Friday, 20 January 2023

Volunteering - A short enquiry


We’ve all seen examples of how people voluntarily give of themselves in bush fires, floods, and war. These hard times can bring out the best in a community.  

SEE Do you volunteer by giving your own time to others unpaid? Tell us about it.

So, what do we know about volunteering in our wider community? Give examples.

  Tell us about voluntary roles in the church?

JUDGE What do you find are the benefits of volunteering for individual, for community?

In Peter Britton’s book, EVERYTHING AND NOTHING, Bill Armstrong, former Australia Young Christian Workers National President says,  “Volunteering, and the work of volunteers, is absolutely essential to the building of civil society. Civil society cannot be built on competition. Civil society cannot be built on money and material wealth. Civil society must be, and will be, built on goodwill, on partnership, on sharing, on equity, based on agreed values and justice for all.”

Can you think of potential pitfalls or downsides to volunteering?

What input would Jesus contribute towards this discussion?

ACT What individual or collective actions will happen moving forward?

Could we support the work of volunteers in some way?

“You know, if everyone did a bit extra for other people the world would be a much better place.” Father Hugh O’Sullivan (Chaplain Salisbury YCW)

Could someone send Mark Ager a few reflections on our meeting to contribute to an analysis: Not war and peace please.

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

The Plenary Council: Some reflections from a Cardijn Perspective

The Church and The World

The collapse in awareness within Australian Catholicism of the ‘lay apostolate’ is evident in the now almost universal use within the church (including on the ACBC website) of the term ‘lay ministry’ (or ‘lay pastoral ministry’). This almost exclusively refers to internal church work, and is apparently oblivious to the unique and indispensable role of every lay person in the ‘world’ (as distinct from the ‘church’).

Naturally Pope Francis’s term, ‘missionary disciples’, is also widespread today. It has been enthusiastically adopted by the revelation-based evangelical stream in the church (ie, primarily ‘word’ based mission), but might equally apply to the ‘see judge act’ method of the lay apostolate (ie, primarily ‘deeds’ based mission).

Unthinkably, from Plenary Council literature so far, there seems to be a real possibility, in fact a likelihood, that the ‘see judge act’ method would be little considered in terms of potential pastoral strategies.

There is just one mention of ‘see judge act’ in the six Thematic Discernment papers of the Council. Paper No.4 (Humble, Healing and Merciful, p.17) proposes it as a method of collegial ‘corporate discernment’ among leaders in church institutions. This is a positive, but also a limited if not niche role, apparently with little appreciation that every lay person is a leader in his or her milieu or world. Nowhere in the discernment papers is there anything about its primary purpose: forming ordinary Christians in and through their daily lives, and assisting them to transform the world.

Likewise, there is not a single mention of the YCW or YCS in any of the discernment papers. By contrast numerous other evangelical and ‘new ecclesial’ movements are cited in the context of potential new pastoral methods for the church.1

The Plenary Council’s Instrumentum Laboris is similar. It makes two small but favourable references to Cardijn’s method. The first (No.96) references it as a ‘Church’ method, ‘often’ used to read and discern the Signs of the Times. The second reference (No.156) also conceives the Cardijn method primarily in terms of discernment: ‘a methodological paradigm for pastoral discernment at local and international levels, including the recent Synod of Bishops and regional Bishops’ Conferences’.

As with the Thematic Discernment paper No.4, neither of these references relate to the essential ‘personal formation and social transformation’ intention of the method. Instead, they reflect its use in recent decades in ‘the church’ – for discernment by leaders of church institutions, and as a structure for ecclesial and papal statements – rather than as an action-based method of formation for ordinary lay people in ‘the world’.2

‘See judge act’ appears to be almost dutifully noted, without any vision or conviction that it might become or even be considered as a grass-roots pastoral strategy for personal formation and social transformation within parishes.

By contrast the Instrumentum Laboris gives the term ’missionary discipleship’ its own heading (pp.43-44), and it is discussed specifically in the context of ‘parishes and communities’ as a pastoral strategy.

What exactly ‘missionary discipleship’ involves however is not clear. References to promoting ‘the spiritual life and an intentional, missionary discipleship’, and parishes becoming ‘a school of holiness and evangelisation’, associate it with the new evangelical methods. Yet references to ‘the missionary vocation of every Catholic’, ‘the transformation of the world’, and ‘the formation of adult leaders’ is the language and expertise of the Cardijn movement.

Perhaps both approaches – the deductive and the inductive – could in fact work side by side, to their mutual benefit. As the Instrumentum Laboris (No.8) reminds us, ‘God speaks to us in a variety of ways’. But that could not occur unless the Cardijn conception of the ‘lay apostolate’ was acknowledged, and its method understood.

Although the missionary dimension of the laity’s work in the world is acknowledged (eg, Instrumentum Laboris, Nos.42, 86, 126)3, the concept of the ‘lay apostolate’ has virtually disappeared from the literature and imagination of the church. With it has gone both the powerful conviction of ordinary lay Catholics that they have a unique and indispensable apostolate in the world, and also the method used to form and sustain them in this vocation. The grass-roots potential and the method of ‘see judge act’ escape our thought-leaders, and some advocates of the newer evangelical methods (including bishops) declare it to be dated, or superficial.

And yet the impact of the YCW and YCS in forming generations of Catholics has been extraordinary, their good work and influence incalculable.4 Almost within the lifetimes of the pioneers, their stories, and their method, have either been forgotten or dismissed.

However, as is evident in the Missionary and Evangelising? discernment paper, and the Instrumentum Laboris, we are not sure what should replace it. In this regard it would be a useful exercise to translate the term ‘missionary disciples’ into a concrete pastoral method, or methods, which provide for both ‘action’ based, and ‘word’ based, starting points.

Deeds, or works, are integral to mission. Provided that both ‘action’ and ‘reflection’ are practised, ‘evangelism’ (or ‘formation’, or ‘conversion’) can begin anywhere along the sacred-secular or word-action etc continuum. Lives and the world are transformed, and new things created when the concrete problems of life interact with the spiritual realities of the gospel, reflection, prayer, eucharist etc. ‘See judge act’ is a structured, proven catalyst for this change.

This is Cardijn’s ‘Christian dialectic’, in which the contradiction between ‘the truth of reality’ and ‘the truth of faith’ can be resolved through the ‘see judge act’ method. For countless young people it began a lifelong ascending spiral of discernment and action. ‘Each step is an advance into the unknown and each step is an invitation to a further commitment’ said the first international YCW leader.5 Or, as the Instrumentum Laboris (p.55) has it, we ‘participate in the movement of God’s love for the people and the planet’.

The vocation of the laity begins in the secular world. The Plenary Council needs to consider and endorse the ‘life’ based methods of ‘action-reflection’ and ‘formation through action’ used by the YCW and YCS, by adults in some parishes, and by some Catholic organisations in grass-roots service and missionary programs. In the footsteps of Mary MacKillop they are learning to ‘see’ a need, and then ‘doing something about it’.6

The Council should also strongly encourage the multitude of lay groups with a ‘life’ and ‘action’ orientation, such as for couple and family formation (Teams, Marriage Encounter), Christian Life Communities, Small Christian Communities and many other specialised or parish groups.7

Signs of the Times

The Plenary Council might identify, through a broad Signs of the Times exercise, key problems or issues both in the world and in the church, as a starting point for its discernment and action. Eg:

‘The World’:

The Church’s mission is to the world and the laity, whose arena is the world, need to bring concrete issues to the doorstep of the Plenary Council. With the decline of the apostolic religious orders that have historically responded to ‘life’ problems, it is critical that the church develop governance and missionary strategies, including the lay apostolate, that will encourage the laity to respond to social challenges. Such issues would encompass both:

  • National or global issues, such as: work, environment, refugees, poverty, war, unemployment, social security; and
  • Neighbourhood / parish issues, such as: gambling and addictions; homelessness; suburban isolation, especially of the elderly; public transport; assistance to single mothers or fathers; signs of youth dysfunction and mental health problems in neighbourhoods; local environmental issues.
Asking ‘who is my neighbour’ and providing a service to him or her is surely a legitimate starting point if not the essence of any rebuilding of the Church.

‘The Church’:
  • Commitment to the Pope’s method of ‘synodality’ as a way to church reform and governance. Such collegial discernment is also integral to the ‘see judge act’ method. Outcomes would include Diocesan Councils and Synods, and Parish Councils. Such structures would facilitate grass-roots lay input into missionary and apostolic pastoral strategies, and ultimately also into doctrinal matters, which have always been influenced by experience and practice.
  • The Council will consider the new pluralism in relation to our increasingly Asian parish congregations, and foreign clergy, as an ‘ad intra’ church multicultural issue. But as both the recent Australian YCW ‘Interfaith Statement’ and the recent ‘Sydney Statement’ indicate, this is also now a pressing ‘ad extra’ issue regarding which the bishops need to provide leadership. How can the church have a constructive presence within an increasingly multifaith and secular world?8
Some Suggestions

That the Plenary Council:
  • Develop a lay pastoral strategy (or strategies) which includes the Church’s officially sanctioned and proven ‘see judge act’ method. (Mater et Magistra 236, Octogesima Adveniens 4)
  • Reinstate funding and chaplaincy resources to the YCS and YCW;
  • Consider instituting an ACBC Commission for the Laity;
  • Consider the preparation of a Synod and statements on the ‘the laity’ (including the ‘lay apostolate’) as was done in response to Vatican II by regional and national bishops conferences, including in Latin America (CELAM), Asia (FABC) and the United States (USCCB).
Author: David Moloney


1 Eg, groups cited for inclusion in an audit of ‘effective parish renewal activities and programs’ are: ‘Divine Renovation/Alpha, Building Stronger Parishes, the work of new ecclesial movements, Bruce Downes (The Catholic Guy), Bishop Robert Barron (Word on Fire), Sherry Weddell (Sienna Institute), Fr James Mallon (Divine Renovation), Jonathan Doyle (Passionate Catholic Teachers), and the entrepreneurial approach advocated by Chris Lowney, which draws on parishioners’ gift and talents.’ (Thematic Discernment Paper No.1, ‘Missionary and Evangelising?’, p.16, footnote 47)

2 Recent or present uses of the ‘see judge act’ method by Catholic institutions (eg Mission Australia, Caritas, ACU, and no doubt some Catholic college social immersion programs) for grass-roots service and missionary purposes, should also be recognised and investigated by the Council.

3 Although, as Stefan Gigacz observes, the primary nature of lay engagement is identified in ‘institutional’ terms by the Instrumentum Laboris, which does not tally with Vatican II’s conception of the laity. Eg:

4 Eg, in work, civil society, politics, unions, business, scholarship, daily and family life, in leadership of church groups and organisations, and in the large numbers who entered religious life.

5 Patrick Keegan, ‘Signs of the Times’, in New Life: Review of the Social Apostolate, UK, November-December 1975, Vol.31, No.6, pp.2-3

6 Instrumentum Laboris, No.192

7 Stefan Gigacz notes that, in contrast to Vatican II, neither evangelical or life-based lay groups are represented on the Plenary Council:; and

8 Some answers might perhaps be found in the experience and wisdom of the Asian Catholic church.


Cardijn Community Australia

Australian Catholic Coalition for Church Reform

Thursday, 21 May 2020

CCA Newsletter - April 2020

Robert Bernard Maybury AO
Dear friends,

Some recent and upcoming news and events.

RIP Robert Bernard Maybury AO

Our sincere condolences to the family of Bob Maybury, a leading figure in the history of the Victorian YCW co-operatives, who passed away on 16th May, aged 92.

Bob joined the Deepdene YCW leaders group c.1943, and afterwards became a regional YCW committee member. Having gained accountancy qualifications through the Christian Brothers North Melbourne night school, in 1952 Fr Lombard invited him to become the new manager of the YCW Cooperative Housing Society group.

He was also a member of a group Ted Long convened to study cooperatives, primarily the literature of St Francis Xavier University, Antigonish, Canada. Having by then also established the YCW Cooperative Society (trading), the group lobbied for Victoria’s credit union legislation, and adopted the Revesby (Sydney) parish ‘home discussion’ model to develop Victoria’s extensive Catholic credit co-op network. At a 2011 CCA conference he recalled adventures and rosaries with either Frank McCann or Ted Long on evening drives to the country promoting parish co-ops.

Numerous members of these co-ops became instrumental in establishing industrial credit unions (eg teachers, police, fire fighters, nurses), and others in large companies. Bob’s report of his 1964 overseas study tour led the Association of Catholic Co-operative Credit Societies to accommodate this wider world, and change its objects and name to the Victorian Credit Co-operatives Association.  Bob later reflected that this was an early post Vatican II instance of a Catholic organisation ‘leaving the ghetto’.

He afterwards became vice president of the International Union of Building Societies and Saving Associations, and president of the Asian Pacific Federation.  After retirement he was made an Officer of the Order of Australia for services to the finance industry.

Thanks to the Uniting Church we have an excellent short video of Bob’s address to the joint CCA – Trades Hall event on co-operatives in 2012:

Bob Maybury on working in the YCW cooperative movement from Uniting Church VIC/TAS on Vimeo.
Bob Maybury on working in the YCW cooperative movement from Uniting Church VIC/TAS on Vimeo.

Bob also features in histories of credit co-ops, including Race Mathews’ recent Of Labour and Liberty: Distributism in Victoria, 1891-1966.

Fellow credit union movement worker Leon Magree recalls the privilege it was working with Bob from 1958 until the mid 1960s, when the VCCA moved from A’Beckett Street to Albert Park. The Old Paradians have paid tribute at:

The funeral service will be webcast live at 10 am Friday 22nd May:

What Would a Business Look Like if it was Founded on the Principles of Catholic Social Teaching? 

We are invited to join an online seminar on worker-owned co-operatives and YCW priest Fr Jose Maria Arizmendiarrieta, founder of the Mondragon Corporation. This Spanish worker co-operative employs over 75,000 workers and is an international inspiration and model.

The webinar is free but prior registration is required:    It is being held in San Francisco, so to register it will be necessary to add a zero before your zip code, as if you live in any US state.

It can be seen in Australia, tomorrow, Friday 22nd May at the following times: East coast 12.30 pm; Adelaide 12.00, WA 10.30 am.

CCA News

The coronavirus has held us all hostage for some time, but has generated discussion in the community and internally in CCA about the economy, ethics, and national strategic issues.

We welcome recent new members.  Membership information is available on our website here.

While CCA groups have been unable to meet, we have been active investigating the establishment of new branches.

Before the coronavirus the Sandhurst group had begun meeting people and investigating issues, including around soil and water in the region.

On the website is a range of Social Inquiries on topical issues, designed for use in small groups. The Adelaide group has promoted discussion on the Australian bishops ‘Digital Media’ social justice statement.

A reminder of the invitation to anyone who might be interested in following up issues identified in the 2019 AGM (Newsletter October 2019): the inquiry on the future of work; or discussion of a draft paper on issues considered by CCA since 2009.

We have attended Catholic Earthcare conference in Sydney, and (subject to present regulations) will assist in planning and promoting the forthcoming establishment of its ‘Earthcare Training Program’ in Melbourne.   We have been in contact with various Melbourne parishes, and Ballarat diocese, in this regard.

We are also represented on the Melbourne Catholic’s environmental ‘animators group’, which is moving to become the official agency for promotion and implementation of Laudato Si in Melbourne.

We assisted Catholic Social Services Victoria’s parish workshop on the environment, which has supported the formation of parish groups in Ivanhoe and Mitcham.

Subject to unknowns, it is presently envisaged that the 2020 AGM will be held in Melbourne on either the 23rd or 30th  of August. To be advised.

Australian Cardijn Institute (ACI)

A reminder that, while Cardijn Community Australia (CCA) is an organisation of adult Cardijn groups in the community, the goal of the Australian Cardijn Institute (ACI) is to advance the Cardijn educational and academic mission. Please also have a look at the ACI website, and consider joining up in support of our common Cardijn mission: 

Saturday, 8 February 2020

CCA Newsletter - February 2020

Left to Right: Maureen & Des Ryan, Wayne McGough, Fr Len Thomas, Mark Ager, Fr Kevin Mogg, Kevin Vaughan, Fr Mick Wheeler, Fr Des Magennis and David Moloney. Photographer Josephine Hwang.

Dear friends,

Some recent and upcoming events:

Australian Cardijn Institute (ACI)

While Cardijn Community Australia (CCA) is an organisation of adult Cardijn groups in the community, the goal of the Australian Cardijn Institute (ACI) is to advance the Cardijn educational and academic mission.

In addition to this CCA newsletter, the distinctive new ACI newsletter will be an important resource for those interested in the Cardijn movement. Have a look at the inaugural Christmas 2019 edition HERE, and the January 2020 edition HERE . Also see the ACI and CCA websites for current work and priorities, and consider joining up and supporting our common mission: ; and

CCA Work Inquiry

Our 2020 national inquiry on ‘Work’ throws up a huge range of issues, including trade unions, casual work, automation and AI, unemployment, penalty rates, globalisation, safety, stress, race, gender, retirement, and travel to work, to name but a few. We have started off with two inquiries on aspects of work today:

The first, on ‘Work Creep’, or work-life balance, comes from our own experiences.

The second, on ‘Slavery’, was inspired by a presentation by the Australian Catholic Religious Against Trafficking in Humans (ACRATH) to the recent Catholic Social Ministry Conference:

If you have the opportunity to use these in a small group, please consider recording some key points of your discussion, its impact on your consciousness of issues, any actions, and then sharing these with us. We would also value your feedback on the inquiries themselves.

CCA Groups & News

Thanks to the Salisbury (Adelaide) CCA for preparing and trialling the inquiries on ‘Work Creep’ and ‘Slavery’.

The new Bendigo CCA group, at St Laborious Eaglehawk, is coming up for its third meeting.

A new Cardijn-inspired ‘Earthcare Laudato Si’ group at Mitcham (Melbourne) parish is discussing Laudato Si, and planning its goals for 2020, including a parish audit.

At Seaford (Melbourne), the Cardijn-inspired Seaford Housing Action Coalition suggested that the St Anne’s parish join the ACOSS ‘Raise the Rate’ campaign regarding the inadequacy of Newstart. Based on the authoritative grass-roots experiences and statistics of local St Vincent de Paul conferences, a written submission was made to the Minister, and the local Federal MP received a delegation from the parish. In January SHAC put on a barbeque for the homeless, with live music, on Frankston foreshore, and is now preparing a submission to the Victorian Parliamentary Inquiry on Homelessness.

CCA is helping Catholic Earthcare organise its National Convocation in Melbourne on 5-6th September.

We remain active on the CSSV ‘Parishes as Centres of Services’ committee. (CSSV is hosting the upcoming national CSS conference: HERE)

Cardijn Christmas Dinner Get-Together

It was wonderful to have former YCW chaplains join us at a very pleasant pre-Christmas dinner at the Mulgrave Country Club. See photo above.

Catholic Social Ministry Conference: ‘Delivering Catholic Social Teaching through community services and public advocacy’

This conference at Catholic Theological College on 23 November 2019 provided a forum for an exchange of ideas and experiences about the nature, functions and priorities of Catholic Social Ministry.

Important papers by leaders in their fields included a number with Cardijn backgrounds or perspectives, including Bruce Duncan CSsR, Greg Crafter, Elizabeth McFarlane, and Sarah Moffatt. Other papers from the full program HERE are also available.

Australian YCW

An enthusiastic and very well attended AYCW national conference held at Mt Eliza over the Australia Day weekend planned its agenda for 2020, and elected a new executive, headed by Marilyn Bellett. The role of Elizabeth McFarlane and Joe Magri in pulling the national YCW back from the brink was warmly acknowledged. Elizabeth’s paper (attached) tells something of that story, and the current AYCW strategy, which recognises the necessity today of engaging young people outside of parishes.

Australian YCS

The YCS is vital and active, and also a significant source of recruitment for the YCW.

The Australian YCS has recently published a newsletter: HERE

The Diocese of Maitland-Newcastle is advertising a position for a YCS worker. Applications close 21 February: HERE

Former YCS members are being invited through Facebook to an on-line conference call this month.

RIP Brian O’Halloran

Former Brisbane YCW leader and fulltimer worker Brian O’Halloran died on 23 January at the age of 87.

At the 1952 National Council in Melbourne he delivered a stirring, Cardijn-inspired, address on "The Problem of the Young Worker in Australia ", available HERE . Later he became a founding member of the Brisbane Archdiocese Catholic Commission for Justice and its first Executive Officer. "Brian was a learned, passionate and tireless worker for justice. Indeed, his whole life was devoted to working for justice. His was a life well lived and we are very grateful to have benefited from his efforts," said current executive officer, Peter Ipswitch.

Brian is survived by his wife, Meta, who was also an NCGM leader, and large family. Son John was also a Brisbane YCW fulltimer during the early 1980s.

Anniversaries of Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet

We are indebted to Stefan Gigacz, through his contact with Paul Garcet’s daughter Monique, for bringing to our attention these two principal YCW founders who were killed by the Nazis in Dachau in 1945, 75 years ago. A number of anniversary Eucharists were celebrated as a result:

  • Our Lady of Lourdes, Rockingham, Perth, celebrated by parish priest Fr Pierluig
  • St Theresa’s Kennington, Bendigo. Read CCA Bendigo chaplain Monsignor Frank Marriott’s homily for the occasion HERE
  • Catholic Theological College, East Melbourne, celebrated by South African Fr Mike Deep OP, former IYCS chaplain, and Dominican Justice and Peace delegate to the UN. Some spoke of the sustaining memories of the YCW of their youth, and others spoke of its principles at work in their lives today. We thanked Paul and Fernand for their sacrifice, and the movement that they helped realise, and that still perpetuates life here.
  • Fr Epitace, in Burundi, Africa
  • Articles written by Stefan were published in Catholic papers in Australia and elsewhere in the world, including The Tablet (attached, and HERE – register for free)
Belgium 1919

Val Noone has recently contributed a chapter (attached) entitled “Belgium 1919, Joseph Cardijn begins the Young Christian Workers” to John Lack’s 1919, The Year Things Fell Apart? (Australian Scholarly Publishing, 2019)

Collaborative Futures Festival

This event in Carlton has a full day of sessions about Community Land Trusts, co-operatives and related topics:


CCA welcomes new member-subscribers. Subscriptions: individuals $25; unwaged and pensioners $15; groups / families $50; parishes $100.

David Moloney

Newsletter Secretary, CCA Inc

0417 704 427

Apologies for any cross-posting

Please share this newsletter with anyone who may be interested

Contact CCA on Facebook

Wednesday, 5 February 2020

Bendigo Anniversary Mass for Fernand Tonnet

On Sunday 2 February, Cardijn Community Bendigo chaplain, Mgr Frank Marriott celebrated mass at St Therese's Church, Kennington, in remembrance of YCW lay co-founder, Fernand Tonnet, who died along with his co-founder, Paul Garcet, in the Dachau Concentration Camp in early 1945.

This is Mgr Frank's homily for the occasion:

Today is the Liturgical feast of the Presentation of the Child Jesus in the temple at Jerusalem . The Catholic liturgy celebrates this day as  a prelude to our celebrating our own Baptism.

 Recent days has marked the liberation of  Auschwitz, 75 years ago  and is being marked beginning on January 27 by the Jewish community and others .

Today 2 February 2020 is the 75th anniversary of the death of Fernand Tonnet, his fellow worker for nearly 30 years Paul Garcet died on 23 January 1945. Both died in Dachau. Both were founding members of the JOC (YCW) with the then Fr Josef Cardijn and his young disciple Victoire Cappe in Belgium.

During World War I Cardijn was arrested and later released while Tonnet was gassed whilst serving in the army and Garcet kept the movement alive.

During World War II, Cardijn was again but later released while Tonnet was also arrested in 1943 , and sent to a death camp Esterwegen in North West Germany. Later Garcet was arrested. Tonnet and Garcet sent to Bayreuth, another death camp in March 1944 and moved to Dachau in November 1944.

We know that many millions died in these death camps, not only Jews but ordinary folk who were accused of  not bowing to Hitler. Thousands of priests and eeligious like wise died. Some have been canonised, including  Edith Stein, Carmelite Sister, Maxmillian Kolbe, priest of the Divine Word congregation. Hundreds are worthy of such recognition. We Christians are perhaps less well organised than our Semitic Brothers and Sisters.

We seem happy with a few saints and let the Times roll on. People are again taking up the cause of Tonnet and Garcet. Many years before his death, Cardijn told the world that the reason for the push for canonisation was not so much their work and death in the Dachau camp, but their work and example in awakening young people to the call of their Baptism.

The new movement and the new methodology - the SEE, JUDGE, ACT transformed people. Their work was warmly welcomed in 1925 by the then Pope Pius XI, who greeted them with the words "at last some one speaks to me about the workers."

Mgr Frank Marriott (Harmony in Diversity/YouTube)
The Pope blessed the delegation and authorised the YCW and it grew and found fertile ground in Australia in the late 1940s  as many at this Mass can attest. (Present on this Sunday was Len Chalkey  the first fulltime worker).

There are many reasons to celebrate his anniversary:

  • we should not forger the terrible atrocities committed
  • like many others these men were innocent
  • the work they were doing was based on a commitment to their Baptismal calling discovered in the YCW. 

Part of the genius of the YCW was the re discovery of the baptismal calling by ordinary young workers. It made sense to them  and the subsequent developments opened worlds of opportunities and brought a new generation of laity into full active participation in the life of their Church

One might say the YCW began a first look at the real meaning of today's feast:

  • God is with us
  • his presence enhances our dignity
  • his presence calls us to participate in his being with us

It may or may not be a coincidence that Fernand Tonnet died on the Feast of the Presentation, but what is true that hundreds of thousands of people are in debt to him and his companions for the movement he jointly fostered that helped reawaken the gift of baptism.

Many in this church today are numbered in those thousands.

Mgr Frank Marriott

Saturday, 1 February 2020

RIP Brian O'Halloran

Meta and Brian O'Halloran (Courtesy Tony Robertson)
Former Brisbane YCW leader, Brian O'Halloran died on 23 January 2020 at the age of 87.

Born in 1932, Brian became a key leader in the Brisbane YCW and gave a memorable talk to the Australian YCW National Council in Melbourne in 1952.

"On entering into work a lad experienced a crisis because he was starting off in a completely new way of life," Brian told the Council.

"The common attitude to work was wrong: rather than realizing that God meant young workers to be developed physically, spiritually and religiously through work, most considered that it was just something you have to do if you want to eat," he continued in words that are still relevant today.

He also pointed out that "to some extent the schools were failing in so much as many lads left school without the knowledge that work was a vocation."

"Further, school-leavers did not know what constituted a particular job other than by its title. As a result they had no idea to what type of job they were best suited," he warned.

“God made every Young Worker with a Divine Destiny," he continued, echoing the words of YCW founder, Joseph Cardijn.

"Even though we are affected by Original Sin, we are still meant to go to heaven through the world and not in spite of it. While the world is not serving the Young Worker there is a problem. The Young Worker today cries out for a chance to live. The Y.C.W. must answer this call by building a new social order.

"As Canon Cardijn said: 'We have not come to start a Revolution, we ARE the revolution.'" he concluded.

Brian later married Meta, a Brisbane NCGM leader at the time, and together they had seven children. Brian and Meta's son, John, also later became a fulltime worker for the Brisbane YCW from 1981-83 and a member of the Australian YCW National Team.

"I will always remember the welcome I received from both Brian and Meta when I moved to Brisbane to work with John in 1981," commented former Australian YCW president, Stefan Gigacz.

John O'Halloran also noted that his father remained marked for life by his YCW experience.

Indeed, continuing his social commitment, in 1985 Brian became involved with the Brisbane Archdiocesan Catholic Commission for Justice and Peace, later becoming its first executive officer.

"Brian was a learned, passionate and tireless worker for justice," commented current executive officer, Peter Ipswitch, on Facebook. "Indeed, his whole life was devoted to working for justice. His was a life well lived and we are very grateful to have benefited from his efforts."

In a meaningful coincidence, Brian passed into eternal life on the 75th anniversary of the death of Belgian YCW lay co-founder, Paul Garcet, who perished in the Dachau Concentration Camp on 23 January 1945 just a week ahead of his comrade in arms, Fernand Tonnet.

Young Brian


The Advocate, 14 October 1954

Thursday, 26 September 2019

Wealth vs Friendship Enquiry

The Salisbury Cardijn Community has prepared this enquiry on "Wealth vs Friendship."

Click below to download the enquiry.