Friday, 29 April 2016

RIP Msgr Stefaan Van Calster

Belgian theologian, Mgr Stefaan Van Calster, the president of the Cardijn Canonisation Tribunal, has died at the age of 79.

While attending an editorial meeting for the international theological journal, Communio, in Warsaw, Poland, he failed to appear at breakfast on the morning of Thursday 28 April 2016.

"This morning he did not appear at the meeting," a statement from the St Jinscentrum seminary in the Netherlands says. 

"When they went to look in his room, it was discovered that he was already deceased in the early morning. His death is probably due to a heart failure," the statement says.

"Mgr Van Calster was particularly dear to us and we want to remember him as a very warm and welcoming person, as a dedicated and faithful priest who has acted with unbridled zeal and devotion for the Church in the Low Countries.
"May the Lord grant to him after a life of great service to the community of the People of God, as the eternal rest," the statement concluded.

"We will truly miss Mgr Stefaan," Cardijn Cardijn Community International convenor Stefan Gigacz said.

"He worked very hard to gather testimonies and to compile the evidence for the dossier for the Cardijn canonisation process.

"It was thanks to his expertise and experience that we have been able to achieve so much in so short a time.

"The best way to honour his work will be to continue it," Stefan Gigacz said.

Biographical information

Born on 3 February 1937, Stefaan Van Calster studied mathematics and sciences and was for several years a teacher at the St Rombouts College in Mechelen (Belgium).

After his military service he attended studies at the major seminary of the Archdiocese of Mechelen-Brussels. After his ordination in 1966, he studied in Munich (D) and obtained the degree from the Institut für Katechetik und Homiletik . He then continued his studies in Nijmegen and obtained the MA in theology, pastoral section. He obtained his doctorate at the former bishop of Liege, Mgr. A. Houssiau, at the Catholic University of Louvain-La-Neuve with a thesis entitled: Bible and Sermon.

He was president of the seminary John XXIII in Leuven from 1970 to 1988. He was also a professor at the Center for Religious Studies in Leuven and the major seminaries of Antwerp and Ghent. He was co-founder and professor at the Center for Priestly Training for Mature Age in Antwerp. He was Ordinary for Pastoral Theology at the"MEDO" - the International Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family . 

Since 1977 he was a lecturer at theMajor Seminary Rolduc Kerkrade and from 1988 to the St. John's Centre in 's-Hertogenbosch, where he notably the subjects taught homiletics and pastoral theology. He was founder and first director of (then) Radio Maria Netherlands and Flanders ' s-Hertogenbosch. He was a Roman Postulator for the process of beatification of the Latvian bishop Mgr. Boleslavs Sloskans, who died in exile in Leuven. He was also delegatus episcopalis for the beatification and canonization processes include Zr. Maria Tauscher (Sittard), Father Charles of Mount Argus (Munstergeleen) and Dorothea Visser (Utrecht). He was also pastor since 2005 to Mariadorp-Eijsden. He was also editor for Belgium of the international Catholic journal Communio .

Because of his great services to the Church in the Low Countries appointed Pope Benedict XVI Dr. Stefaan Van Calster until erekapelaan the Pope 'in 2010. Since then, as "Professor Van Calster," as he was known by everyone, is "Monseigneur Van Calster' call, and if he his cassock wearing the purple regalia, peculiar this honorary office.

In the pictures we see Mgr. Van Calster with Pope Benedict XVI, with Msgr. Léonard during a canonization, in his parsonage to Maria Village, as a teacher and as a preacher.


Sunday, 7 February 2016

Gustavo Gutierrez, liberation theology and the see-judge-act

"My primary preoccupation as a Christian and as a priest is to do theology, and that is not the Gospel," Peruvian Dominican and liberation theology pioneer, Gustavo Gutierrez, has said in a recent interview in Periodista Digital.

"Theology is a second act, that reflects precisely on the life of Christians in the light of the Gospel message," he explained. "That is my main preoccupation. During my whole life, I have been a priest in a parish, a chaplain to movements so, certainly, I love theology and doing theology.

"I think it is very important to stay close to pastoral work. However, in the case of my country, the pastoral is very circumscribed.

"I never taught in a Faculty of Theology, but, now, at more than 70 years of age, I started to teach in a faculty. A bit late. Earlier, I was developing pastoral work and reflection, writing a great deal.

"I love theology and I see it as an expression of hope. In my view, it is a hermeneutic of hope and will continue to be so.

"This involves the question of the signs of the times since all theology must be looked at in the context of life in the present moment. Naturally, the foundation, the basis, is the Christian message but how it should be lived today depends on the conditions," Fr Gutierrez said.

Asked to explain the see-judge-act method, he replied that it means "looking at history".

"See means seeing reality, not speculating that 'this would be good'. It is linked to the expression 'signs of the times'.

"One must discern the facts, the causes, why certain effects occur. Then comes the time to judge," he continued.

"And the final thing - in other words, the reason for seeing and judging - is to act.

"It doesn't mean writing a book about the issues. It means the fact of committing myself in the face of that fact.

"It's very simple, created as a method in Belgium and France during the 1920s. It started with the Belgian priest [Joseph] Cardijn, who years later became a cardinal.

"Judging is read the facts, based on the demands of the Gospel. Acting has a more modest tone, it asks 'what can we do?' Some people can do this, while others may do something else.  So a variety of actions are possible. That is also reality.

The Latin American Bishops Conferences (CELAM) also used the see-judge-act at their conferences in Medellín, Puebla, Santo Domingo and Aparecida. It is a methodology," he concluded.




Periodista Digital

Monday, 28 December 2015

Dom Reginaldo ordained

Former IYCW chaplain, Reginaldo Andrietta, was ordained as bishop of Jales in Brazil.

The ordination took place on 27 December 2015 at St Anthony of Padua Basilica in Americana.

Dom Reginaldo has been parish priest of St Jude's in Americana.

Emeritus Bishop of Jales, Dom Luiz Demetrio Valentini, Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveia of Limeira, and Bishop José Brandão Cabral of Almenara presided over the Eucharistic celebration which began at 3pm

Ten other bishops, over 140 priests and deacons of the Diocese of Limeira and Jales and also from other dioceses, as well as seminarians, religious and family of Don Reginaldo were also present.

It is estimated that more than 1,500 people attended the ordination, which mobilized nearly 300 people who collaborated in some way.

The celebration was filled with varied cultural expressions that Don Reginaldo experienced during his 32 years of priesthood in mission to the world as indigenous, African and Latin American.

He will take possession in Jales Diocese on 311 January 2016 with a celebration scheduled for 9:00 am at Our Lady of Assumption Cathedral.



Thursday, 17 December 2015

Pepe Palacio remembered

Argentinian ex-JOC leader and IYCW lay collaborator, Jose Serapio (Pepe) Palacio, was remembered at a memorial Mass at the Archdiocesan Pastoral Centre in Chennai, India, on Sunday 13 December, forty years to the day after he was killed by military or para-military forces.

Two days earlier on 11 December 1975, Palacio had been abducted after leaving his trade union office in Buenos Aires, becoming one of thousands of  "desaparecidos", i.e. people who "disappeared" in the Southern Cone countries of Latin America under the military and military-dominated governments of that period.

On 13 December 1975, a large group of up to 80 armed men descended on the family home, taking almost all of his personal documentation and photos recording his life work as a JOC leader, trade unionist, and activist in the MOAC (Christian Worker movement).

His wife, Amalia Castaño de Palacio, who had also been a JOCF leader and fulltimer, and their three sons were left in the dark for decades concerning the fate of their husband and father, recalls Jose Luis Palacio, eldest son of Pepe Palacio, who was then fourteen years old.

Earlier in 1975, the IYCW had appointed Pepe Palacio as its first lay collaborator.

"He was a person respected by all the former YCWs," according to Enrique Del Rio, then-president of the IYCW, "and it was precisely for that reason that our international team, in agreement with the Latin American team, proposed him as a 'lay chaplain'.”

"Unfortunately, he did not have the opportunity to take up that responsibility because of the military repression in Argentina at that time.

"We had very little information then. However, in a very informal manner, we heard that he had been assassinated by Argentine military," Del Rio noted in a message for the 40th anniversary.

Days after Palacio's disappearance, the IYCW launched an international solidarity campaign seeking his release.

However, it was not until a later Argentinian government finally opened up access to its archives that it was confirmed that Pepe Palacio had been tortured and shot two days after his initial disappearance.

Although the exact reasons for his abduction and killing remain known, it appears likely that Pepe Palacio, who also had strong links with Chilean JOC and union leaders, may have been killed under the CIA-assisted Operation Condor program to assassinate union and popular leaders suspected of links to the left, Jose Luis Palacio believes.

Jose Luis, his wife Stella Maris, and their daughter Belen, took part in the Memorial Mass celebrated by current Chennai Archdiocese youth chaplain, Fr Varghese Rozario. Ironically, it was also the 29th wedding anniversary for Jose Luis and Stella Maris, who had been married in 1986, before the details of the death of Pepe Palacio were known.

Prior to the Mass, CCI members honoured the memory of Pepe Palacio at a special commemorative session. In a message for the event, current IYCW president, Ludovicus Mardiyono noted that he "was disappeared for the sake of struggle for new society that he and we dream about."

"Please trust me that the life of your father will always written and stay in our heart, in the heart of young workers, women and men and in the heart of YCW that will encourage us to do more and take action to achieve what he also want to have, it is Just Work and Dignified Life for all young workers," he added.

Former YCW India and CCI chaplain, Fr Soosai Servatius, also celebrated another memorial Mass in Nagercoil, in India's Kanyakumari district on 11 December.

Vatican recognises 'heroic virtue' of Fr Arizmendiarretta

The Congregation for the Causes of Saints has declared the "heroic virtue" of Mondragón cooperative founder and former JOC chaplain, Fr Jose Maria Arizmendiarretta, in one of seventeen decrees approved by Pope Francis for promulgation.

Born in Markina, Spain on 22 April, 1915, Fr Arizmendiarrieta, was appointed in 1941 to the parish of Arrasate - Mondragón, a town in Spain's Basque country, then experiencing widespread poverty and unemployment in the aftermath of the Spanish civil war. There he worked with young workers and students from the JOC and JEC movements, several of whom later became key figures in the development of the famous Mondragón worker cooperatives.

In 1943 he set up the Escuela Profesional (technical college) open to all, which would over time end up constituting a breeding ground for managers, technicians and a skilled workforce for companies in the area, and above all for future co-operatives. In 1956, Fr Arizmendiarretta and five alumni of the college founded the first worker cooperative.

The Mondragón cooperatives now include employ 74,000 people in 260 enterprises worldwide, earning annual revenue over 11 billion euros. Fr Arizmendiarretta died in Mondragón on 29 November 1976.

Dr Race Mathews on the links between Fr Arizmendi and Cardijn 


Fr Arizmendi with the Mondragon pioneers 

Chennai floods wash out CCI conference

Devastating floodwaters in Chennai have caused the postponement of the CCI international conference originally scheduled for 5 - 8 December 2015.

CCI Secretary General MJ Ruben and Convenor Stefan Gigacz made the call at 3am Chennai time on 2 December as flood waters rose in the streets of the city, forcing the closure of the city's international airport and cancelling train and bus services.

The conference venue, Joe Beach, remained cut off for six days at the height of the floods stranding former Mauritius Minister of Social Security, Ms Joceline Minerve, who had arrived early at the venue.

Conference special guests, Jose Luis Palacio, his wife Stella Maris, and their daughter Belen, who had arrived in Delhi en route to Chennai, were also caught out by the storms. With the assistance of former IYCS leader, Manoj Mathew, former YCW India national chaplain, Fr Soosai Servatius, and YCW India leader AJ Simon Peter, an alternative program for our guests was quickly arranged, including a visit to the Kanyakumari region of India.

The homes of several CCI leaders in Chennai were affected by the floods. Others played an active role in flood relief in the coming days.

The CCI conference, Cardijn Today: Inequality, Ecology and Diversity will now take place from 6 - 8 May 2016.


Chennai floods 2015 (Destination8infinity)

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Fr Reginaldo Andrietta named bishop of Jales, Brazil

Bishop-elect Reginaldo Andrietta
Pope Francis has named former International YCW chaplain, Fr Reginaldo Andrietta, as the new bishop of Jales in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

Born on 7 March 1957 and ordained on 18 March 1983, Fr Reginaldo was chaplain to the Brazilian JOC from 1983 - 87. During the 1990s, he was chaplain for the JOC America from 1991 - 94, and he was international chaplain for the IYCW from 2000-06. He also worked to develop the JOC in Argentina, Ecuador and the United States.

He holds a Master's degree in catechesis from the Institut de Catechese et Pastorale Lumen Vitae in Brussels, Belgium and a licentiate in pastoral theology from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium. Fr Reginaldo also wrote a book entitled “Os Jovens Trabalhadores Conquistando Trabalho e Justiça” (Young workers conquering labour and justice").

After finishing with the YCW, he served in a number of pastoral, academic and administrative roles in the diocese of Limeira, Brazil and in Brussels, Belgium, including parish vicar, parish priest, professor of pastoral theology and member of the presbyteral council. He is currently pastor of the “Sao Judas Tadeu” parish in Americana.

Fr Reginaldo is the latest in a long and illustrious line of jocist bishops from Brazil including Archbishops Helder Camara, Jose Vicente Tavora, Bishop Antonio Fragoso, Waldir Calheiros, Pedro Koop, Avelar Brandão Vilela.

International Team meeting, JOC Internationale, Quito, 1993.


(Google translation)

The bishops, priests, religious, deacons, seminarians and the People of God, especially the Dioceses of Limeira and Jales, State of Sao Paulo.

Limeira, October 21, 2015.

Dear brothers, sisters,

I turn to Bishop Vilson Dias de Oliveira, DC, Bishop of Limeira - SP and Dom Luiz Demetrio Valentini, resignatário Bishop of Jales Diocese - SP, as well as priests, religious, deacons, seminarians and all God's people, especially those dioceses, to express my joy at being named Bishop of the Diocese of Jales, the Holy Father, Pope Francisco.

I cordially thank His Holiness the Pope, for trusting me episcopal ministry in this diocese. I accepted his invitation in response to Jesus' call to put myself at the service. He came himself to serve, not be served, and urged his disciples to be servants of all (cf. Mt 20.27 to 28). I assume, therefore, that ministry, with the certainty that grazing the People of God belongs to Christ. I will be, just, your humble servant, putting myself in his name and on behalf of the Church, the common good of the service. So I chose as his episcopal motto: SERVING THE COMMON GOOD ("Boni Communis Ministerium").

I am especially happy with my appointment because of Jales Diocese pastoral be greatly appreciated, thanks mainly to the prophetic role of Archbishop Demetrius, before him since 1982. I repeat what I said to you personally: "I, who always admired, I have now the honor to have it very close, as a friend, collaborator and master. " Thank you for the warm welcome. I will be at your disposal for what you need. I welcome straight away, with great affection, priests, religious, seminarians and the whole People of God in this Diocese. For you will be a bishop, with you I will be Christian.
The intense pastoral dedication of you, in often difficult conditions, with an admittedly generous presbytery allowed to build a church project that respect, I value and want to continue. The Jales particular Church will continue to have the face of it that long ago, make their story. Only seek help from my pastoral experience and the specificity of my episcopal ministry, for this church to continue assuming more and more the face of the poor, excluded and injustice, in which I see the face of Christ himself (cf. Mt 25,31- 46).

I thank warmly the Bishop Vilson and all the bishops who preceded him in the Diocese of Limeira, for the trust you have offered me during the 32 years of my priestly ministry in this Diocese, including the period in which assumed national and international responsibilities with the ever-living and active Young Catholic Workers. Priests, religious, deacons, seminarians and all the People of God in this Diocese, my deep gratitude for the friendship and pastoral fellowship. I entrust to the Lord our God, and Our Lady of Sorrows, patron saint of the diocese, the continuity of the mission we share.

With filial love the Father with the compassion of Christ, with the anointing of the Holy Spirit, with the joy of the Gospel, with unconditional to the Church love, in communion with the Episcopal College and inspired by the tenderness of Our Lady of the Assumption, the Diocese patron Jales, count on the permanent prayer of you.

Sincerely in Christ.
Mons. José Reginaldo Andrietta Parish St. Jude
Icaraí 46th, Ipiranga Garden - CEP 13468-550 Americana, SP
Tel: (19) 3406-7374 - Cel: (19) 98841-7770 - E-mail:


Fr Reginaldo's blog