Saturday, 8 August 2015

Namur mobilises for Cardijn

Three former jocists and sympathisers from the Diocese of Namur in Belgium have launched a new initiative to make Cardijn known to the present and future generations.

Jean-Paul Van Steen and Philippe Hanseval are both former trade unionists while Lisette Degolla-Mombaers is a retired social worker, according to

Lisette Degolla-Mombaers explains: "Too few people are still familiar with him but it is necessary to make known this priest who brought thousands of workers out of slavery. Moreover, he worked for the recognition of women. Our project is thus based on this idea of recognition. Also with hope to raise awareness among young people today to rediscover the taste for Christian social action."

Philippe Hanseval continued: "Cardinal Cardijn lit up the paths of all young people of our generation. He was a man who was both very concrete and a mystic. If we remember one of his phrases, I would mention that when he affirmed that every young person is worth more than all the gold in the world. And we should not forget the review of life method that he created: See - Judge - Act. A concept that I have always followed in my mission as a trade union delegate."

For his part, Jean-Paul Van Steen inisted on the current relevance of Cardijn's message. "Today, things have changed in the world of work. Progress has been made since the first JOC meetings. However, capital is still there and workers are still prisoners. Just take a look at what is happening in Greece."

"With our initiative, we hope to restore Cardinal Cardijn to his place of honour. Too many workers, including our contemporaries, have forgotten the struggles that formed the social history of recent decades. Mgr Cardijn certainly played a part in those."

When Jean-Paul Van Steen (middle of the photo), Philippe Hanseval (left) and Lisette Degolla-Mombaers (right) mentioned this idea to Fr Jean Marchand, current chaplain of the Christian Workers Movement (MOC), he arranged for them to contact Namur Bishop Rémy Vancottem, who was himself the son of a metalworker.

Bishop Vancottem took a great interest in the project, particularly since this year is the year of service  (diakonia) in the diocese. He therefore proposed that the launch day at Beauraing on 18 October should also make mention of the Cardijn initiative.

Jean-Paul Van Steen, Philippe Hanseval and Lisette Degolla-Mombaers have thus launched an appeal.

"We would like to make contact with all those in the Diocese of Namur who knew or had contact with Cardinal Cardijn. Their testimony is welcome. Don't hesitate to contact us or to indicate people that we should meet."

In Flanders, a similar movement, "Vrienden van Kardinaal Cardijn" already exists.

Other projects are also in preparation, including raising awareness in schools and religious communities, particularly women's communities which often have many former jocist members.

The Namur trio also plan to prepare information for the parishes of the diocese in order to encourage people to pray to the Holy Spirit for Cardijn's cause of beatification.


Philippe Hanseval (+32 081/30.67.14 –
Jean-Paul Van Steen (+32 0477/54.39.50 –
Lisette Degolla-Mombaers (+32 81/21.20.93 –


Saturday, 6 June 2015

ILO must analyse transformation of work: IYCW

L to R: Ludovicus Mardiyono, Edson Rolandes Flores Morales, Nadiya Oksyutovych, Andy Predicala, James Denteh
The ILO must analyse the transformation of work from agricultural to industrial, to services and now to robotics technology, according to a submission presented to the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva from 1 - June 13, 2015.

This year's ILC discussed three main topics, namely the transition from the informal to the formal economy, SMEs and decent and sustainable employment and the third is the labour protection policy, which includes wages, maternity policy, working hours and occupational health and safety.

The IYCW delegation actively expressed their political views in all committees. In the informal economic committee and social protection, IYCW highlights some important issues, among others, urged adopted the concept of a living wage for all sectors of work and social protection should be inclusive apply to all types of workers and universally applicable.

Responding to ILO Director-General report on The Future of Work Centenary Initiative, Andy Predicala, International Treasurer of IYCW expressed that the centenary conversation must evaluate deeply the globalization, neo-liberalisation and free-market policy because it does not generate enough jobs but instead it creates multi-crises in the society, and does not warrant fair distribution of wealth. It must also analyse the transformation of work from agricultural to industrial, to services and now to the robotics technology.

The IYCW also urged that social protection coverage must be extended to all workers in the informal sector and all informal workers should be entitled to enjoy all basic rights of workers.

ILO Declaration on Universal Labour Protection

IYCW President, Ludovicus Mardiyono, added that labour protection is a global issue and requires a shared responsibility.

"We propose to the ILO to take the political steps to agree upon and immediately sign the ILO Declaration on Universal Labour Protection, and this declaration should be inclusive and universal," said Ludovicus from Indonesia.

"IYCW along with other Catholic organizations and trade unions continue to voice social justice and peace for all workers in the world," he concluded.


YCW at the International Labour Conference: Proposing ILO Declaration on Universal Labour Protection  (International YCW, Media Release)

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Remembering Romeo Maione

Romeo and Betty Maione
Romeo Maione, first elected president of the International YCW, has died after a long illness on 12 May 2015 at the age of 90.

As a Montreal industrial worker, Romeo first joined a YCW group organised by Fr Wilfred Dore CSB. This decision transformed his life.

Rapidly he became a national leader and national president of the Canadian YCW.

Given his ability and his command of the Italian language, the IYCW recruited him in 1956 to organise the International Pilgrimage to Rome which drew 32,000 young workers from every inhabited continent, an extraordinary achievement in those days before jet travel.

Romeo was then elected as international president of the IYCW at the First World Council which followed in September 1957.

Romeo Maione, John XXIII, Cardijn and Maria Meersman

"Maione was an interesting young man, a big, tough-looking type who was at that time the international president of the Young Christian Workers and one of the most zealous, attractive Christians I have ever had the pleasure of knowing," wrote John C. Cort. "Raised by Italian parents in Montreal, he was equally fluent in English and French as well as Italian, thereby solving the problem of simultaneous translation."

Romeo was with Cardijn at his memorable first meeting with Pope John XXIII in 1959.

Pope John said to Romeo, "Maione is an Italian name. Do you speak Italian?" "My parents are Italian and I was born in Canada so I speak a dialect", replied Maione. The Pope then asked him to speak in his dialect and he would try to identify his family area in Italy. After saying a few words the Pope replied: "You come from Campo Basso." Maione replied: "No I come from about 150 kilometers away." The Pope then replied: "Well in these things even a Pope is not infallible but I was close."

Later after completing his term with the IYCW, Romeo played a significant at the Third World Congress on Lay Apostolate also in Rome in 1967.

In 1962 he became Assistant Director of the Social Action Department of the Catholic Bishops Conference in Ottawa, and later Assistant Director of International Affairs with the Canadian Labour Congress.

In 1965, he was appointed by Prime Minister Lester Pearson to become a union representative to investigate working conditions in the Canadian Post Office.

In 1967, he became the first Executive Director of the Canadian Catholic development agency, Development and Peace.

In 1976 Romeo joined the Canadian International Development Agency, (CIDA), as Director of International Affairs, and spent two years in Canberra, Australia with CIDA during the 1980s to help develop a NGO program along the lines of the Canadian structure. At CIDA he also worked to strengthen ties with the labor unions, NGOs and the francophone community.

In Canada in 1979, he was chairman of a committee to oversee Project 4000, an organization set up by the late Mayor of Ottawa, Marian Dewar, to assist 4000 Vietnamese refugees to settle in Canada. In 1987 he received an invitation to participate as a Canadian delegate to a Catholic Synod "On the Laity" called by Pope John Paul II in Rome.

In November 1982 he was the keynote speaker at the Cardijn Centenary Seminar in Melbourne, Australia.

In 1998, his proposal that Cardijn should be declared a Doctor of the Church was taken up by a meeting for former international leaders of the IYCW.

For 59 years, he was the beloved husband to Betty Maione, father of Alfred (Bee Hastings), Martin (Lena Cesario), Cathy (Ernie Zwarts), John (Nathalie Phipps), grandfather to eleven grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Loving brother of Elma Santache, Gilio Maione and Edmond Maione.

The University of Ottawa awarded him an Honorary Doctorate in Social Sciences in 1970.


Cardijn, Doctor of the Church


Development and Peace, Romeo Maione - A remarkable man in remarkable times

Développement et Paix, Romeo Maione - Un géant de la justice sociale

Ottawa Citizen, Obituary 

Paul Harris, Romeo Maione, 90, social activist (Ville Marie Online)

Paul Harris, Maione a giant of Church in Canada (Western Catholic Reporter)

Paul Harris, Longtime columnist and influential Catholic dies (Prairie Messenger)

Michael Swan, Romeo Maione was a man of Catholic Action (Catholic Register)

Sebastian Gomes, Few embodied lay leadership in the Canadian church more than Romeo Maione (Salt + Light TV)


John C. Cort, Dreadful Conversions: The making of a Catholic socialist, p. 189

Mark MacGowan, Catholics at the Gathering Place, p. 266 -268

David R. Morrison, Aid and Ebb tide: A history of CIDA and Canadian development assistance, p.  128.

Bernard Minvielle, L'apostolat des laïcs à la veille du Concile (1949 - 1959)

Roxboro man awarded honorary doctorate in social sciences (The South Shore News)

Brian Buckley, Gift of freedom: How Ottawa welcomed the Vietnamese, Cambodian and Laotian refugees, p. 61.

Joseph Cardijn (ICCFM)

Youth Secondary Students Package (Development and Peace)

The Greatest of Men (Indian Record, September 1963)


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.