Friday, 16 December 2016

From hope to hope: Cardinal Evaristo Arns

Former IYCW and Brazilian JOC chaplain, Dom Reginaldo Andrietta, recalls the support of the late Cardinal Evaristo Arns for the movement.

The death of Cardinal Dom. Evaristo Arns, Archbishop Emeritus of São Paulo, revived the historical memory of five decades of the relationship between Church and society in Brazil, helping us to rethink this relationship today. Much of his episcopal ministry was exercised in the context of the long military dictatorship, set up in 1964. Would we now be facing similar challenges? Certainly, because working-class militants, especially young people, express a renewed cry for support of their struggles for a new democratization.

In addition to being an icon of the pastoral development of the Church in the post-Second Vatican Council, Dom Paulo became one of the protagonists of the Church's engagement in the struggle for the redemocratization of Brazil and Latin America: it stimulated Liberation Theology; Favored the development of Basic Ecclesial Communities and Social Pastoralists, from realities of poverty; Encouraged social, union and democratic political movements; Bravely faced the repressive regime; Fought against torture; And persistently defended human rights in an ecumenical spirit.

I am a witness to his encouragement to the militancy of the workers, especially young people, when he opened the 3rd National Congress of Young Workers at PUC in São Paulo in 1983, he said in his charming tone: "Your enthusiasm is The guarantee that Brazil will find the path of justice and fraternity. " He wanted the Catholic Worker Youth (JOC), the organizer of this Congress, strongly suppressed by the dictatorship, to continue rebuilding and acting with ecclesial support.

For this reason, Dom Paulo referred in that Congress to "a document that the JOC promulgated in times of freedom in 1963, when it could still meet", which says: "The promotion of workers is, for the Christian, an inevitable fact . This is because it is wanted by God, and the will of God is creative. The misery of our people is not wanted by God, for it is a blasphemy against the love of God, in a world that dares to call itself Christian "; And said: "That's how our comrades spoke in 1963 and soon their voices were silenced by repression. Today, you take up the great journey and a great responsibility, and we want to be with you. "

These encouraging words of Dom Paulo resonate today in the hearts of many militants who continue the historic task of forming and organizing new working class militants. This same encouragement was given by Pope Francis in a letter addressed to the International Christian Worker Youth on the occasion of his 14th World Council held in Germany this year. Present at the opening Mass of this Council, I emphasized the current importance of this working class youth organization and its challenges throughout the world, and I said: "Let us take these challenges as a call from God!"

Working-class militants, especially Christian-inspired young people, are clamoring for renewed support for their just action initiatives, as dictatorial styles of government resurgent in democracy. Let us take the initiative to show, like Dom Paulo, that these militants who are fighting for a permanent and progressive democratization are not alone. Let us take up this commitment with deep trust in God, inspired by the testimony of Dom Paul and his episcopal motto "Ex Spe in Spem", that is, "From Hope in Hope".

Don Reginaldo Andrietta
Diocesan Bishop of Jales, SP


Dom Reginaldo Andrietta, De esperança em esperança (CNBB)

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Korean trade union solidarity award for Somyot

Photo: Prakaidao Prueksakasemsuk
The Korean Jeon Tae-il Foundatoin has awarded its trade union solidarity award to former Thailand YCW fulltimer, Somyot Prueksakasemsuk for his long-term support for unions in the Asian region.

Somyot's daughter, Prakaidao, traveled to Korea this month for the presentation ceremony at Masuk, north of Seoul.

Three hundred people attended the ceremony including a current opposition leader from South Korea's Justice Party, members of various NGOs, unionists and former lawmakers, the Bangkok Post reports. 

The prize is named after Jeon Tae-il, a 22-year-old worker, who set himself on fire on Nov 13, 1970 to protest against poor working conditions in Korea's sweatshop factories. His younger brother and sister attended the prize-giving ceremony. Jeon's death brought public attention to substandard labour conditions and helped set the stage for the Korean labour movement.

Ms Prakaidao said she was touched by the show of solidarity towards her father. "They see how my father has strived for the betterment of workers and joined hands with workers in other countries,
especially here. But some Thais still see only one thing in him -- committing a lese majeste offence," said Ms Prakaidao.

"These people were standing side by side my father in campaigning for regional and international issues long before my father was imprisoned. So it's quite a great honour to the family -- like a big thank-you.... They have also called for the release of other political prisoners in Thailand," she said. Her father thought about others so much, he didn't have much time for personal or family matters.

Somyot is currently imprisoned at the Bangkok Remand Prison where he is serving an 11 year sentence for lese majeste for publishing an article that was allegedly insulting to Thailand's late king.

"Unlike many other lèse majesté suspects who choose to plead guilty to end their trial and have their jail sentence reduced, Somyot has always stood firm and maintained his innocence," the Prachatai website notes.

Photo: Korean Health and Medical Union


Thursday, 10 November 2016

Cardijn Pilgrimage 2017

The much awaited plan for Cardijn Pilgrimage 2017 is finally unveiled.

Cardijn Community International (CCI) is organising the Cardijn Pilgrimage in August 2017 to commemorate the 50th death anniversary of Cardinal Cardijn and also the 60th anniversary of IYCW Rome pilgrimage 1957 in which more than 30,000 young people from around the world participated. Pope Pius XII participated in this historic event spearheaded by Cardijn.

According to a notification issued by the CCI International Team, the pilgrimage commences at 10.00 a.m. on Monday, the 14th August 2017 in Brussels, Belgium and concludes by 04.00 p.m. on Friday, the 25th August 2017 in Rome, Italy.

50th anniversary Memorial Service
It is proposed to have the 50th anniversary Memorial Service for Cardijn on Monday, 14 August 2017 at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken followed by an informal gathering. Current and former members and animators of Cardijn movements from Europe are expected to be present along with the pilgrims. [Inset: Our Lady of Laeken]

Places to be covered by the pilgrimage:

The pilgrims will visit among other places, Halle, Cardijn’s birthplace and have a review of life session there. A ‘Cardijn Walk’ in Halle is also planned.

The pilgrimage will also cover Bergamo, the birthplace of Cardijn’s friend Pope St. John XXIII who convened the historic Second Vatican Council in 1962.  

Pope John XXIII’s encyclical Mater et magistra on Christianity and social progress was born out of a suggestion by Cardijn to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Rerum novarum 
[Inset: Pope St. John XXIII]

Audience with Pope Francis
Efforts are on to seek an audience with Pope Francis to appeal to the Holy Father to speed up the process of canonization of Joseph Cardinal Cardijn and also to thank him for his initiative in speeding up the process of canonization of Bishop Angelelli of Argentina, the former chaplain of JOC Argentina. We also plan to present to the  Pope the need to recognize numerous martyrs of Cardijn movements including José Serapio Palacio of Argentina.

International Symposium
Another highlight of the pilgrimage will be an international symposium on ‘Cardijn 1967-2017: Cry of the Poor and Cry of the Earth’ to commemorate the 60th anniversary of IYCW Rome Pilgrimage 1957.

The pilgrimage will conclude on the evening of 25th August 2017 in Rome. For more details visit this website from time to time. We are also on Facebook.

Tomb of Cardijn at the Church of Our Lady of Laeken








Wednesday, 19 October 2016

New YCS bishop for India

Pope Francis has appointed former YCS chaplain Fr Thomass Thennatt SAC as the new bishop for the Indian diocese of Gwalior. He is also the world's first Pallotine bishop, Matters India reports.

A press note from the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India headquarters in New Delhi said the Pope has accepted the resignation of Bishop Joseph Kaithathara of Gwalior and appointed Father Thomas Thennatt as his successor.

Fr Thomas Thennatt is the first prelate from the Society of the Catholic Apostolate, popularly known as Pallotines, to become a bishop in the world, said Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara of Nagpur while announcing the appointment.

"It is recognition for the Pallottines as they contribute much to the Church through laity formation, Small Christian Communities, formation of seminarian, and pastoral council," Archbishop Viruthakulangara told Matters India.

Bishop-elect Thennat has served as pastor in states such as the undivided Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh.

He has served as the parish priest of St. Pius X Church Mankapur in Nagpur diocese since 2012. He is also the president for the pastoral commission of the Prabhu Prakash province of the Pallotines at Nagpur.

He has also served as director of family apostolate, youth ministry, small Christian Communities, as well as member of many commissions of his congregation.

From 1987 to 1991, he was also Director of the Commission on Youth and Young Catholic Student / Young Students' Movement (YCS / YSM), families and the laity of the Archdiocese of Hyderabad

Later he was also rector of the Regional Theologate at Ashta, Bhopal, for ten years.

Pallotine provincial Father Thomas Pullan says the bishop-elect is known for simplicity, humility and detachment from worldly things. Father Thennatt’s unassuming nature will help his duty as a bishop in Gwalior, the provincial told a function at the provincial house in Nagpur to vest the bishop-elect.

Father Thennatt was born in a family of six on November 26, 1953, at Koodallor in the Archdiocese of Kottayam in Kerala.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Pope Francis announces Synod on young people

Young women workers doing vocational training/S. Moumtzis, USAID/Pixnio
ope Francis has announced that the next Synod of Bishops will be held in October 2018 on the theme "Young people, faith and vocational discernment," the Vatican Press Office reports.

"The theme, an expression of the pastoral care of the Church for the young, is consistent with the results of the recent Synod assemblies on the family and with the content of the post-Synodal apostolic exhortationAmoris Laetitia," the Vatican announcement continues.

"Its aim is to accompany the young on their existential journey to maturity so that, through a process of discernment, they discover their plan for life and realise it with joy, opening up to the encounter with God and with human beings, and actively participating in the edification of the Church and of society."

Greg Burke, the director of the Vatican press office, told reporters in a short briefing Thursday that the discussions are expected to focus on more than the choice between religious and married life, the National Catholic Reporter notes.

This should not be taken to mean that the next Synod will discuss the question of whether married men could be ordained to celebrate the sacraments, as the English speaking world had assumed in recent months, Vatican Insider adds.

Commenting on Twitter, Archbishop Mark Coleridge of Brisbane, Australia, noted that "yet again @Pontifex has chosen a Synod theme which looks to the deeper question of the engagement of faith & culture central to Vatican II."

In a Facebook post, Philip Callaghan, president of the English and Welsh Young Christian Workers movement, said that the Synod should also address work and unemployment issues.

"As Pope Francis has stated, one of the gravest evils facing our society is the unemployment of the young," Callaghan said. "Work is of fundamental importance to the development of the human person and it is therefore critical that issues surrounding world of work are included in the wider discussions surrounding young people and their place in the Church."


Sunday, 9 October 2016

German president for the IYCW

Outgoing IYCW president Ludovicus Mardiyono (l) with incoming president Sarah Prenger
The International YCW has elected Sarah Prenger, a fulltime worker from the German CAJ, as its new president.

Sarah is the first German to become president of the IYCW and also the first European since Enrique Del Rio of Spain, who was president from 1969 - 1975.

She succeeds Ludovicus Mardiyono from Indonesia.

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Former JUC leader António Guterres elected as United Nations Secretary-General

The United Nations Security General Assembly has unanimously elected as Secretary-General António Guterres, a former UNHCR chief, who was also once a leader of the Juventude Universitária Católica (JUC) in Portugal.

A committed Catholic, Mr Guterres is the current president of the Socialist International as well as a former Prime Minister of Portugal, Global Pulse magazine reports.

Russia's UN ambassador Vitaly Churkin made the announcement to reporters surrounded by the 14 other council ambassadors after they held a sixth informal poll of the 10 candidates behind closed doors, ABC News says.

CCI coordinator Ruben M. Joseph congratulated Mr Guterres on his appointment.

"CCI congratulates you on your new and greater responsibility as the Secretary General of the United Nations.

"We are sure that with your dynamic leadership qualities and vast experience, you will be instrumental in the United Nations responding to the cry of despair of the millions around the world for peace and survival.

"We feel proud that a leader who has passed through the Juventude Universitaria Catolica (JUC), Portugal which is a member of the IYCS and IMCS has been elevated to such a great responsibility In the world body and are sure there is going to be peaceful and hunger-free days ahead for the world community," Ruben wrote.