Cardijn’s role at the Council

In an undated checklist probably written around 29 October when he was organising his trip to Rome, Cardijn lists the topics he wished to raise with Secretary of State, Archbishop Angelo dell’Acqua.


  • Presence in Rome during the Council
  • Support for YCW Missionary Action:

1. by the Council

2. by Propaganda Fide

3. by certain foundations

Publication of “The Apostolate of the Laity in the dimension of the world”.

Clearly, Cardijn was seeking some clarity on the role he could or should play during the Council, given the fact that he had not been made a peritus.

Again, he frames his visit in terms of looking for assistance for YCW rather than lobbying or advocating at the Council.

Interestingly and significantly, he is more specific in the mention of his book on “the apostolate of the laity,” an issue he had avoided mentioning in his communication with Suenens.


Archives Cardijn 1300

An IYCW office in Rome during the Council?

On 29 October 1962, Cardijn wrote to his bishop, Cardinal Suenens, to inform him of his plan to visit Rome from 18-21 November, i.e. during the First Session of the Council.

In a file note signaling possible topics of discussion with Suenens, Cardijn mentions

1. An office for the International YCW in Rome for the duration of the Council

2. Publication of the book on the laity (?)

The book referred to is of course Cardijn’s long awaited book.

In his letter, Cardijn diplomatically avoids all mention of the Council itself, explaining his objectively as simply “to contact some Council Fathers who wish to speak to me about the international YCW.”


Archives Cardijn 1300

A letter of concern to Pope John

On 8 October 1962 – three days before the official opening of the First Session of the Council – the members of the IYCW International Secretariat wrote to Pope John expressing their hopes and commitments for the Council.

Their main concern however was to ensure recognition of the apostolate of the laity as understand by the YCW movement and promoted by Cardijn:

We also thought of expressing a hope that exists throughout the whole Church by requesting Your Holiness that the Second Vatican Council specify the mission of the apostolate of the laity and of the organised laity in the Church, and provide orientations regarding its insertion into the overall pastoral care of the Church. As a movement of young workers, we would like to humbly request official recognition of the need for the proper, personal and community apostolate of the workers and young workers themselves, and an insistence on the apostolic formation which needs be given to this population group. 

In light of Cardijn’s difficulties in the Prep Com on Lay Apostolate, the ongoing criticism from Cardinal Suenens and the fact that Cardijn had not been appointed as a peritus, it is clear that the IYCW leaders were highly concerned at the direction the Council might take,

Read the full letter below.

To His Holiness Pope John XXIII.

Most Holy Father,

On the occasion of the annual meeting of its Executive Committee, which took place in Berlin in September 1962, the International YCW wishes to express to Your Holiness, on the eve of the opening of the Ecumenical Council of Vatican II, how much it participates in the faith and hope which animate Catholics throughout the world before this event of providential value for the life of the Church both at present and for the future. She especially wishes to thank Your Holiness for having convened this Council, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and for having deployed, with a view to its preparation, an immense activity in which so many personalities so rich in thought and experience were associated.

In the name of the entire international YCW, we wish to inform Your Holiness how much we pledge,, to unite ourselves with the Council in prayer and apostolic action among the young workers of the whole world.

Henceforth, we promise Your Holiness and the whole Hierarchy of the Church that, with the grace of Christ, we will neglect no effort to put into practice the orientations that the Council will provide, in the same attitude of fidelity and with the same enthusiasm, with which we have endeavoured to spread knowledge and worked on the application of the providential encyclical “Mater et Magistra.”

Your Holiness knows how, in more than 90 countries of the world, young men and women workers within the YCW and the Church are striving to respond to their vocation as apostles of Christ and the Church in the whole of their lives, in all their circles, among their working brothers and sisters. It is the YCW’s intention to constantly multiply among the humble and the little ones of this world the number of those who commit themselves to live Christianly and apostolically, to unite them in an organised laity and to collaborate with the Hierarchy for the Christian solution of the problems of life and the Christianisation of all young workers of the whole world.

It is in this spirit that we would like to express to Your Holiness some good wishes, which we humbly ask Him to submit to the Ecumenical Council.

The surveys that the YCW has carried out in all the countries where it exists regularly underline how much living conditions, both in rich and industrialised countries and in developing countries, influence the religious and moral life of young workers. Could we express the desire that in the pastoral care and liturgy of the Church, an effort be made to be very close to the realities of the life of young workers so that they can more easily find an answer to their spiritual hunger in the Church?

We also thought of expressing a hope that exists throughout the whole Church by requesting Your Holiness that the Second Vatican Council specify the mission of the apostolate of the laity and of the organised laity in the Church, and provide orientations regarding its insertion into the overall pastoral care of the Church. As a movement of young workers, we would like to humbly request official recognition of the need for the proper, personal and community apostolate of the workers and young workers themselves, and an insistence on the apostolic formation which needs be given to this population group. 

To concretise this participative effort of young workers in the Council through prayer, the International YCW has launched an appeal to all the national movements, requesting that they ask YCW members and young workers to offer up to the Lord all their work every Friday for the duration of the Council. This offering of work with its joys and sorrows, or sometimes the offering up of a “lack of work,” is a prayer that the young workers will make in union with the prayers of the whole Church for the success of the Council.

Your Holiness, please accept with all Your goodness as the common Father of men, the feeling of total adherence as well as the desires and the promises which we wish to express in the name of the young workers of the world.

Renewing the expression of our total fidelity to Your Holiness, we humbly request You to give Your paternal blessing to the whole movement throughout the world.

Bartolo Perez, President.

Jos. Cardijn, Chaplain General.

Brussels, October 8, 1962.

Betty Villa, Vice President.

Brussels, 8 October, 1962.


JOCI Archives 6.3

Offering up joys and sorrows for the Council

At the beginning of October 1962, the IYCW International Secretariat wrote to all national movements requesting them to follow closely the progress of the Council in particular by offering up their “joys and sorrows” for its success.

International Secretariat of the YCW

78, Boulevard Poincaré, Brussels 7


To national YCWs, members, trial members and associated organisations

To extension workers

Dear friends,

October 1962

The celebration of the Second Vatican Council constitutes an extraordinary event in the life of the Church and of the world in this century..

During the preparatory period for the Council, several national YCW (F), as well as the International YCW put forward their suggestions and requests, particularly to the Commission on Lay Apostolate in which our dear Mgr Cardijn took part as a consultant.

The YCW, a Movement of the Church among young workers, must live this great event intensely and make it known to all young workers around the world.

To this end, we recommend that all national YCW (F) establish a plan of action for the days of the Council, taking as a basis of orientation the following points:

1. Request YCW members and young workers to offer up to the Lord their work each Friday with its joys and sorrows each week for the duration of the Council; for some, this will mean offering up their “lack of work”.

2. Follow the progress of the Council and effectively inform young workers.

3. Each diocesan or national JOC (F) should send to the respective bishops a message expressing their adhesion and presenting its prayers for the success of the Council.

4. Depending on the initiatives and the situation of each country, other activities may contribute to living out the Council more intensely.

Sending you our cordial greetings, we remain united in Christ and His Church for the salvation of the young workers of the whole world.

(original text in Spanish)

The International YCW Executive Committee.


JOCI Archives 6.3

A strategic plan for the Council

In an undated document that seems to be from just before the opening of the First Session of Vatican II, Cardijn sets out a strategic plan for influencing its work.


1. Before, during the first session, during the preparation for the second session: attention, intentions, prayer, sacrifices, all the YCW action

2. Expectation in the YCW and among young workers

3. Attention to the problem of young workers in the world

  • its growing importance, one might even say decisive importance for young workers and the working class
  • for the Church and for humanity
    number of young workers
    problems of young workers
    solidarity of young workers

4. Faith in the solution

a/ by young workers themselves (formation – action – representation)

b/ concrete problems: preparation – unemployment – leisure – climate

c/ necessary collaborations

5. The YCW and the problem of young workers

And is the movement of young workers

an apostolic and missionary movement

a holistic movement

6. The Church and the problem of young workers

The problem of YCW

Formation and collaboration of the clergy of all members of the Church

THE YCW in, with working youth, the world of today and tomorrow

The YCW and the apostolate of the laity, specialised and coordinated Catholic Action.


1. Communicate our intentions

2. Prepare the participation of Bishops from all regions, continents, races

Latin, Greek, Malabar Church

JOC in Europe, North America, Australia
in Asia
in Africa
in Latin America

4. Signal discussions on JOC-MIJARC as much as possible


JOC-Christian Trade Unions

5. As the meeting cannot last more than two hours, would it not be better to begin immediately with the problem of working youth in the world?

Then, testimonies of bishops from different continents

Then, general questions for bishops to ask

6. Announce special meetings: Asia


Latin America

North America



Original French

Joseph Cardijn, La JOC et le Concile (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Joseph Cardijn, The YCW and the Council (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Reducing the length of the Eucharistic fast

For more than ten years, the Belgian JOC had lobbied Cardinal Jozef-Ernest Van Roey of Malines to seek a reduction in the length of the communion fast, citing the difficulty for young workers in factories who were thus unable to receive communion or take breakfast.

On 1 March 1962, the JOCI International Secretariat took up this issue in a letter to all national movements, calling on them to study the issue and write to their local bishops and/or to the Preparatory Pontifical Commission on the Discipline of the Sacraments.

Here is the letter

YCW International Secretariat 78 Boulevard Poincaré

Brussels 7, Belgium


March 1st, 1962



Dear President, Dear Chaplain,

Dear Friend,

On a number of occasions, during trips or meetings, we have noted that in numerous countries the present discipline governing the Eucharistic Fast keeps many workers away from Communion.

There is no doubt that the Ecumenical Council, which opens October 11th, will make a thorough study of this aspect of the canon law of the Church, with the thought of allowing all men easier access to the Sacraments.

May we suggest, therefore, that you study without delay, just what form this problem takes amongst the young workers of your country, particularly those who, through Catholic Action, have come to discover the meaning of the Eucharist and who wish to partake of it more frequently.

If you believe that a reduction in the duration of the Eucharistic Fast would be advantageous, we ask that you speak of it to your local Hierarchy, and that you write a letter to the Preparatory Pontifical Commission on the Discipline of the Sacraments.

As a model, we are attaching the text of the request submitted by the YCW of Belgium.

We believe that a reduction in the duration of the Eucharistic Fast would be of benefit to the workers of the world.

Yours fraternally in Christ,

Permanent Committee of the International YCW

Denyse Gauthier


Secretary General

Betty Villa Vice-President

Norbert Balle Secretary General

Joseph Cardijn General Chaplain

M. Uylenbroeck Assistant

General Chaplain

Bartolo Perez


The Coming Council

In February 1962, Cardijn published his reflections and desires for the quickly approaching First Session of Vatican II in an article for the IYCW Bulletin entitled “The Coming Council”

He wrote:

The Coming Council

Pope John XXIII has just convoked an Ecumenical Council in Rome this year. The exact date has not yet been fixed but the solemn convocation made by the Supreme Head of the Church and published by the press and radio of the whole world has raised interest and expectations among the whole of humanity which shows its significance that everyone – believers and non-believers – attach to this initiative of the Holy Father.

Jocist militants, and through them, all young people and all adult workers must be the first to understand and to make their comrades understand the significance of the coming council. And as far as possible, they must take part in its preparation, and in the influence that it will have on the whole of humanity.

The Church, its mission and its leaders

To understand the importance of the Ecumenical Council, we need to consider and study it in the light of the mission of the Church.

Christ, God made man to save all people, who accomplished his earthly mission in Palestine around 1962 years ago, wanted this mission to continue in a visible and irrefutable way and to extend to the ends of the work and the whole of humanity.

To ensure this continuity and its extension, he himself chose and consecrated his replacements and successors

  1. who would teach the doctrine
  1. that would guarantee his presence
  1. that would unite all those who believe in him in a visible community, the Church
  1. in brief, that would extend the Kingdom of God on earth as in heaven, in time and in eternity.

These successors of the Redemptive Mission of Christ, designated and consecrated by Himself, are called Apostles: among themselves they form a college united with a leader invested by Christ, and charged with ensuring the Truth, Unity, and Authenticity of the Church, its message and its mission.

Peter and the other apostles themselves designated their own successors, the Pope and the bishops, and transmitted to them their divine powers received from Christ. These authentic successors in the same way transmitted their powers to their successors and replacements, thus guaranteeing the presence of Christ, his grace and his doctrine across the centuries in the whole Church united to them and spread across the whole earth.

The Councils

From the beginning of its history, the Church has had to face up to errors and divisions that are inevitable in any human endeavour, even though it this endeavour has a divine origin and aid. This is why the Apostles met together at certain times, in solemn assemblies, to declare and to specify together the doctrine of Christ, his presence and his action in the Church and to guarantee union in the faith and in the mission of the Church to all the faithful.

These assemblies common to all the leaders of the Church, charged with determining the ensemble of the doctrine of Christ, have been given the title of Ecumenical Councils because they represent the whole Church, as Christ wanted it, fixing the revealed truths (dogmas), condemning errors (heresies), adopting all the measures necessary to the life and extension of the Church as well as the life of faith and salvation of its members.

These conciliar assemblies initially included very few members from very few countries, given that while the Church was very widely spread it was very difficult to travel.

The coming Ecumenical Council

That which distinguished the coming Ecumenical Council first of all is that it will bring together, with the Pope around 3,000 bishops from every continent, from every race and every colour, because today the Church has extended not only to the whole earth but it has bishops, replacements of Christ, belonging to all the peoples of the world.

What will strike many more in the coming Council will be the complete unity of all the bishops united with the Pope, in Truth and Charity, uniquely preoccupied to proclaim and to specify the doctrine of Christ, the manner of communicating the life of Christ, and to transmit to all people its spirit of holiness, salvation and fraternity.

Among the points that will be most striking for public opinion in the modern world and particularly among workers,

  • will be the concerns relating to the place and mission of the simple faithful, the most humble as well as the richest, in the Church of Christ;
  • will also be the desire and the means to unite those who believe in Christ, whatever divisions have separated them over the centuries;
  • will be the aspiration that is so deep today to unite and enable the collaboration of all those who believe in a God, origin and end of all people as well as of all creation, Father of all the living, inspiration of a spirit of fraternity, justice and mutual aid among all peoples.

It suffices to reflect a little on the significance of these problems to understand the consequences of the coming Council for the future of the Church and humanity.


Most of all we must not believe that all the problems and solutions studied by the Council will be improvised. In fact, for more than two years all the bishops of the world have been consulted on these problems, as well as all the Catholic universities, all religious frameworks, have been invited to make known the problems that interest the Church in the modern world and that all the faithful have been either individually or collectively to make known their aspirations and desires. The YCW has also taken part in this preparatory reflection.

Study commissions have been created with qualified members of the Hierarchy, with competencies and representatives from organisations concerned with all the problems of interest to the Church and to humanity. All these working commissions have worked and are working tirelessly to present these problems and drafts of solutions.

Armed with the fruit of all this work and enlightened by the Spirit of Truth who illuminates the whole Church and in particular those responsible for its doctrine and mission, namely “the Fathers of the Council” will be truly for the awaiting world the voice of the Church that will proclaim the doctrine of salvation brought by Christ, who alone, in this world of transformation, est will forever remain the Way, the Truth and the Life, the only Saviour of the living and the dead.

It will be like a new Pentecost proclaiming the way of union and Peace to a world so scattered and it will open up the perspectives of Eternity going beyond the problems of time.

In this responsibility for the Council, let us understand and take up our own responsibility. Let us be able to say later that the Council of 1962 was a step in our life, life of prayer and apostolate. It has made us become more conscious of our own responsibility in the Church and in the world.

The Council must contribute to making the Church the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

We are this Church: let us be even more in solidarity than ever with the Pope and the Bishops, will all the faithful whoever they are and let them focus in order to become responsible for the world and humanity.

Above all let us not believe that the Council itself will resolve all the problems: it will be up to us, to take inspiration from its lights and its directives in order to better consecrate our lives to all the goals that the Church will have thus better highlighted and which will bring all towards the more perfect Kingdom of Christ on earth and towards the salvation of the whole of humanity.

– Joseph Cardijn

IYCW Leaders Bulletin, February 1962


Joseph Cardijn, The Coming Council (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Cardijn still travelling after the Rio Council

On 20 November 1961, Marguerite Fiévez wrote to PCLA secretary, Mgr Achille Glorieux, to let him know that Cardijn was still travelling in Latin America following the World Council of Rio de Janeiro.

“You may be aware that Mgr Cardijn will not return from Rio before the end of this month,” Fiévez wrote.

“In his absence, I opened the latest batch of documents from the Commission. I don’t know if Monsignor will have something to send you regarding the two  documents, TC 1 and TC 2.

“But even if he had any amendments or suggestions to propose, he obviously could not send them to you before the 1st December as you request. Moreover, following the YCW World Council, Mgr Cardijn needs to visit several countries before returning to Brussels.

“It is obviously practically impossible for me to reach him to send him the relevant documents. Nevertheless, in practice, I very much doubt that he would have anything to send you.”



Marguerite Fiévez – Achille Glorieux 20 11 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Marguerite Fiévez – Achille Glorieux 20 11 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

The apostolic nature of the YCW

The Rio de Janeiro YCW International Council concluded on 11 November 1961.

Replacing outgoing international president, Romeo Maione, was Brazilian, Bartolo Perez.

Other key decisions of the Council included the adoption of an orientation document, “The Apostolic Nature of the YCW.”

Structured as a Three Truths dialectic, the document’s aim was to “try to take the basic fundamentals as outlined by Monsignor Cardijn, and apply them to our advancing YCW.”

“The YCW started, starts and restarts,” the document continued, “with the exercise of the YCW dialectic.

“It started with Monsignor Cardijn when he discovered that the reality of working life clashed viciously with the ideal of working life as taught by the Church. It starts in the heart of a young worker when he discovers through his YCW enquiries that the truth of reality often clashes with the truth of faith. It is from this clash that the YCW was born, and continues to be born, in our world of today. The YCW – wherever it starts, is faithful to its dialectic – a dialectic which takes the form of regular see-judge-act enquiries in life. Because of this, the YCW can be an international movement whilst still retaining its Asian, African, or American characteristics each YCW remaining faithful to the fundamentals, yet distinct in its handling of the problems which arise due to the clash between the reality and the ideal in every country.”

Truth of Faith

“The basic truth of faith is that which is contained in the revealed truth of the Church,” the document says. “By Baptism, we are admitted into the family of God, creator of the world, maker of all – of atomic energy, of modern science and technology and of the delicate beauty of a rose in bloom; we become a brother of Christ, the God-man, who came into the world to live with us and finally delivered himself on a Cross out of His infinite love for us. Why? In order to give us another chance to do the will of His Father – to go out and complete the creation started by God.”

“In short, our faith gives us a whole new insight into the condition of man, his wonderful calling to be a Son of God, his mission, his work, his talents. The YCW teaches us to “stand in awe of our fellow-man,” so important and irreplaceable in the Plan of God.”

Truth of Reality

“Although the YCW starts with the truth of faith, it is the ‘see’ part of the enquiries that gives us the anvil, so that the iron of life can be shaped by the blacksmiths hammer. Because of the act of faith inherent in the YCW, our eyes begin to see the reality. Through our local and national enquiries, we begin to see and to note this truth of reality. We become conscious of what is really happening around-us. In and through our daily lives – through a spirit of enquiry — we probe even deeper into reality.

“Before going on to the main part of this report, we must pause for a moment to put the truth of reality – as discovered by the young worker – within the context of a larger truth of reality – the speeding development of our modern world. The YCW whose basic mission is to young workers, must be awake to the large-scale problems that have such repercussions on the lives of young workers. We must be prepared to understand the larger forces at work in our world so as to better serve the young workers.

The problems of working youth – the mission of the YCW – must be discovered and solved in a world, in deep social crisis, in a world that is moving from the simple to the complex, from the small village to the big city, from the artisan to the large factory, in a world which is dominated by the twin forces of science and technology.”

Major issues identified included: demographic forces, colonialist structures, migration and atomic power.

“Add all these forces together and the result is the demolishing of the old traditional order concurrent with the construction of a social order based on new international political and economic realities.”

It identifies the problem of exploitation as “a major factor of the modern world.”

“The worker is something akin to a machine – to be used for production and then thrown aside. This fact is very evident in the areas which are just coming in contact with the modern world. The person is alone, unprotected, and at the tender mercy of those who put production before the person.”

The result is that people ask themselves many questions: “Who am I? What am I? Where am I going? What is life all about? And finally, is life worth living?”

“These are the tearing, searching and penetrating questions asked by modern youth. These are the questions that the YCW must answer.”

The apostolic nature of the YCW

The document warns that “the tendency to consider the YCW only as a social action movement persists.”

“This confusion should not surprise us too much – after all the YCW does not limit itself to speaking about Christ, but lives Christ – in our factories, offices, mines, plantations, etc. How can Christ, living in the militant Christian, stand aloof from his fellow man busily and urgently building a family, a neighbourhood, and a more just world. Charity demands that the YCW leader do something about the real problems of young workers and at the same time bring the young workers to Christ.”

“It would be, of course, much simpler to say that the YCW should just spread the good news of the gospels and leave material problems to others,” the document continues. “If so, what must the YCW leader do in face of the glaring problems of social injustice which he discovers in his enquiries? When he finds, for example, that the regulations covering a certain apprenticeship program are not being respected – is it enough for him just, to pray, and ask God to change things? Or must he feel responsible for bringing about the necessary changes?”


The apostolic nature of the YCW (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Joseph Cardijn, The Three Truths (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Extend the YCW to other Christians, Buddhists, Hindus and Muslims

Cardijn delivered a stirring closing address to the Rio International Council on 6 November 1961.

Excellencies, Most Reverend Archbishop, Bishops, Your Excellency the Minister of Labour, Distinguished Ambassadors,

Representatives of the various countries which have their embassies here in Brazil, representatives of major international Catholic action, charitable action, social action organisations and major international institutions and

My dear delegates from all countries of the whole world,

A closing session is a little melancholic because we are sad to be leaving each other. It’s like the end of a stay of with friends, a fraternal stay. Yet, in the International YCW, closing sessions are now and always joyful sessions in which we have an overflowing feeling of gratitude and thanksgiving for all the good things we have shared during the national and international meetings and I am not going to repeat the words of thanks of our president.

Oh, what a truly Brazilian welcome we received here in Petropolis from the whole population of Brazil, the government, the hierarchy, all the churches of Brazil, including a sermon and a special collection last Sunday that united them with our international gathering.

Truly the Brazilian people are fully one with the INTERNATIONAL YCW and now that we have a Brazilian international president this link will continue to deepen and become stronger so that the young workers of the world will know that Brazil and the whole of Latin America is united with the needs and aspirations of the young workers of the world.

Yes, the joy of the work that was achieved during this meeting, the friendships that were made, the exchanges that took place. Ah! what supernatural, apostolic friendship we are witnessing for the first time. We come from Japan, India, South Africa and we immediately become a family, a team, an inseparable group of young people united by the same ideal, united by the same desire.

And this what makes the joy of our hearts overflow. It’s not just us who feel this joy. It is also shared by the cardinals, bishops and all the international organisations who sent us messages, including the Holy Father himself. And I have the honour and power here before you to express my thanks to the Holy Father, a thanks that is expressed by the honours he has bestowed today during this international council on those who have led the immense organisation of the YCW during the last few years. I am authorised to give the decoration of Commander of the Order of St Gregory to Romeo Maione.

This joy of the present and the past overflows in our hearts, but today yet another joy exceeds this joy of the past and the present. It is the joy of hope for the future that we are going to build in this world to which we want to give a new working youth, a working youth animated by an ideal of fraternity, justice, respect among all the peoples of the earth. This hope is expressed first in the choice of the new international committee and the new president. This is the value of the YCW!

Not only has the YCW given worker leaders to the working class of the world, not only has it given hundreds of thousands of new working families who love this education of their children and who are able to give to the various peoples of the world children who in the future will no longer be second class citizens nor underdeveloped children nor children condemned to hunger and the misery of the lack of genuine human conditions; but thousands and thousands of working families prepared for their holy mission here below to be collaborators with God, procreators of a new youth, a new working class.

And this is why together, yes, we will not only found a new committee, like all the committees which for 50 years have been formed by the YCW and which have succeeded one another with value, with an increasingly larger mission in the world. But now having voted our program of action, we must go back to the essential characteristics of the YCW.

Here, we are here simply the representatives of the young workers of the world, the YCW, who are first of all the young workers of the land of Africa, Asia, all continents and all countries. And the essential character of the YCW is to teach them by themselves, among themselves, by themselves, to understand their value, to understand their mission. And that is why the great program will only be genuinely YCW if we develop the YCW in all the municipalities, in all the cities, in all the centres where young workers live. Whether they are Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus or Muslims, we want to give all the young workers of the earth the knowledge and not simply the knowledge but a realisation of their dignity as a Son of God, a collaborator of God.

The YCW is not for an elite, the YCW is not for a minority, the YCW is not for a privileged few, not the elite. In the YCW, the militants of the YCW, the leaders of the JOC must go to the masses, know the masses, love the masses, become friends of the poorest and most humble young workers who understand their dedication, their ideals and thus slowly win over this ideal of international brotherhood.

Young workers from one continent need to understand the needs of young workers from other continents. There must soon be a real new working youth in the world, one not represented by a few young workers who have understood the mission of the YCW in the world, but who can speak both to governments and to the Church, in international institutions on behalf of all the young workers of the earth.

Yes! Now, we are beginning a decisive step, we need to extend the YCW, we need to deepen the YCW. It is the only solution to the problems of the immense class, the immense working population. It will not be bombs, nor violence and hatred that will succeed in saving not only the youth, but all peoples and all humanity, it will be the knowledge of the divine dignity of the poorest and most humble workers of the earth.

Yes ! the mission is great and it is God and it is Christ who sends us to the hundreds of millions, to the billions of workers of the earth. And that is why our hope is not a utopia, our hope is not a deception, our hope will not disappoint the young workers of the world, because in our heart lives the love of Christ who sends us, who sustains us and it is He who, through us, wants to save the young workers of all races and all continents.

Forward with the grace of Christ, under the leadership of the Church, we will save all the working youth of the whole world.



Discours de clôture – Conseil Mondial JOC – Rio de Janeiro (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Joseph Cardijn, Closing address to the YCW International Council in Rio de Janeiro 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Danger of new paternalism

PETROPOLIS, Brazil, Nov. 9 (NC)—Unless aid programs for underdeveloped regions are carried out in close cooperation with local people who know the needs of their areas, the result can be ’a new kind of paternalism propelled by pity,” the International Young Christian Workers’ representative to the United Nations said here.

Caroline Pezzulo of Brooklyn, N.Y., told the YCW world congress here that there has been a general awakening in North America to the responsibility of the economically developed lands to help alleviate the miseries of their brothers throughout the world. This has resulted, she said, in “a barrage of programs’ designed to aid the peoples of other lands in various ways.

Miss Pezzulo continued: “There are more and more generous people who would like r to do something l for the so-called underdeveloped lands. We feel at first glance this may seem very fine, but there is a danger that if we do not work closely with the people who know what the real needs are in the newly developing areas, we shall merely cultivate anew kind of paternalism propelled by pity. The resultant reaction on the part of the people in Asia, Africa and Latin America is sure to be resentment.

“That is why we feel the YCW has a special role to play motivated by its unity in the Mystical Body and steeped in the line of the worker movement. We would like to begin a dialogue among the YCWs of the economically developed countries and those of Asia, Africa and Latin America. Through dialogue we can come to know each other better and through dialogue we shall better be able to plan actions which will respond to Pope call for the developed areas to take their responsibilities.”

In a report on conditions affecting young workers in North America, Miss Pezzulo said that one of the most difficult tasks is that of helping young people to “recognize that there are problems.”

Noting that young workers of the U.S. and Canada in general have a comparatively high standard of living, she said: “Even though he may be lonely, bored or dissatisfied with his Job, when the young workers is materially well situated, it is very difficult for him to see and then to admit that something may be wrong.”

“This attitude explains in part,” Miss Pezzulo continued, “why there does not exist a spirit of unity among workers. On the contrary, there is a strong individualism…. The largest grouping of workers in the United States is that of the office worker who, by and large, is not to be found in the trade unions.

Unions are having a difficult time attracting young people to membership and participation in meetings, nor are they training new leadership to any great degree.

Miss Pezzulo cited the following as among the major problems among young North American workers:

  • Automation, which though creating the possibility of a much richer life has created a major unemployment crisis.
  • The “thirst for excitement” which results in the squandering of leisure time, and which is one of the facets of the dating system “one of the largest contributing factors to poorly matched and poorly prepared marriages with all the consequent family problems.
  • “The problem of discriminatlon, especially toward the Negro In the United States, but also toward other minority groups such as migrant workers, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. Miss Pezzulo said that “the YCW must find a way to reach more and more young workers in these modern Industrialized societies and lead them to a full Christian life.”

Canadian YCW groups have performed major service In studies on unemployment and the use of leisure time, she said, and have developed widely emulated courses to help prepare young workers for marriage.

The YCW movement In the United States has made a special drive to determine the situation of migrant workers and has also fought for remedial legislation In Congress, she said.

She also cited the fact that the YCW has organized in large cities a number of apartments for young people living away from home—some for men, some for women—where rent, food and community life is shared in a Christian atmosphere.”


Danger seen of ‘pity’ creating new paternalism (NCWC News Service)

Go ahead sign from John XXIII

PETROPOLIS, Brazil, Nov. 9 (NC) —The Young Christian Workers at their second international congress here received a pat on the back and a go-ahead sign sent in behalf of His Holiness Pope John XXIII.

Amleto Cardinal Cicognani, Papal Secretary of State, wrote that “the Holy Father, who is extremely pleased by the progress accomplished by the YCWs, encourages them with all his heart to go forward, strengthened by the grace of Christ Jesus.”

The letter written in behalf of Pope John noted that the congress had a double theme—preparation for family life and the international action of the YCW. It continued:

“It Is absolutely necessary that, in the upheavals of the modern world, the family should retain its character as a sacred sanctuary, in which man and woman fulfill themselves in conjugal love and the Joys of fatherhood and motherhood. The YCW has already done a great deal, but it will never be able to enough to train these young people who tomorrow will be the heads of families and the guardians of homes.

“And we must rejoice that its representatives should make their voices heard at the great international organizations in favor of legislation which will allow all young workers to enjoy living and working conditions which would promote the greater human and Christian fulfillment of their personalities.”

Cardinal Cicognani transmitted the Pope’s wish that the YCW congress would “be the starting point of anew inpulse of the Young Christian Workers, especially in the countries of Latin America, which are so dear to him.”

The letter, addressed to Canada’s Romeo Malone, retiring president of the International YCW, had a special commendation for “tireless Msgr. (Joseph) Cardijn,” the founder and chaplain general of the movement.


YCW gets blessing, go-ahead from Pope John; Stress laid on family, international work (NCWC News Service)

Call for worldwide survey of working conditions

PETROPOLIS, Brazil, Nov. 9 — Young Christian Workers from 85 countries unanimously called for a worldwide survey of working conditions of young workers and resolved to set up an international program for vocational training for young people entering the labor force.

Some 350 delegates gathered here for the YCW’s second international congress (Nov. 2 to 11). They had held no similar meeting since their first congress in Rome in 1957.

Present for the meeting in this resort city was Msgr. Joseph Cardijn, 80-year-old founder of the movement. The congress began with a Mass offered by Jaime Cardinal de Barros Camara, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, during which the various delegations recited prayers in their own languages.

The congress was opened officially by Canada’s Romeo Maione, outgoing president of the International YCW, in the presence of high dignitaries of Church and State. Archbishop Armando Lombardi, Apostolic Nuncio to Brazil, read a letter sent on behalf of His Holiness Pope John XXIII.

“There is no doubt,” the letter said, “that this meeting will result in new missionary development and strengthen the union of young workers of All races and colors in the Mystical Body of Christ.”

The general program of the YCW was outlined by Malone in his keynote address.

“Basically,” he said, “our task here is to do something about the problems of working youth, but at the same time we must realize how the problems of young workers exist within the context of larger problems which are now sweeping the earth… Modern times demand heroic virtue. Man is hungry for peace, and ‘Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called children of God.'”

Maione mentioned such current problems as population growth, the upheavals accompanying the end of the colonial era, migration, education and the breaking-up of family life.

But he indicated that the greatest problem is the decline of religious influence on society: “When religious values start to slide, so also does respect for the human person. Without God what is man? Without God humanism is a lie. What is man worth? Why respect him? This slippery trail leads us into confusion once again and the world becomes a Jungle where the strong do what they will with the weak.”

Calling for the construction of a new social order which is broad and realistic, Maione said: “There are few men, if any, who can prophesy about the future structure of the world. If we are humble, we must all admit that we are not competent to say how the present and future discoveries of science will affect our social structure.”

He insisted that out of the prevailing international anarchy of today anew social order based on the masses of mankind must emerge.

If the traditional ruling classes are in danger of decay today, he said, it is because they have refused to adapt, or have proved themselves incapable of adapting, to the task of the just organization of anew world.

The congress, besides calling for a survey of working conditions throughout the world and for an international training program also voted for permanent mutual aid programs between YCW groups.

It urged YCW action on behalf of workers at both the national level and before such organizations as the U.N. Economic and Social Council, the International Labor Organization, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization.

Also approved were two appeals:

  • That men of good will “cooperate in the efforts of young workers to build a more Just and more human world, placing themselves at the service of the community and avoiding any kind of individualism”
  • That national government and international organizations “strive together” for world peace, and “carry out their mission by fulfilling the urgent aspirations of the people and bring about respect for the human person.”


YCWs of 85 countries call for worker survey, wider vocational work (N.C.W.C. NEWS SERVICE)

YCW birthday pageant for John XXIII

Petropolis, Brazil, Nov. 7 —Youthful workers of the world celebrated the birthday of His Holiness Pope John XXIII with a pageant portraying the problems of farm laborers.

The pageant, a feature of the second world congress of the Young Christian Workers, invoked the principles of the Pope*s recent encyclical on social Justice.

The actors engaged the audience of delegates from 85 nations in a dialogue-chorus appealing for the development of backward countries.

During the pageant a group of young Congolese sang a “Missa Luba,” which combined Gregorian melodies with African rhythms in a dialogue between the Church of the past and the Church of the future.

The pageant and the religious music were presented on November 4, fourth day of the 13-day congress. Pope John marked his birthday that day, third anniversary of his coronation, although he does not reach the age of 80 until November 25.

A dramatic moment in the Missa Luba came at the Credo, when the words of Christ’s death were accompanied by the muffled beat of drums which announce the death of a great king in the Congo. Word of the Resurrection was greeted with a Joyous beating of Jungle tomtoms.

At the close of the pageant, delegates from all 85 nations filed before the microphone to address birthday greetings to the Pope in their native languages. A series of small congresses were held in 150 Brazilian cities to prepare for the world congress here.

The Young Christian Workers have about half a million members in Brazil. Their world membership Is edging toward the three-million mark. Simultaneous with the YCW world congress in this resort town 25 miles from Rio de Janeiro, the first National Congress of Young Workers met in Rio. 

Both congresses are to close at a Joint rally in a sports stadium.

Many of the delegates helped pay the passage of delegates unable to purchase their own tickets. Brazil*s YCW contributed about $3-4,000 to pay hotel expenses for delegates.


Congress honors birthday of pope with farm pageant (N.C.W.C. News Service)

Papal message for the Rio Council

One of Cardijn’s concerns while in Rome was evidently to ensure that there was a papal message for the imminent International Council of the YCW due to start shortly in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

He was not disappointed.

On 25 October 1961, Cardinal Amleto Cicognani addressed a letter on behalf of John XXIII to (outgoing) IYCW president, Romeo Maione.

“The presence at this Brazilian meeting of nearly 300 national leaders of the Y.C.W. of all countries is a witness to the vitality of your movement throughout the world and there is no doubt that this meeting will result in a new missionary development and strengthen the union of young workers of all races and colours in the Mystical Body of Christ,” Cardinal Cicognani wrote.

“The Holy Father, who is extremely pleased by the progress accomplished by the Y.C.W.’s, encourages them with all his heart to go forward, strengthened by the grace of Christ Jesus. For it is in Him that they must be, as the Apostle says, “rooted and built up, and confirmed in the faith, abounding in Him in thanksgiving,” (Col. 2, 7). What a splendid task it is to share in the redemption of all the working youth of the world and to reveal to it, no matter what be its material, moral and spiritual misery, the image of the living God, creator and redeemer of our souls!

“Thus the Y.C.W.’s, by their very life, their work sanctified by the state of grace, and their action based on prayer and nourished with sacramental graces, will share in the edification of the body of Christ (Eph, A, 12). United in the friendship and animated by charity, their constant concern will be to achieve a personal apostolate in their environment, in union with the other Catholic youth movements, and to give to their working comrades the example of an attractive Christian community.

Preparing young workers for family life

Evidently, Cardinal Cicognani had been well briefed on the topics the Council was to deal with.

“The programme of these days of study is largely concerned with “the preparation of young workers for family life” and the international action of the Y,C.W. ,” he continued. “These are without doubt two subjects of capital importance.    

“For it is absolutely necessary that, in the upheavals of the modern world, the family should retain its character as a sacred sanctuary, in which man and woman fulfil themselves in conjugal love and the joys of fatherhood and mother hood. The Y.C.W. has already done a great deal, but it will never do enough to train these young people, who to morrow will be the heads of families and the guardians of homes. And we must rejoice that its representatives should make their voice heard at the great international organizations in favour of legislation enabling still more all young workers to enjoy conditions of life and work permitting the greater human and Christian fulfilment of their personalities.

Mater et Magistra

And Cardinal Cicognani did not miss the opportunity to mention Pope John’s recent encyclical, Mater et Magistra, which had been suggested by Cardijn himself and specifically recommended the Jocist “see-judge-act” method.

“The Holy Father, who again recently has expressed his paternal solicitude for all workers in his Encyclical Letter MATER ET MAGISTRA, is hoping that the Rio de Janeiro meeting will mark a new development of the Y.C.W., especially in the countries of Latin America, which are so dear to him.

“And that is why he grants a fatherly Apostolic Blessing to tireless Mgr. Cardijn, to yourself who are to preside this meeting, to all taking part in this Second International Council, and to all the chaplains and leaders of the great Y.C.W. family throughout the world.

“I am happy to send you this precious encouragement of His Holiness and I should like to express my own best wishes for the work of the leaders of the groat international Catholic movement of young workers,” the cardinal concluded.



Cardinal Amleto Cicognani – Romeo Maione 25 10 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Cardinal Amleto Cicognani – Romeo Maione 25 10 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Pope John XXIII, Mater et Magistra (

Amleto Cardinal Cicognani (Catholic Hierarchy)

A message from Cardinal Ottaviani

On 24 October 1961, Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani, the ageing, almost blind, conservative son of a Rome baker, sent his own blessing to the YCW International Council in Rio de Janeiro.

“I have received your kind letter of 16 October, which was also signed by the President and Vice-President of the International YCW and by which you officially announced to me the forthcoming opening of the Second International Council of the YCW

“Be sure, dear Monsignor, that I was both very touched by this delicate and filial attention and very happy to learn this important news.

“I gladly express my ardent wishes that the Lord may bless your meetings, and make all the fruits that you expect from them germinate, for the good of the YCW and that of the whole Church.

Be sure, dear Monsignor, of my very devoted greetings in Christ Jesus.

A. Cardinal Ottaviani”


Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani – Joseph Cardijn 24 10 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani – Joseph Cardijn 24 10 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Greetings from Cardinal Frings of Cologne

On 23 October 1961, Cardinal Josef Frings of Cologne sent his own greetings to the International Council of the YCW.

“The YCW is holding its second World Council in Rio this year.

“If I am not mistaken, it was the first of these meetings that I was allowed to attend in Montreal, Canada, in 1947.

“Since then, the world YCW has continued to develop under God’s visible protection and has become an integral part of the structure of international Catholic associations.

“May the 2nd World Council represent a new milestone in its development!

+ Jos. Card. Frings

Archbishop of Cologne”

Cardinal Pizzardo’s message for Rio

Cardinal Pizzardo – Cardijn – 23 10 1961

On 23 October 1961, Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo, longtime head of the Vatican Office for Catholic Action and nemesis of Cardijn, addressed a letter to him for the IYCW International Council in Rio de Janeiro.

“Most Reverend Monsignor,

I received with great joy the announcement of the second International Council of the YCW, which will take place in Brazil (Petropolis) from November 2 to 11, and of the Grand Assembly which will bring together 30,000 young workers, an assembly that will close the National Congress of the YCW of Brazil. I have also taken note of the program that You were kind enough to send me.

I pray the Lord to always bless You and assist You in the apostolate, which is so fruitful useful for the Christian future of the world, and which You carry out on behalf of youth. And may the Master of the Harvest awaken a great number of ecclesiastical vocations.

Assuring You the help of my prayers for the success of the project, I have the pleasure to say that I am completely devoted in Our Lord

(G. Cardinal Pizzardo)”



Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo – Joseph Cardijn 23 10 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Cardinal Giuseppe Pizzardo – Joseph Cardijn 23 10 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

A leaven of expanding influence

On 23 October 1961, Archbishop D’Souza of Nagpur, India wrote to the Indian YCW chaplain, Fr Rupert, who was preparing to leave for the YCW International Council in Rio de Janeiro.

“My dear Father Rupert,

“I am sorry I could not get a message across to you before you left, as I was out of station for a while. I do hope I am not late in reaching you. We have just finished two Conferences here – one of the Bishops of the Region and the other an Interdiocesan Conference of Priests, where, among other things, we discussed the question of the social uplift of our people. The Y.C.W. as is but natural figured in our discussions.

“I would have loved to be present on an occasion like this when our young Christian workers, from all over the world, have assembled together. However, I shall follow all your proceedings in spirit and in prayer. This is indeed, an unique occasion which can spell great things for the Church and I wish you to convey to Mr. Romeo Maione my heartiest congratulations. Tell him from all of us, how deeply interested we are in this Conference and also in the programme that the Y.C.W. has chalked out for itself for the spiritual welfare of the working classes. We here in India have pledged ourselves to make the Y.C.W. a leaven of expanding influence and a power for good. To this end also, our Five Year Plan will give us an opportunity to spread the Y.C.W. far and wide till it infiltrate into every industrial area where its presence is needed.

“Remember me also to all our Delegates and I am sure all of you will give a good account of yourselves. We shall be waiting to hear the results of your deliberations.

“With my heartfelt blessing and best wishes for a successful Conference and tour.

Yours devotedly in Christ,

(+ Eugene D’Souza)

Archbishop of Nagpur.

Director of the Section for the Lay Apostolate”



Archives JOCI

No objection to Rio International Council: Vatican

On 16 October 1961, Archbishop Antonio Samorè (finally) replied to Cardijn indicating that the Holy See had no objection to the holding of the YCW International Council in Rome.

“I was away from Rome when your letter of 17 September arrived and it is only now that I am able to reply,” Archbishop Samorè wrote.

“As you wish, I therefore hasten to let you know that there does not seem to be any objection to the Second International Council of the YCW taking place in Rio in 1961.

“I am also happy to learn of the valuable contribution that Bishop Helder Câmara has promised you to facilitate this meeting. For my part, I will not fail to intervene with the competent Offices of the Curia to obtain financial assistance for you, but I cannot predict how effective my efforts will be.

“In expressing the best wishes for this second international session, I beg you to accept, Monsignor, an assurance of my devoted commitment in Our Lord.”



Mgr Antoine Samorè – Joseph Cardijn 16 10 2021 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Mgr Antoine Samorè – Joseph Cardijn 16 10 2021 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

From mustard seed to enormous tree

Cardinal Gracias – Message to IYCW World Council Rio de Janeiro 1961

On 7 October 1961, Cardinal Valerian Gracias of Bombay, India, addressed a message to the IYCW for its International Council in Rio de Janeiro.

7th October, 1961

I am happy to learn that the 2nd International Council of the Y.C.W. (J.O.C.) will be held at Rio de Janeiro from the 2nd to the 19th November, 1961. Delegates from all over the world will assemble to exchange views, to assess what has been done in the past and to plan for the future. The very fact that the delegates meet will be for each one of them a source of added strength and encouragement for the great and noble vocation which is theirs as Young Christian Workers of the world. The Council will certainly contribute to a greater sense of solidarity and help in no small measure to further promote the cause of this apostolate of the Young Workers.

This movement, begun in Belgium under Canon Cardijn, has slowly developed and gained momentum like the proverbial mustard seed of the Gospel, and to-day it has blossomed into an enormous tree with its branches outspread to carry the Christian message far and wide. No greater compliment could have been paid to the Y.C.W. movement than the recent reference made by our Holy Father, Pope John XXIII, in his recent Encyclical Letter “MATER ET MAGISTRA”, in which he clearly indicates the three stages in the practical application of social principles: look, judge, act, and says:

“It is particularly important that youth be made to dwell often on these three stages, and as far as possible, reduce them to action. The knowledge acquired in this way does not remain merely abstract ideas but is something to be translated into deed.”

I bless abundantly all the delegates who will assemble for the 2nd International Council and wish their deliberations every success.

+Valerian Cardinal Gracias

Archbishop of Bombay

Brazil prepares for YCW congress

PETROPOLIS, Brazil (NC) —A technical committee has been set up here to make preparations for the second world congress of the Young Christian Workers’ organization to be held here Nov. 1 to’ 11. Cardinal de Barros Camara, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, has established the committee. The YCW congress will deal with such subjects as the preparation of young workers for marriage, the training of leaders, and international aid within the structure <of the YCW.


Brazilians Prepare for YCW World Congress (The Monitor, Volume CIII, Number 20, 18 August 1961)(The Catholic News Archive)

Social and economic defence of young workers

On 7 August 1961, Cardijn wrote to Mgr Glorieux expanding on his proposal for action on the issue of young domestic workers.

“Prior to receiving your letter, I had written the attached short note on Proposals 50 and 51, on the subject of the family,” Cardijn wrote. “The secretariat will decide whether it should still be taken into account.”

“Note Ri 55 seems to address my concerns about the plight of domestic workers, especially younger ones. We should perhaps add the social and economic defence of these young employees. An organisation which brings together and helps young domestic workers, in which they themselves are trained to train and support each other, seems to me very advisable. The JOCF in Chile and Brazil have taken the initiative to launch such an organisation, within the JOC movement itself, with excellent results.”

Moving on, he raised questions – indeed perhaps frustration – about the method of work being followed by the Preparator Commission.

“At the point the work of the Commission has arrived at, would it not be useful to provide its members a copy of all the proposals adopted so far? This would help us to gain an overview of these Proposals in order to be able to evaluate and add to them.”

And he again returned to his primordial concern for the “apostolate of the laity.”

“Personally, I am very concerned with the apostolate of the laity – individual, but above all organised – in their lay life, in their lay environment, at the heart of the problems and institutions that influence them; I am referring to the proper and irreplaceable apostolate that the laity must exercise personally or through their organisations with respect to secular problems.

“Can we not highlight even more the importance and the necessity of this and underline the formation which the laity need, as well as the indispensable collaboration with the Hierarchy, as much for their formation as for their action?” he asked.

And it is an issue that he sees as important in the ecumenical or even inter-religious context as well.

“The problem seems so important to me for the years to come! Catholics and non-Catholics alike expect a clear and definite declaration from the Council on such a fundamental point. This statement needs to make an impact, both inside and outside the Church.

“I apologise for returing to this point so often. I hope that after the International Council of the YCW in Rio (November 1 to 23), I will find more time to put on paper a few moer concrete observations concerning the distinctions to be made regarding the direct and indirect apostolate as well as, apostolic, social and charitable action, collaboration between chaplain and lay leader, relations between the Hierarchy and the laity.

“I will be in Rome from 23 to 28 October and will leave from there directly to Rio de Janeiro. Do not forget us in your prayers!” Cardijn concluded.



Joseph Cardijn – Achille Glorieux 07 08 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Joseph Cardijn – Achille Glorieux 07 08 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Requests to Cardinal Dell’Acqua

As usual, Cardijn maximised his trips to Rome, taking the opportunity to visit various Vatican officials.

On 3 July, he met with Pope John XXIII’s Substitute, Archbishop Angelo Dell’Acqua to make a number of requests that he summarised in an aide-mémoire he prepared:

First, he requested a “”essage from the Holy Father for Rio de Janeiro” i.e. the International YCW World Council scheduled for the end of 1961.

Secondly, he requested “honorary distinctions for the former leaders of the YCW International Bureau (1957 to 1961).”

Thirdly, he sought an honour for “the former National President of the KAJ (JOC Flemish) on the occasion of the 50th pilgrimage to Lourdes that he was organising for the sick.”

Fourthly, he raised the problem of how to contact the JOC in post-revolutionary Cuba.

“The regime and situation of certain States, such as Cuba, for example, makes it very difficult for the International Secretariat of the YCW to transmit its advice and the apostolic directives intended for them to the YCWs of these countries,” he explained.

“Would it be possible for the International Secretariat of the YCW to submit these communications in an open envelope to the Belgian Nunciature with a request to forward them to the Secretariat of State which would determine the possibility of sending them through diplomatic channels to the Representatives of the Holy See in these countries?”

Finally, in a handwritten addition, he requested financial assistance for the travel of World Council delegates from “Africa, Asia, certain European countries (illegible) …. Central America.”

It seems he had received assurances of this from Archbishops Samorè (Congregation for Extraordinary Ecclesiastical Affairs) and Sigismondi (Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith) on this matter.



Visite à Mgr Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Requête à Mgr Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Visit to Archbishop Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)

Request to Archbishop Dell’Acqua 03 07 1961 (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)