Thursday, 22 September 2016

Pope Francis' special blessing for the IYCW World Council

Pope Francis has asked former IYCW chaplain, Dom Reginaldo Andrietta, who is now the bishop of Jales in Brazil, to communicate a special blessing to the IYCW World Council which will begin in Aachen, Germany this weekend.

"I told (Pope Francis) about my responsibility as a diocesan bishop as the reference bishop for pastoral work for the CNBB (Catholic Bishops Conference of Brazil), which includes support for the Young Christian Worker (YCW/JOC) movement, as well as the World Council of the IYCW, which will take place in Germany from 26 September until the 8 October 2016," Dom Reginaldo wrote in a Facebook post.

"The pope also communicated to me a special blessing for the IYCW Council where I will be present, and has also sent a letter via the Vatican Secretariat of State expressing its pleasure at this world meeting as well as its encouragement to all participants and their mission in the YCW."

US postage stamp honours Fr Theodore Hesburgh CSC

A new US postage stamp honours Fr Theodore Hesburgh CSC, long-time Notre Dame University president, who was a pioneer promoter of specialised Catholic Action.

He wrote his doctoral on the theology of the laity, which was published under the title "Theology of Catholic Action."

As Fr Robert Pelton CSC later wrote:

I was privileged to arrive at Notre Dame at a time when Father (later Archbishop) John O'Hara, CSC, Father Louis J. Putz, CSC, and a group of other priests and lay leaders at Notre Dame were vigorously questioning the adequacy of such a faith. By founding the Young Christian Students, the Christian Family Movement, Catholic Worker chapters, community outreach programs, and countless other Catholic Action groups, these visionary leaders both challenged and empowered faithful laypersons to infuse Christian values and Christian compassion throughout all areas of daily life. Their efforts were fostered by Father Theodore M. Hesburgh, CSC, who consistently initiated, strengthened, and defended Notre Dame's social mission throughout his 35-year presidency of the University, and by Father Edward A. Malloy, C.S.C., who continues to build upon and extend this vision.

Indeed, Fr Hesburgh was one of a whole generation of CSC priests who promoted the YCW and other specialised Catholic Action movements.

Also part of this generation was the Panamanian Archbishop Marcos McGrath CSC, one of the driving forces behind the adoption of the See Judge Act method in the Vatican II Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the World of Today, Gaudium et Spes.

Tuesday, 20 September 2016

US social justice pioneer Msgr Marvin Mottet has died

American social justice campaigner, Msgr Marvin Mottet, who was an early member of the US YCS, has died at the age of 86 in Davenport, Iowa, the National Catholic Reporter and Catholic News Service report.

Msgr Mottet,a former executive director of the U.S. bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development, had just reached the 60th anniversary of his ordination.

In a 2012 interview, he noted that the Great Depression had made a great impact on him as had his experience in YCS.

"Well, of course, the Great Depression had a big impact on everybody, just to survive. During those days a lot of Ambrose priests came out of working class families, their dads probably worked in factories and were union organizers and they had that in mind," he said in an interview with his alma mater, St Ambrose University.

"At least in my experience, whatever class I went to I got social justice. If it was Father Urban 'Penny' Ruhl in English literature, you got social justice. If it was philosophy, history, it didn't matter, you got social justice, so it was always woven in there as a thread running through.

"Also, there was Young Christian Students that Father Bernard Kamerick led. It had weekly meetings and we would also go to Chicago for big YCS meetings.

"As students we got to meet all these priests in Chicago involved in race and justice and inner city issues. And my first year here, Ambrose hosted the National Catholic Social Action Conference. 

"They called off classes for a day or two and all the students were invited to go. We got to meet all these outstanding people and hear all their talks," he recalled.

Later he often to the Cardijn observe-judge-act methodology that he had learnt, as Katy Strzepek, director of St Ambrose's Women's Studies program noted.

"I think so, too. I loved it when I heard your talk at the civil rights event, Msgr. Mottet, about Father Joseph Cardijn's method of observe-judge-act, because that is so much of what I try to teach my students to do in my class," she told Msgr Mottet in her interview with him.

In another tribute, Bishop Martin Amos observed that in his 10 years as bishop of the Davenport diocese, "I've come to realize the tremendous impact Msgr. Mottet has had on people in general, the poor in particular and in the area of social justice."

A farm boy from Ottumwa, Iowa, who witnessed his parents' compassion toward anyone in need, young Marv Mottet honed his social justice skills as a student at St. Ambrose College, and later as a priest and teacher in the Davenport diocese and as executive director of the U.S. bishops' domestic anti-poverty program, now called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development in Washington, from 1978 to 1985, NCR reports.

He embraced diversity, working side by side with African-Americans and with Hispanics to end discriminatory practices in housing, employment and immigration. Ordained to the priesthood at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Davenport in 1956, he helped form the Catholic Interracial Council to address racial discrimination and segregation in the city a year later.

At age 78, he marched in a rally in Postville, Iowa, on behalf of immigrants in the country without legal permission who were devastated by a massive immigration raid on the town's meatpacking plant. He later brought Martin Luther King Jr and Mother Teresa to Davenport to receive the Pacem in Terris Peace and Freedom Award. Years later, he himself received the same award.

In 1969, he launched the Social Action Department for the Diocese of Davenport.

"A Pacem in Terris Coalition member likened (Msgr Mottet's influence) to the role of yeast in bread-making. It has an invisible but undeniable effect," NCR says.

Organizations such as Legal Aid, Center for Active Seniors Inc., Quad-Cities Interfaith, Interfaith Housing, Project Renewal, Cafe on Vine and other programs began or benefited from the leavening efforts of Mottet and his collaborators.

Bishop Remi De Roo recalls Vatican II

Young Bishop Remi De Roo
Canadian Bishop Remi De Roo, a friend and collaborator of Cardijn at Vatican II, says that the Council can be summarised in three words: "ressourcement," a French word meaning to return to the roots of something; "aggiornamento," an Italian word meaning to update something; and "development."

One of the last survivors of the Council, Bishop De Roo made the comments during a public lecture about Vatican II at St. Mark's College at the University of British Columbia Sept. 15, the Catholic Register reports.

He also said Vatican II was the first time the church asked itself "Who am I?" but he believed the council could have gone further with a more rigorous academic look at the early church.

Collegiality and synodality were themes at the forefront of the council for participants but, according to Bishop De Roo, subsidiarity – the idea that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least-centralized competent authority – was an even bigger theme at the council.

"Subsidiarity brought to the forefront that the church is not a pyramid but a circle," he said. Asked about the legacies of the council, the bishop said he had found it painful to see collegiality watered down over the years and not understood as something that applied to all members of the church.

"There are too many of us who are too ready to depend on other people to do something" he said, adding all Catholics "are equally responsible for bringing about the reign of God."

Bishop De Roo recalled that at the first session of the council, the wives of ecumenical observers were included along with their husbands and therefore able to follow council proceedings. However, Catholic women were not directly involved in the work of the council.

By the third and fourth sessions, however, Catholic women began to be included in the council in various ways. However, he said only one woman, British economist Barbara Ward, addressed the council.

"Her talk had to be rewritten into Latin and read by a priest" he said, adding "the issue of the role of women did not get treatment and it should have."

Young Fr De Roo was present at the IYCW International Congress in Montreal 1947.

Start video at 55:00 minutes


Vatican II was first time church asked 'Who am I?' says Canadian bishop (Catholic Register)

Bishop Remi De Roo, Testimonies

Bishop Rémi De Roo, L'apostolat des laïcs (Vatican II)

Saturday, 17 September 2016

Ethiopian president for ICYCW

The International Coordination of the YCW (ICYCW) has elected Ethiopian teacher, Berhanu Sinamo, 29, as its new president.

He was elected at the 9th ICYCW Congress held in Seoul, South Korea from 19 August – 1 September 2016.

Berhanu told Vatican Radio that he is honoured that members of ICYCW entrusted him with the important task of serving young Christian workers in different parts of the world. He called on all young Christian workers to answer God’s call by being faithful to their work.

“As Christians, one of the ways young people can contribute to spreading the Good News is by dedicating themselves to the work they are involved in and honestly serve the people, this by itself is a testimony to the Gospel.

In the meantime when we are committed to our work we witness God’s Love as he will fill us with His Grace that will make us successful,” he said.

He added that the Ethiopian YCW is also involved in preparations for the 19th AMECEA Plenary to be held in Addis Ababa in 2018.

The YCW hopes to mobilise as many youths as possible throughout the country to pray for the canonisation of Blessed Gebremichael, the first Ethiopian Catholic Martyr, Berhanu Sinamo told Vatican Radio.

“I would like to ask all young Christian workers to pray for me so that God may bless me with the wisdom to handle all my responsibilities as per his will and to the best interests of all members,” Berhanu concluded.


Friday, 16 September 2016

A new worker priest for the diocese of Lille

Lille JOC chaplain, Fr Lionel Vandenbriele has decided to become a worker priest, La Croix du Nord reports in an interview with Anne-Sophie Hourdeaux.

He will be the first worker priest in a number of years in Nord-Pas de Calais region, where the French worker priests first began their mission under Cardinal Achille Liénart more than 70 years ago.

Aged 35, Fr Lionel started work as an ambulance man this summer after five months of training.

Although he dreamed of becoming a fireman as a child, he eventually chose to enter the seminary. For the last seven years, he has worked in Roubaix, a traditional worker city neighbouring Lille.

The idea of becoming a worker-priest first occurred to him at the seminary.

"While studying Church history, I had to do an essay on the worker priests. That challenged me. Afterwards, while at the seminary, I was sent to work in a factory at Nordlys à Bailleul for two years.

Working in the parish, however, did not fully satisfy the young priest.

"I felt a lack of opportunities to meet people outside the Church as well as a gap with the young people of my own generation who were working. I wanted to share the life of the people."

« J’ai demandé l’autorisation de mon évêque, qui a accepté. Cela devient un projet d’Église : toute l’Église est engagée avec moi dans cette attention au monde du travail ».

"I chose to become an ambulance man because it did not require too much more study. Plus there were opportunities for employment.

"My thoughts ranged from becoming a baker to becoming a specialised educator. After doing an evaluation of my capacities, I found that I was best suited for the medical or paramedical sector.

"I asked for authorisation from my bishop, who accepted. So it became a project of the Church. The whole Church is involved with me in this focus on the world of work," Fr Lionel said.

Now, he works up to 70 hours a week, including weekends.

"It is a very different life. Sometimes I can work up to ten hours a day, including Sundays."

"I discover the Gospel with (the people)," he explained.

"Without saying so explicitly, my way of being a priest is to listen, because we do lots of social work, and take the time to set people up in the ambulance.

"Now I know what it means to be sick. Many are isolated.

"'Confidence and hope,' is what one sick person said to me. I told him they were beautiful words. I don't know if he was a believer but I saw it as an act of faith.

"That's what I bring to my prayers. This kind of work has changed my prayer life.

"The Church makes itself close to those who are ill."

However, Fr Lionel will continue in his other tasks as well.

"I will continue as diocesan chaplain to the JOC and I will still celebrate masses, marriages and baptisms in my new parish at Lesquin.

And he belongs to a missionary team with other priests and a permanent deacon.

Lionel, bientôt diacre from Pastorale des Jeunes on Vimeo.


Thursday, 15 September 2016

Bishop Angelelli's canonisation no longer a distant dream

CCI has welcomed the news that the canonization process of the late Bishop Enrique Angelelli is moving forward, coordinator MJ Ruben said today.

Bishop Angelelli, a pioneer chaplain of the JOC (YCW) and JUC (University YCS) in Argentina was assassinated on August 4, 1976 during the Dirty War for his involvement with social issues defending the rights of workers and farmers and standing up for his own priests.

With Pope Francis greenlighting the cause of canonization in early 2015, the Diocesan process in the Diocese of La Rioja, Argentina commenced on October 13, 2015. Now, Archbishop Marcelo Colombo has announced that the Diocese of La Rioja will complete the diocesan level process on September 15 and will send all materials to the Holy See for the next stage.

"We recall the words of Jorge Bergoglio (now Pope Francis) at the 30th anniversary mass for Bishop Angelelli in the Cathedral of La Rioja," Ruben noted, "when he said that 'Angelelli had stones thrown at him because he preached the Gospel, and he shed his blood for it'."

"We also recall Cardijn’s words to Bishop Angelelli upon his appointment:

'The Argentine JOC is losing one of its most ardent chaplains, but it is gaining a bishop who was... (one) of the pioneers of the JOC in Argentina and Latin America'."

"CCI has been championing the cause of recognition by the Church for martyrs of Cardijn movements," Ruben said, "including Bishop Angelelli’s close collaborator, Jose Serapio “Pepe” Palacio, a JOC leader in Argentina and in the JOC Internationale (IYCW) as well as for the Christian Workers Movement.

"In this context, we look forward to further developments in the case of Bishop Angelelli and other JOC leaders as well as that of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn himself.

"We hope that the Diocesan process in the case of Cardijn initiated in the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels in January 2014 as a result of the campaign by CCI will also be completed soon.

"We are doubly happy that the Church is recognizing ‘martyrs’ who fought for social justice. CCI seeks this recognition not for the sake of raising statues to our saints but to in order to motivate all future generations.

"Thanks to all those who were involved in this project and we look forward to Pope Francis taking up the cause at an even faster pace. Seeing Bishop Angelelli declared a Saint of the Holy Mother the Church is no longer a distant dream," Ruben concluded.