On 12 December 1960, Pope John XXIII appointed Enrique Angelelli Carletti, a founder of the JOC and the JUC in the Diocese of Córdoba, Argentina, as auxiliary bishop of that diocese.
The son of Italian immigrants, Bishop Angelelli was born in Córdoba and entered the seminary of Our Lady of Loreto at 15 years of age. He was then sent to Rome to finish his studies. He was ordained priest on 9 October 1949 and returned to Córdoba.
He started working in a parish, where he founded the JOC for the Diocese of Córdoba and worked in its slums. He was also a chaplain to the University YCS movement (JUC).
Later he became bishop of La Rioja before he was eventually assassinated on 4 August 1976 as a result of his work with the poor of the diocese.
He also worked closely in Córdoba with the lay leader and IYCW international collaborator, Jose Serapio Palacio, who was also killed (‘disappeared’) by the Argentine military on 13 December 1975.
Among the first to realise the Council’s potential was the theologian, Yves Congar, who had begun to work with Cardijn and the JOC during the early 1930s, giving retreats to JOC leaders at the Saulchoir, the Dominican convent then located at Kain, near Tournai in Belgium.
Nevertheless, his work had also attracted the attention of the Holy Office, the Vatican body responsible for doctrine. Along with several colleagues, he had been banned from teaching. As a result, he was transferred to Jerusalem at his own request and later sent to England and was eventually assigned to Strasbourg, where Archbishop Weber was more open to him.
Congar therefore took a keen interest in Pope John’s announcement of a Council. Within three weeks of its announcement, in mid-February 1959, he wrote suggesting five areas of work that thought the Council would do well to focus on (Giuseppe Alberigo, “The Announcement of the Council: From the Security of the Fortress to the Lure of the Quest,” in Alberigo-Komonchak, I, 35).
Confirming the unity of the Church
Promoting pastoral activity,
Reasserting the spiritual vocation of the human person
Combating doctrinal error and
Completing the work of Vatican I a century before.
“I remember well my first meeting with Pope John a week after he was elected. A new Pope as part of traditional protocol meets with various government delegations which attended the enthronement ceremonies.
“Pope John insisted that he also meet with a delegation of lay leaders in the church as part of this protocol. As the international president of the Young Christian Workers, I was asked to be part of this small delegation.
“At that time, I was suffering from a serious attack of sciatica, literally, I was leaning like the Tower of Pisa. As was the custom of the day, one was called to genuflect when introduced to the pope. (This tradition was later abolished).
“Because of my back, I told the papal secretary that I could not kneel. When the pope entered, he gave his usual commentary on a gospel passage and then met and had a personal word with each person.
H”e came to me and moved back looking at my 250 lbs and said: “I suppose that you are the man that can not kneel down, you better not who would be able to pick you up.”
“Suddenly, the laughter brought the great virtue of humour into the Vatican,” Maione wrote.
But in addition to his humour, Pope John was already foreshadowing the importance that he would place on lay leadership and the lay apostolate.