First Sub-Commission not finished

Meeting dates for 1962

During the October meeting, it became clear that the First Sub-Commission on General Notions of the Lay Apostolate, Catholic Action and Evangelisation of which Cardijn was a part was having trouble completing its work, probably due at least in part to Cardijn’s dissatisfaction with its direction. Hence, the need for an extra day’s meeting on the Saturday.

On the other hand, the Second and Third Sub-commissions on charitable action and social action respectively had already nearly finished their work.

The aim was to finalise the work in order to present the texts from the First Sub-Commission at the end of January 1962.

And another session was to be held in April 1962 to vote on the finalised drafts.

Dates of the meetings:

  • 24-31 January 1962
  • 4-11 April 1962.


Archives Cardijn 1584

Animation of the apostolate

Note 8

In Note 8, also dated April 1961 and entitled simply “Reflections on the Notes of the Commission,” Cardijn emphasises the task of “animation” in developing the apostolate of the laity.

The very fact that he needs to emphasise is a sure indication that many members of the Commission had little or no understanding of this concept, no doubt being more accustomed to the role of the priest as director.

For Cardijn, therefore, “the question of the spiritual animation of the apostolate in the temporal sphere is the essential problem to be solved with respect to this apostolate, whether individual or collective.”

“Without this spiritual animation, temporal action cannot be apostolic,” he insisted.

“That’s why this animation – including prayer through suffering or sacrifice – cannot be alongside or at any distance from apostolic action and life themselves,” he insisted.

“In order to be the soul as well as the engine and lever of the apostolate, prayer, suffering, sacrifice need to be identified with the apostolate itself, which must in turn become prayer and sacrifice. ‘It is not I who live, suffer, work; it is Christ who lives, suffers and works in me.’ Animation transforms our temporal life into spiritual and apostolic life.

Without a doubt, there is the apostolate of prayer and suffering for those who specially devote themselves to it, as well for all Christians; but I think it is better not to call this “animation” of the apostolate. Let us reserve the word “animation” for the spiritual life which wants and must transform the whole temporal action of the laity into an apostolate for, by and with Christ and the Church. Any separation in this area distorts both the life of prayer and the life of action. A soul without a body and a body without a soul are impossibilities in earthly life, whether temporal or spiritual

Regarding the spiritual animation of the lay apostolate in the temporal order, could we not make three suggestions? ?

1 ° That all catechesis and all pastoral care insist on the importance and the necessity for the apostolate of the laity in the Church and in the world; and this apostolate in the whole (secular) life of the laity, in all aspects and all settings of this life. The whole of catechesis and the whole of pastoral work must demonstrate and ensure the spiritual animation necessary for the realisation of the apostolate of the laity in the temporal world;

2 ° That the revalorisation of the sacrament of Confirmation should express and emphasise the importance of the apostolate of the baptised in  temporal daily life, and effectively introduce it into his life as an adult Christian, at the age of learning his proper and irreplaceable apostolic mission;

3 ° That the term “apostolate of the laity” and particularly the term “Catholic Action” be reserved for this proper and irreplaceable apostolate, which is the apostolate of the laity in the temporal. “The first and immediate apostles of the laity in lay life and the lay environment (milieu) will be lay people”. Certainly the laity have an apostolate of prayer, suffering, sacrifice and dedication which they share with all Christians, priests, religious and lay people; but they have their own apostolate, which is not that of religious and apostles, even if the latter exercise it in fact in a supplementary manner, either to initiate or make up for deficiencies, but in which they can never replace lay people, for the good and fruitfulness of the Church.


Original French

Joseph Cardijn, Note 8 – Refléxions sur les Notes de la Commission (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

Joseph Cardijn, Note 8 – Reflections on the Notes of the Commission (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Talking to students at the Gregorian

06 02 1961 Gregorian

As well as his visit to Archbishop Dell’Acqua on 6 February, Cardijn also addressed students and professors at the Pontifical Gregorian University – as he had done on so many previous visits to Rome since at least the early 1930s.

On this occasion, Australian seminarian, Richard (Dick) Buchhorn, appears to have assisted and collaborated with Cardijn, by typing up his notes for the talk in English as well as adding a few comments of his own about the audience, who would include “….Africans, Scotchmen, Irish” and no doubt others (unfortunately illegible on the copy of the document).

They may have had “contact with the Y.C.W.” but still have “superficial knowledge” or even “know practically nothing” about the movement.

“Most think about Y.C.W. as an optional Parish organisation (one among many), an extra, less important than student, family, professional, adult organisations,” Buchhorn warns, highlighting a growing trend to regard the YCW as just one of a range of options.

“They will think about Y.C.W. as a technique, recipe, blueprint, method which may or may not ‘work’ successfully in parish life.”

“Hence little or no idea of formation, of apostolate starting from concrete facts,” Buchhorn notes. “Most will not sense the need for the priest to know his people, to share their life, their culture. (This particularly for Asian and African priests, who, during their studies here in Europe, become very “western” in their thought, habits, etc.)”

He therefore suggests that the “predominant THEME should be THE PASTORAL CONCERN OF THE PRIEST for young workers” who feel “generally abandoned, ignored” and at a “crucial period of their life” yet are “full of latent generosity.”

Hence they “must be formed to live a fully Christian life.”

“This formation depends on the priest, who must

– know them “Cognosco oves meas” (Translation: “I know my sheep”)

– seek them “Oves perditas” (Translation: “Lost sheep”)

– form them “Pasce…” (Translation: “Feed”)

in and through their daily life, through action, doctrine, sacraments

through a true elite in and for the true masses

“This task falls to every priest, even if there were no Y.C.W.

It is of vital importance for – the priest

– working youth

– their milieu

– family

– factory

– places of leisure

– the Church

– the world.”

“In this way the challenge, the responsibility, is thrown on to the listeners in an immediate way,” Buchhorn concludes.


Richard Buchhorn, Note for Cardijn 06 02 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Keegan will go to Rome

The Team minutes 06 01 1961

On 6 January 1961, a group of former YCW leaders, mostly from England but also the USA and Canada, who met together as “The Team,” noted that Pat Keegan, the first president of the JOC Internationale, planned to leave the USA, where he was currently on visitation, in mid-January in order to travel to Rome for “the meeting of the lay apostolate” at the beginning of February.

This visit was evidently timed to coincide with the next meeting of the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate.


English YCW Archives

Bishop Carlos Parteli Keller of Tacuarembó, Uruguay

Bishop Carlos Parteli Keller

On 3 November 1960, Pope John XXIII appointed Carlos Parteli Keller as bishop of Tacuarembó, Uruguay.

He had been a chaplain to both the JUC and the JEC.

On 22 November 1961, he published a famous pastoral letter, Carta Pastoral sobre los problemas del Agro, (Pastoral Letter on Agricultural Problems).

Later he became archbishop of Montevideo and played a major role at the Medellin conference of the Latin American bishops. He is credited as the originator of the notion of “structural sin.”


Archbishop Carlos Parteli Keller (Catholic Hierarchy)

Carlos Parteli (Wikipedia)

Carlos Parteli (

Monsignor Carlos Parteli (Catedral Montevideo)

Una aproximación a la realidad del campo, A 50 años de la Carta Pastoral de Morís. Carlos Parteli (Caritas Uruguaya)

Homenaje a Mons. Carlos Parteli en el Parlamento (Comunion, Iglesia Catolica Diocesis de Melo, Uruguay)