By Natashya Fernandez
To celebrate the influence of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn in Australia and on the 50th anniversary of his death, a special Mass was held at the Holy Spirit Chapel at the University of Notre Dame Fremantle on 10 September.
The event saw some 50 former, current and future members of the Young Christian Workers (YCW), Young Christian Students (YCS) and Cardijn Community Australia (CCA) present to partake in the celebration and reconnect with each other.
The Mass was celebrated by Father Geoff Aldous and also present at the Mass was Fr John Jegorow, who are both former YCS and YCW Diocesan Chaplains.
With an aim to reconnect, re-energise and celebrate Cardinal Cardijn’s influence on the Church and wider community, former YCS Diocesan and National Coordinator and a volunteer at the event, Vicky Burrows, said that the Mass held special significance as it celebrated Cardinal Cardijn’s impact of his life on the Church in Australia, and particularly in Perth.
“The YCS and YCW are important movements in the Church in Australia that have formed many lay leaders who bring their experiences as Christian leaders to the world of parish life, community, work, business, and politics,” Ms Burrows said.
As a participant of the celebration, Ms Burrows gave the opening introduction and spoke of the significance of the movement for the Australian Church as well as for her personally.
“The YCW movement helped me grow in Gospel faith and see my faith as connected to my everyday reality. It gave me wonderful leadership opportunities, critical thinking and practical discernment skills. The See, Judge and Act method is something I use till today in my various roles including Director of ACM and as a theology tutor,” she explained.
The celebrations also included praying for the canonisation of Cardinal Cardijn, new versions of the Cardijn journal available to all participants as well as encouraged past members to support the current movements through action and prayer.
Former National Secretary of the YCW and current Chair of the Perth YCS and YCW Adult Mentor Support Team, Sara Kane reflected on the relevance of the review of life based on the methods of See – Judge – Act – for today’s world and Church.
Participants were also invited to take up various adult mentoring roles to start their own YCS/YCW group in their schools, parishes and communities.
The Young Christian Worker’s movement was founded in 1925 by Cardinal Cardijn who devoted his life to bringing Christianity to the working class to bridge the gap between the Gospel and the everyday reality and experiences of young people.
The movement sought to promote not only the spiritual and temporal welfare of youth, but to overcome poverty and exploitation of people. This movement soon inspired the establishment of a student movement (YCS) and an Adult Movement (CCA).
Today, the YCS and YCW is an active movement in more than fifty countries, all aiming for the cumulative effort to encourage and support democracy and participation of all young workers.