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
– 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)