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)

DATE AND TIME

Thursday 22 September 2022, 7pm AEST

REGISTER

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZItfu6spzgoH9eXJMEXmQh_3qNKrMmFN8NS

The worker mission

Fr Jim Monaghan, parish priest of Port Augusta parish and vicar-general of Port Pirie Diocese as well as a longtime YCW and YCS chaplain, has kindly shared his intervention at the Australian Plenary Council with us.

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

Work should give life, friendship, skills, and spiritual fulfilment, and put food on the family table. But the workplace is becoming the province of idols. Money, competition, exploitation, and shameful indignities. The lowest paid workers saved us during C-19, but their conditions remain shabby and inadequate. The wealth of the few contradicts the common good. Some union leaders have been seduced by greed and ambition.

The organisation of work has become an obstacle to the life of faith. 12 hour shifts, 7 day rosters, FIFO jobs have eliminated weekends and affected the cohesion of families. How many fathers are now visitors among their own children? Where does the Lord’s Day fit? The loneliness and stress of work – a breeding ground for addictions.

Working people need missionary leaders from among themselves, to redeem the world of work. What do priests and bishops know of the workings of work? The answer is – nothing. We need men and women inspired by Mary the young worker and Joseph, who know the smell of the sheep. Workers can rediscover their eternal dignity as the daughters and sons of God.

The Review of Life Method of See, Judge and Act, originally formulated by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn and refined through the lives of countless worker leaders, forms leaders for the mission among the workers and their families.

Archbishop Fisher challenged us to Wake Up! Our Church has been asleep, in regard to the world of work. The devil has crept in under the cover of darkness. We need to form leaders with the heart and mind of Jesus so workers can be the Light of the

World.

Fr Jim Monaghan

PHOTOS

Richard Nyberg, USAID / Pixnio

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