I was involved in YCW in Holy Name Parish, East Preston (Melbourne) after I left school in 1963. I was one of the leaders’ group and remember using our booklets for Gospel Study and taking action with other young people: see, judge act.
YCW had a variety of sporting teams including table tennis competitions in which I played.
In 1965 I entered the Good Samaritan Sisters in Sydney and lost my immediate contact with YCW. However, many of the young sisters had also been YCW members.
In 2012 Townsville diocese began to reintroduce YCW which had a proud history dating back to the 1940s. I was asked to be chaplain to the group.
Later that year I attended the national council meeting in Adelaide which was a strong reawakening of my YCW roots.
Now, to my amazement, I am about to take up the role of national chaplain while staying with the Townsville group as well. I am excited and energised by this challenge. I hope I can work with and for the YCW members and their mentors and chaplains to support and deepen the spirituality of Cardijn – a deeply gospel spirituality which recognises the dignity of all people and especially of young workers.
My current role is as chaplain to YCW group in Townsville and national chaplain. This entails relating to both the young workers and also their mentors and chaplains. This year I feel I am getting to know the members of the executive and learning how to work with them. I am also hoping to travel to each group in Australia and see how the various groups function and meet with them and the mentors and chaplains. It was really great on my first visit to the Parramatta group to see their volunteer programs and the some of the services they offer.
I am very interested in hearing the current concerns of these young people and seeing how I can work with them in sharing my love of the scriptures. I also believe that there is a need to be grounded in the spirit and teachings of Cardinal Cardijn and the current vision of Pope Francis. Now that the young people have taught me how to use Facebook I can see this as a great tool in drawing out short excerpts from these sources for the groups or individuals to use in the judge section as inspiring values for action. While Cardijn’s language may be a bit dated the underlying thoughts are still valuable for today’s youth. They are also relevant to older people like myself since they are all based on our scriptures.
The title came from the executive after I gave them the general idea of a weekly thought.
“Do young people today long for a meaningful life, as they were did in the era of Joseph Cardijn? This question is relevant as the AYCW celebrates its growing archive.
Youth suicide is prevalent in many countries; young people strap explosive vests to themselves and detonate them in the name of ‘what’; children are trafficked for slave labour; university graduates cannot find work, and the list could go on.
Cardijn imagined a future for youth who would form one another in reflection, faith and action with the support of chaplains and elders through seeing, judging and acting from positive values.
Surely today, this still needs to happen. Youth need to inspire one another into leadership with passion and energy. The YCW has the tools to support growth and spur on the young to bring about change in our society.
In 1936, in Melbourne, young women first heard about the Jociste (YCW) method. Some of them caught that fire along with young men and set up the first YCW groups in Australia.
Pope Francis calls on the young to Wake up, Wake up. The Lord speaks of a responsibility that the Lord gives you; It is a duty to be vigilant; Not to allow the pressures, the temptations and the sins to dull our sensibility of the beauty of holiness. No one who sleeps can sing, dance and rejoice. (speech to Korean youth)
Jesus called young men fishing from their boats to follow his leadership and learn to be leaders themselves.
Will our young people today continue to heed that call and reinvigorate their peers through a YCW life?”