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


Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Farewell to 'fearless fighter' Irene Fernandez

Former Malaysian YCW fulltime worker and IYCW International Team member, Irene Fernandez, a well-known labour and human rights activist has died following a heart attack.

Her sister Josie told Malaysiakini that Irene died at 10.58am on 31 March 2014 at the Coronary Care Unit at Serdang Hospital south of Kuala Lumpur.

"Her organs were all fine but her heart stopped. The doctors tried their best to resuscitate her.

"Irene was very brave and courageous and as I speak to you now, I can see that her face is so serene, so calm," she told Malaysiakini.

"We are celebrating Irene's beautiful and powerful life... People of all faiths and from all communities are welcome for the prayers and for the funeral service."

The funeral will take place at Divine Mercy Catholic Church in Shah Alam, Selangor, on 3 April at 3.00pm.

Irene was the daughter of the Indian migrants. She witnessed the poor condition of Malaysian workers employed in the rubber plantation sector. Her parents were part of the workforce.

After initially working as a school teacher, Irene became a fulltime worker for the Malaysian YCW from 1970. She later became a member of the IYCW Asian Extension Team and a member of the IYCW International Team elected in 1975.

In 1991, she founded the women workers' organisation Tenaganita. After exposing the treatment of detained Bangladeshi migrant workers in Malaysia, she was charged with "maliciously publishing false news" and found guilty after a seven year trial. The conviction was finally set aside on appeal in 2008.

Former Malaysian YCW leader now Federal parliamentarian, Charles Santiago, described her as "a fearless fighter, who stood for people who had no one to stand for them."

"I have worked closely with her on human rights issues, and taken part in international conferences to champion the rights of the ordinary person.

"Malaysia and the international community has lost a great person who advocated for justice and human rights.

"Condolences to members of her family, Joe, Aegile, Josie, her children and those who have been privileged to meet her," Santiago said in a statement.

"You always testified that ‘it was the YCW which formed you and it was Cardijn who motivated you to commit yourself to the service of the suffering masses’," CCI Secretary General MJ Ruben said in a tribute. "Thank you Irene for being a role model to us! "

"When we bid farewell to you Irene, we assured you that we shall continue to promote the vision, spirituality and methodology of Cardijn – who formed you and many of us.

"Thank you Irene for all your dreams and accomplishments! Rest in peace," Ruben wrote.

"We mourn the passing of one of the greatest leaders formed by the Cardijn movement," CCI convenor Stefan Gigacz added. "We grieve with and express our condolences to all her family and loved ones."

This article will be updated as information comes to hand.

Read the full CCI Tribute to Irene:


CCI Pioneers page:


Tribute by CCI International Team adviser Charles Santiago

















CCI News


















Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Human rights defenders released in Sri Lanka

Update: Former CCI International Team member Ruki Fernando and Fr Praveen Mahesan OMI have both been released following their detention by Sri Lankan authorities under anti-terrorism legislation which allows them to be held for up to 18 months without trial and can lead to prison sentences of up to 20 years.

"I'm back home, was released few hours ago, thanks to all who worked so hard and to ensure my and Fr Praveen's release," Ruki posted on Facebook." I'm convinced our safety and release was because of all the support and concerns expressed by so many in SL and across thr world.mLets try to help others who also need similar support."

In an interview following his release with CNN, Ruki said: "I think it's a deliberate attempt to intimidate and suppress any form of dissent, criticism or challenge, and clearly not allow people outside Sri Lanka to know what's happening inside the country."

"I anticipate that I will be subject to greater scrutiny and I am extremely worried about the safety and wellbeing of my colleagues and people I've spoken to in the past."

Earlier report

Ruki Fernando of the Inform Human Rights Documentation Center and Oblate Father Praveen Mahesan, director of the Center for Peace and Reconciliation, were detained separately for questioning, ucanews.com reports.

The two men were visiting the area investigating the arrest of Tamil human rights defender Balendran Jayakumari on March 13.

Fernando informed his colleagues via text message that he and Fr Mahesan were being detained and questioned, according to Groundsview, a citizens’ journalism Web site based in Sri Lanka.

The arrests of the activists provided further proof that human rights workers were being targeted and harassed by government authorities, the National Peace Council of Sri Lanka said in a statement.

“The arrest and detention of Balendran Jayakumari under controversial circumstances raises the question whether those who persevere to openly advocate on behalf of the victims of the war are being targeted for punitive action,” the council said.

The council also said that Jayakumari’s 13-year-old daughter has been placed in the custody of the government’s probation service, “as other families are afraid to take her in”.

Bishop Rayappu Joseph of Mannar said that the detention of Fernando and Fr Mahesan was undemocratic and unwarranted.

"Ruki and Fr Praveen are human rights defenders, who always come to the forefront when there is a human rights problem," the bishop told ucanews.com.

The bishop said the two men traveled to Kilinochchi to check on the status of Jayakumari.

"Where is democracy and the rule of law in the country? We need to live in peace with protection of our peoples’ rights," he told ucanews.com.

Brito Fernando, convener of the Families of the Disappeared and co-convener of the Platform for Freedom, said that the arrests represented an escalation of a campaign to intimidate into silence families of those still missing after the country's civil war.

"A number of human rights activists have been arrested, detained, and are being interrogated," Brito Fernando told ucanews.com.

Amnesty International, Asian Center for Progress of Peoples, OMCT World Organisation Against Torture have all launched campaigns for the release of Ruki Fernando, Fr Praveen and Ms Jayakumari.

CCI Secretary-General Ruben Joseph has written to Sri Lankan President Rajapaksa seeking the immediate release of the detainees.

CCI Convenor Stefan Gigacz has called upon CCI members and groups to express their concern to President Rajapaksa and to Sri Lankan embassies in various countries.

"Many of us have known Ruki Fernando for many years as a YCS (Young Christian Students) leader in Asia, as a Caritas Sri Lanka development and more recently as a human rights defender and as a member of the CCI International Team from 2009-2011," Stefan Gigacz said. "Ruki was also a keynote speaker on working for peace at our 2009 conference in Kuala Lumpur.

"The allegations made have no credibility and we condemn the arrests," he concluded.

This post will be updated as fresh information comes to hand.





















Friday, 17 January 2014

Installation of the Ecclesiastical Tribunal for the Cardijn canonisation inquiry

Archbishop AJ Léonard formally constituted the Ecclesiastical Tribunal  to inquire into the canonisation of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn on 16 January 2014 at a special meeting in Mechelen, Belgium.

Mgr Stefaan Van Calster will act as episcopal delegate (president) of the tribunal. Trade union leader Guy Tordeur, who is also a member of the IYCW Management Committee and the International Cardijn Foundation, was appointed as Postulator.

Fr Felix Van Meerbergen, CCI chaplain for Belgium and Europe, is Vice-Postulator.

Fr Tim Peeters, a canon lawyer for the Mechelen-Brussels Archdiocese, was appointed as Promoter of Justice.

Ms Els Van Mulders acted as Notary for the installation of the tribunal and Mr Chris Van Houte will take on the role for the remainder of the process.

Five theologians were appointed to the tribunal:

Dr Jacques Vermeijlen

Dr Kristof Straus is a professor of systematic theology at the Catholic University of Leuven.

Norbertine priest Fr Benny Berrens

Dr Walter Cueppens is a specialist in thomistic philosophy and on Francisco De Vitoria

Dr Alain Thomasset SJ is professor of moral theology at the Centre Sèvres in Paris where he holds the Jean Rodhain chair, named for the YCW chaplain who became the founder of Caritas International.

Six historians were also appointed.

Dr Marcel Gielis was formerly a lecturer at Tilburg and now works at KUL.

Fr Filip Hacour is from the Mechelen-Brussels Archdiocese.

Mr Stefan Gigacz is a doctoral student at the University of Divinity in Melbourne, Australia, where he is preparing a thesis on the role and impact of Cardijn at Vatican II.

Dr Philippe Annaert teaches at the Institute of Theological Studies in Brussels and in the seminary of Namur. He also works in the Belgian National Archives.

Fr Luc Roussel is a historian and a former national chaplain of the Walloon YCW. He also worked on the IYCW History Project from 1997-2000.

Dr Karim Schelkens is secretary of the European Society of Catholic Theology. He is a specialist on Vatican II working as a researcher at KUL leuven.

Ms Therese Van Boxmeer will act as official translator.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Cardijn beatification process officially launched

Trade unionist and ex-YCW leader, Guy Tordeur, postulator of the Cardijn sainthood cause
Mechelen-Brussels Archbishop André-Joseph Mutien Léonard has announced the appointment of a church tribunal to investigate the beatification of Joseph Cardijn.

The tribunal will launch the first diocesan stage of the sainthood process which examines the life of the candidate and prepares a submission to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome with evidence of the "heroic virtues" of the candidate. At the end of this stage, the candidate is declared a "Servant of God". This is followed by the beatification and canonisation stages.

The tribunal will meet for the first time on 16 January 2014 under the presidency of Monsignor Stefaan Van Calster.

Archbishop Léonard has appointed Guy Tordeur from the ACV (Christian Trade Union) in Brussels as postulator for the cause while CCI Belgium and Europe chaplain, Dean Felix Van Meerbergen, will be vice-postulator.

The role of the postulator is to prepare documentation in favour of the cause for presentation to the tribunal.

Fr Felix Van Bergen told Kerknet that the process will take some time.

"With the help of theologians and historians all the information is collected. With the start of the diocesan process we will start to listen to the first witnesses who knew him. We already have 40 to 80 witnesses on our list," Fr Van Meerbergen said.

"We are also looking for people whose prayer intentions have been answered."

"All information and testimonials should also be translated into Italian, French and English. At present, we need to find plenty of volunteers willing to translate.

"We have collected many letters and testimonials from people who tell us what a great impact on their lives has had. The testimonies are from prominent trade unionists as well as clergy and religious, but also simple people whose lives he helped turn around."

Dean Felix Van Meerbergen, vice-postulator
Fr Van Meerbergen said that it is difficult to predict how long the diocesan phase will take.

"According to optimists, the preparatory phase can be completed quickly. But we want to proceed thoroughly. After this, all files will be transferred to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints in Rome. Moreover, a miracle must also be recognised (for beatification)."

Fr Van Meerbergen added that the Cardijn Community in Belgium is working to develop a series of new publications on the life of Joseph Cardijn, including a scholarly biography as well as in a more popular format.

"I am convinced that Cardinal Cardijn can continue to inspire us both in the church and in society.  There are new things that Cardijn can teach us," Fr Felix said.

"The Cardijn Community hopes that Cardinal Cardijn will not only be beatified but soon proclaimed a Doctor of the Church," Fr Felix concluded.