and choices before you. Yet, while you have many wishes and interests that you want to explore, not all of you live in environments that easily facilitate the pursuit of your dreams or that help you to grow in faith. Support one another in the life of faith and the pursuit of virtue. In a world of widespread inequality, may you be mindful too of your fellow students and peers in so many parts of our world whose dreams are threatened by war, injustice, and political, economic and ecological crises. Keep them in your prayers and support them by works of practical solidarity.

As you know, young Catholics are preparing to meet in Lisbon in August 2023 for World Youth Day, with the motto, “Mary arose and went with haste” (Lk 1:39), I look forward to seeing many of you there! I urge you to “arise” like Mary, and work for the change you want to experience within your communities. Demonstrate and spread the values of “Respect and Integrity, Trust and Solidarity, Diversity and Inclusivity, Transparency and Accountability” that your Strategic Plan highlights. In this way, your service to the liberating message or the Gospel will be effective and will bear lasting fruit.

With these sentiments, I send my blessing to all the members of lMCS and ICMICA, I ask you, please, to pray for me, and for peace in our world, that young people everywhere may enjoy a future filled with hope and joy.

Rome, Saint John Lateran, 22 July 2022


Pope Francis, Letter to Pax Romana


Zebra48bo / Wikipedia / CCA BY SA 4.0

LG31 Forum on Formation for the Lay Apostolate

Following the success of our first LG31 Forum and of the Second Assembly of the Plenary Council, we will hold our second forum on Thursday 28 July 2022 at 7.00pm AEST.

Plenary Decree 6 on “Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry” makes formation for the apostolate of the laity a priority for the Australian Church.

“Responding to the call for a renewal of formation,” §7 of the introduction to Decree 6 reads, “the Plenary Council endorses principles and strategies that develop models of formation to encourage and strengthen the apostolate of the laity in the world. “

It continues with a strong endorsement of the see-judge-act method for this formation:

This apostolate offers a particular prophetic sign by seeking the common good and by concrete actions that protect and promote human dignity, peace and justice. Attentive to the ‘signs of the times’, movements of the lay apostolate, in their various forms, offer the baptised a way to reflect on the concrete experiences of their lives in the light of the Gospel and engage as missionary disciples in the world.

As a means for formation, the apostolate of the laity is grounded in scriptural reflection, reception of the ecclesial wisdom of our tradition, and prayerful communal discernment. This formation shapes Christian engagement with the broader Australian community through listening and dialogue, and supports actions for the transformation of society through daily commitment and public witness.

“Therefore, to meet the formation needs of the present and future,” §9 adds, “the Plenary Council commits the Church in Australia to developing and committing to a culture of life-long faith

In our next LG31 forum we will discuss how to implement these decrees, looking particularly at what ACI can offer.

Please join us for this important event.


Date: Thursday 28 July 2022

Time: 7pm AEST



Formation and Leadership for Mission and Ministry (Australian Plenary Council)

2022: Australian Plenary Council: Formation (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Leadership for Mission (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Invitation: Cardijn Memorial Mass Sunday 24 July

The Cardijn Community Australia and ACI invite all members and friends to join us for a Cardijn Memorial Mass on the 55th anniversary of his death this Sunday 24 July at 7.30pm AEST.

Our celebrant will be former Australian YCW national chaplain, Fr Jim Monaghan, now vicar-general of Port Pirie Diocese and parish priest of Port Augusta.


The people of God as ‘leaven in the world’

Former Australian YCW national chaplain, Fr Jim Monaghan, now the parish priest of Port Augusta as well as vicar general of Port Pirie Diocese has kindly allowed us to publish his intervention at the Second Assembly of the Australian Plenary Councilin support of Motion 6.2 on formation.

Our Plenary process gives due attention – timely attention – to the renewal of the inner life of the church. Complementing the inner life, Motion 6.2, especially paragraph e, provides the opportunity to consider the work of Christ in the world beyond the church. Jesus prayed that the kingdom would come, on earth as it is in heaven. He understood the priority of feeding the hungry, a living wage for casual labourers, visiting the prisoners, and welcoming the stranger.

Point e of paragraph 83 cites Lumen Gentium – the faithful people of God as the “leaven in the world”. The spiritual gifts of clergy, religious and lay ministers within the church are properly revered; but the world of daily life is properly – and precisely – the apostolic province of the faithful people of God, known traditionally as the lay people. Without well-formed lay apostles, the very world which God loved so much will remain substantially in darkness.

How to form these lay apostles?

Paragraph 81 beautifully describes the Review of Life method, for formation for the disciples of Jesus Christ. Seeing a situation as it truly is, and judging it with the heart and mind of Jesus, ordinary working people help each other to discern actions to transform each situation to more closely resemble the Kingdom of God.

Reflecting on actions taken in hope, the people of God grow in understanding of the action of the Holy Spirit in their own hearts, and they discover their faith. Father Joseph Cardijn referred to this as the Double Transformation. Speaking of young workers, he noted how when you work to transform the world into the kingdom which God always intended, you yourself are transformed, and you discover the irreplaceable vocation of redeeming the world around you.

Wages too low to put food on the table and pay the rent; parents unable to cope with the pressures of life; the potentially destructive effect of devices upon families; not enough houses, even in a rich country like ours; the over-incarceration of our Aboriginal peoples; a suicide rate leading the world. And this is just in Australia, let alone the countries of our region. The world around us needs the leadership of skilled, formed and faithful Catholics now more than ever, and the church must enable for them the most effective possible formation. And it all starts from your daily life.

I urge you to support this motion, and not to wait for anyone’s permission to put it into action.

Fr Jim Monaghan


photo_collections / Pixnio

The Pact of the Catacombs and the Pietralata Message

ACI has launched a new website – – that tells the story of the Pact of the Catacombs for a Church of the Poor and its long forgotten counterpart, the Pietralata Message, for a worker Church.

The story began with a proposal by Brazilian Archbishop Helder Camara to hold two Eucharistic celebrations towards the end of the Fourth Session of Vatican II in October or November 1965.

The two masses took place on successive evenings on 16 and 17 November 1965, just prior to the promulgation of the Decree on Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam Actuositatem, on 18 November.

The Mass for a Poor and Servant Church was held first in the Domitilla Catacombs. It was there that the document later to become known as the Pact of the Catacombs was adopted by the bishops present.

The Mass for Workers took place the following evening at Cardijn’s cardinal’s parish church of St Michael Archangel in the working class Rome suburb of Pietralata. There, the gathered bishops adopted a second document, the Pietralata Message.

Much has been written about the Pact of the Catacombs yet little is known of the Pietralata Message.

This website presents them both pairing them again in the way that Helder Camara had originally intended and hoped.


LG31 Forum on Lay Apostolate: Next steps

On Saturday 2 July 2022 – two days before the opening of the 2nd Assembly of the Australian Plenary Council – ACI organised an “LG31 Forum on Lay Apostolate” with the aim of reflecting on how to promote the Vatican II vision of lay apostolate in light of the Plenary.

We were joined by several Plenary members, including Sr Stancea Vichie of the Missionary Sisters of Service, Fr Jim Monaghan, vicar general of Port Pirie Diocese and parish priest of Port Augusta, Wendy Goonan from Parramatta Diocese, Jodi Steel from Wollongong Diocese, and Deborah Robertson from Bunbury.

Catholic Social Teaching expert, Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR, presented his reflections on the draft documents, expressing concern at the lack of attention paid to lay apostolate as understood in Lumen Gentium §31.

The forum concluded with a resolution to meet again on Thursday 28 July to reflect on the outcomes of the Plenary and more particularly to focus on how to move forward with the promotion of the lay apostolate.


Date: Thursday 28 July 2022

Time: 7pm AEST



Book: To Jurong with Love

Former Singapore YCS and YCW leader, Tang Lay Lee, has published a history of the Singapore YCW entitled “To Jurong with love.”

She traces the history of the movement from its beginnings in 1954-55 by French Foreign Mission priests Frs Hippolyte Berthold and Louis Amiotte-Suchet in the parish of Saints Peter and Paul to its ultimate end in 1998.

In a chapter entitles “From parish to periphery,” Lay Lee explains the YCW’s transition from a parish-based movement to one that focused its work in Singapore’s then strongly developing industrial area of Jurong in the west of the island.

Her choice of the word “periphery” is perhaps highly significant because while the word echoes Pope Francis’ call for the Church to move to the peripheries of society, it also echoes the way in which the YCW itself became somewhat marginalised by the Church.

Worse, during the 1980s, the YCW’s work became the subject of accusations of communism and Marxism by the nation’s rulers, leading in 1987 to the arrest of many Church workers, including Lay Lee herself.

Moreover, it is no accident that these arrests took place just a year after the toppling of the Marcos regime in the neighbouring Philippines, events in which the Catholic Church as well as many grassroots Catholics played a large role.

The book also gently gives rise to questions about the strategy of moving from parish to periphery? Was this a success? Was the change too abrupt? Would it have been possible to maintain parish YCW groups while developing the new outreach to industrial areas?

In fact, the YCW in many other countries, particularly in Asia, followed a similar trajectory that of the Singapore YCW. Few have been able to maintain the movement in this manner. There is much to ponder from this experience.

‘To Jurong with Love’ concludes with a chapter of reminiscences and testimonies from YCW leaders of various generations.

Their sentiments are well summed up in the moving poem that introduces that chapter and which gave the book its title.

Although it concludes with the end of the movement in 1998, there is much to learn from Lay Lee’s excellent and heartfelt history as well as great inspiration for a new foundation.

Stefan Gigacz

To Jurong With Love

The roads to Jurong from everywhere were tough, decade after decade.

We went with our different backgrounds and quests, we met as strangers,

we became friends through YCW at work, at the Centre.

We left Jurong for the world, forever changed by all that we experienced and understood

of the working and living conditions confronting workers, day in day out.

We left Jurong for the world with new eyes, by the grace of God

heartened by the solidarity with one another as human beings,

This is from each one of us and all of us with YCW-

To Jurong With Love.


Tang Lay Lee, To Jurong with Love (Kinokinuya)