Wednesday, 7 June 2017

Cardijn Symposium: Program announced

Cardijn with Fr Frank Lombard 1958

The full draft program for the Cardijn Community Australia/Catholic Theological College/University of Divinity Symposium on "Promoting Lay Formation: Cardijn and the YCW in Australia" has been announced.

The Symposium will be held on Saturday 29 July at Catholic Theological College, Victoria Parade, Melbourne.


Click on image below to see full program and/or download PDF file

Lay Formation Symposium. Cardijn in Australia.pdf


Saturday, 8 April 2017

Race Mathews 'Of Labour and Liberty" launches

Worker cooperatives champion, Race Mathews' important new book 'Of Labour and Liberty, Distributism in Victoria 1891-1966' hits the shelves this month with an official launch by former Victorian Premier Steve Bracks on 26 April.

Written as a doctoral thesis for Catholic Theological College, Melbourne and the University of Divinity, Mathews' book tells the story of the development of the cooperative movement in the Australian state of Victoria.

The book is a stunning tribute to the role of Catholic individuals and groups over the course of this history. In particular, Mathews notes the seminal impact of Pope Leo XIII's encyclical, Rerum Novarum, and the role of English Cardinal Henry Manning, both of whom also had a great influence on Cardijn.

In the Australian context, these ideas were taken up by Sydney Cardinal Patrick Moran, who was a great defender of worker rights, and Archbishop Daniel Mannix in Melbourne.

The Campion Society also played a significant role in these developments, including Kevin T. Kelly, a key figure in the arrival of the YCW in Australia.

Later, however, the Melbourne YCW played a critical role in the actual concrete development of cooperatives in Victoria, particularly through the role of Ted Long.

Mathews also highlights the development of the worker cooperatives in Mondragon in Spain's Basque region, which were created by Fr Jose Maria Arizmendiarretta, who worked closely with the JOC study circles in the town.

Race Mathews' new book is an important contribution not only to labour and cooperative history but also the history of the YCW.

Get the book

Race Mathews, Of Labour and Liberty, Distributism in Victoria 1891–1966, Monash University Publishing, 2017.


To be launched by The Hon Steve Bracks AM
When: Wednesday 26 April, 6pm for 6.30pm
Where: National Union of Workers (NUW) Headquarters, 833 Bourket Street, Docklands
Cost: Free event, but please RSVP to Sarah Cannon.

Melbourne Symposium: Cooperative enterprise, democracy and liberty
When: Friday 28 April
Where: The Kelvin Club, 14-30 Melbourne Place, Melbourne
With speakers Race Mathews, Godfrey Moase (NUW) and Melina Morrison (CEO, BCCM) and more to be announced.

Race Mathews and Barry Jones in conversation
When: Wednesday 3 May, 6pm for 6.30pm
Where: Readings Bookshop, 701 Glenferrie Road, Hawthorn

Co-operatives Research Group Symposium
When: Friday 5 May, 5pm-7pm
Where: The Refectory, The University of Sydney Business School, Darlington
Cost: Free event, but please register online by 2 May via the University of Sydney website.

Public Conversation: Race Mathews and Bishop Vincent Long
When: Friday 16 June, morning
Where: Whitlam Institute, Western Sydney University
More details to follow.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

'Formation, Laity & Vatican II: The YCW in Australia' Conference call for papers

Fr Frank Lombard (left) with Mgr Joseph Cardijn in 1957
The Cardijn Community of Australia together with Catholic Theological College and the University of Divinity are calling for papers for a Symposium on “Formation, Laity, & Vatican II: The YCW in Australia” which will take place at CTC, Melbourne on Saturday 29 July 2017.

The conference will also mark the 50th anniversaries of the deaths of Joseph Cardijn (24 July 1967) and Fr Frank Lombard, founding chaplain of the Australian YCW, who died four days later on 28 July 1967.

Conference theme

The YCW was the ‘most significant lay movement in twentieth century Catholicism’, declared Australian church historian Edmund Campion in his book Rockchoppers.

The Australian YCW was notably an initiative of the laity (the Melbourne Campion Society, and the Grail), whose schemes were adopted by the bishops and from 1941 developed by a priests committee with lay financial support. In later years lay adult ‘collaborators’ replaced religious chaplains. Many YCW leaders surrendered years, and sometimes careers, to the compelling vision of the YCW. Many religious vocations were shaped significantly by YCW exposure. Australia’s YCW is a potent story of clergy and laity in a vital, undulating, working relationship.

In 2017 we commemorate the 50th anniversaries of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn and national chaplain Fr Frank Lombard. It is also the 25th anniversary of Msgr John F Kelly, YCW author, editor, and pre-Cana leader, and the 20th anniversary of Fr Hugh O’Sullivan, YCW author, and Adelaide, Australian and Asia-Pacific YCW chaplain.

On Saturday 29th July Cardijn Community Australia in conjunction with Catholic Theological College (University of Divinity) will present a symposium on ‘Formation, Laity, Vatican II: The YCW in Australia’. We are seeking a wide range of papers relating to the historical context of the YCW in Australia. For example:

  • the developing theology of the laity in the Church, and YCW 
  • particular YCW chaplains & lay collaborators (local, state, national) 
  • methods of YCW lay formation 
  • initiatives of YCW / NCGM leaders, including extension work (national and international) 
  • new environments: eg, Vatican II, cultural revolution, changes in localism, education, social critiques 
  • new responses: eg, the ‘worker question’, ‘social justice’, ‘small Christian communities’, ‘liberation theology’ 
  • notable conflicts between YCW (or related lay movement) and church hierarchy 
We are calling for short (20 minute) scholarly presentations. We will also welcome expressions-of-interest for non-scholarly presentations on, for example, experiences with a particular chaplain, YCW/NCGM training weekends, or broader thoughts on formation. It is anticipated that some papers will be published.

While the forum will look at the role of chaplaincy and lay formation in the YCW, it will also provide opportunity for wider reflection on lay formation and mission in the Australian church today.

It is anticipated that it will be a prelude for a larger conference on the YCW to be held in 2018.

Please submit proposals, with synopsis, by Tuesday 28th March, to:

Rev Dr Max Vodola: or David Moloney:

Friday, 16 December 2016

Bill Armstrong on international volunteering

Former Australian YCW and International YCW leader Bill Armstrong has been deeply immersed in Australian volunteering through all these passing generations, writes Robin Davies at DevPolicy.

He is best known as head of the Melbourne-based non-government organisation Australian Volunteers International, which until 1999 had been known as the Overseas Service Bureau, for two decades until his retirement in 2002. But he goes back much further than that, having joined the fledgling Overseas Service Bureau as a junior staff member in the early 1960s, around the time it absorbed the Volunteer Graduate Scheme.

Unsurprisingly, Bill has encountered sceptics in the course of his career, people who think that volunteering is a kind of amateur activity without much impact, or at least lasting impact.

‘There are lots of people who somehow can’t get out from under the fact that if you don’t earn big money you’re not really professional, or there’s something wrong with you—you’re a “missionary, mercenary or misfit”.

Bill well recalls the period when Papua New Guinea was heavily dependent on the substantial numbers of Australian volunteers who worked as doctors, nurses, teachers and engineers throughout the country. He points to OSB’s early project in Vietnam, which trained or upgraded about 1,000 Vietnamese English-language teachers before the Australian government was ready to go back in with its own aid program. He points to the contributions of Australian and other volunteers in refugee camps in Africa and other parts of the world. And he talks also about the particular importance of volunteers in small and fragile states.

‘I can think of a situation in the Cook Islands in the Pacific, where for something like 10 or 15 years a series of volunteers were responsible for electrical engineering at the power plant, until the local authorities were able to take responsibility. And in East Timor, following the crisis of ’99, there were some 200 volunteers from Australia, some attached to the UN, working in very senior positions within the fledgling public service.’

Bill owes his own introduction to international development, and indeed a good deal of his education, to the Young Christian Worker’s Movement, a Catholic youth organisation with which he became involved as a 16-year-old apprentice. In time, it was deemed to be too progressive an organisation, and lost the support of the church. Its equivalent would be hard to find now, concludes Robin Davies.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Saturday, 10 September 2016

Celebrating 75 years of the Melbourne YCW

Present and former YCW leaders joined with the Cardijn Community Australia on 8 September to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the foundation of the YCW in Melbourne in 1941.

Fr Bruce Duncan CSsR celebrated a mass with us at the YCW House in North Fitzroy. In his homily, he noted the connection of the anniversary with the feast of the Nativity of Our Lady, linking it to the "incarnational" theology of the movement.

Current Australian YCW national president, Zoe Cresswell, welcomed participants, thanking them for the contribution to the movement over the years.

On behalf of CCA, Stefan Gigacz said the event was an expression of solidarity with the new generation of YCW leaders and highlighted the need for former YCWs to support the growth of the movement today.

"Recent newspaper reports of the underpayment of tens of thousands of young workers in supermarkets, convenience stores and restaurants exposed by former YCW fulltime worker, Josh Cullinan, have illustrated the continuing need for the YCW today," he said.

Wayne McGough signaled the enquiry into family life currently being developed by the Cardijn Community.

Following the mass, we adjourned to the Lord Newry Hotel for further sharing of memories and development of intergenerational solidarity.

Cardijn Community Australia founder Kevin Vaughan with former Melbourne diocesan leader, Fr Wayne Edwards 

 Former Melbourne YCW fulltimer Terry Byrne with former national leader Julie Mercer

 Former Brisbane YCW president Chris Hartigan with current YCS worker Jessica Russell

 Cardijn Community leader Wayne McGough

 Current YCW national president Zoe Cresswell with Denis Sheehan, Di Dixon, Mick O'Brien, Mick Leahy, Chris Dixon and Fr Bruce Duncan

Kevin Vaughan with former YCW national leader Fred Sim

Former Labor MHR Dr Race Mathews, who is currently a book on distributism which sheds light on the contribution of the YCW Cooperative, with Denis Sheehan