2010 July - December Cardijn Movement Newsfeed

South Asian YCS leaders meet

posted 22 Dec 2010, 18:58 by Stefan Gigacz

South Asian YCS leaders have met in Sri Lanka to discuss building a regionwide culture of action to solve climate, food and rights issues.

Some 30 students from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka attended the 10th International Young Christian Students Movement (YCS) forum, organized by the YCS Sri Lanka branch, in Tewatta, ucanews.com reports.

During the week-long meeting that ended Sunday, students discussed ways to build a culture of action to control global problems of climate change, food crisis and human rights violations.

The YCS international members in over 85 countries are ready for the international challenges and contributions to manage the problems, Reyne Clemena, YCS Asian coordinator told ucanews.com.

“We (students) have a capability to achieve the goal,” said the Filipino girl, as their Church-run movement has 200 members in Pakistan, 4,000 in Sri Lanka, 166 in Nepal, 9,000 in Bangladesh and 175,000 in India, within the South Asian region.

The region has already experienced more fallout from climate change than other continents and it still continues to suffer from threats such as rising sea levels, forest degradation, floods, cyclone and tsunami and food shortage.

At the end of the conference, the YCS members outlined activities for their 2011-2013 action plans. They include tree-planting, poster campaigns, dry foods collection and distribution to the needy, food waste control, school fundraising, demonstrations and awareness programs through seminars, debate and workshops.

Meanwhile, Father Patrick Simon Gomes, executive secretary of the Episcopal Commission for Youth in Bangladesh, said they have taken steps to promote the use of bags, wall mats and calendars made of textiles rather than plastic.


South Asian students take on world problems (ucanews.com)

Sudan YCS 'martyr' remembered

posted 9 Dec 2010, 16:17 by Stefan Gigacz

Sudanese Archbishop Paolino Lukudu Loro of Juba presided at a Mass last month where he blessed the tomb of late YCS member Abraham Gajuk who was killed in 1992 during a peaceful protest against forcibly imposed Islamic indoctrination.

Archbishop Lukudu urged the Young Christian Student (YCS) to pray for peace in Sudan upon uncertainties surrounding the referendum process. 

He told the 27 November gathering at a memorial prayer for YCS founders and members killed during the war to invoke the spirit of the decease members to bring peace to Sudan. 

Archbishop Lukudu said Abraham Gajuk and Okela were killed in cold blood in Juba due to their YCS activities. 

He prayed to the deceased members of the YCS to intercede for peace in the Sudan and called on the youth to register and vote for the referendum in order to honour the blood of their slain members. 

YCS Sudan is currently celebrating its Silver Jubilee in Juba. The long week celebration concludes on Sunday.

There were young people present from most of the dioceses in Sudan, as well as from Uganda and Kenya, Father Herald Joseph Brock CFR noted on his blog. 

"The event was organized by our friend, Fr. Martin Ochaya Lino, Secretary General of the Archdiocese of Juba and chaplain and former member of the YCS," Father Brock wrote.

"I was asked to address the participants on the theme, 'A Personal Relationship with God.' The youth were very attentive and responsive. 

"The YCS event was co-sponsored by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) with the assistance of another good friend, Tom Purekal, CRS Peace Building Program Coordinator for South Sudan," Father Brock noted.


Thanksgiving in Juba (CFR Sudan Mission)

Thai Bishop Bunluen Mansap dead at 81

posted 4 Dec 2010, 19:19 by Stefan Gigacz

Bishop Michael Bunluen Mansap, retired bishop of Ubon Ratchathani, who founded the Catholic Council of Thailand for Development (CCTD) and also the Thai Church’s Justice and Peace Commission, has died aged 81.

“Bishop Bunluen was among the first (Catholic clergymen) who talked about and taught the Catholic social teachings,” said Rungrote Tangsurakit, former CCTD manager and CCI Asia-Pacific coordinator. 

The bishop rallied Thai people of all religions to tackle social injustices, ucanews.com reports.

“During the coup d’ etat in 1992, Bishop Bunluen pushed the Thai Church to declare its position on solving political problems by peaceful means and with respect for people’s human rights. Before this, the Thai Church had always been quiet on these matters,” recalled Rakawin Leechanavanichpan, former coordinator of the justice and peace commission.

Bishop Mansap had even earlier this year called on the government and “red-shirt” demonstrators to renew talks after violent clashes left several people dead and hundreds injured.

“What endangers the country is not civil war, it is anger and hatred, and there seem to be lots of people with hatred today.” He urged all Thais to accept different opinions and beliefs. “All humans have the potential to love each other but are divided by politics and ideology,” he said.

The so-called “red shirts,” a loose coalition of political activists and supporters of ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, have been encamped in Thailand’s capital for nearly a month. They claimed the government of Abhisit Vejjajiva is illegitimate and were calling for the immediate dissolution of parliament and early elections.

Bishop Mansap was also in charge of the Thai bishops´ Commission for Human Development, the Commission for Ethnic Groups and the Episcopal Commissions for Social Works.

Born in 1929, the bishop was ordained a priest for Ratchaburi diocese in western Thailand in 1951. As a young priest, he was interested in social development ministry, but he became actively involved only from 1965.

He served as secretary of the Office for Human Development of the Federation of the Asian Bishops´ Conferences from 1974 to 1976, the year he was ordained a bishop. From 1978 to 1984 he was chairman of the same office.


Bishop who promoted justice in Thailand dies (ucanews.com)

Sri Lanka YCW chaplain calls for justice for killed priests

posted 29 Nov 2010, 16:46 by Stefan Gigacz

Sri Lanka YCW chaplain Fr Reid Shelton Fernando is calling for justice for nine Tamil priests who were killed or have disappeared during the nation's civil war which ended last year.

“Catholics and the priests’ relatives have the right to know the priests’ whereabouts or their final resting grounds…If they are dead, please do issue death certificates, if it is not done yet,” said Father Reid Shelton Fernando, coordinator of the Young Christian Workers movement in Colombo, ucanews.com reports.

Father Fernando submitted a list of the disappeared priests’ names when he appeared before the Commission for Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation on Nov. 19. 

“So far there are no inquiries or acceptable explanations. Are they to be considered disappeared or killed?” he asked.

The priest added that the Tamils who survived the war have been affected mentally and physically. However, they are denied proper psychological treatment and counseling.

The post-war situation saw people urging the government to investigate all enforced disappearances and killings of thousands of people including Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Buddhist priests. All these crimes were witnessed or reported by numerous Sri Lankans.

State president Mahinda Rajapakse had appointed an eight-member Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission to report on the aftermath of the civil war that ended in May 2009.

Father Fernando argued that more Tamils would have come forth before the commission if there was a promise of witness protection.

According to International Red Cross reports in 2003, it had received 20,000 complaints of disappearances, 9,000 of which had been resolved and the remaining still under investigation.

The priests who have either been killed or have disappeared include:

• Father George M. Jeyarajasingham, a Methodist priest, killed with his Muslim driver in 1984.
• Father Mary Bastian, allegedly shot dead in 1985.
• Father Eugene John Herbert SJ, disappeared in 1990.
• Father S. Selvaraja, abducted and killed in 1997.
• Father Thiruchelvam Nihal Jimbrown, disappeared in 2006
• Father Pakiaranjith, killed by a claymore mine in 2007.
• Father Xavier Karunaratnam, killed in 2008.
• Father Francis Joseph, missing since 2009.


Ex-Thailand YCW chaplain Fr Pitak has died

posted 29 Nov 2010, 16:31 by Stefan Gigacz   [ updated 29 Nov 2010, 16:45 ]

Fr Pitak Yotharak, former chaplain of Thailand YCW and a long-time active supporter of the movement, has died in Bangkok of cancer.

"Recently I have talked with him about a gathering of former Cardijn's advocates and he fully supported the idea and would have liked to join," writes CCI Asia-Pacific coordinator Rungrote Tangsurakit.

"Also, Bishop Bunluen Mansap is also criticcally ill for some time in ICU of the same hospital," Rungrote notes.

"Please pray for them and pass this information to those who know them."

Fr. Pitak Yotharak was born on 27 March 1950. He was ordained on 24 November 1979 and died at 10.45am on 26 November 2010.

His funeral will take place on 2 December 2010 at 14.00 Parish of Guardian Angel, Khokwat, Prachinburi, Thailand

At his death he was director of Diocesan Social Action Center in the Chantaburi diocese.

He was previously secretary general of Catholic Youth Council of Thailand under the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Thailand

"Cardijn Community International (CCI) received the news of the demise of Fr. Pithak Yotharak with deep shock and grief. Accept our heartfelt condolences. May his soul rest in peace," CCI convenor MJ Ruben said.

"CCI had planned for an international general assembly of all Cardijn followers on the 23rd and 24th of July 2011 at Camillian Pastoral Centre, Bangkok and we were hoping for the active support and collaboration of Fr. Pithak in this event. It is unfortunate that we have lost a faithful servant of God and a true friend and guide to all of us.

"As a Chaplain of the YCW, Thailand, Fr. Pithak Yotharak had contributed to the growth of the movement which will be gratefully remembered by all. We thank the Lord for the life of Fr. Pithak and pray that God grant him eternal rest," Ruben said.

Vale Gerry Crane, YCW Past Members Association founder

posted 29 Nov 2010, 16:16 by Stefan Gigacz   [ updated 29 Nov 2010, 16:29 ]

Geraldine Crane, a former member of the National Catholic Girls Movement as the female Australian was once known, died in Canberra, Australia on 13 November, the anniversary of Cardijn's birth.

"Yesterday morning Geraldine Crane died peacefully in Canberra where she had lived for many years with her family," YCW Past Members Association president and Cardijn Community Australia committee member Anne Norman writes.

"Gerry was president of the NCGM [pre YCW] in the Brisbane Archdiocese in the 1950's.

"In 1964 she founded the YCW Past Members Association to support the present YCW and provide a network for the past members.  Membership has remained mostly the women who were members before 1970.

"She has remained in contact with members for fifty years.  Her no nonsense approach to Church and life has been a constant support.

"She attended early meetings of the group which hopes to become the Cardijn Community Australia.

"In 2000 she received a grant to write the history of the YCW [Girls] in the Brisbane Archdiocese up to 1970.

"This research document, "Ordinary Young Women doing extraordinary things",  is an outstanding tribute to the  lay apostolate and demonstrates a profound understaning of the theology and practice of what it is to be a lay person in today's society.

Vale Gerry,  Rest in Peace.
Anne Norman
YCW Past Members Association."

CCI convenor, MJ Ruben, also expressed his condolences.

"Cardijn Community International received with sadness the news of the demise of Geraldine Grace and conveys its deepest condolences to the family and all the members of her community. May her soul rest in peace.
"We place on record our deep appreciation of her contribution to the YCW and in her efforts to consolidate the lived experiences of the past members so that they could assure a beter future for those who are in the present and for generations to come," Ruben wrote.

British Christian socialist John Toomey mourned

posted 9 Nov 2010, 08:05 by Stefan Gigacz

British ex-YCW leader and Christian socialist John Toomey, who has died aged 84, was a pillar of the London Borough of Camden community. 

"However you define working class radical that is just what he was. His was a Christian socialist vision. He was an active member of his Catholic parish of St Aloysius, Somers Town, all his adult life," writes Bruce Kent at Independent Catholic News. 

He trained as a carpenter, spent the war years repairing bombed properties, which exempted him from military service in WWII. Later he became a printer.

In Somers Town, an often forgotten London ‘village’ between Euston and Kings Cross, he carried on the social work project initiated in the 1920s by Father Jellicoe, the great Anglican priest and community worker, Kent says. 

John served on the committee of Jellicoe’s St Pancras Housing Association for 37 years and was also elected twice as a Labour party member of Camden Council. He found time too to serve on two school governing bodies. The improvement of the local area was his life long passion. 

He married his wife Mary Paul, whom he met through the Young Christian Workers, in 1952. They had four daughters and one adopted son who unexpectedly died earlier this year.


Tribute to John Toomey  (Bruce Kent, Independent Catholic News)

Move to beatify French YCW co-founder, Fr Georges Guerin

posted 3 Nov 2010, 10:04 by Stefan Gigacz

An association of "Friends of Father Guerin"  (Les amis du Pere Guerin) has been launched in France to work on promoting the opening of the cause for the beatification of co-founder of the French YCW, Father Georges Guerin.

A special mass will be held on Sunday 7 November at the Eglise Notre Dame de la Gare at Place Jeanne d'Arc, Paris 75013.

The event will be followed by a lunch and the unveiling of a commemorative plaque at Rue Jean de Beauvais, Paris 75005.

(Photo: Fr Georges Guerin left, Cardijn right)

Coimbatore CCI leader passes away

posted 3 Nov 2010, 09:22 by Stefan Gigacz

CCI leader, S. Mariadoss from Coimbatore, India, has died suddenly while attending a prayer meeting in his home town.

"It is with profound grief that I inform you of the death of S. Mariadoss of CCI, Coimbatore, India suddenly this afternoon (30th October 2010)," CCI Convenor MJ Ruben announced.

"S. Mariadoss was a former YCW National leader in India. He was working with the Post and Telegraphs Department and very much involved in the union. Even after retirement, he was keeping in touch with the union, fighting cases for the employees and was also involved in community service in his neighbourhood," Ruben noted.

Mariadoss attended the CCI International Symposium and General Assembly in 2008 in Chennai. 

He was also planning to attend the CCI India Training of Trainers on Review of Life to be held at Salem from the 8th to 10th 2010.

He died today while attending a prayer meeting at Ramanathapuram, Coimbatatore.

Perth priest remembers Cardijn

posted 3 Nov 2010, 09:19 by Stefan Gigacz

Australian priest Fr Daniel Foley’s greatest joy in his 80 years of life and 55 of priesthood is the formation of people – and many who grew out of the Young Christian Workers movement still practicing their faith today have him to thank.

Fr Foley who celebrated his 80th birthday at Lockridge, Perth, Western Australia on 26 August, clearly remembers legendary YCW founder Cardinal Joseph Cardijn of Belgium standing on the dais at Leederville and declaring himself “80 years young”, The Record reports.

Back then, the YCW and NCGM (National Catholic Girls Movement) were a powerhouse of apostolic work, bringing their lapsed Catholic friends back into the faith and defending Christian values.

“Many of the young people who took up leadership in the diocese were schooled in the ‘See, Judge, Act’ ethos of the YCW movement, and a great many young people came through,” Fr Foley aid. 

Some of his eager young men of the YCW took action when they tore down all the provocative posters of a young lady called Sabrina from His Majesty’s Theatre who was performing there and brought them back to him.

“I put them on top of the wardrobe at Leederville and they’re probably still sitting there – I didn’t know what to do with them,” he said. This was but a microcosm of the “very apostolic sort of work” the YCW was involved in. 

“There were many young men and women who are practicing Catholics around the place who owe their Catholicity to the YCW,” he said.

Fr Foley remembers Cardijn as a “sprightly man who left his mark on the world”.


Forming people in Truth delights Archbishop's second cousin (The Record)

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