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


An Australian Christian Worker movement?

Former ACI president, Kevin Vaughan, has long called for an adult lay apostolate movement in Australia.

He is now inviting people interested in forming an Australian Christian Worker Movement to contact him in view of launching such an initiative.

He proposes that those interested should initially meet online in order to best work out how to develop the movement.

Kevin has been particularly concerned by recent news stories relating to the exploitation of seasonal workers from the Pacific Islands.

An Australian Christian Workers Movement previously existed mainly in Adelaide during the 1980s.


Abused RSE workers in Australia too afraid to speak out (Radio New Zealand)

Catholic Labor Network USA

Movement of Christian Workers UK

World Movement of Christian Workers

WMCW focuses on land, lodging and labour

At its General Assembly in Avila, Spain from 15-21 July, the World Movement of Christian Workers (WMCW) focused on the theme “Land, Housing and Work for a decent life”.

In the final statement from the assembly, the movement committed itself to “offering our work and our struggles to all the workers of the world, at local, regional and global level.”

“This is how we will realize our evangelization mission. We intend to adapt the organization of the WMCW to better respond to this challenge,” the assembly concluded.

The final statement continued:

We are committed to :

1. Strengthen our militant lifestyle, our formation and our revision of life in accordance with our faith in Jesus Christ, with the Gospel and the social doctrine of the Church.

2. Promote the relationship between movements and the workers pastoral: we need to be a voice in the Church and a voice in the world of work, with particular attention to the most excluded and precarious people.

3. Analyze the regional situation of workers in order to create dynamics that denounce situations of vulnerability of rights and protect the dignity of the person. Promote equal opportunities for men and women in all areas, also within our organizations. Contribute to the training of young Christian workers.

4. Encourage alliances with other major actors at local and regional level who share our approach to decent work and the construction of the common good.

5. To promote solidarity and common action with popular movements, during World Meetings, in a dialogue with the Pope, and at specific meetings by zone or region.

6. Continue to invite all Christian Workers movements to take part to the International Day of Decent Work (7 October), together with the world trade union movement and the International Labour Organization.

7. Propose at local and regional level a confluence of Catholic-inspired organizations, and in doing so try to launch an international initiative of the Church in favour of decent work.

8. Demand decent work for all.

9. Urge states to guarantee a social wage or citizen’s income that will help avoid the rejection of millions of people if access to decent work is not guaranteed.

The General Assembly also elected a new International Bureau to lead its work for the next four years.


Final Statement of the International Seminar and General Assembly of WMCW – Ávila (Spain) 2017 (WMCW)