Friday, 10 April 2015

RIP Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte

An assistant diocesan chaplain to the JOC in Montreal, Cardinal Jean-Claude Turcotte died on 8 April at the age of 78.

Born on 26 June 1936, Jean-Claude Turcotte was ordained to the priesthood on 24 May 1959.

Soon after, he was appointed curate of the working class parish of Saint-Mathias-Apôtre, having specifically requested a worker parish from Cardinal Léger.

"I went to see Cardinal Léger," he explained later, " which people said you should not do. I was warned that you should not tell the cardinal that you wanted this or that ministry because that did not work very often with him.

"But I wanted to work in a working class area. So I took my courage in my hands and went to see the cardinal. I guess that I must have been quite eloquent because he agreed to nominate me to a worker parish, St Mathias Apostle in Hochelaga-Maisonneuve.

Two years later, he was named assistant diocesan chaplain of the JOC.

"Working in the JOC meant being occupied seven days a week. But I did not mind. I loved that ministry. I believe deeply in spiritual accompaniment. Young people came to talk about their lives, you shared your experience, you tried to help them.

"There were up to 60 young people whom I accompanied regularly. We organised all kinds of activities for those girls and boys, particularly summer camps, etc."

In 1963, he left for Lille, France, to do a year of studies in pastoral work. Following his return, he became diocesan chaplain to the JICF (specialised Catholic Action movement girls from families with a business background).

Later he did a three-year stint as the diocesan chaplain of the Christian Worker Movement.

In 1981, he was appointed as vicar-general of the Montreal archdiocese and general co-ordinator for pastoral activities.

Pope John Paul II appointed him as an auxiliary bishop of Montreal on 15 April 1982. He became archbishop of Montreal on 17 March 1990 and he was named cardinal on 30 October 1994.

He offered his resignation in June 2011 having reached the age of 75 and this was accepted by Pope Benedict in March 2012.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Cardijn Today: Inequality, ecology and diversity

"Cardijn Today: Inequality, ecology and diversity" will be the theme for the CCI Conference in Chennai, India from 5-8 December 2015. The CCI Preparation Team chose the theme at its meeting in Kuala Lumpur on 7 - 8 April 2015.

"The conference will conclude our three year Vatican 2 + 50: A Cardijn Perspective project," CCI convenor Stefan Gigacz stated.

"We began the project with a study of Cardijn's three major speeches to Vatican II, which were on the themes of religious freedom, young people and development, and workers of the world.

"These were some of the key issues that Cardijn wished the Church to address at the Council.

"Fifty years later, the world has changed greatly. Therefore, we have attempted to identify several key issues facing people in their lives today that we will endeavour to study from a Cardijn perspective.

"Today social inequality has become a major issue of concern around the world as indicated by

"Pope Francis himself noted in 2014 that 'inequality is the root of social evil'.

"Ecological issues are another key challenge for the world, particularly in the face of the threats of climate change, loss of bio-diversity, the devastation of natural habitats, etc.

"This is another issue that Pope Francis plans to address with his forthcoming encyclical on ecology.

"Diversity is another characteristic of life today that challenges us in new ways. Family life has become increasingly diverse. Growing ethnic and religious diversity also raises new issues.

"Diversity in the Church is also a developing phenomenon that Pope Francis has called us to address.

"'Only the Spirit can awaken diversity, plurality and multiplicity while at the same time building unity,' the pope has said. 'When we are the ones who try to create diversity and close ourselves up in what makes us different and unique, we bring division.'

"These are the key issues around which we wish to work over the next eight months as we prepare for the Chennai conference," Stefan Gigacz noted.

Taking part in the preparation meeting were CCI Secretary-General MJ Ruben, conference convenor Paul Sinappan, Rebecca Sinappan, Charles Santiago, Guido and Rosina Vogels, Kins Aparece and Stefan Gigacz.

Registration for the conference is already open.

More info:


Vatican approves opening of Camara beatification process

The Vatican Congregation for the Causes of the Saints has reportedly approved the start of the path to sainthood for Archbishop Dom Hélder Câmara, who was an early chaplain of the JOC in Brazil and a close collaborator of Cardijn at Vatican II, who became  known as the "bishop of the slums" for his social engagement in favour of the poor.

The process will begin in Câmara's diocese of Olinda and Recife in Brazil, according to NCR and the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

According to a report in  Avvenire report, Cardinal Angelo Amato, an Italian who leads the Vatican congregation, signed a letter Feb. 25 allowing the beginning of the process.

The letter reportedly gives current Olinda and Recife Archbishop Fernando Saburido authority to begin the sainthood process, which starts with the diocesan investigations before formal presentation of Câmara's cause to the Vatican. The entire process for sainthood, should it be successful, can take decades or even centuries.

Câmara -- who is known worldwide for saying: "When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why they are poor, they call me a communist." -- was head of the Brazilian diocese from 1964-1985. He died in 1999.



Peters, Hans / Anefo - [1] Dutch National Archives, The Hague, Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Persbureau (ANEFO), 1945-1989,

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Announcing the Convening of CCI International Council in India

The International Council of CCI will be held at Joe Beach, Mamallapuram near Chennai, India on Wednesday, the 9th December 2015, the day following the CCI International Conference on 'Vatican 2+50: A Cardijn Perspective'.

A brief background
It is a happy co-incidence that the first General Assembly of CCI was convened in Chennai, India in February 2008. The first International Team was elected at this General Assembly.

Ever since, the CCI has evolved as an international network present in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America with contacts in South America.

Foreseen as a South East Asian Meeting and Study program in Malaysia in August 2009, the gathering turned out to be a General Assembly of CCI wherein a new team was elected.

In July 2011, the 3rd General Assembly was held in Bangkok, Thailand with a larger participation of different countries. A new team was elected at this General Assembly.

In January 2012, the International Team which met at La Salle, P. J., Malaysia came up with  a document outlining organisational procedures for CCI named ‘Minimum Guiding Principles’. As per Section 4 of the Minimum Guiding Principles, the International Council comprises of Member CCI National Movements, direct members of CCI and members of the International Team.

The International Council will meet once in 4 years.

You are invited
All the country groups are requested to depute a maximum of 2 delegates to the International Council; individual direct members are also invited to attend the CCI International Council on the 9th December 2015 at Joe Beach, India (

It will be a one day business session. The International Council shall determine the future direction of CCI.

Participation fee
Those who attend the International Council shall pay a registration fee of US$ 25- (Twenty five US Dollars only) which is mainly for accommodation (inclusive of the night of 9th December 2015). This is besides the conference registration fee of US$ 100 + 20.

They will be provided all meals upto breakfast on the 10th December 2015.

The International Council registration fee can be paid on arrival at the venue.

Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Registrations open for Vatican 2+50 Conference, Chennai

Registrations are now open for the CCI Vatican 2 + 50 Conference to be held in Chennai, India from 5-8 December 2015. The theme of the conference is: "Vatican 2+50: A Cardijn Perspective".

Saint John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council in October 1962 which concluded during the Papacy of Blessed Paul VI on the 5th December 1965. This Ecumenical Council was responsible for steering the Church successfully through the turbulent years after World War II and guided its growing role in the modern world.

In February 1965, Blessed Paul VI appointed Cardijn a Cardinal and Archbishop, enabling him to take part in the Fourth Session of Vatican II as a Council Father. Cardijn was initially a member of the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate and later an expert in the Conciliar Commission at Vatican II.

Cardinal Cardijn made 3 speeches at the Vatican II on 'Religious Freedom', 'Young People and the Developing World' and 'The World of Work'.

At a conference in Manila, The Philippines in October 2012, Cardijn Community International (CCI) launched a 3 year project with the theme "Vatican 2+50: A Cardijn Perspective" to re-examine the spirit and decisions of Vatican II in the areas of 'social teachings of the Church and lay participation'.

This International Conference is to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the conclusion of Vatican II. Representatives from different countries, international organisations and Church leaders are expected to attend this mega event.

The Cardijn Community International (CCI) is a movement of people working for sustainable development. CCI promotes Cardijn's spirituality, vision and SEE-JUDGE-ACT methodology.

The 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council instils a new hope in us with Pope Francis exclaiming 'Oh, how I would like a poor Church and for the poor'.

More info:

Online Registration:

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Cardijn 'a wonderful listener'

Helen Jagoe (Photo: Catholic Weekly)
Cardijn Joseph Cardijn "was a wonderful listener" who "very seldom spoke", according to former IYCW Secretary-General Helen Jagoe.

He “never, ever lost his interest in young people” from the time he founded the Young Christian Workers (YCW) to his death in 1967, Helen Jagoe, from Bathurst Australia told the Catholic Weekly.

She joined her local YCW at 18 and quickly rose through its ranks to become national secretary in Melbourne and later general secretary of the movement’s international secretariat in Brussels.

It was there she worked closely Cardinal Cardijn, then in his twilight years but still a “gentle, happy man” and devoted champion of the spiritual well-being of young workers.

“At the very beginning he used to stand outside the factory gates, and he’d see these kids walking out,” she says. The priest had watched children disappear from his congregation as soon as they were old enough to work.

He became concerned as he saw them exit factories, their faces aged with grime and fatigue, and their faith threatened by the crass secularism of industrial culture. “They were lost immediately when they went into the workplace,” Helen says.

To counteract the dehumanising nature of the workplace, he created the See, Judge, Act method, which called on young people to look at the world around them and understand it in the light of the Gospel, then to act accordingly to improve the situation.

He spent hours with young people asking them about their working conditions and job satisfaction, and relayed those messages to bishops around the world and members of the curia.

Unconcerned about Mass attendance or membership of religious societies, he challenged young people to be “apostles in the workplace”.

At its peak the YCW was active in 90 countries, including Australia, where it offered a range of services from employment support and language classes to sporting competitions.

In 1965 Cardinal Cardijn travelled to Australia on a visit that was meaningful not just for YCW members in Australia but also “for the Church”, Helen says.

No less a figure than Pope Paul VI earlier paid tribute to him at the closing of the Second Vatican Council when he noted “the good seed planted 50 years by several generous pioneers and particularly a young Belgian priest had truly yielded a hundredfold”.

Cardinal Cardijn’s death just two years later was a great shock for all his supporters, including Helen who was then based in Brussels.

“He was planning a trip to South America when he died. He had a bit of a cold and got the flu, he was in bed, then all of a sudden we heard he’d died of pneumonia.”

Helen was one of five YCW leaders in Brussels entrusted with planning the funeral.

At the time of his death Cardinal Cardijn was internationally recognised for his work with the YCW, and supporters from around the world attended the requiem Mass at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart in the Brussels suburb of Koekelberg.

Though his death at 84 was a shock, “we didn’t miss him, because we knew his legacy so well”, Helen says.

“He was never there as a leader, he was always in the background.

“We went on living his message.”

Almost 50 years later, the movement still exists in Australia, but Helen believes a reform is needed to better appeal to the “frenetic lifestyle” of young people today.

“They never seem to stop to reflect because life doesn’t allow them to,” she says.

“It needs to be re-founded by young people for young people with young people, using the method but perhaps not the name – people today don’t recognise themselves as workers.”

Helen is hopeful the first step towards the canonisation of Cardinal Cardijn will trigger “a renewed interest in what he did - not the man but in his method”.


Sainthood process starts for cardinal of the workers (Catholic Weekly)

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Today's generation 'misses Cardijn': Guy Tordeur, postulator

"Our grandparents had to fight for a health service, union privileges. Young people today also need to take their fate in their own hands," says Belgian trade union leader Guy Tordeur, who is also the postulator in the cause for canonisation of Joseph Cardijn.

However, today's generation is "missing Cardijn", Tordeur told Kerk en Leven magazine, explaining the reasons for launching the canonisation process.

Read a Google English translation of the full interview below

Guy Tordeur, Postulator in the beatification process of Joseph Cardijn.

Behind the desk Guy Tordeur hang large pictures of the strike for the 45-hour week in 1955, of the murdered mgr. Oscar Romero and of a landless peasant girl in Brazil.

Until the end of this year Tordeur ACV union secretary of Brussels-Halle-Vilvoorde, a task which he combines with that of postulator of the beatification of Joseph Cardijn recently.

'The other belittle makes you certainly not bigger "

Erik De Smet

Some street names are closely associated with institutions. In Brussels Pletinckxstraat for Christian pillar. Once stood here the German mission, which in 1918 was caught and passed into the hands of Joseph Cardijn and his Christian Social Work.

In that place now works Tordeur Guy pointing at the plaque for a deported by the Nazis predecessor. "We should not think that the social struggle is won forever."

- How did you help to look after?

Cardijn’s beatification process I myself had never thought of. The demand to participate in the beatification process of Cardijnplein the lead comes from other continents, but the procedure had to take place in the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels. Cardijn I did not know personally, because in 1963 I saw him once, and only from afar. In Halle, where he grew up, we launched a group called the former kajotters association Cardinal Cardijn, to keep his work. Award alive. It was the International Community that Cardijn me by Msgr. Leonard recited as postulator. He agreed and asked me to install it. Ecclesiastical court It is a rigorous process. The first part consists of collecting testimonies and historical research.

- Do you consider yourself as an heir of Cardijn?

The kajotters (YCW members) I learned on my fifteenth know thanks to a priest at St. Roch Parish in Halle. From Cardijn I got especially his famous method of seeing-judge-act with it, as well as his attention to young people who have fewer opportunities. For Cardijn was everyone "child of God". The mass movement of young workers is no longer there, but here in Brussels are still working brave nuclei of KAJ (YCW) who care about the youth and the rights of young people in temporary work.

- Signed Cardijn's vision your career?

If you have received a lot of you have a lot of passing. Nineteen years ago, I was elected union secretary. I learned a lot in the labor movement, such as listening carefully. However, I also got the faith with the malleability of society. By team form, you can change the world. Hence my great admiration for Sister Jeanne Devos. The plight of domestic workers is due to its commitment today advocated at the highest international level. In Brussels, I am involved in the operation of the team of the Begijnhof Church, with Father Daniel, app dedicated to undocumented workers. In the beatification process, we will have to talk about miracles. But what are miracles? Cardijnplein brought many in motion. In the Gospel it is called that lame start walking.

- You stood at the cradle of the action "Save the solidarity against the division of social security. You got the Prize for Democracy for. Did that fight also face inspiration?

Our social security system is the parapet for whom it is difficult. In countries such as El Salvador, I saw what a society with no or weak social security bodies. Sick, there may be no medical care afford. Even today, there is a need for people who oppose individualization, against I-society. The other belittle, makes you really not bigger.

- Cardijn's episcopal motto heralded "Evangelizare pauperibus", proclaiming the Good News to the poor. What does that mean today?

We must dare to dream structures casting. A fairer society everyone better. I conducted collective bargaining and resolved to always explicitly show respect for the patrons. You only get respect when you showing self-respect.

- You not only dwells on Cardijn’s workplace also has double roots in common with him: Halle and Brussels. Does that mean anything?

I was born in Anderlecht, Cardijn in Schaerbeek. And like him, I grew up in Halle. Brussels I see no way a threat. With its diversity and multilingualism, rather I see our capital as a challenge. Brussels is like a diamond. Net the many facets make the city sparkle. In Brussels, I met a lot of nice people. Of course, the city also has its raw edges, but it is my belief that something good dwells in every human being. And if you do good feed, which grows into a man.

My deepest motivation is to live the core Cardijn's legacy and help out. Society behind the man. Our grandparents had to fight for a health service, a union privileges ... Young people are back to challenge their fate to take in their own hands. Only they miss today Cardijn, I think.

Google Translation


Erik De Smet, ‘De ander kleineren, maakt jou heus niet groter’, Kerk en leven, ONLINE VERSIE VAN DE WEEKKRANT - NUMMER 15 - 09 APRIL 2014