ACI Newsletter – August 2020

Second AGM Edition

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the August edition of our newsletter.

Our big event of the month is our Second Annual General Meeting. Details below.

We also farewell two great jocist priests, Fr Mick Wheeler from Melbourne, and Brazil’s bishop of the poor, Pedro Casaldáliga.

Looking back at our heritage, Florian Schneider reports on the Belgian JOC leaders and chaplains who have been recognised as “Righteous Among the Nations” for their role in saving Jews from deportation during World War II. Ian Linden also reminds us of the continuing relevance of Cardijn’s life and work.

Looking to the future, we note a growing interest in the Cardijn method in the United States with a ringing endorsement of its utility from Catholic Social teaching expert, Fr Kevin McKenna as well as from Word on Fire founder, Bishop Robert Barron.

Closer to home, ACI director, Mark Ager, and the Salisbury CCA team have provided us with an excellent enquiry resource for studying the role of the lay faithful.

And we are pleased to announce the publication by Hilary Regan of ATF Press of the second issue of Cardijn Studies magazine.

Hoping to see you online at the AGM!

Stefan Gigacz


ACI Annual General Meeting, 29 August 2020

ACI will hold its second Annual General Meeting this Saturday 29 August at 2.00pm, AEST. Owing to Covid, this year’s event will take place online.

Our guest speaker will be Sarah Moffatt, a member of the Executive Committee, Australian Plenary Council, currently Acting Chancellor for the Archdiocese of Adelaide, and a former national president Australian YCW.

Welcome to join us by taking out membership or paying your annual dues. See below for our banking details.


ACI AGM Online 29 August 2020 (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

YCW leaders recognised as Righteous Among the Nations

The Yad Vashem World Holocaust Remembrance Centre has recognised four Belgian JOC leaders and a chaplain as “Righteous Among the Nations” for their roles in protecting and saving Jews and resisting the Nazi occupation during World War II, reports German YCW leader, Florian Schneider, who is researching these issues.

The five people were Herman Bouton, Henri André, Joseph Pesser, Lucien Defauw and Jesuit Fr Pierre Cappart. The group worked together to conceal Jewish children at various JOC centres, particularly one that was established in the Schaltin castle. At Schaltin, which was managed by Fr Cappart, they concealed 54 Jewish boys and four women, providing them with forged ID papers.

The women were employed as cooks in the JOC centres, which were established by the Belgian JOC under the leadership of Cardijn and the president, Victor Michel. The centre also provided assistance to JOC leaders who resisted the German Compulsory Labour Service (Service du Travail Obligatoire or STO) system.

André, Pesser and Defauw were eventually arrested following a roundup at Namur in August 1944 and sent to concentration camps along with several Jewish young men. Henri André did not survive.

The Schaltin Institute commemorated these events with a re-enactment of the roundup and a memorial service in October 2019.


Righteous of the Nations (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

RIP Fr Mick Wheeler

This month we say goodbye to Fr Mick Wheeler, a former Melbourne YCW fulltime secretary, who later became a priest.

Aged 82, he passed away at Epworth Hospital in Melbourne on Tuesday 11 August 2020.

“Mick came through the Alphington YCW and worked in the early 60’s as full time Melbourne YCW Secretary,” recalled Bill Armstrong AO.

“He embodied the Cardijn methodology of see, judge act and this stayed with him all through his life,” Bill added.

Mick often told the story about Cardijn’s visit to Australia in 1966, noted Kevin Vaughan.

“Cardijn visited the seminary and spoke to the seminarians. Later, when he was sitting at the dinner table, Mick sat beside him with his arm around the back of his chair and he was told off for getting so personal with a giant of the church. May he rest in peace.”


Vale Fr Mick Wheeler (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Fr Michael Anthony Wheeler Tribute Page (Tobin Brothers Funerals) 

Joseph Cardijn: A man who changed the Church

“A whole generation of Catholics formed in the Young Christian Students and Young Christian Workers movement is receding into history,” writes Prof. Ian Linden (pictured) in a recent article recalling the significance of Cardijn’s contribution.

“Cardijn’s formula took seriously the different milieu, social contexts, that people live in and which affects them. People in factories, university libraries, or on sugar plantations have very different experiences of life. The Cardijn approach profoundly influenced the way Catholics – from bishops to landless agricultural labourers – set about analysing and trying to change society for the better.

“He made a significant contribution to the Second Vatican Council. The bishops and theologians preparing the Pastoral Constitution of the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes, (Joy & Hope), were explicitly instructed to use his See, Judge, and Act method of analysis.

“In a time of fear and lack of historical humility, he has much to be remembered for and to teach the Catholic Church today,” Linden concludes.


Ian Linden, Joseph Cardijn: A man who changed the Church ( 

Cardijn Studies: Lay Movements as Structures of Grace conference

Published by ATF Press, Adelaide, the second edition of Cardijn Studies journal is now out. It contains a series of articles from the Lay Movements as Structures of Grace conference hosted by Mount St Joseph University, Cincinnati, USA in July 2018.

Lauri Przbysz reflects on the work of the US Christian Family Movement while Paul Murray analyses the decline and collapse of the YCS movement in the United States.

Pax Romana president and theology professor, Kevin Ahern emphasises the continuing relevance of the Specialised Catholic Action movements, particularly the youth movements.

On a more theoretical level, David Lutz, looks at the philosophical roots of the See-Judge-Act method. And Clare Adams introduces the French priest, Alphonse Gratry, whose “inductive method” helped provide a basis for the Cardijn method.

Finally, David Moloney reflects on human and Christian formation and social transformation from an Australian perspective.


Cardijn Studies No. 2: Lay Movements as Structures of Grace (ATF Press)


Cardijn Studies No. 1 (ATF Press)

Remembering Brazil’s bishop of the poor

“The ‘Avanguardistes’ and the ‘Fejocistes’ and their songs helped initiate me with an intuition or ideal of sacred struggle,” recalled Catalan-born Brazilian Bishop Pedro Casaldáliga Pla in his 1975 book “Yo creo en la justicia en la esperanza” (I believe in justice and hope).

He was paying tribute to the members of the Catalan jocist or “Fejocista” movement, the precursor of the Catalan JOC, who helped inspire his commitment to the poor.

By the time of his death on 8 August, Bishop Casaldáliga had indeed become known in his adopted homeland of Brazil as a “bishop of the poor.”

“He made the church realize that we cannot abandon the poor,” Archbishop Leonardo Ulrich Steiner of Manaus, Brazil, told Catholic News Service.

Dubbing him a “prophet,” the Brazilian bishops’ Indigenous Missionary Council said that in his simple gestures, Casaldáliga knew better than anyone how to “shelter the little ones of God.”


Remembering Brazil’s bishop of the poor (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

US bishop praises Cardijn method

After US Catholic bishops came under fire for (allegedly) failing to speak out strongly enough against racism, Los Angeles auxiliary bishop, Robert Barron (pictured), the founder of Word on Fire ministries, has pointed to the Cardijn model as a way forward.

“The last thing I would like to do is to stir up any rivalry or resentment between clergy and laity—on the contrary,” he wrote recently.

“Following the prompts of the Vatican II documents, I have been stressing the symbiotic relationship that ought to obtain between them. And if I might propose a concrete example of this symbiosis, I would draw your attention to the Catholic Action model that flourished in the years prior to the Council but which, sadly and surprisingly, fell into desuetude after Vatican II.

“In accord with the framework proposed by Cardinal Cardijn, the founder of Catholic Action, a priest would meet with a relatively small group of parishioners who shared a common interest or vocation, say, physicians, or lawyers, or financiers, or business leaders. The spiritual leader would interpret Scripture or lay out some relevant teaching of the Church and then invite his interlocutors to ‘see, judge, and act.’

“When it was functioning at its best, Catholic Action involved priests and laity, each operating in their proper spheres and working together for the transformation of the world.

“Not a bad approach to the cultural crisis in which we currently find ourselves,” Bishop Barron concluded.

Other commentators, however, have suggested that Bishop Barron’s interpretation exaggerates the division between the roles of clergy and laity as well as letting the bishops off the hook.


Bishop Robert Barron, Why “what are the bishops doing about it?” is the wrong question (Word on Fire)


Word on Fire . 

Serving the poor in parishes

“How can our parishes better serve the poor and vulnerable of the peripheries and work toward building bridges among peoples of different languages and cultures?” asks US priest, Fr Kevin McKenna, the author of “A Concise Guide to Catholic Social Teaching”.

“One methodology that has been effective in pastoral ministry is ‘see, judge, act,'” he notes, highlighting Pope John XXIII’s endorsement of the method in his 1961 encyclical Mater et Magistra.

“In my own parish in Rochester, New York, our parish council and social ministry committee became aware of the worsening plight of the poor in its neighborhood. They saw a need.

“Then, after reviewing an in-depth report and analysis of poverty that had been recently published in Rochester, they were shocked to see the depth and the urgency of the problem. Thus, by using the see-judge-act paradigm, the parish council and social ministry committee were able to read the signs of the times.”

The outcome was that “parish ministers have begun implementing further initiatives to attack the systemic causes of poverty: developing a wellness center that will offer basic health screenings, including blood pressure, pulse and weight.”

“They have decided to initiate a program for those who come to Joseph’s Place that can offer tutoring for high school equivalency certificates. They are also providing information about drug-rehab opportunities,” Fr McKenna noted.


Bringing Salt and Light to the Parish (The Priest) 

Pastoral Conversion of the Parish

The Vatican has recently released a new instruction entitled “The pastoral conversion of the Parish community in the service of the evangelising mission of the Church.”

Writing in America magazine, Colleen Dulle notes that “according to the new instruction, the current model of parishes no longer measures up to most people’s expectations: Whereas the parish church was once a community’s primary gathering space, people now have many other places—in person and virtual—to gather, weakening their commitment to their geographic neighbors.”

“As a result of this change,” Dulle continues, “the document says, ‘any pastoral action that is limited to the territory of the Parish is outdated.” Rather than remaining focused on preserving the existing community, a missionary parish is “called to reach out to everyone, without exception, particularly the poor,” Dulles concludes, citing the document.

Noting that the Vatican document has also been widely criticised, Parramatta priest, Fr Joseph Lam, says he does “not share such a pessimistic reading.”

“The chief purpose of the Instruction is to overcome both, the self-referential conception of the Parish and the clericalisation of the pastoral,” he argues.

“Contrary to some commentators of the Instruction, the intention of the Congregation of the Clergy was not to suppress the active participation of the lay faithful, but rather to preserve and foster the various responsibilities and services within the Parish community,” he argues.

And the Salisbury Cardijn Community group have also produced an enquiry resource to enable parishioners to reflect themselves on the application of the Vatican document.


The pastoral conversion of the Parish community in the service of the evangelising mission of the Church (Congregation for the Clergy)

Fr Joseph Lam, A reflection on the Congregation for Clergy’s Instruction on pastoral conversion of the parish community (Catholic Outlook)

Colleen Dulle, Explainer: 5 takeaways from the Vatican’s new document on parish reform (America Magazine)

The role of the lay faithful (An enquiry by Cardijn Community Salisbury) 

Coming Events 

Australian Cardijn Institute Annual General Meeting: This year’s AGM will take place online on Saturday 29 August at 2.00pm AEST. 

Editorial Note: The purpose of the ACI Newsletter is to share information and promote discussion. Citing or linking to articles does not imply any endorsement by ACI of the authors’ views.

ACI Newsletter – July 2020

Cardijn live in Ballarat

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the July edition of our newsletter in which we highlight Catholics mobilising on refugee issues as well as in the battle against trafficking in persons.

It is particularly pleasing to announce that the National Library of Australia has released the late Professor John Molony’s recording of Cardijn speaking live in Ballarat in 1966, which is possibly the only recording of Cardijn speaking English still in existence.

Not only that but we also present Dorothy Day speaking in Melbourne during her visit to Australia in 1970 and a new book by Val Noone that recalls the event.

We also feature articles on French Dominican Yves Congar’s theology of the laity, and New Zealand priest Fr John Curnow’s opposition to the Springbok tour of 1981. In addition, we have a video story on Spanish “renegade in a cassock,” Fr Ángel García Rodríguez.

Finally, we remember former Adelaide YCW fulltimer and collaborator, Lesley Campbell, and Victorian blacksmith and politician, John Madigan.

Stefan Gigacz


Catholics mobilise on refugee issues

Sydney Catholics are proposing to establish a new “Catholics for Refugees” group to tackle the many problems and issues affecting asylum seekers and refugees in Australia.

Fr Peter Smith, Promoter of Justice and Peace, Justice and Peace Office for the Archdiocese of Sydney, explained the proposal in a recent letter.

“Catholics for Refugees is really a movement of people who want action to make the lives of refugees and asylum seekers better.

“It is an idea that reflects the fact that Catholics – in organisations, Religious Orders, parishes and those who have left the church altogether but are still drawn to the social teachings of the Church – want to do something to restore integrity, humanity and legality to our country’s treatment of refugees both here and in off-shore detention.


Catholics combine on refugee issues (Australian Cardijn Institute)


John Englart / Flickr / CC BY SA 2.0 

Historic Cardijn recording now online

The National Library of Australia has released a historic live recording of a public speech delivered by Cardijn to the Christian Social Week in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1966.

Already 83, Cardijn, who had recently become a cardinal, was on his second and final visit to Australia. However, he retained much of his fire and showed that he was still very much concerned with the major issues of the day.

Fortunately, John Molony (above), who was then YCW diocesan chaplain in Ballarat and hosted Cardijn’s visit, recorded the speech, which he donated to the NLA prior to his death in 2018.

John, who later became a well-known historian at the Australian National University, recalled the visit in an interview with Stefan Gigacz in 2014.


Cardinal Joseph Cardijn speaks at Catholic Social Week in Ballarat in 1966 in the John Molony collection. (National Library of Australia)


John Molony recalls Cardijn’s visit to Ballarat in 1966 / Stefan Gigacz / YouTube


John Molony / Stefan Gigacz 

Educating, serving, representing: Yves Congar and the priesthood of the faithful

Yves Congar was a French Dominican theologian who helped draft many of the documents of Vatican II, including Cardijn’s own speeches to the Council.

From the early 1930s, he had also preached retreats to JOC leaders from Belgium and France. This experience inspired him to write many articles and books on the theology of the laity.

The best known of these in English was Lay People in the Church (2nd edition 1967) in which he explored the way in which lay people shared in Christ’s priestly, prophetic and kingly roles.


Stefan Gigacz, Yves Congar and the priesthood of the faithful: Educating, serving and representing (Cardijn Research) 

Renegade in a cassock

More than 60 years ago, Fr Ángel García Rodríguez began his priestly ministry as a JOC chaplain in Madrid, Spain. Recognised for his work with the poor and marginalised, his parish church has also become famous as a potential model for a Pope Francis church.

German network, Deutsche Welle, tells his story.


Renegade in a cassock (DW/YouTube)


Conversaciones íntimas con… El padre Ángel (El Mundo) (Spanish) 

John Curnow and the Springbok tour of New Zealand 1981

A key moment in New Zealand priest John Curnow’s interpretation of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn’s method was his organisation’s donation in 1981 of $1000 to the anti-Springbok tour movement Halt All Racist Tours (HART), writes Cecily McNeill.

The South African Springboks rugby team were set to tour New Zealand in the second part of 1981 and the country was riven with rugby supporters excited at the prospect of seeing their beloved national team, the All Blacks, defeating that other great team, and equally passionate protesters against South Africa’s racist Apartheid system of government which privileged the white minority population over the country’s majority black and coloured population.

Curnow’s donation caused an explosion of condemnation from many traditional Catholics throughout New Zealand, led by John Kennedy, the conservative editor of the national weekly the Tablet.


Cecily McNeill, John Curnow, priest and prophet (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

Dorothy Day’s 1970 visit to Australia

It is 50 years since American activist Dorothy Day visited Australia at the invitation of two Australian priests, Roger Pryke and John Heffey.

Mary Doyle and Val Noone have marked the occasion with a new book, Dorothy Day in Australia. It begins with an outline of Day’s background and the importance of the
anarchist-pacifist Catholic Worker movement. A second chapter surveys a series of prior Australian connections with Dorothy and the American movement.

Chapter 3 offers an account of Dorothy’s three weeks in Australia in August 1970 – two in New South Wales and one in Victoria. The book concludes with examples of Dorothy’s continuing influence in Australia.


Dorothy Day speaks in Melbourne 1970 (Dally Messenger)


Val Noone, Dorothy Day in Australia, 132 pages, 40 images
Published by Mary Doyle & Val Noone, PO Box 51, Fitzroy, VIC 3065

Click here for order form


Dorothy Day’s radical faith (New Yorker)

Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn and Dorothy Day speaking live in Australia (Cardijn Research)


Dorothy Day / Wikipedia 

RIP Lesley Campbell

Former Adelaide YCW fulltime worker and collaborator, Lesley Campbell, has died after a long illness.

A nurse by training, Lesley worked very closely with many refugees, including those held for long periods in detention centres.

She and her husband, Michael Campbell, a former YCW national president, had four children, Robert, Duncan, Ruth and Clare. Duncan and Clare also became leaders of the YCS and YCW movements.

Lesley “truly lived the Jocist life and inspired us by her example,” writes ACI board member, Mark Ager. “We all extend our affection to her husband, Michael, who is also a member of the institute, and solidarity to him and his family.”


Mark Ager, RIP Lesley Campbell (Australian Cardijn Institute)


Lesley Anne Campbell Funeral Service (Farrell and O’Neill Funerals/Vimeo)


Lesley Campbell / Michael Campbell 

John Madigan, blacksmith and politician

John Joseph Madigan (21 July 1966 – 16 June 2020) was an Australian blacksmith and politician, who served as a Senator for Victoria from 2011 to 2016.

Elected to the Senate at the 2010 federal election as a member of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). He resigned from the DLP to become an independent in September 2014, and later launched “John Madigan’s Manufacturing and Farming Party” in 2015.

He is remembered “as a skilled blacksmith who sold replicas of Ned Kelly’s famous armour, a politician who made his presence felt in the Australian Senate, and a ‘rough-as-guts gentleman’ who always fought for the underdog,” the Ballarat Courier reported.


John Madigan, former senator, dies aged 53 (Ballarat Courier)

John Madigan (Wikipedia)

John Madigan, Labouring for the Common Good (Rerum Novarum Oration 2012)


Ballarat Courier 

World Day against Trafficking in Persons 2020

The United Nations World Day against Trafficking of Persons will take place on 30 July.

ACRATH have produced a helpful See-Judge-Act resource on the theme “May our prayer lead us to act against human trafficking” for groups interested to become more involved on this issue.


Prayer for 2020 World Day against Trafficking in Persons (ACRATH)


Artwork from the Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018, UNODC. 

Coming Events 

Australian Cardijn Institute Annual General Meeting: This year’s AGM will take place on Saturday 29 August. Owing to the Covid-19 situation, we plan to hold the meeting online. Further details in our next newsletter. 

Cardijn Mass Perth Southern Region: Commemorative mass for Cardijn’s anniversary at the newly opened St Teresa of Kolkata church, Baldivis, at 7 p.m. on Friday 24 July. All welcome. Please bring a plate to share.

ACI Newsletter – June 2020

Black Lives Matter Edition

Dear Friends,

Welcome to the Black Lives Matter edition of our newsletter.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the Cardijn movements have a long and proud history of working for racial justice that we highlight in this issue.

The US YCW, in fact, launched a national campaign in 1958 while Cardijn expressed himself strongly in an article lamenting the famous incident of the Little Rock Nine black students, who were refused entry to a white school in 1957. Several years later in 1964, Congolese former YCW chaplain, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Joseph Malula,called on the Second Vatican Council to condemn racism.

And we recall the commitment of Catholic Worker activist, Martin Gugino, who suffered serious injuries at a Black Lives Matter protest in Buffalo, NY.

Meanwhile, back in Australia, applications for this year’s Rerum Novarum Foundation awards are now open. Former YCW fulltime worker, Des Tobin, has published a biography of his famous father, Phonse. We bid farewell to Columban Fr Noel Connolly SSC, who lost a long battle with cancer earlier this month.

Plus news of the Cardijn Community Australia meeting in Melbourne and a Cardijn anniversary mass in Perth.

Stefan Gigacz


A Cardijn influence in the US civil rights movement

As Black Lives Matters protests ramp up around the world, it is perhaps timely to look back at the role of the US Cardijn movements on racial justice issues.

In her book A Time of Awakening, The Young Christian Worker Story in the United States 1938 to 1969, Mary Irene Zotti hghlights a 1957 YCW national enquiry on the theme “Unity” that helped launched grassroots awareness and action around the nation.

“Leaders examined life in the parish and the neighborhood, unions at work and even the United Nations. Actions on international concerns included talking to friends on the need for understanding the situation in other countries, helping immigrants to adjust to American life, and sending CARE packages to the poor overseas,” Zotti writes.

“Major action followed the examination of the facts of racial discrimination,” Zotti notes.

Many jocist priests also played leading roles in the civil rights movement, including Fr James Groppi from Milwaukee. Indeed, a film about his life is due out this year.


The Cardijn influence in the US civil rights movement (Cardijn Research)


When Hell Freezes Over: The Story of Father James Groppi (Trailer) / 11th Story/YouTube 

When Hell Freezes Over: The Story of Father James Groppi (Full Movie)

Catholic Worker activist hospitalised after Black Lives Matter protest

75-year-old Catholic Worker activist, Martin Gugino, has been hospitalised with head injuries after being pushed to the ground by police at a Black Lives Matter protest in Buffalo, New York. Two police are now facing charges of assault over the incident.

President Donald Trump accused Gugino of being an ANTIFA “provocateur.” However, Bishop Edward Scharfenberger, apostolic administrator of Buffalo diocese defended him.

“We honor Mr Gugino’s witness and service to the Catholic Worker Movement,” Scharfenberger said in a statement to CNA.


Buffalo bishop ‘honors witness’ of Catholic man injured in protest (Catholic News Agency)

Catholic activist has been anti-hunger, anti-war, not ‘antifa,’ friends say (Angelus) 

A chance to shape society

Our Australian response (to Covid-19) can take many different forms, but our priorities need to be clear, writes Brisbane Archbishop Mark Coleridge.

And there is one priority above all others – the human being must be the focus of any response. Of course the economy matters, but only if it puts the human being at its heart. The economy was made to serve us; we weren’t made to serve the economy

The Church doesn’t have to go too far back into our history to find guidance for these times. In 1891, Pope Leo XIII published his now famous open letter Rerum Novarum on the Rights and Duties of Capital and Labour.

We’re in a situation now where the world has changed, perhaps forever, and the principle duties and responsibilities of employers, employees and governments are as much in focus today as they were when Rerum Novarum was issued.


A chance to shape society in ways that weren’t possible before the crisis; but as a community, not just the political leaders (Brisbane Catholic)


Archbishop Mark Coleridge / (Stipo Karajica) / Wikipedia / CC BY SA 3.0 

Rerum Novarum Awards 2020 now open

Rerum Novarum Awards for social justice have been re-launched The Rerum Novarum Awards for 2020 have been re-launched as a result of the disruption to the school year caused by the COVID-19 virus.

The competition is open to groups of Years 10-12 students in Catholic schools in Victoria for projects on a social justice issue, using the See, Judge, Act method to apply the principles of Catholic Social Teaching.

The Gold award in the competition is $10,000, which will be paid to the school to fund a social justice project undertaken by the school. There will also be a Silver award ($5,000) and a Bronze award ($2,500).

Entries will comprise a research paper, a video presentation, a project impact report and a funding proposal in the event that the entry is awarded a cash payment.


Rerum Novarum awards launched (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

Document: African archbishop asked Vatican II to condemn racism

In a powerful speech to the Third Session of the Second Vatican Council in 1964, former JOC chaplain, Archbishop (later Cardinal) Joseph Malula of Leopoldville (now Kinshasa) in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, appealed for a condemnation of racism

“Racial injustice committed anywhere in the world is an insult to every human being; but you know, Venerable Fathers, what a particularly painful repercussion it awakens in the hearts of black Africans,” Malula said. ‘No doubt, our peoples suffer from a certain complex which makes their sensitivity especially keen in this area. The Church can powerfully assist them to free themselves from this complex.

“It is very desirable (and if I dared, I would say that it is absolutely necessary) that the Council openly condemns Racism – and by racism we must understand the oppression or the persecution suffered by a group of men, from other men, for reasons of colour or race,” he insisted.


Cardinal Joseph Malula (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Schema De Ecclesia in mundo huius temporis – English (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Cardinal Joseph Malula (Magazine cover) 

Document: Cardijn on the Little Rock drama of 1957

Cardijn often spoke out against racial discrimination and injustice, which he abhorred. He rejoiced when the first international council of the IYCW condemned it.

“We have just spent ten days together with 30,000 young people of all races and colours from 87 countries. It was moving to see the ease of their relationships. On the last day of the Council, the motion condemning all racial discrimination was acclaimed with such unanimity that it was easy to see that it responded to the deepest aspirations of the young people of 1957,” he wrote.

When, a few weeks later, a group of US black students, who became known as the Little Rock Nine, were prevented from taking their places at a (white) school, Cardijn responded strongly.

“Universal basic education must ensure that it eradicates all prejudices of hatred, bitterness, mistrust and selfishness in every field… The Little Rock drama illustrates, alas! that there are still islands where it fails to penetrate. This is yet another reason to multiply demonstrations of union, understanding and friendship. This is a task worthy of young people, and very necessary in order to remove all obstacles to international collaboration.”


Joseph Cardijn, The lessons of the Little Rock drama (

Little Rock Nine (Wikipedia)

Little Rock Nine (


Commemorative cover of National Geographic magazine 

Saving the world through youth

“This is an age of youth movements; of youthful Fascism, Hitlerism, Communism; of Young Australia, movements, Young India movements, and etc., etc., but it has been left to little Belgium to inaugurate a young Christian movement which, in the ten years of its existence, has girt together with bands as strong as steel young Christian
working men and working women throughout the whole world,” wrote Carole Gay in the Melbourne Advocate on 17 October 1935 .

“I speak of the Jocistes who, to-day (25 August) in Brussels, held the most amazing and most genuinely moving demonstration I have ever seen,” she continued in what was certainly one of the earliest if not the earliest references to the jocist movement in the Australian Catholic press.


A Gallant New Crusade, Saving the world through youth (Advocate/Trove) 

Books: Des Tobin remembers “A Man Called Phonse”

Cramming more lives than “your average cat” into his 82 years, Des Tobin has variously been a failed student, springboard diver, discontented apprentice panel beater, junior pole-vaulter, VFL and Olympic Australian Rules footballer, as well as a YCW extension worker in Queensland, ten pin bowling instructor, successful funeral industry executive, golfing tragic, university lecturer and more recently a published author.

His latest book is a biography of his famous father, Phonse Tobin, founder of the Tobin Bros funeral business.


Des Tobin: Writer, speaker, YCW fulltimer (Australian Cardijn Institute)


Vale Fr Noel Connolly

Originally from Gympie, Queensland, Columban Father Noel Connolly SSC, a good friend of the Cardijn movements and a facilitator for the Australian Plenary Council, has died at the age of 75 after a long illness.

“Noel loved the world and loved people,” writes his colleague, Fr Jim Mulroney. “He believed in the bounty of the blessings received from investing in the truth and above all, he loved God, the trace of whose finger in the arena of human affairs he spent a lifetime discerning.”

“He listened with patience during his many engagements in the spirit of the listening Church he believed in, and encouraged people to listen to what the Spirit is saying. He spoke with enthusiasm of the sense of faith possessed by the community of souls that make up the Church, quietly explaining the difference between the well-known Church that teaches and the less-known, but more desirable one that discerns,” Fr Mulroney concluded.


Plenary council facilitator Columban Father Noel Connolly dies aged 75 (Catholic Leader)

Obituary by Fr Jim Mulroney (Columbans)


Fr Noel Connolly / Columban Fathers 

Coming Events 

CCA General Meeting: Cardijn Community of Australia has confirmed a general meeting at the Mulgrave Catholic Parish Hall on Saturday 27 June from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. with lunch arrangements to be advised.

Issues to be addressed will include: Further contributions to the Australian Plenary Council process, including through Australian Catholics for Renewal; the Future of Work enquiry; Laudato Si developments; new conferences; restructuring of the national group and a proposal for action on the closure of country and suburban newspapers

“We will be asking regional and interstate members unable to travel to contribute their ideas by Thursday 25th June so we can distribute the proposals to the members and friends of the community,” CCA president, Wayne McGough noted.

Cardijn Mass Perth Southern Region: Commemorative mass for Cardijn’s anniversary at the newly opened St Teresa of Calcutta church, Baldivis, at 7 p.m. on Friday 24 July. All welcome. More details next month.

ACI Newsletter – May Day 2020

St Joseph the Worker Edition

Dear Friends,

We’re back with a special shorter edition for May Day, which is also the feast of St Joseph the Worker, and we begin with Bishop Vincent Long’s call for social solidarity in this time of Covid-19.

We highlight a letter by Australian Catholic leaders to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison calling for greater solidarity with those excluded from existing government aid programs.

We feature an article on the IYCW’s International Week of Young Workers as well as an article written by Cardijn for May Day 1952 on the greatness of human work and conclude with a reflection on “labour’s battlefield” and the YCW Prayer.

Finally, please stay tuned for our normal May edition in a couple of weeks.

Stefan Gigacz


Bishop Vincent calls for ‘social solidarity’

In his annual message for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, Bishop Vincent Long OFM. Conv. of Parramatta, the chairman of the Australian Bishops Commission for Social Justice, Mission and Service, has called for “social solidarity in a time of social distancing.”

“Our hearts go out to everyone who is out of work; to those whose businesses have been forced to close; and to those whose regular income has plummeted while their bills remain,” he said.

“Surviving on the JobSeeker payment, or any other form of government assistance, is difficult. However, there are also many people who are unable to access this support and are at risk of falling through the cracks,” Bishop Long warned, noting the precarious situation facing asylum-seekers, international students and those on temporary protection visas.

Excluding them from government assistance is “inhumane and unworthy of a decent society,” he added.


Bishop Vincent’s Message for the Feast of St Joseph the Worker (Australian Cardijn Institute)

ACI joins solidarity call

ACI chairman, Brian Lawrence, has joined a historic group of Australian Catholics including several bishops, Catholic Religious Australia (CRA) and the CEOs of several major Catholic health and social services providers in writing to Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, raising serious concerns for two groups of people that remain on the margins of our community and vulnerable to both the predations of the COVID-19 virus and the despair that comes with it.

“We ask that everyone in the Australian community who is in hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, including people seeking protection, be given temporary access to a financial safety net, Medicare, and adequate shelter if they are homeless,” the letter says.

“We ask the Federal Government to remember its responsibility for ensuring safety and human rights of everyone residing within its jurisdiction, even temporarily. In the same way, we hope that foreign governments will be mindful of the needs of Australians stranded abroad at this time,” the letter continues.


ACI asks PM to ensure no-one left behind in Covid crisis (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

International Week of Young Workers 2020

As it has done since the 1980s, the International YCW is this week celebrating the International Week of Young Workers, which has its origins with the Brazilian YCW which first celebrated the National Week of Young Workers in 1970.

The IYCW adopted it as an international event in 1983. This year, however, the movement is celebrating the week as a virtual event.

Former IYCW chaplain, Bishop Reginaldo Andrietta of Jales, Brazil, has written a special prayer for the event.


International Week of Young Workers (International YCW) 

The greatness of human work: Cardijn

Labour “marks a glorious step on the path towards truly human and liberating progress,” wrote Joseph Cardijn in a article for May Day 1952.

“It will be a festival that will honour, respect and magnify human work but not as a god to whom people and families are sacrificed. Instead, labour will be recognised, appreciated and understood as the necessary means to liberate people, families and the whole human race.

“Labour Day is just one step in this long march forward towards recognition and appreciation of the greatness and importance of human work, as humble and as strenuous as it may be,” he wrote.


Labour Day 1952 ( 

Reflection: Labour’s battlefield

“May the soul of every worker who died on labour’s battlefield rest in peace!” reads the YCW Prayer.

Nor was it an exaggeration to speak of “labour’s battlefield” as a September 1926 article in the YCW newspaper, La Jeunesse Ouvrière makes clear.

Entitled “Le Travail Meurtrier” or “Murderous Work,” the article, probably written by Fernand Tonnet, cites a recent edition of a Belgian newspaper in which he noted eight work accidents


Labour’s battlefield (Australian Cardijn Institute)

YCW Prayers (

ACI Newsletter – April 2020

Lockdown edition

Dear Friends,

This edition comes to you amid the Covid-19 lockdown.

Sad to say, the Cardijn movements have not been immune to this disease with the deaths of at least one YCW chaplain, Fr Yves Wecxsteen from Lille in northern France, and of the well known French journalist and former YCS leader, Henri Tincq. We remember their contributions and send our condolences to their loved ones.

Meanwhile, here is a selection of reading to tide you over the coming weeks.

Stefan Gigacz


Consider Universal Basic Wage: Pope Francis

In an Easter letter to the World Meeting of Popular Movements, Pope Francis has called for consideration of a “universal basic wage” as a means to provide for people’s needs in response to problems such as Covid-19.

“Many of you live from day to day, without any type of legal guarantee to protect you. Street vendors, recyclers, carnies, small farmers, construction workers, dressmakers, the different kinds of caregivers: you who are informal, working on your own or in the grassroots economy, you have no steady income to get you through this hard time … and the lockdowns are becoming unbearable.

“This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage which would acknowledge and dignify the noble, essential tasks you carry out. It would ensure and concretely achieve the ideal, at once so human and so Christian, of no worker without rights,” Pope Francis wrote.


Consider “universal basic wage”: Pope (Australian Cardijn Institute)

World Meeting of Popular Movements 

Future of Work Project

ACI has been considering the possibility of researching Future of Work issues, including a universal basic wage, the need for which is particularly evident in poorer countries and in the gig economy within all countries, in conjunction with the Vatican-based Future of Work: Labour After Laudato Si’ project.

Last month (and before the Pope’s message), we contacted the project with a view to participating in a project that falls short of a Universal Basic Income, but which may achieve the same objects, at least in some economic systems (such as Australia’s). Proving that universal wage and welfare safety nets can work in wealthier economies could provide a way forward for emerging economies.


Future of Work project (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

Cardijn’s proposal to John XXIII

Sixty years ago this month, Cardijn wrote to Pope John XXIII enclosing a 5000 word note entitled “The Church and the world of work/labour.”

These were the notes that the pontiff had requested to assist in the drafting of an encyclical to mark the 70th anniversary of Rerum Novarum, Pope Leo’s own defining 1891 encyclical on the condition of the working masses. The outcome a year later was the publication of Pope John’s encyclical, Mater et Magistra, which in turn had a great impact at Vatican II.

As well as a tour de force of sociological analysis of the world of labour, Cardijn’s paper offered an insightful theology of work that is perhaps yet to be fully appreciated, as well as presenting a series of proposals for action by the Church, all of which remain relevant and many of which are yet to be fully implemented.


Cardijn’s proposal to John XXIII (Cardijn Research)

RIP Rev. Paul Nicolson, an Anglican Cardijn priest

Anglican worker priest, Rev. Paul Nicolson, died at the age of 87 on March 5. A married man with five children, who once worked in the champagne trade, he read about the French worker priest movement while studying at Cuddesdon Theological College from 1966-8, The Tablet reports.

In 1982, he “discovered” Liberation Theology, which became his guiding light in trying “to apply the gratuitous love that we learn from the example of Jesus. [And t]hat gratuitous love is both personal and structural.” Archbishop Oscar Romero became one of his heroes.

From the beginning, he was also committed to the Cardijn “see-judge-act” method. He helped established the “Taxpayers against Poverty” movement and founded the “Zaccheus 2000 Trust.” His family have established a fundraiser to continue his work through the trust.


Farewell to an Anglican worker priest ( and The Tablet) 

A Brazilian ‘bishop for the workers’: Dom Tavora

This month marks the 50th anniversary of the premature death of another remarkable Cardijn bishop, José Vicente Tavora, who liked to consider himself as and in fact became known as a “bishop of the workers.”

Born in 1910 in the poor north-eastern Brazilian state of Pernambuco, he was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Nazaré da Mata in 1934. From the beginning, he showed a special concern for workers and worker issues, becoming the first JOC national chaplain in 1950. During Vatican II, he worked closely with Cardijn, who in fact drafted one of his speeches for the Council.

Dom Tavora also worked closely with Dom Helder Camara to organise two masses at the end of Vatican II, one for the poor and one for the workers, resulting in two important documents, the Pact of the Catacombs, which was inspired by Cardijn’s consecration of his life to the working class, and the Pietralata Message, which focused on the role of lay apostolate movements.


Dom Tavora, a Brazilian ‘bishop of the workers’ (Cardijn Research) 

Seeking archival treasure with Trove

If you haven’t done so, I recommend that you visit the National Library’s Trove website at, writes Brian Lawrence.

Its principal interest for me is its digitised newspapers stretching back to the earliest newspapers across Australia, but there are many other kinds of documents, printed, sound and film. It is a great resource for family history, but that is only a small part of its value.

The digitisation of newspapers has opened a new world for those who are interested political, social and economic aspects of Australian history. However, there is, at this point in time, little use of the data.


Finding archival treasure with Trove (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

Towards a Christian Worker movement

Adelaide writer, Paul McGuire, one of the earliest promoters of the YCW in Australia, also helped spark the launch of a Christian Worker movement during the 1940s.

In 1944, the new National Christian Workers Movement and the League of St Thomas More co-sponsored a “Joint Conference of Workers and Employers.” The report was introduced by the following:

“A remarkable and unusual conference took place in St. Ignatius’ Hall, Richmond, on Sunday evening, November 26, when two Catholic organisations—one of employers, business and professional men; the other of workers—met in a combined session to affirm their loyalty to the Church’s programme of Social Justice, and their belief in the possibility of reconstruction through the collaboration of labour and management in Industry and Commerce.”


Towards a Christian Worker Movement? (Australian Cardijn Institute) 

Remembering Mike Bowden

Former Richmond footballer and recent PhD graduate from Yarra Theological Union and the University of Divinity, Mike Bowden, died on Holy Saturday, 11 April, this year, after a long battle with Motor Neurone Disease (MND).

Bowden’s doctoral thesis, entitled Searching Altyerre to Reveal the Cosmic Christ: A contribution to the dialogue between the ancient Arrernte imaginary and Christianity, is now being prepared for publication.


Remembering Mike Bowden (Australian Cardijn Institute) 


Finally, we share the following reflection from ACRATH (Australian Catholic Religious against Trafficking in Humans)

Opening Prayer: On April 24, 2013 the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in Bangladesh collapsed killing 1,134 garment workers and injuring more than 2,500 others. In the rubble of the building rescuers found labels for brands of clothing destined for Australia and other countries all around the world.

At the time Pope Francis denounced as “slave labor” the conditions of the workers caught in this deadly collapse.

Loving God, as we remember the anniversary of this event, we are mindful of these workers and the millions of workers who continue to work in toxic or dangerous conditions today to provide cheap clothing and other goods for us and other consumers.

Response: God of Justice, we remember.


Remembering Workers at Rana Plaza, Bangladesh (ACRATH)

ACI Newsletter – March 2020

Moving forward

Dear Friends,

Greetings again and welcome this issue to our new ACI chairman, Brian Lawrence.

This month we also present a series of new resources, including former Australian YCW chaplain, Hugh O’Sullivan’s iconic Notes for Leaders, a new website devoted to the speeches and writings of Canadian lay apostolate pioneer and labour leader, Romeo Maione.

And Msgr Bob Vitillo explains the thought behind the Vatican-endorsed Future of Work – Labour after Laudato Si’ project.

Finally, we invite you once again to renew your membership of ACI – or to join and support us in our work!

Stefan Gigacz


Welcome Brian Lawrence

Welcome to Brian Lawrence, former chairman of the Australian Catholic Commission on Employment Relations (ACCER) as well as a former YCW and YCS leader, who has accepted appointment as our new ACI chairman, and to new board member, Damian Egan from Perth.

Thanks also to our founding chair, Kevin Vaughan, who has resigned for health reasons.


Brian Lawrence new ACI chairman (Australian Cardijn Institute)


Brian Lawrence, Promoting Catholic Social Ministry and the Lay Apostolate: Proposals for the Plenary Council 

Vietnam War Study Day postponed

Sadly, the current COVID-19 outbreak has meant we need to postpone our planned study day on the theme “Cardijn, YCW, YCS and the Vietnam War.” Once community life has returned to normal, we hope to be able to reschedule the event.

The good news is that we have already assembled a wide range of background material, including historical documents and several newly translated articles by Cardijn on the peace issue, which are now available on the conference website:

Cardijn, YCW, YCS and the Vietnam War (Australian Cardijn Institute)


Making peace Moral or armed peace Coexistence of communism and capitalism 

Speeches and writings of Romeo Maione

Romeo Maione (1925-2015) was a Canadian labour leader and expert in world development as well as the president of the International YCW from 1957-61.

He was a powerful public speaker who shared his experience at the Cardijn Centenary Conference in Melbourne in 1982.

Many of his writings and speeches are now available on our new mini-website:


Cardijn the man Cardijn the teacher Doctor Cardijn 

Missionaries and martyrs in the time of Nazism

“We will need martyrs! You shall be martyrs,” Cardijn told an 80,000 strong crowd gathered in Paris to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the French YCW on 18 July 1937.

Jesuit Paul Beschet recalls these prophetic words in his 1946 book “Mission in Thuringia in the time of Nazism,” which recounts the story of the French Scout and JOC leaders who did indeed lose their lives only a few years later in the concentration camps of Nazi Germany.

Translated into English by Theodore P. Fraser, Beschet’s memoir tells the remarkable story of how those leaders – sent to Germany as compulsory labour to keep the war machine functioning – transformed their experience into a mission among their comrades.

It is one of the most remarkable, indeed heroic episodes in the history of the jocist movements.


Joseph Cardijn, Mission in Thuringia (


Paul Beschet, Mission in Thuringia in the time of Nazism, Marquette University Press, Milwaukee, 2012.



Vincent A. Lapomarda S.J., Mission in Thuringia in the Time of Nazism by Paul Beschet, S.J. 

Hugh O’Sullivan’s Notes for Leaders

Fr Hugh O’Sullivan became national chaplain of the Australian YCW in 1977.

One of Hugh’s first tasks was to write a series of resources for YCW leaders and groups, later published as “Notes for Leaders.”

Long out of print, we are once again making them available online. Although written for the YCW, many of the principles and methods that Hugh outlines are applicable in every milieu and every age of life.


Hugh O’Sullivan’s Notes for Leaders 

Future of Work Project

Msgr Bob Vitillo, secretary-general of the International Catholic Migration Commission, explains the Future of Work, Labour after Laudato Si’ project launched by several Catholic-inspired international organisations:

The Future of Work, Labour after Laudato Si’

Sustainable Development and the Future of Work in the Context of the Jubilee of Mercy: Statement of Commitment and Action (Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, International Labour Organisation and Caritas International)

Future of Work (Australia Institute)

ACI Newsletter – February 2020

Rutilio Grande, South Africa under apartheid, Future of work

This month we start off with news of the impending beatification of the Salvadoran Jesuit Rutilio Grande and his lay companions as well as the 75th anniversarires of several French YCW and YCS martyrs of World War II.

Plus news of two just-published books on the history of the YCW in Lille, northern France as well as in South Africa under the apartheid system.

Looking to the future, we have news of British primary schools adopting the SJA in their teaching of environmental issues and an item on the jocist-inspired Mondragon worker cooperatives.

Plus a very significant sermon from the Eucharistic Congress in Lisieux in 1937 in which Cardijn outlined his theology of work.

Stefan Gigacz


Rutilio Grande and lay companions to be beatified

Pope Francis has recognized the martyrdom of the Servants of God Rutilio Grande García, a Jesuit priest, and his two lay companions, Manuel Solorzano and teenager Nelson Rutilio Lemus, who were killed in hatred of the faith in El Salvador on March 12, 1977, Vatican News reports.


Pope Francis approves Rutilio Grande beatification (

Children See Judge Act to repair our broken world

British Catholic primary schools are adopting the See Judge Act to teach children how to become better environmental stewards.

Plus news of two new books on the history of the YCW in northern France and in South Africa under the apartheid system.


British school children see judge act on environment (

Cardinal Tom Williams – 40 years a bishop

Retired Cardinal Thomas Williams of Wellington, Aotearoa-New Zealand, who credits his priestly vocation to YCW formation, has celebrated his diamond and ruby jubilees with the theme of thanksgiving and repentance, NZ Catholic reports.


Cardinal Williams credits YCW formation (

Books – Bonds of Justice – The Struggle for Oukasie

Here is a book that anyone interested in the work of the YCW in South Africa under the apartheid regime should read.

“Bonds of Justice: The Struggle for Oukasie” by Kally Forrest tells the story of the freedom struggle in the black township of Oukasie, north west of Pretoria, during the 1980s and 1990s.

This struggle was led by YCW leaders from the town, including Hlokoza Motau and David Modimoeng, and chaplain, French chaplain, Jean-Marie Dumortier. David was himself wounded in a state terrorist bomb attack and his wife, Joyce, killed as a result of their action.


Oukasie YCW and the struggle against apartheid (Cardijn Research)


Kally Forrest, Bonds of Justice: The Struggle for Oukasie ( (Kindle version only $A6) 

JOC Lille – 90 years

For those who read French and are interested in the history of the French YCW, this new volume, “Il y a 90 ans la Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne Ouvrière naissait à Lille” tells the story of the origins and development of the movement in the northern French industrial city of Lille.


Il y a 90 ans la Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne naissait à Lille (Institut d’Étude des faits religieux)


Mission Ouvrière Lille 

The future of work: The Mondragon example

Mondragón in the Spanish Basque Region is the largest cooperative in the world and one of the most successful companies in Spain. The workers of the Mondragón Cooperative own their company and make their own decisions. Today, Mondragón is not only a global player in a wide range of industries, but also a model for those who want to bring democracy and solidarity into our economic life.

When we think of cooperatives in general, housing cooperatives or, in rural areas, pasture cooperatives come to mind: small structures that play a subordinate role in economic life. It is a completely different story in the Spanish Basque Region, where the Mondragón cooperative is the most successful company and the largest employer in the region. But there is more: Mondragón is not only one of the largest companies in the whole of Spain, but with branches in 31 different countries and over 80,000 employees, it is the largest cooperative in the world.


Mondragón: One of the largest corporations in Spain belongs to its workers ( 

Cardijn’s theology of work: The workbench as an altar

“Without work, there is no host, no bread, no sacrifice; no altar, no basilica,” stated Cardijn in a famous sermon delivered at the Lisieux Cathedral during the Eucharistic Congress of 1937. “And even if a man’s mouth becomes powerless to sing praise to the glory of work, will not the stones of this basilica themselves sing praise to the glory of Christian work across the centuries?

“The Eucharist-sacrifice transforms each worker into a lay priest who can make his workshop, his bench, his table or his lathe into an altar,” he continued in a phrase that has become iconic.


Sermon at the Lisieux Eucharistic Congress ( 

French World War II martyrs

In recent weeks we have commemorated the deaths of YCW lay co-founders, Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet, who died in the Dachau concentration camp in January and February 1945.

However, there were in fact many more YCW and YCS leaders and chaplains, particularly from France, who died in the various Nazi labour, prison and concentration camps of World War II. (Above: Roger and André Vallée)


French jocist leaders who died in World War II camps (Cardijn Research)

ACI Brisbane hosts Vatican II participant John Maguire

ACI Brisbane will host former YCW chaplain John Maguire, who was appointed by Paul VI to be the “ecclesiastical assistant” to the lay auditors at Vatican II.

John, who was also present in Rome on the day Cardijn received his red cardinal’s hat, will share his reflections on Vatican II, the YCW, lay apostolate and on working with YCW pioneer, Pat Keegan, who was the first lay person to address the Council.

10.00am, Sunday 1 March 2020 10 Silene Street, Wavell Heights, Brisbane, QLD

Please RSVP: Michael Rice 0438 085 004 

The Leaven in the Council Book Project 

Once again a big thank you to all those who have contributed to our book fund appeal for the publication of ACI secretary, Stefan Gigacz’s PhD thesis, “The Leaven in the Council: Joseph Cardijn and the Jocist Network at Vatican II.” Total donations now exceed $8000.

Once we have published the book in English, we will move on to prepare French and Spanish editions. Donations are still greatly accepted at our bank account below. 

Coming Events

Serving Our Communities with Courage and Compassion is the theme of a forthcoming Catholic Social Services conference to be held at the Catholic Leadership Centre, Victoria Parade, East Melbourne on 26-28 February 2020.

Basil’s Table – Banking on the future in a climate of change. Explore the issues with a different kind of banker – Rowan Dowland of Bank Australia, a cooperative bank.
February 25 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm $10 – $25 

Dates to Remember


Dr Claire Tran, IRASEC, History of the Vietnamese YCW and YCS: Dates and locations to be confirmed.


Building Bridges of Faith and Action Conference: Mount St Mary’s University, Los Angeles, 16-19 July 2020.

ACI Newsletter – January 2020

ACI Newsletter

New Year issue

Dear Friends,

Welcome back!

It’s obviously been a difficult time for many who have been affected by the tragic bushfires. We look forward to a break in the weather to give us all the respite so many need.

Meanwhile, we are continuing to prepare our events and projects for the coming year including a visit by former IYCS chaplain, Fr Mike Deeb OP, and later by French-Vietnamese historian, Claire Tran.

Plus, this week we begin to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the deaths in the Dachau concentration camp of Paul Garcet and Fernand Tonnet.

Once again, we’d like to invite existing ACI members to renew your membership or to join. More about ACI here. Payment details at the foot of this newsletter.

More news next month!

Stefan Gigacz


Visit by Fr Mike Deeb O.P.

Fr Mike Deeb OP
Fr Mike Deeb OP

Our first international visitor this year will be Fr Mike Deeb O.P., a former YCS chaplain in South Africa and also former chaplain to the International YCS and International Movement of Catholic Students (IMCS).

Fr Mike is now working for the Dominican Congregation as their General Promoter of Justice and Peace and their Permanent Representative to the United Nations.

Join us for an informal mass (subject to confirmation by the local ordinary) and coffee at Catholic Theological College, Melbourne on Thursday 23 January from 2.30-4.00pm.


Visit by Fr Mike Deeb OP.

Highett YCW history project

YCW Athletics Flyer
YCW Athletics Flyer

It is rare for local YCW branch records to come to light. Kevin Ryan’s records of St Agnes Parish Highett include minutes of 1960s meetings, letters from members in New Guinea, records of activities such as the YCW campaign to rebuild houses burnt after a bushfire, and organisation of YCW athletic carnivals.

ACI has commissioned an archivist report on cataloguing, and digitisation of those documents that are either fragile or would be of general interest (such as ‘The Friday Evening Post’ and ‘The Highett Whisper’) if published on-line, and also to canvass future secure storage options for Kevin’s consideration.

Highett was an influential branch of the Australian YCW, producing leaders who subsequently made significant contributions within credit, land and trade co-operatives, trades unions, social movements (such as the road safety campaign, and the community legal services movement), business, and sport, and also within the church.

There is also interest in production of a short history based on these records and interviews. These might stimulate reflection by veterans on this formative part of their lives, and strengthen their continuing bonds.

David Moloney


Highett YCW Project.

Vietnamese YCW historian Claire Tran

Ho Chi Minh Cabinet
Ho Chi Minh Cabinet with Vietnam YCW founder, Nguyen Manh Ha

Another visitor in May will be French-Vietnamese historian, Dr Claire Trần Thị Lien, who is currently researching the history of the Vietnamese YCW and YCS.

Claire is also the director of IRASEC, the Research Institute on South East Asia in Bangkok. Her PhD thesis at the Institute of Political Science in Paris examined the role of Catholics in the Vietnamese war of independence.

This included the role of Nguyen Manh Ha, the founder of the Vietnamese YCW, who was a member of Ho Chi Minh’s short-lived first government in 1945. Read the story of Manh Ha here.

A Study Day in Melbourne is now in planning with a tentative date of Saturday 30 May with another slated for Sydney.


The YCW and the Vietnam War (Cardijn Research)

Young Trade Unionists Centenary


Last year was the centenary of the launch of the Jeunesse Syndicaliste or Young Trade Unionists, the precursor movement to the YCW, founded in 1919 by Cardijn with Fernand Tonnet, Paul Garcet and Jacques Meert, later known as the “founder trio” of the YCW.

Melbourne historian Val Noone has recently published an article telling the story of the beginnings of the movement.


Val Noone, Belgium 1919, Joseph Cardijn begins the Young Christian Workers Movement. John Lack (Ed.), 1919, The Year Things Fell Apart?, Australian Scholarly, Melbourne, 2019, 116-128.



The Liturgical Movement and Catholic Action in Belgium

Bernard Botte
Bernard Botte OSB

As the title implies, Helen M. Larke’s 1938 article “The Liturgical Movement and Catholic Action in Belgium” offers an interesting insight into the role of the Belgian Specialised Catholic Action movements in the liturgy reform movement that eventually led to such profound changes at Vatican II.

“I have been asked to write about two holidays I have spent in Belgium, because I saw there something of the liturgical movement and of Catholic Action,” Larke, “an avowed and convinced Anglican,” says by way of introduction. “I say ‘saw something,’ for my experiences when recounted make a series of pictures, as it were, related to each other by the idea underlying each: the idea of making religion live.”


The liturgical movement and Catholic Action in Belgium (Jocist Readings)


Liturgical pioneer and friend of Cardijn, Fr Bernard Botte OSB.

Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet 75th Anniversary

Fernand Tonnet
Fernand Tonnet at Dachau

This week we begin to commemorate the 75th anniversaries of the deaths of YCW co-founders, Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet in the Dachau Concentration Camp.

We will commemorate Paul’s anniversary on 23 January with mass by Fr Mike Deeb (see above).

Mgr Frank Marriott will celebrate a commemorative mass for them at St Therese’s Church, Kennington, Victoria on Sunday 2 February at 10.30am.


Mass for Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet


Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet: 75 Years (Cardijn Research)

Joseph Cardijn, The holiness of Tonnet and Garcet (


Latest Cardijn Documents

This month, we have a newly translated document from 1930, namely Cardijn’s article entitled “Happy New Year” published in the YCW magazine, JOC.

Although dated in its language, it is a superb exposition of how Cardijn wanted YCW leaders to reach out and work with their contacts and friends at work and in the neighbourhood.


Joseph Cardijn, Happy and Holy New Year (JOC)

The Future of Work: John Médaille on the Just Economy

John Médaille
John Médaille

At our AGM last August, we decided that ACI would develop a new focus on the issue of “The Future of Work.” In this light, we suggest the following viewing.

American economist, John Médaille, from the University of Dallas is a renowned expert on Catholic Social Teaching and on cooperatives and the distributive economy in particular.

Hosted by Solidarity Hall, John will be presenting an online lecture on “The Just Economy” on Tuesday 22 January at 11.00am Australian Eastern Daylight Time (i.e. Melbourne and Sydney time).

Watch and even join in the discussion via Zoom at the following link:


John Médaille, What is Catholic Economics (Patheos)

The Leaven in the Council Book Project

Cardijn with Bishop Charue of Namur

Last month, we launched our $10,000 fundraising project to finance the publication of Stefan Gigacz’s PhD thesis, The Leaven in the Council: Joseph Cardijn and the Jocist Network at Vatican II.

Thanks to your incredible generosity, we have already passed the halfway mark and have almost reached $6000.

If you have not yet contributed, welcome to do so via Unibank (bank account details below).

Dates to Remember


John Medaille, The Just Economy, 1.00pm AEDT, Tuesday 22 January, Online.

Fr Mike Deeb O.P.,Mass and Coffee, 2.30-4.00pm, Thursday 23 January; Catholic Theological College, 278 Victoria Pde, Melbourne.


Mgr Frank Marriott, Tonnet-Garcet Commemorative Mass, St Theres’s Church, Kennington, Vic, 10.30am; Sunday 2 February.


Dr Claire Tran, IRASEC,History of the Vietnamese YCW and YCS: Dates and locations to be confirmed.


Building Bridges of Faith and Action Conference: Mount St Mary’s University, Los Angeles, 16-19 July 2020.

Australian Cardijn Institute Cooperative Ltd

Incorporated in 2018

(Cooperatives National Law Application Act 2013)

ABN: 19211591334

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


Click here to download membership form.


Please transfer $12 to our account to renew membership for 2019-20


Account name: Australian Cardijn Institute Cooperative
Bank: Unibank BSB: 806036 A/c No.: 100893220



ACI Newsletter – December 2019

ACI Newsletter - December 2019

Christmas issue

Dear Friends,

Christmas and New Year greetings from the ACI team!

In this our first ACI Newsletter you will find news of our activities this year, several new resources plus information on our plans for 2020. Click on the links below for further information. We look forward to your feedback and proposals for the future.

With the new year just around the corner, we’d also like to invite existing members to renew your membership of the ACI Cooperative. Or if you have not yet joined, now is the moment. More about ACI here. Payment details at the foot of this newsletter.

Looking forward to working with all again next year!

Stefan Gigacz


Book project

Greeting members and friends,

Our secretary Stefan Gigacz has written a thesis on the role of Joseph Cardijn at Vatican II and now wishes to have a book published based on that thesis. Please click here to download and read the thesis.

The board has decided to crowd fund the costs of publishing and promoting the book, which has an estimated cost of $8-10,000.

You are invited to contribute to this funding proposal to ensure the book is published prior to the coming Australian Plenary Council.

Should you wish to contribute, you will find our ACI bank account details at the end of this newsletter.

I wish all a happy peaceful and holy celebration of the birth of Christ 2019 years ago.

In Christ
Kevin Vaughan
ACI chair.

ACI Annual General Meeting

ACI held its first Annual General Meeting at Catholic Theological College, Melbourne on Saturday 24 August 2019. Click here for a full report.

Future plans include a focus on the future of work, including an enquiry into the world of work, further submissions to the Australian Plenary Council on Cardijn’s vision of lay apostolate, and the development of a Cardijn library.

Board changes

We would like to thank Vicky Burrows and Jacques Boulet who were members of the first ACI Board of Directors but who have both now resigned owing to other commitments.

Greg Lopez
Greg Lopez

We are also pleased to welcome Dr Gregore Lopez, a lecturer at the Murdoch University Executive Education Centre in Perth, as a new member of the Board. Greg was involved in the YCS in Malaysia as well as in the Cardijn Community International and Young People for Development network.

Cardijn Mass

Over 50 people attended a Cardijn Commemorative Mass at Mary MacKillop Church, Ballajura on Wednesday 13 November. Former YCW chaplain, Fr John Jegerow, was the main celebrant accompanied by Fr Geoff Aldous. More photos here.

Cardijn Mass
Cardijn Mass

Bishop Angelelli beatified

A former JOC chaplain, Bishop Enrique Angelelli, and three companions, Franciscan Fr Carlos Murias, French priest Fr Gabriel Longueville, and lay catechist Wenceslao Pedernera, who were all martyred by the military during Argentina’s military dictatorship, were beatified in April this year.

Bishop Angelelli co-founded the JOC in the Diocese of Cordoba in the late 1940 with Jose Serapio “Pepe” Palacio, later the first lay collaborator for the IYCW. In fact, Pepe Palacio was also martyred six months before Bishop Angelelli, when he “disappeared” in December 1975 as part of Operation Condor, the CIA program to eliminate activists and trade unionists in Latin America.

Bishop Angelelli marches
Bishop Angelelli marches

Read more:

Angelelli, first martyr of Vatican II (La Croix International)

Enrique Angelelli (Cardijn Priests)

Pepe Palacio (Cardijn Pioneers)

Cardijn Community expands

Wayne McGough, president of the Cardijn Community Australia (CCA), reports that a new team has launched in Bendigo, Victoria. Congratulations to Wayne for his work and welcome to the new group.

Incidentally, the institute began as a project developed by CCA members and CCA has become our first group shareholder. Thanks for your support, Wayne and team!

French YCW founder remembered

Georges Guérin with Cardijn

In October, Stefan Gigacz visited France where he took part in a conference to remember Fr Georges Guérin, the founder-chaplain of the French JOC (YCW), whose beatification process is now under way.

The conference which was attended by over 100 particpants took place in Fr Guérin’s home town of Toul, near Nancy in eastern France on 5-6 October 2019. Stefan presented a paper on “Cardijn, Guérin and the Jocist Network at Vatican II.” Click here to read (French only at this stage).

The Pact of the Catacombs and a forgotten Vatican II message

Bishops meet in Catacombs
Bishops meet in Catacombs

Participants in the recent Synod on Amazonia held in Rome met together in the Domitilla Catacombs for a special Mass celebration where they adopted a new Pact committing themselves to defend the Amazon jungle and its people. It was inspired by and modelled on the original Pact of the Catacombs at Vatican II.

In a new series of blog posts, Stefan Gigacz explains the role of Cardijn and the Jocist bishops in the development of the original Pact and another document, the Pietralata Message promoting the lay apostolate.

Cardijn, Camara and the Pact of the Catacombs

The jocist bishops who signed the Pact of the Catacombs

Pietralata: The forgotten Mass and Message

Latest Cardijn documents

The Joseph Cardijn website continues to be updated with new material. The most recent additions include several recently translated autobiographical articles by Cardijn in which he describes the challenges and difficulties he faced.

Although it is often overlooked, in parallel with his efforts to start the YCW, Cardijn also launched a movement for university students, known as the Catholic Social Youth.

In the final article, Cardijn explains the origins and importance of the YCW Retreat Service, the first ever YCW service.


The difficulties

Catholic Social Youth

The JOC Retreat Services

See, Judge, Act in New Zealand

See Judge Act
See Judge Act

Rod Orange, See, Judge, Act, Training Catholic Activists in New Zealand, 1938-1983, Steele Roberts, Wellington, New Zealand, 2019.

This is a new book tracing the history of the jocist movements in New Zealand. It is available for purchase online from Steele Roberts.

Los Angeles Cardijn Conference

Building Bridges of Faith and Action Conference, Mount St Mary’s University, Los Angeles, 16-19 July 2020.

This will be the second Cardijn conference in the US after the first one at Mount St Joseph’s University, Cincinnati in 2018. Congratulations to Ana Grande and Bob Pennington for their initiative.

Proposals for papers and workshops are now being sought. Full details here.

Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet 75th Anniversary: 1945 – 2020

Paul Garcet and Fernand Tonnet
Paul Garcet and Fernand Tonnet

Along with Jacques Meert, Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet made up the “founder trio” of the Belgian French-speaking YCW in 1925.

Arrested by the Gestapo during World War II, they both died with days of each other at the Dachau Concentration Camp in January-February 1945.

Read more: Fernand Tonnet

Australian Cardijn Institute Cooperative Ltd

Incorporated in 2018

(Cooperatives National Law Application Act 2013)

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


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