ACI Newsletter Dec 22


Dear Friends,

Yes, the year is nearly over once again. The good news is that it's Jesus' birthday this weekend. So we have plenty of good Christmas reading for you!

We begin with Pope Francis' recent address to the Italian Christian Workers Movement. We feature two Cardijn-inspired submissions to the forthcoming Vatican Synod on Synodality.

We have reviews of two books by former YCW chaplains. From Adelaide, Fr Bob Wilkinson offers us his new vision of priesting and of a new global youth movement that will address the world's ecological challenges while French priest, Fr Jean Boulier's memories of the early YCW in Belgium and France have now been translated into English.

We also include the video from the online launch of Peter Britton's biography of former YCW leader and world development specialist, Bill Armstrong.

And sadly, we say goodbye to a remarkable YCW chaplain and activist, Richard Buchhorn.

We conclude with news of the 150th anniversary of YCW patron, St Therese of Lisieux, who is currently being honoured by UNESCO.

And since it's Christmas, we also include our own wishlist, namely a request for donations to the development of the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library.

Peace and blessings to all and see you in the new year!

Stefan Gigacz
Workers must be at home in the Church
Pope Francis addresses Christian Workers Movement
In an address to the Italian Christian Workers Movement on its 50th anniversary, Pope Francis emphasised the Church’s commitment to the world of labour and the need for workers to feel at home within the Church.

“The Council has called us to read the signs of the times – and above all it has given us the example -; therefore, aware of the social changes, you can ask yourself: how can we be faithful to the service of workers today? How to live the commitment to ecological conversion and peacemaking? How to animate Italian society in the economic, political and working fields, contributing to discernment with the criteria of integral ecology and fraternity?

“Here are the reasons for a new sowing that awaits you. While celebrating, we look forward. Indeed, this is not only a time to reap fruit: it is also a time to sow again."


Workers must be at home in the Church: Pope Francis (ACI)
Two Cardijn-inspired submissions for the Synod on Synodality
Synod 2021-24
The Continental Stage of preparation for the forthcoming Synod on Synodality 2023-24 is drawing to a close.

Two Australian Cardijn-inspired groups made submissions to the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference, namely the Cardijn Community Rockingham group and the Australian Christian Workers movement.


Synod Submissions (ACI)

Synod 2021-24 (Vatican)
Book Review: Jean Boulier's "I was a red priest"
Jean Boulier's "I was a red priest"
In 1977, Jean Boulier (1894-1980), a French priest and pioneer YCW chaplain, wrote an autobiography, J’étais un prêtre rouge. Like his American Catholic contemporary, Dorothy Day (1897-1980), he was on the left. And like Day, who is being made a “saint” by Rome, Fr Boulier is in a similar process, but it is Israel (Yad Vashem) that is considering conferring its equivalent honour, “Righteous among the Nations.”

As part of honouring Fr Boulier, an English translation of his autobiography, I was a Red Priest, is now being published. As a red priest, his book described his dealings with the French Communist Party (PCF), priest workers, Eastern Europe, the post-war peace movement, Vatican II, Jesuits, Thomism, liberation theology, liturgy, ecumenism, mysticism and the church hierarchy. His thinking and actions paralleled those of his American counterpart Day, as did the reaction of the civil and religious authorities.


Book review: Jean Boulier’s “I was a Red Priest” and the Holocaust (ACI)
Vale Richard Buchhorn
Richard Buchhorn
Richard Buchhorn, or Dick as he was known to many, had a nose for injustice, hence the title of his memoir Cry Stinking Fish. He wrote: “And those who say to you: why bother us with this? Sing out, men with strong noses must cry stinking fish.”
Dick didn’t simply cry stinking fish. He sought, firstly, to understand the basis of any injustice, then to communicate this to others whom he hoped might join him in action to eliminate the stink.

Born and raised in Glen Innes, upon leaving school Dick attended the University of New South Wales and graduated as a mining engineer. He also became aware of, and was influenced by, the Young Christian Worker movement (YCW), an international organisation of the Catholic Church. In later life he gave full credit to the lasting influence the YCW had on his life and personal philosophy. He decided to train for the priesthood, first in Australia and then in Rome, where he was ordained in 1960.

Returning to Australia, he was appointed to the Tamworth parish. As YCW chaplain, he learned that many junior bank officials endured poor conditions and were underpaid. Under his leadership, the YCW’s local campaign was taken up by other branches, and banks were forced to improve wages and conditions. Their next campaign spread state-wide, resulting in much improved training for young apprentices following legislation enacted by the NSW parliament.


Terry Fox, Activist priest stood against Vietnam war, apartheid … and fixed washing machines (Sydney Morning Herald)


Richard Buchhorn, Cry Stinking Fish
Book review: Bob Wilkinson's New Visions of Priesting
Fr Bob Wilkinson with Cardijn
Driven by his conviction that the Catholic Church needs a new social movement led by young people and centred on “humanity and its common home, earth”, Adelaide priest Fr Bob Wilkinson has documented his involvement in the Young Christian Workers (YCW) movement founded by Belgian priest Joseph Cardijn.

New Visions of Priesting, an interview with Bob Wilkinson, published by ATF Press, looks at the different ministries Fr Bob has had in his almost 70 years of being a priest, the common element of which has been working with lay people as they participate in the life of the Church.

The book was launched in September after editor Hilary Regan conducted a series of interviews with Fr Bob as part of the Cardijn Studies journal.


Jenny Brinkworth, Time for another global youth movement (Southern Cross)


Bob Wilkinson, New Visions of Priesting (ATF Press)
Video: Bill Armstrong: "Everything and Nothing: Life and development work"
Bill Armstrong
Former YCW leader, Bill Armstrong, shared his experience with the movement and in the international development field in our December ACI webinar with Peter Britton, the author of a new biography of Bill entitled "Everything and Nothing: Life and Development Work."

Jean-KerWalsh facilitated the question and answer session, which followed the course of Bill's life from his birth in country Victoria, his work for the YCW and later for Australian Volunteers International.



The Life and Development Work of Bill Armstrong by Peter Britton
YCW patron saint Therese of Lisieux at 150
Therese of Lisieux
Next year will mark the 150th anniversary of the birth of YCW patron saint, Therese of Lisieux, who was born on 2 January 1873.

UNESCO is also commemorating her life at the suggestion of the Shrine of Lisieux with the backing of the French, Italian and Belgian governments.

In 1929, Pius XI made Therese patron saint of YCW.

As Cardijn explained: "The pope wanted to tell us that he had specially chosen her since she is the patroness of missionaries and that he regards us missionaries, the missionaries of the interior, the missionaries of work, and he emphasised that he considered our mission of the interior as important as the missions of the exterior."


Therese of Lisieux at 150 (ACI)
A Cardijn Christmas Gift
with cardijn
ACI continues to work to promote Cardijn's message and methodology.

We do so in particular through the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library, which seeks to make Cardijn's writings known to young people, adults, youth ministers - everyone involved with promoting the growth in faith and action of young people.

Please give generously to our campaign for the JCDL - make a one off donation, or, better, sign up for the price of a cup of coffee per week!

Full details available here:

And while you're at it, please consider joining ACI!
Christian Workers Movement
The Australian Christian Workers movement continues to develop, Kevin Vaughan notes.

To join and/or to receive more information, please write to Kevin at:
Christmas 1929 with the Belgian JOC
Christmas 1929
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.
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