Autograph Letter by Pope John XXIII

Just two weeks after Cardijn and Romeo Maione’s audience with John XXIII, the new pope followed the example of his predecessors Pius XI and Pius XII by addressing an autograph letter to Cardijn dated 24 February 1959.

“To Our dear Son Joseph Cardijn, General Chaplain of the Young Christian Workers,” the letter read.

“Over the course of the already distant years since its foundation in Belgium, the Young Christian Workers movement has received the most explicit encouragements from Our venerated Predecessors Pius XI and Pius XII on numerous and solemn circumstances. With all our heart, We confirm these; and in our own turn We are pleased to offer you all Our paternal affection, to you who by your priestly zeal was the initiator of this vast Movement of Catholic Action, and, through you, to all the dear Jocists of the male and female branches that have now spread to every continent.

eWe well understand and value the apostolic work that they are achieving among young workers. They will take care to faithfully follow the precious directives received from the Holy See, particularly those that Pius XII of holy memory addressed to them during the great world assembly in 1957. Thus, they will remain apostles docile to the Hierarchy, well instructed in their faith and penetratedby Christian charity, and attentive to the living and working conditions of all their brothers in all locations, ardently in the service of God’s cause!

eWe pray to the Lord, through the intercession of the Immaculate Virgin, to make fruitful all these generous efforts and We willingly grant to you, to the presidents, leaders, chaplains and to all the Members of the Young Christian Workers Our most paternal Apostolic Blessing,” it concluded.


Jean XXIII, Lettre autographe (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

English translation

John XXIII, Autograph letter (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)