Empowering women in Church and Society

Pax Romana ICMICA president, Ana Maria Bidegain, will speak on “Empowering women in Church and Society” in a webinar organised by IMCS Asia-Pacific on 31 March at 8pm Manila time (11pm AEDT).

Originally from Uruguay, Ana Maria was a prominent Catholic student leader during the 1970s. In 1979, she completed a PhD in history at the Catholic University of Louvain-la-Neuve on “The organisation of Catholic Action youth movements in Latin America. The cases of workers and university students in Brazil and Colombia between 1930-1955.”

She worked as an academic in Colombia for more than 20 years, launching the History Department at the Universidad de los Andes and developing the field of Religious Studies at the National University of Colombia.

Ana Maria was a Visiting Professor in Harvard University’s Women’s Studies in Religion Program prior to joining Florida International University where she continues to teach.

In 1991, she was an advisor on Church history to CLAR, the Confederation of Latin American and Caribbean Religious.

She is also currently a member of the CELAM, the Latin American Episcopal Council.

In December 2021, Ana was elected as president of Pax Romana ICMICA.


Empowering women in Church and Society – IMCS Asia-Pacific – 8pm Manila/Perth 11pm Sydney – 31 March 2022

Pope Francis: New roles for lay people

After nearly nine years of preparation, Pope Francis has promulgated the Apostolic Constitution “Praedicate Evangelium,” reforming the Roman Curia and its structures.

Fundamental among the general principles in the new Constitution is the provision that anyone – including lay people – can be appointed to roles of government in the Roman Curia by virtue of the vicarious power of the Successor of Peter.

The preamble to the Constitution explains this in the following terms:

“Every Christian, by virtue of Baptism, is a missionary disciple to the extent that he or she has encountered the love of God in Christ Jesus. One cannot fail to take this into account in the updating of the Curia, whose reform, therefore, must provide for the involvement of laymen and women, even in roles of government and responsibility.”

Noting that the “pope, bishops and other ordained ministers are not the only evangelisers in the Church,” the Constitution goes on to explain that the role of lay people in governance was “essential” because of their familiarity with family life and “social reality.”

Consequently, “any member of the faithful can head a dicastery (Curia department) or organism” if the pope decides they are qualified and appoints them, it provides.


Pope Francis promulgates Apostolic Constitution on Roman Curia ‘Praedicate Evangelium’ (Vatican News)

Pope rules baptised lay Catholics, including women, can lead Vatican departments (Reuters)


Pope Francis visits Palo Cathedral in one of his sorties in Leyte Province Saturday, January 17, 2015. / Malacañang Photo Bureau/ Picryl

Alberto Methol Ferré: Catholics and the diversity of civilisations

Alberto Methol Ferré (1929 – 2009) was a Uruguayan Catholic political theorist and theologian who was influenced by Jacques Maritain, Augusto Del Noce, and the JOC chaplain Lucio Gera, among others.

As a student, he was a co-editor of the International Catholic Movement of Students (IMCS) publication, Vispera, and he worked closely with leader of the JUC and JAC in Argentina. More recently, his work has also greatly influenced Pope Francis’ own thought.

Here we reproduce several excerpts from an important 1955 article on Catholics and western culture, translated by the Terre Nouvelle website.

The fundamental advent of history is not any secular revolution — be it French, fascist, or communist — but the Incarnation of Christ, the center and fullness of time. Only in and through Christ is man and the world restored, and any ideology which pretends otherwise remains in the margins of essential history, that is to say, it participates in it indirectly, insofar as it can not escape the providential designs of God. In such a sense even atheists and idolatries are instrumental collaborators of Providence within the eschatological, final structure of history.

The Incarnation diffused and communicated is the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, visible and sacramental presence of the eternal in time, which it perpetuates universally and according to the spirit of the ancient mission of Israel. The Church has its source in the transcendent, not purely immanent historical values.

However, if the Church, by essence, is supernatural, and civilizations are natural, in the sense that they intrinsically depend on space and time, it is evident that there can only exist a diversity of Christian civilizations, none of which expresses life in its plenitude. The same occurs with non-Christian civilizations, since the present [actualidad] and essence coincide in perfect identity only in God. Clearly, the only absolute “Christian civilization” is the Reign of God, which is already the Church in a “pilgrim, militant, crucified” condition and which will have full completion in the Parousia.

The whole mystery of the Church is beyond history, presenting and coexisting with history itself. The fundamental fact is that history is in Christianity and not the other way around, since, it has been said with justice, sacred history is a fourth dimension, but a dimension constituent of history.


Alberto Methol Ferré – Catholics and Western Culture (1955) (Terre Nouvelle)

Alberto Methol Ferré (Wikipedia)


Methol Ferré (Sadop Nación/YouTube)

Making life beautiful: The Jocist Women Leaders project

Led by Katharine Massam and Stefan Gigacz, ACI’s latest project aims to record the lives and contributions of women jocist leaders from around the world and of every generation.

Few remember today that when Cardijn began his ministry in the parish of Our Lady of Laeken, near Brussels, he started by forming study circles of young female teenage workers. And to achieve this, he recruited several young women with experience in community and labour organising, including Victoire Cappe and Madeleine De Roo.

Entitled “Making daily life vast and beautiful,” the Jocist Women Leaders project will draw on oral and written sources to bring the stories of these women to life.

The international project team includes researchers from Latin America, Europe and Australia. The initial aims will be to publish a book presenting the life and work of ten jocist women leaders and to develop an online database recording the stories of so many more of these powerful women.

“The international conversation is already showing that women held key leadership roles as the movement grew and spread,” Katharine Massam noted. “We’re keen to understand what made that possible, and to recover the memory of those contributions in many different contexts.”

A special website has been launched to host the project.


Jocist Women Leaders Project (Australian Cardijn Institute/Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Vale Fr Kevin Mogg AM

Born on 23 April 1932, former YCW chaplain, Fr Kevin Mogg AM died on Saturday 26 February 2000 – just two months shy of his 90th birthday.

Regarded as an inspiring parish leader for over six decades, an educator, and a prison and youth justice chaplain, he founded Catholic Social Services Victoria (CSSV) and was a member of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council for 15 years.

ACI president and former YCW leader, Brian Lawrence, recalled Fr Kevin’s work with the YCW:

When I was in the YCW in Fawkner in the 1960s, Kevin Mogg was the curate at St Pius’ in West Heidelberg.  He was a legend in what was a very challenging parish, based on the old 1956 Olympic Village, into which the Government moved families from the inner-city slums. It had a very strong parish and a parish YCW well able to serve the youth of a tough neighbourhood.  Its football teams were the most successful across the northern suburbs, at least, and they produced some notable footballers, including the Collingwood great, Peter McKenna. This was a place where football was just not a sporting service, but a connection with the wider community. 

I heard a lot about Kevin Mogg in the 1960s because one of our parish YCW chaplains, Fr Joe McMahon, was a great mate of his. (We had two chaplains, one for the Girls YCW and one for the Boys YCW.)  Joe McMahon died five years ago, a priest of 54 years. His nephew, Fr Joe Caddy, is the Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Melbourne.  Our other chaplain, Fr Don Burnard, left the priesthood and kept the faith. He died in January 2022, aged 90. Joe McMahon and Don Burnard were inspirational, just like Kevin Mogg was in West Heidelberg.

Readers of these newsletters will know that we often write about former YCW chaplains who have died.  Some of them have gone on to higher office and greater responsibilities in the Church, but whether they did or not is beside the point.  These three priests, like dozens of other priests of their generation in and around Melbourne (and many more outside Melbourne) might be called Cardijn or Jocist priests, but, more accurately, they were Vatican II priests. Most of their formation in the seminaries and after ordination was during the Vatican II years. In Melbourne, at least, the emergence of the outward-looking lay apostolate of Vatican II started before Vatican II was called in January 1959 by Pope John XXIII. 

The great success of the YCW in Australia was found in parishes where there were a lot of young workers, from 14 or 15 years though to 20 or, maybe, 21. The young chaplains were able to engage with this group because they were, for the most part, from ordinary, and often large, working class families. It kept them grounded. The decline of the YCW is often put down to sociological factors impacting on young people (especially increased mobility through car ownership, greater entertainment options, and higher school retention rates), but a significant and often overlooked factor is the loss of priests like Kevin Mogg, Joe McMahon and Don Burnard.

CSSV board chairman, Bernie Cronin, remembered Fr Kevin as “a true servant leader” who worked tirelessly towards a better and “encouraged very many others to share a sense of belonging and to take action towards a more just, equitable and compassionate society.”

Don Burnard also died recently
Don Burnard (left) with a parish football team


Vale Fr Kevin Mogg AM (Catholic Social Services Victoria)

John Harms, Almanac Racing – Warrnambool Carnival: Pilgrims’ Progress (The Footy Almanac)

Relationship expert turns 90, and shares his top tip for happy ‘marrying’ (Mayflower)


Catholic Social Services Victoria


Three things that can change the world

“Almost exactly a year ago I gave a TedX Youth talk called ‘Three things you already have that can change the world’,’ writes former Perth YCS leader, Sophie Stewart. “It’s now online!”

“I touch on some of the awesome work I’ve gotten to be part of with Social Reinvestment WA, Swim For Refugees, and Olabud Doogethu.

“If you think you don’t have the tools to change your world, think again,” TedX comments. “Sophie has successfully campaigned to change unfair laws, supported refugee communities and helped towns reduce youth crime. And through those experiences she has learned that there are fewer barriers to making change than you imagine.”

“Doing this talk was a real challenge- distilling big, unwieldy ideas into something concise, and you don’t have any notes as a safety net. I was almost hyperventilating back stage. Thanks to Rob, Ben, Joel, and Tamkin with TEDxPerth and TEDx KingsPark for helping me make some big ideas into something comprehensible and to Edd, and my friends and family who came to support me on the day. I hope you enjoy it!”

“And literally…. Thank you for coming to my Ted talk,” Sophie concludes.


Three things you already have that can change the world (TEDx)

Taking off our shoes

Former Adelaide YCS fulltimer, Catherine Whewell, who later worked as Director of People in Ministry and Chancellor, shared her reflections on “being Church” in a recent series of articles published in Catholic Outlook magazine.

Central to Christianity is belief in life after death; resurrection after apparent failure; letting go so that something new can be discovered, the seed that dies in the ground so new life can grow. Death. Brings. Life. These themes are often repeated in the Word we hear together when we celebrate Eucharist, or in our own prayer. And yet even though we know the truth of this in our own lives, that God can make something new where nothing seems possible, as a Church community it seems that we fear letting go of what is, in order to discover what might be even more faithful and faith-filled.

Our Traditions and Scripture assure us that life is to be found in love, that freedom comes from letting go and that the truth will set us free. Jesus showed us what being his disciple looks like – healing, loving, forgiving, celebrating, proclaiming, walking among, withdrawing to pray, being community that acts out of love for the people and whatever binds them, and re-gathers for prayer and teaching. Jesus showed us he could let go, when the Syrophoenician woman challenged him and, profoundly in his death. The early Church is indeed a powerful example of letting go: no circumcision for Gentiles, including the excluded of the time, slave and free sitting together. Christianity was an alternative to the prevailing culture.  Jesus showed us that God is on our side. With us. For us. Inviting us to fullness of life. Not like the Roman and Greek gods who needed placating and appeasing.

So, if this is all true, then two questions confound me: Why are we not brave? Not brave enough to let go and step out over the waves when everything in our faith tells us that is how we will find life in its fullness? I also wonder how it is that we people of faith seem not to trust that God is already there ahead of us, being light in the darkness, inspiring hope, love, forgiveness, justice and peace where they are needed? It puzzles me that we think we have everything to give the world, when the world already has Love. God is already present as Nostra Aetate[1] teaches. What would happen if we believed that?

God is to be found already active in this world of ours, rather than waiting for us to bring God to the world. How can it be that we ‘have God’ and others don’t?

You may be responding, but we have the Good News of Jesus Christ that the world needs. And that is true, but what is the Good News of Jesus Christ?


Taking off our shoes: A personal reflection on being Church in the 21st Century – PART ONE (Catholic Outlook)

Taking off our shoes: A personal reflection on being Church in the 21st Century – PART TWO (Catholic Outlook)

Taking off our shoes: A personal reflection on being Church in the 21st Century – PART THREE (Catholic Outlook)


Dennis Jarvis / Wikipedia / CCA BY SA 2.0

Bernie Docherty, YCW extension worker in India

Bernie Docherty, a former YCW leader from Melbourne, who went to work as a YCW extension worker in India, died on 26 January 2022. While in India, he met his future wife, Philomena Dubier, also a YCW leader from Madras (now Chennai).

Below we present the eulogy delivered by Bernie’s daughter, Ambika (Roseanne), at his requiem mass at St Cecilia’s Church, Glen Iris, on 10 February 2022.

Bernard James Docherty 8/6/34 – 26/1/22

(Excerpts from the Eulogy at the Requiem Mass for the repose of the soul of Bernard Docherty, held on 10/2/22 at St Cecilia’s church, Glen Iris)

After a long battle with ill health, we bid farewell to Bernie Docherty snr. 

In 1934 Bernie was born in Geelong and raised in Carlton, Melbourne, to Mother Cecilia and Father Bernard Docherty. He had one younger brother Noel.

He was educated at St George’s school in Carlton and liked to follow the fortunes of his favorite football club Carlton.

Growing up, Bernie enjoyed playing cricket and umpiring the game, he watched boxing and he also enjoyed going out and dancing at the local dance.

At the age of 18, Bernie joined the YCW movement in 1952. He helped to establish the Carlton branch of the YCW and assisted Fr Gerrard Dowling to establish the Burwood branch in 1959.

Bernie went on the first International pilgrimage to Rome in 1957 and had a great trip.

After returning home he settled back into the old routine until the YCW Victorian State Conference in 1958. There, National Chaplain Fr K Toomey put the challenge to delegates to go to Asia and help the YCW there. This idea appealed to Bernie, so he spent some time to save his money almost two years later he packed up and went to India in 1960. In Bernie’s own words, he said he was just an ordinary fellow…but he had an extraordinary opportunity to visit Asia as a YCW volunteer extension worker.

Meanwhile, around the same era in India…


In 1942 Philomena was born, the eldest child of Patrick and Rosemond Dubier. Philomena grew up and was educated in Chennai, then Madras with her three younger sisters, Rita, Audrey and Dorothy.

In her teenage years Philomena also became a YCW member in Chennai.

It appeared that one of her responsibilities was to meet and greet the foreign YCW delegates!

Girls YCW groups in India

Also in India at that time was a young Fr Ernie Smith.

Fr Ernie was our family friend for over 50 years. He went on to establish the St Kilda Mission in Melbourne.

Betty King, was also a YCW member in India, and remained a close friend for Philomena & Bernie.

And Fr Little, who later was installed as the Archbishop of Melbourne, reigning for 22 years.

The other Australian delegate in India at that time was of course, Bernie! Philomena met Bernie, and they worked together at meetings and activities of the YCW…but their passion clearly went way beyond the YCW movement! Bernie initially signed up for a two year stint in India but stayed for three years!

They courted in Chennai and Bernie sought permission from Philomena’s father to take her hand in marriage.

They were engaged and later married on the 8th of September 1963.

Philomena’s family was not happy.

Her father cried that this bugger was going to take his daughter to a far away, unknown land. Patrick Dubier had every right to be concerned as Australia was still in its early stages of dismantling its White Australia Policy. Bernie returned from his three-year service in India with his new wife to the fanfare of reporters and newspaper articles, such was the novelty of an Indian person arriving in Australia at that time.

Some Like It Hot!

Together Bernie and Philomena were instrumental in introducing Indian food to Australia. From personal experience, Philomena realized the need for chili and spice in Australia. At that time, typical Australian cuisine was highlighted with salt, pepper and tomato sauce. Not even yoghurt was readily available in the shops.

From 1973 to 1999 Philomena and Bernie ran their Docherty Catering Business. They started in the Van Ness Ave house, before running functions in Coburg, followed by Hedgely Dene Reception Centre in Malvern and St Michael’s in Ashburton. They ran cooking classes in their catering kitchen in Oakleigh. Bernie and Philomena took cooking class tours to India and during this time, in 1987 Philomena launched her cookbook “Some Like it Hot”.

With Bernies support, Philomena has helped many of her relatives to migrate to Australia and welcomed them with open arms. Those who have migrated from India to Australia have said that they would not be living the life they lead in Australia if it wasn’t for Uncle Bernie.

Bernie was a good man who always tried to make choices based on Christian values and the YCW principles.

Remembering Bernie

During the last few weeks we have received so many compliments about Bernie; that he was always smiling and kind. He was inclusive and welcoming. He acknowledged people’s presence. He had a cheeky sense of humour, if you were quick enough to understand his jokes!

2021 was not a good year for Bernie. He spent nine months either in hospital or rehab, and due to the covid pandemic we were unable to visit for many of those months. Bernie did not complain. The rehab staff said Bernie was a good patient, trying hard in the rehab sessions, but there were only so many set backs he could bear.

At the age of 87 yrs, on January 26th, Australia Day and India’s Republic Day Bernie left us. What a symbolic day for him to depart from this earth. Even in death, he tremendously reinforced his allegiance to both countries.

Philomena and Bernie were an inseparable couple. They met over 60 years ago and were happily married for 58 of those years. They hailed from different countries and cultures, but they were united by their faith and love. They spent their careers working together, they lived and loved and prayed together.

It will be hard to imagine Philo without her Bernie.


Joseph Arokyasamy, Remembering Bernie Docherty, extension worker in India (Cardijn.info)

Betty King (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Philomena and Bernie

Stand with Ukraine

Dr Yuriy Pidlisny PhD, head of the Department of Political Science at the Ukrainian Catholic University in Kyiv and a member of the Ukrainian Pax Romana affiliate, Obnova, has issued an appeal for solidarity.

Signs of the Times: From Alphonse Gratry to Vatican II

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the death of French priest, Alphonse Gratry (1805-1872), philosopher and theologian, whose work inspired Cardijn and many other social activists of the late 19th century.

In our next ACI webinar at 11.30am AEDT on Friday 18 March 2022 (Thursday evening 17 March US time 5.30pm West, 8.30pm East), American philosopher, Madonna Clare Adams, and ACI secretary, Stefan Gigacz, reflect on Gratry’s life and work.

As principal of Stanislas College in Paris, in 1840, he hired the young Frédéric Ozanam, founder of the Society of St Vincent de Paul. During the Revolutions of 1848, he wrote a pioneering manual of social action.

From the 1850s, he began publishing his major works in the fields of philosophy and theology. His theory of induction helped provide the foundation for Cardijn’s see-judge-act method.

During the First Vatican Council in 1870, he led the battle against the very broad definition of papal infallibility that many Council Fathers had sought.

He died of cancer on 7 February 1872, aged only 66.



Madonna Clare Adams holds an STM from Yale Divinity School and a doctorate in Philosophy from Catholic University of America in Ancient and History of Philosophy. She directed a NY State Liberty Partnership Program for at-risk high school students, and was Director for the Center for Applied Ethics at Pace University, NY.

She has articles in the Dictionary on Catholic Spirituality, and has written on Plato’s political thought and modern democratic theory; the philosophy of Dr. Maria Montessori in relation to Plato’s education for citizenship, Aristotle’s philosophy of nature, and Marx’s concept of work; and Medieval Philosophers and the Environment.

A student of Dr. Mary L. O’Hara, CSJ, she assisted in the publication of her translation of Gratry’s Philosophy: A Translation of Julián Marías’ La Filosofia del Padre Gratry (Adelaide: ATF Press Publishing, 2020) the first major work on Gratry in English. Retired from Caldwell University and living in Whittier, CA.


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

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

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


Alphonse Gratry (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Signs of the Times: From Alphonse Gratry to Vatican II, Friday 18 March 2022, 11.30am AEDT



If today you hear his voice

ACI is proud to present its first Lenten see-judge-act Gospel enquiry program designed by Dr Pat Branson for use in parishes and other settings. Official launch Monday 28 February 2022 (details below).

“Christians around the world celebrate Lent, which is forty days of fasting and prayer and doing good deeds. They do this in the name of Jesus,” Pat writes. “He fasted and prayed for forty days before beginning his mission. And he commissioned his followers to carry on his mission to the world.

“Every year, Christians spend the season of Lent as a time of preparation for the mission they will carry out in the year ahead and for the rest of their time on earth. Therefore, it seems only right and appropriate that we reflect on our mission by means of the gospel.

“What is that mission? Recently, I discovered the following statement about the mission of every person. The truth of our
faith, wrote Cardinal Joseph Cardijn, is that we are:

called by God Himself to a magnificent divine destiny, which is the sole reason for [our] existence, the sole end of [our] temporal and eternal life. “Not beasts of burden, machines or slaves; but sons of God, collaborators with God, heirs of God.” And this divine destiny is not to begin after death; no, it becomes incarnate in [our] temporal life Because we are prone to forget this truth, we need Lent to remind ourselves of God’s love for each of us. Lent is a time of conversion and reform, both individually and communally.

“The forty days are spent listening to the Word of God, reflecting on its application to our lives and to the society in which we live, and then looking for ways of bringing others to Christ through all that we do each day.

“This Lenten programme makes use of the method used by the Young Christian Workers Movement (YCW) and the Young Christian Students Movement (YCS) and Cardijn communities around the world. These movements were formed by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn and they continue to use his method for discovering the presence of God in their lives and guiding their apostolic life. The method, which emerged from his support for workers, has three steps or stages: SEE, JUDGE and ACT. These stages form what is commonly referred to as a “review” or an “enquiry.”

“Thus, what we are about to engage in for this season of Lent can be referred to as a ‘Gospel Review’ or a ‘Gospel Enquiry.’

“Preparing this program brought home to me more than ever before the presence of God in every moment and situation in life, no matter how dark and chaotic things might seem,” Pat concludes. “I find myself looking for God in the dark spaces and finding God there, like the prodigal father, waiting and longing for us to return.”


Official Launch Monday 28 February 2022, 7pm AEDT


If today you hear his voice (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Dr Pat Branson

Venerable Eduardo Pironio, precursor of Pope Francis

Pope Francis has promulgated a decree recognising the heroic virtues of Argentinian Cardinal (Venerable) Eduardo Francesco Pironio.

Born on 3 December, 1920, he was the last of 22 children of his Italian immigrant parents, José Pironio and Enriqueta Rosa Butazzoni.

At the age of eleven, he entered San José de La Plata Seminary. Twelve years later he was ordained on 5 December, 1943.

For fifteen years, he then taught literature, Latin, philosophy and theology successively at the Pío XII Seminary in Mercedes.

During this period, he also wrote regularly for the JOC chaplains’ magazine, Notas de Pastoral Jocista, where he was also a member of the editorial team.

From 1953-55, he studied theology in Rome, completing a doctoral thesis on the work of Belgian Benedictine monk, Dom Columba Marmion.

In 1958, he was appointed vicar-general of Mercedes Diocese. Soon after he became professor of theology at the new Catholic University of Argentina of which he became rector in 1963.

During this period, he also served as chaplain general to Argentine Catholic Action where, according to Claudia Carbajal, “his opportune word formed the lay conscience for a determined presence in the world and in their daily life to radiate the Good News in the commitments of the believer in daily life.”

In 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed him as auxiliary bishop to the diocese of La Plata, enabling him to take part in Sessions Three and Four of the Second Vatican Council. In 1972, he was appointed bishop of Mar del Plata.

In 1967, he was elected Secretary-General of the Latin American Episcopal Council (CELAM), enabling him to play a key role in the CELAM conference at Medellin, Colombia in 1968. From 1972-75, he also served as president of CELAM.

During the turbulent 1970s which ended in military dictatorship, he came under strong attack from conservative forces in Argentina.

Pironio also took part in several Synods of Bishops meetings, including the 1974 Synod on Evangelisation in the Modern World where he was one of the General Rapporteurs. In this capacity, drawings on the writings of the Argentine jocist priest, Lucio Gera, he contributed significantly to the drafting of Pope Paul VI’s Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, particularly the section on evangelisation and culture.

In 1975, Pope Paul appointed him as Pro-Prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Religious and Secular Institutes and a year later he was made Prefect after being made a cardinal.

On 8 April 1984 Pope John Paul II named him President of the Pontifical Council for the Laity in which position he helped promote the first World Youth Day events.

As Austen Ivereigh has written:

Cardinal Pironio can be considered in certain aspects the precursor of Bergoglio. His mission was to apply the principles of the Second Vatican Council to Latin America; he had a clear “preferential option” for the poor, but he also distrusted ideologies and was convinced that the Gospel represented the basis of a new model of society that went beyond the capitalism-communism dichotomy. As Bergoglio would later, he alienated himself from conservatives by committing himself to social justice and alienated himself from the left by denying support for extremist versions of liberation theology.

Like Bergoglio, Pironio was not a revolutionary, but he had great spiritual depth: he was a radical defender of the Gospel, with a pastoral strategy that gave priority to the poor.

Cardinal Pironio died of bone cancer on 5 February, 1998.

Meeting with leaders of Argentine Catholic Action /Acción Católica Argentina


Pope recognizes Cardinal Pironio’s heroic virtues (Vatican News)

Eduardo Francisco Cardinal Pironio (Catholic Hierarchy)

Eduardo Francisco Pironio (Wikipedia)

Claudia Carbajal, Las “virtudes heroicas” del cardenal Pironio, el hombre humilde reconocido por el papa Francisco (Infobae)

Austen Ivereigh, The Great Reformer (Picador Paper, 2015)

Stefan Gigacz, The Pontifical Council for the Laity de-recognises the IYCW (Cardijn Research)


Thanks to Claudio Remeseira for providing information and background for this article.


Fr Pironio addressing an Argentine Catholic Action conference (Acción Católica Argentina)

Campion Society webinar: Video

Thanks to Colin Jory and Richard Doig for an excellent webinar on “The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia” on Tuesday 15 February 2022.

Also taking part were eight direct descendants of the original Campions, Karl Schmude, son of Alf, Anne Kelly and Barbara Kelly Cooper, daughters of Kevin T. Kelly, Jacinta Heffey and Marilyn Puglisi, daughters of Gerard Heffey, Tom Knowles son of Bill Knowles, as well as Paul Santamaria and Anne McIlroy, son and daugther of BA Santamaria. Also present was David Moloney, nephew of Des O’Connell.

We thank them all for joining us.



Colin Jory, The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia (Text of talk)

Richard Doig, The National Catholic Rural Movement and a ‘New Deal’ for Australia: the rise and fall of an agrarian movement 1931-1958 (Charles Sturt University)

Campion Society website (Australian Cardijn Institute)

Bishop Remi De Roo, apostle of Vatican II

Born in Manitoba, Canada of Flemish Belgian parents on 24 February 1924, Remi De Roo first met Cardijn while a seminarian at the time of the 1947 YCW International Congress in Montreal.

Ordained in 1950, a year later he was appointed director of Catholic Action for the Diocese of St Boniface, Manitoba. Later he served as parish priest at Holy Cross parish.

Aged only 38, he was appointed by Pope John XXIII as bishop of Victoria, British Columbia in October 1962. This enabled him to attend all four sessions of Vatican II.

During the Council, he worked closely with Cardijn, delivering a significant intervention on the role of the laity.

In his memoirs, he recalled the battles Cardijn had faced at the Council.

“At Vatican II, Cardinal Cardijn confided to me that he never fully succeeded in getting “those Romans” to grasp the true nature of specialized (meaning the apostolate of like to like) Catholic Action. They failed to grasp how it was directed primarily towards the transformation of society through Gospel values. It was not meant to be oriented towards the strengthening or promotion of Church structures as such. I remember him bemoaning the fact that in the commission in which he participated during the Council, he had found it practically impossible to get the members to understand the true nature of Catholic Action.

After the Council, he became a strong proponent of social action and liberation theology and a critic of capitalism. He was the main force behind the 1983 Canadian bishops’ statement “Ethical Reflections on the Economic Crisis,” which stated that the “goal of serving the human needs of all people in our society must take precedence over the maximization of profits and growth.”

Letter from Remi De Roo to Margaret Bacon

When YCW leaders in Brazil were arrested in 1971-72, he wrote letters on their behalf. He was close friends with Margaret Bacon, IYCW secretary-general, who later married Brian Burke.

As bishop, he was also criticised for his management of diocesan finances. Eventually, however, the investments he had made proved sound.

He also broached the subject of married priest and women priests with Pope John Paul II, who accepted Bishop De Roo’s resignation within weeks of his reaching the official retirement age of 75.

Sadly, according to reports from abuse survivors’ groups, it also appears he was not immune to the temptation to place protection of priests and the church above the safety of the young and the vulnerable in his care.

Remi De Roo died on 1 February 2022.


Bishop Remi De Roo (Catholic Hierarchy)

Remi De Roo, A bishop calls for a more dynamic way of dealing with the lay apostolate (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Bishop Remi De Roo, social justice champion who attended Vatican II, dies (National Catholic Reporter)

Vatican II was first time church asked ‘Who am I?’ says Canadian bishop (Catholic Register)

Arthur Jones, Remi De Roo – An unflagging apostle for and of the Second Vatican Council (National Catholic Reporter/Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

SNAP Vancouver responds to accolades given to Bishop Remi De Roo (Bishop Accountability)

Chronicles of a Vatican II bishop (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Reforming Tradition: A Conversation with Remi De Roo, June 21, 2018 (Centre for Studies on Religion and Society, University of Victoria)

Witnesses to the Council (University of St Paul, Ottawa)

RIP Bartolo Perez, IYCW president and Vatican II lay auditor

Brazilian Bartolo Perez, president of the IYCW from 1961-65 and a lay auditor at Vatican II, died on 21 January 2022 at the age of 96.

Born on 20 November 1925, Bartolo began work as an apprentice turner in a small auto parts factory at the age of fourteen. Here, Bartolo met young Emídio, a YCW leader, who introduced him to the YCW in the Mooca neighbourhood of Sao Paulo.

Soon, he became involved in union action to defend the dignity and improve the working conditions of young workers in his factory.

These actions eventually led to his involvement in preparing Brazil’s 1st National Congress of Young Workers and the 1st National Congress of Domestic Workers.

Elected national president, he also helped launched the YCW in neighbouring Uruguay. In 1957, he attended the International YCW pilgrimage to Rome and First International Council.

Four years later at the Second International Council in Rio de Janeiro in 1961, he was elected IYCW international president, succeeding Romeo Maione.

News article on Bartolo’s election as IYCW president

Working with Cardijn, he advocated on behalf of the IYCW from the beginning of Vatican II in 1962, helping contact and lobby many bishops friendly to the YCW, particularly in Latin America.

In 1964, Pope Paul VI appointed him as a lay auditor to the Council in which capacity he continued to assist in the drafting of the Decree on Lay Apostolate, Apostolicam Actuositatem, and the Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, Gaudium et Spes.

After completing his term with the IYCW, he returned to Brazil with his wife, Candida, moving to Porto Alegre, where he studied pedagogy and became a vocational teacher.

Upon his retirement, he remained active as a member of an Association of Retired Teachers in Private Schools in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, remaining a fierce defender of the rights of the elderly all his life.

He also remained close to the YCW, editing the Boletín Solidariedade, for former YCW members. He also helped compile a book on the history of the Brazil YCW, Juventude, Trabalho, Vida: uma história de desafios – JOC no Brasil, 1935 a 1985.”

From 1997-2000, he also took part in the IYCW History Project, contributing greatly to the volume on the history of the YCW in the Americas.

Candida predeceased Bartolo, dying on 17 May 2015.

Cardijn, Pat Keegan and Bartolo Perez at Vatican II


Bartolo Perez: A Chronology of The Life of a YCW Activist Who Remained a YCW Activist All His Life (International YCW)

Child labour’s impact on education

Former YCW fulltime worker, Martin Delaney, reports on his PhD research project.

Consider this:
• 160 million children in child labour worldwide (roughly 1 in 10 children)
• this number is rising
• despite legislation in many countries outlawing the employment of children below 15 years of age.

• Increased risk of physical and mental harm
• Less likely to attend school
• Poor labour market outcomes
• Ongoing intergenerational poverty.

PhD Research project

I am a PhD student at Charles Darwin University, researching child labour and its impact on children’s basic education in the Philippines. In 2023, I plan to travel to the Philippines to speak with working children and their families about the hardships they face, particularly in getting to school. I am interested to know what is it they want to do? What are their aspirations? What are their strengths, their skills? What gets in the way?

Martin Delaney

A little bit about me

This journey began in the Young Christian Worker (YCW) movement in Ireland in my early 20s, organising low-paid factory workers and unemployed youth in Dublin. During my time with the YCW, I was formed in the See-Judge-Act method and spirituality, and I represented the Irish YCW at the International Council in 1991 in Adelaide. I later emigrated to Australia in 1993. Volunteering with the St Vincent de Paul Society, I saw first-hand the poverty in Adelaide’s western suburbs where I lived. This experience led to a career in Social Work.

In October 2017, I was lucky enough to accompany Sean Gehrig from Parramatta YCW to a YCW Asia-Pacific meeting in Manila. There, I was struck by the commitment of the Philippines YCW to working class youth, their radicalism, and their grasp of the See-Judge-Act method. We visited young factory workers who lived in the outskirts of Manila and listened to their stories.

How can you get involved?

I am looking to collaborate widely on this project – including with the YCW and the Cardijn Institute – to share information, experiences, and ideas. Let’s talk!

Contact Martin Delaney
Mob. +61468 914 493
Email: martin.delaney@cdu.edu.au


ILO Asia-Pacific / Flickr / CC BY NC ND

Worker co-ops in the US

On 1 May 2019, the Feast of St Joseph the Worker, Pope Francis issued an invitation to young people – particularly to “young economists and entrepreneurs” – to join him in Assisi in March the following year to brainstorm a new economy, writes Renée Darline Roden in The Tablet.

The “Economy of Francesco” meeting was, of course, cancelled due to the pandemic, but a few months later Francis issued another call to action, a book entitled Let Us Dream. Again, he issued an urgent invitation to all Catholics to consider their part in reshaping a world economy that is exacerbating ­suffering rather than encouraging human flourishing.

The Economy of Francesco organisers in the United States are trying to find ways to add a distinctly American flavour to the global solidarity economy. Witchger and fellow ­organiser Elias Crim started a newsletter, “Ownership Matters”, to highlight various incarnations of the solidarity economy. The American models draw on a variety of global initiatives: the Quebecois cooperative credit unions; the Economy of Communion, personified in the town of Loppiano, Italy, run by the Focolare lay ecclesial movement; and the corporation founded by late Fr José María Arizmendiarrieta Madariaga, Mondragón.

Mondragón Corporación Cooperativa is a nexus of 170 factories, universities and media in the Basque region of Spain, cooperatively owned by approximately 81,000 workers who make a salary within a pay scale where the highest-paid member makes at most six times the amount of the lowest-paid member, where directors of companies are democratically elected by the workers and where each worker is also an owner of the company.

Witchger told me that the United States’ closest answer to Arizmendiarrieta’s project is Molly Hemstreet’s Industrial Commons, in Morganton, North Carolina. Hem­street, sporting a gentle Carolina accent, is a native of Morganton, in the Blue Ridge Mountain section of the Appalachian Mountains. She co-founded its first cooperative factory, Opportunity Threads, in 2008. It expanded by working with its local county business development bureau to build a close-knit ­network of textile producers in the region.

The Arizmendi Bakeries in California take their name from Fr Arizmendiarrieta. The first Arizmendi bakery opened in Oakland in 1997 and expanded into a franchise of cooperative bakeries. Each new cooperative was funded by some of the profits set aside from an older cooperative.

There are 22 worker-owners at the San Francisco site where Jason Jordan works, and around 200 worker-owners among all six bakeries.


The people versus Mammon: worker-owners cooperatives in the US (The Tablet)


Bjorn / Flickr / CC BY SA 2.0

The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia

Inspired by the encyclicals Rerum Novarum and later by Quadragesimo Anno, in 1929 a group of Catholic university students from Melbourne launched a study circle they called “The Campion Society” to study and act on the social issues facing Australia.

As the Great Depression took hold over the next decade, the Campion Society members launched or helped launch a wide range of social initiatives, including the YCW, the Australian National Secretariat of Catholic Action, the National Catholic Rural Movement and many others.

In our first ACI webinar of 2022, Colin Jory, author of “The Campion Society and Catholic social militancy in Australia 1929-39” and Richard Doig, author of a doctoral thesis “The National Catholic Rural Movement and a ‘New Deal’ for Australia: the rise and fall of an agrarian movement 1931-1958”, will share their research on these pioneering lay apostolate initiatives.


The Campion Society and the development of the lay apostolate in Australia, Tuesday 15 February 2022, 7pm AEDT.


Richard Doig, The National Catholic Rural Movement and a ‘New Deal’ for Australia: the rise and fall of an agrarian movement 1931-1958 (Charles Sturt University)

Lessons from Rutilio Grande

Martyred El Salvador Jesuit, Rutilio Grande, who will be beatified on Sunday 23 January 2022, studied at Lumen Vitae in Brussels from 1962-64, learning the jocist see-judge-act method and perhaps (probably) meeting with Cardijn and other JOC leaders of that time. On return to El Salvador, he used these methods in his work organising his local rural parish community. It was this work that led to his assassination along with two lay companions in March 1977. His life and death also inspired Archbishop Oscar Romero, who followed him in martyrdom in 1980. Ana Maria Pineda tells his story and the lessons to be drawn from his life.

Rutilio Grande, S.J., and his two travelling companions, 15-year-old Nelson Rutilio Lemus and 72-year-old Manuel Solórzano, had been driving to the small town of El Paisnal in El Salvador to celebrate the novena for the town’s patronal feast of St. Joseph when they were gunned down on the road on March 12, 1977, in Aguilares, El Salvador, writes Ana Maria Pineda in America magazine.

Decades after the murders, the Vatican announced on 22 February, 2021, that it would recognize the three as martyrs.The news of Father Grande’s beatification was welcomed by many Salvadorans, who claim Father Grande as one of their own. Outside of El Salvador, Father Grande is primarily remembered as a close friend of Archbishop Oscar Romero.

Often overlooked is the fact that at the outset of the civil war in El Salvador, Father Grande was the first priest killed. Indeed, he was the first-born of the martyrs of this new era. His prophetic stance and his solidarity with the poor of his native country led directly to his death. His influence on the church of El Salvador and those who followed him on the road to martyrdom merits profound consideration.

What precisely can be learned from how he lived his life? What might it inspire us to do with our own lives? Father Grande’s personal contributions to the poor of his beloved country, his commitment to the church and the Jesuit community, his love for the people that he generously served, his love for his many friends and family all resonate in the commitment that led to his martyrdom.

1) A life’s value is not determined by one’s net worth.

2) Holiness can be found in the everyday.

3) We all have a missionary call.

4) God transforms our wounds.


Ana Maria Pineda, 4 lessons from Rutilio Grande, priest, prophet and martyr (America magazine)