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

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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