Message of the Cross

posted 1 Apr 2010, 04:49 by CCI Media   [ updated 3 Apr 2010, 23:38 by Stefan Gigacz ]
For most of us who had been in and through Cardijn movements, the suffering of Jesus, the humiliation he encountered, the death on the cross and His resurrection on the third day offer a chance to look back, to take stock of the reality in which we live and to plan to fulfil the mission that Jesus entrusted to each one of us.

Power through suffering

While we meditate on the passion of Christ, we feel that we are empowered by the act of Christ because it was through this suffering He not only defeated death but redeemed humanity from eternal punishment. The death of Christ is also a ‘message of love’ of God towards each one of us. It is this love that motivated Cardijn to work for young people and young workers to restore their human dignity and thus to build a truly apostolic and sustainable Church. Let us recall what Paul says in I Corinthians 1:18: ‘the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God’.

The martyrs

It is also a time to recall the sacrifices of all those who had suffered martyrdom because of their faith in human dignity, in love for the human person and in liberation. Cardijn himself suffered most for his out spoken stand on justice during both the World Wars I and II.  He was imprisoned twice during WW I and once during WW II. It was during the Second World War, even the YCWrs, like the apostles, paid the price ‘humanising’ the world. They faced prison terms, forced labour and hundreds of YCWrs died during the WW II.Noted among them are Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet, two of the ‘Three Musketeers’ (the first YCWrs- Jacques Meert was the 3rd one), who died at the Concentration Camp at Dachau in 1945; they had been prisoners since June 1943.As we are compiling this message, we received news that Pope Benedict XVI recognised three martyrs including a Slovenian layperson -- Luigi Grozde, and   member of Catholic Action, killed at Mirna in hatred of the faith (1923-1943). A German diocesan priest Gerhard Hirschfelder, who died in the Dachau concentration camp (1907-1942) was another one recognised as a martyr. It is in this same concentration camp that Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet, first YCWrs died. The news of the recognition encourages us to endorse a claim for martyrdom for Cardijn and those young people who were persecuted because of their faith in humanity.

Like Fernand Tonnet and Paul Garcet, scores of young people suffered imprisonment, dismissal, isolation, loss of employment, physical torture and killing too. In the 70s, many Cardijn movement leaders disappeared in dictatorial regimes particularly in South American countries. Noted among such people disappeared is Pepe Palacio, a member of the IYCW International Team (1975) from Argentina. Angelina De Oliveira from Brazil, young people in Vietnam during the war, from other Asian countries and from South Africa suffered. They included young people from student movements too. A very special tribute should be made to Gilbert Dru, the French YCS resistance leader executed by the Nazis during WW II.

Pope John Paul II’s quote in "The Christian Meaning of Human Suffering" fits rightly in this context: “The answer which comes … by way of the interior encounter with the Master, is in itself more than the mere abstract answer to the question about the meaning of human suffering. For it is above all a call. It is a vocation. Christ does not explain in the abstract the reasons for suffering, but before all else he says: “Follow me! Come! Take part through your suffering in this work of saving the world, a salvation achieved through my suffering! Through my Cross!” (26)

Carrying the cross - continues

The saga of suffering for the sake of love, to restore human dignity still continues not only through the Cardijn movements like YCS, YCW, CWM (MMTC),    MIJARC and CFM but also through those who have been trained through such movements even in their adulthood and advanced age. Each one of us has     undergone this suffering at some stage of our life.

CCI – the network

Cardijn Community International (CCI) is one such network that aims to bring together such leaders who have passed through Cardijn movements and  to channelize their energies, experiences and actions and to promote Cardijn’s spirituality, vision and methodology to the future generation.

Over the past 8 years, CCI is encouraging actions, campaigns, activities and projects towards ‘sustainable development and peace’. We have organised      groups in Asia-Pacific, Africa and direct members in Europe and North America. Please visit our website to know more about us. Visit

During the Year for Priests (June 2009 – June 2010), CCI wants to pay its tribute to Cardijn and all the priests who have dedicated themselves in the          Cardijn movements by organising events and to search for the role of the priests and the laity in the Church’s mission. Apart from country level events, we   are organising a regional event coinciding with the New Pentecost in May 2010 in Malaysia with the title ‘Priests 4 Change and Transformation’.


CCI is functioning solely by the support of its members and their contacts and is not supported by any external funding. We request generous contributions from you towards our endeavour. In order to encourage those who wish to contribute small amount or who wish to pledge a regular contribution of a certain amount, we have opened a Pay Pal account. It is easy to donate. Just go to and click the page ‘Donate to Cardijn Community International’ in the Navigation in the Home page. You can then click the button on the page which will guide you to donate the desired amount.

With these recollections, we wish each one of you, your families and community, a very happy Easter. May the joy of resurrection fill our hearts and motivate us to continue to work for the good of all. HAPPY EASTER.

M. J. Ruben (India) – Stefan Gigacz (Australia) – Ms Rebecca Sinnappan (Malaysia) – Ruki Fernando (Sri Lanka) – Charles Santiago (Malaysia) – Dr. Bernard D’ Sami - (India) – Fr. S. ServatiusCCI International Coordination.