ACI Newsletter Jan 23

Happy Lunar New Year 2023

Dear Friends,

Greetings again for 2023.

As usual, lots of news to share, including Pope Francis' priorities for the year and a list of Jocist anniversaries.

Note our new series of Daily Reflections with Greg Lopez and Pat Branson on readings from the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library.

We mourn the passing of Richard Buchhorn, a great Cardijn priest and social activist and we send condolences to Lila, his wife.

Mark Ager from the Cardijn Community has a short enquiry on volunteering.

There's a great video from South African Peter Sadie recalling the role of the YCS in the anti-apartheid struggle.

We present two recently "discovered" early Cardijn letters from 1921 and 1933.

And please see details of our first webinars of the year with American Catholic Social Teaching expert, John Médaille, in February reflecting on Cardijn's Hour of the Working Class, and Sr Maureen Sullivan on The Women of Vatican II in March.

It's going to be a great year!

Stefan Gigacz
Combat exploitation, restore dignity to work: Pope Francis
Pope Francis
Addressing the Vatican Diplomatic Corps on 9 January, Pope highlighted three priority areas of concern for the year 2023: migrants, the economy and work as well as “our common home.”

“We live in a world so interconnected that, in the end, the actions of each have consequences for all,” Pope Francis said.

"The crises of recent years have highlighted the limits of an economic system aimed more at creating profit for a few than at providing opportunities for the benefit of the many; an economy more focused on money than on the production of useful goods.

"There is a need to restore dignity to business and to work, combating all forms of exploitation that end up treating workers as a commodity, for “without dignified work and just remuneration, young people will not truly become adults and inequality will increase,” he added.


Combat exploitation, restore dignity to work: Pope Francis (ACI)
Jocist anniversaries 2023
Stefan Gigacz compiles his annual list of "Jocist Anniversaries" for the year 2023.

First on the calendar was the 150th anniversary of St Therese of Lisieux, patron saint of the YCW. Coming up in February is the 125th anniversary of the death of Léon Ollé-Laprune, philosophical father of the see-judge-act while April will see the 150th anniversary of the birth of Marc Sangnier, founder of the French democratic movement and precursor of the YCW, Le Sillon.

In July, it will also be the centenary of Argentinian jocist bishop and martyr, Enrique Angelelli, a significant influence on Pope Francis.

Plus it's the 60th anniversary of Cardijn's book, Laypeople into Action, not to mention the 75th anniversary of his iconic 1948 lecture series, The Hour of the Working Class.


Stefan Gigacz, Jocist Anniversaries 2023 (Cardijn Research)
Daily Cardijn Reflections
Cardijn Reflections
Pat Branson and Greg Lopez from the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library (JCDL) team have launched a new series of daily reflections linking Cardijn's writings with the Mass readings of the day.

Follow them on social media:




Better still, share your reflections either on a one off or regular basis. Write to Pat or Greg at:


Reflections (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)
Volunteering: A short enquiry
In a similar vein, the Cardijn Community Australia has launched a new series of short enquiries on current and other topics.

The latest one is inspired by Peter Britton's recent book "Everything and Nothing; The Life and Development Work of Bill Armstrong."


Volunteering: A short enquiry (Cardijn Community Australia)


Peter Britton, Everything and Nothing
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
Video: Peter Sadie on YCS and the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa
peter sadie
Former South African YCS leader, Peter Sadie, is publishing his autobiography entitled "Faith in our struggle: A memoir of hope."

He recounts his personal story as well as that of the South African YCS in an interview with Polity magazine.


Faith in our struggle: South African YCS leaders against apartheid (Polity Magazine)
Two newly re-discovered Cardijn letters
Thanks to Jean Tonglet of the ATD-Quart Monde movement for sending us a copies of two letters from Cardijn to his former spiritual director, the Belgian Jesuit canonist and sociologist, Arthur Vermeesch that he had discovered in the hard disk archives of another ATD collaborator, the late Belgian Jesuit, Marc Leclerc.

In the first letter from 1921, Cardijn asks Vermeesch to be a speaker at a Social Week organised by students from the Jeunesse Catholique Sociale (JSC) (Catholic Social Youth), the student movement founded by Cardijn in 1919 in parallel with the Jeunesse Syndicaliste, which later became the YCW.

In the second 1933 letter, Cardijn explains some of the difficulties facing the rapidly growing YCW, which now had 2000 sections and 200 fulltime workers in Belgium alone. Wouldn't we all love to have such problems?


Joseph Cardijn - Arthur Vermeesch 07 05 1921 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn - Arthur Vermeesch 24 11 1933 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Stefan Gigacz, Cardijn's student movement: La Jeunesse Sociale Catholique (Cardijn Research)

Stefan Gigacz, The growing pains of the JOC and JOCF (Cardijn Research)
February Webinar: John Médaille, Cardijn's The Hour of the Working Class
It's 75 years this year since Cardijn's iconic 1948 lecture series, The Hour of the Working Class.

To mark the occasion, we have invited American Catholic Social Teaching specialist, John Médaille, to reflect on Cardijn's lectures in light of today's reality at our first webinar for the year on Saturday 11 February.


Saturday 11 February 2023, 1pm AEDT (Sydney-Melbourne), 10am Perth



Cardijn’s Hour of the Working Class (ACI)
March Webinar: The women of Vatican II
For our March webinar, we are pleased to welcome Sr Maureen Sullivan OP who will speak on "The Women of Vatican II." Full details coming soon.


Saturday 11 March 2023, 1pm AEDT (Sydney-Melbourne), 10am Perth

Happy Lunar New Year
Cardijn always dreamed of visiting China.

Let's make his works known there through the Joseph Cardijn Digital Library.

Please give generously to our Coffees for Cardijn campaign - 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:
"Back to work full of confidence": Fernand Tonnet, New Year, 1928
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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