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A Brief Update on the International Colloquy of Former YCWers

The ad hoc group is preparing the Former YCWers’ Colloquy while the International YCW is preparing its XIV International Council.

Towards the International Council of the IYCW

At its meeting in August, the current international team of the IYCW defined the programme for the preparation and launching of the International Council. From now on, all national movements are invited to prepare and discuss in greater depth the trends, challenges and developments of the plan of action 2012-2016, as well as the future of the movement. Some Council Support Groups have been set up in Germany and the base groups are eager to welcome delegates from different countries and exchange about their realities. The IYCW and the national movements are all looking for funds to ensure this important international event. As former members, we are all invited to contribute in various ways to the success of the programme and of this debate about the movement.

The International Former YCWers’ Colloquy: Where Do We Stand?

Some twenty countries have been reached since last June. Key people have contacted us or have been identified and solicited. In at least five countries, former YCWers’ networks (more or less organized) were already operating with occasional meetings. Around fifteen testimonies have been sent (from Germany, Brazil, Canada, France, Gabon, Mexico, Venezuela, and even from the USA). Some books – personal testimonies or collective stories – already exist and are being sent to Brussels. A very interesting and positive sign!

We can already tell you that the circulation and exchange of emails is very active and dynamic. We are so happy every time someone contacts us and tells us how they are doing.

It is also very exciting to see that in some countries, the current and former YCW members are already connected – to a greater or lesser extent -, sometimes even with specific objectives. The concrete preparation of the International Council and of the Colloquy will further help.

Looking to the Future: Prospects

The International Colloquy is seen as the first step of a project aiming to “activate former YCWers’ networks” wherever possible. Current leaders of the movement ask for support in different fields and levels, sometimes at the local level, sometimes at the international level, depending on conditions and contexts. They see the experience of former members as a force that may help strengthen the movement, e.g. in the analysis-action, planning, training, financial support, extension of the movement, networking, and advocacy. There is, therefore, a “demand”. Existing former YCWers’ networks, and those yet to be born, can offer their means, possibilities and competences to a greater or lesser extent, according to the situations. The Colloquy should therefore try to match “supply” and “demand” as much as possible. Existing or emerging networks could become “Cardijn Associations or Foundations” linked to each other and to the ICF (International Cardijn Fund).

Participation Forecast

This has not been finalized yet. But we have already defined some criteria which seem important, for instance:

  • The idea to ensure participation of at least 5 people for each big region (Africa, the Americas, Asia), and a somewhat larger participation from the European countries since the International Council and the Colloquy will take place in Germany.
  • Find a balance between generations and regions. Since the initiative is mainly to serve the current and future generations, priority should be given to “former members who are not too old”, who are still operational and able to provide the services effectively needed and solicited. From this perspective, priority should go to those who are already in action with some national movements and/or are motivated to continue this work after the Council and Colloquy.


As always, funding is of course necessary to ensure the holding of the Colloquy. Specific project applications – separate from those submitted for the International Council – have been submitted to several organizations. We have stated that the holding of the International Council is a priority and that the holding of the Colloquy will depend on the means available. All former YCWers from Europe, North America, Australia, and some other Asian countries, should self-finance their participation (travel and accommodation expenses), either themselves or, if need be, through a solidarity contribution among former members in their country/region.

This is, dear friends, a brief update. Our next meeting will take place in March.

Father Reginaldo Andrietta, Former Chaplain of the International YCW, Was Appointed Bishop by Pope Francis

A Recognition of his Commitment with the Working Youth

Pope Francis named José Reginaldo Andrietta bishop of Jales, in the state of Sao Paulo, Brazil. His appointment as bishop was announced on Wednesday 21st October.

Reginaldo Andrietta was born in Pirassununga (Sao Paulo) in 1957 and ordained a priest in 1983. He has known the YCW since his time at the seminary and has dedicated his life to young workers ever since. He was chaplain of the Brazil YCW in the 1980s, of the Americas YCW from 1991 to 1995, and of the International YCW from 2000 to 2006.

He holds a master's degree in catechesis from the Institut international Lumen Vitae in Brussels, Belgium, and a licentiate in pastoral theology from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.

He started the process of extension of the YCW in Argentina and the United States and is currently pastor of the “Sao Judas Tadeu” parish in Americana (Sao Paulo), where he is working to establish the YCW.

The International YCW is delighted over this appointment. Reginaldo’s contribution, or rather Mgr Reginaldo Andrietta’s contribution to the International YCW was most valuable over all his years as a chaplain. He provided moral and spiritual support to many generations of YCW members and national movements throughout the world, in particular in Africa and the Americas, following in the footsteps of Mgr Joseph Cardijn and contributing to the rich history of the movement.

We will never forget Reginaldo’s vitality to develop the YCW methodology (See-Judge-Act) and the Review of Life and Worker Action. We are convinced that his contribution to the church as a bishop will be huge.

In his new function, he will be able to continue voicing the young workers’ aspirations within the church and society.

The International YCW is joining those who know Reginaldo Andrietta’s life and commitment to the young workers to congratulate him with all our hearts and wish him all the best in this new stage in his life.

A Young Worker is worth more than all the Gold in the World

Let’s go on with our continuous struggle for, by and with the young workers!

For, as Cardijn said, “A young worker is worth more than all the gold in the world.” Over a century ago, in 1912, Joseph Cardijn was named curate of the parish of Notre-Dame at Laeken, a suburb of Brussels, Belgium. He immediately discovered the situation of young workers, particularly that of the exploited girl apprentices. What he saw led him to create the initial groups of workers of what was to become a movement, the Young Christian Workers (YCW). More than 100 years later, the YCW remains very active and contributing with the struggles of young workers, not only in Belgium but in more than 40 countries across the world. Local groups developed in Belgium first, but soon the movement crossed the borders to reach other European countries, and finally other countries around the world.

On 25th August, 2015, the International Young Christian Workers movement (IYCW) celebrates its 58th anniversary. It commemorates the great world assembly held in Rome in 1957, which brought together 32,000 young workers from 85 countries. A Sunday mass took place on 25th August 1957 at Saint Peter’s basilica, and Pope Pius XII joined the young workers that afternoon on Saint Peter’s Square. And that was the moment and day of the birth of IYCW.

The IYCW celebrates its anniversary every year on 25th August. In 1912, Cardijn created the first YCW groups because he was appalled at the terrible working and living conditions of young workers at the time. Today, more than 100 years later, the IYCW continues to set up local groups on all continents around the world to fight the situations of exploitation and injustice faced by young workers and promotes the campaign for Social Protection (Just Work, Gender Equality and Quality Education) for all young workers. Through its action, the movement has achieved a lot throughout its history, but a lot remains to be done in its struggle for decent working and living conditions for each and every young worker. Because, as Cardijn said, “Every young worker is worth more than all the gold in the world”.

Source: International Cardijn Foundation (ICF), – 75 year of action

Cardijn's Life


Video produced by the Australian YCW


Is it natural that Cardijn always felt that the original groups of young workers that he had founded in the parish of Laeken en 1912 – 14 best incarnated the YCW ideal that is also known as the « YCW mystique ». Here is what he wrote himself in 1958:

« The most fundamental characteristic of the beginnings of the YCW ( before the first World War ) was the call to an apostolate, a total and complete apostolate for several young women workers who would train and raise up the others.

It was also the time of great apostolic demands and of great apostolic commitments: leaving a « good job » for a workshop, a factory, a dirty, repugnant, sub-human job; accepting to share meals with women workers in the workshops of factories making rabbit fur, rubber, artificial silk; or going to live in an attic in Rue Haute in the midst of an environment of prostitution ».

The story of this « golden legend » has never been written down. However, it is the only explanation for the extraordinary power of the YCW, the YCW mystique. I believe that is the essential condition of the true worker revolution. Without it, the YCW is doomed to bourgeoisification: this is perhaps the greatest present danger.

This jocist mystique, this call to a total apostolate in the only explanation for the extraordianry power of the YCW.


1882 – 13/11 Birth of Joseph Cardijn

1906 – Cardijn is ordenated priest. Travels abroad.

1912 - Cardijn, curate in Laeken. Local unions for young women workers.

1916 – 18 Cardijn imprisoned by the Germans twice.

1924 – The two organisations take the names JOC and KAJ respectively ( Young Christian Workers or YCW in English ).

1925 – Belgian YCW statutes. Cardijn meets with Pope Pius XI.

1935 - YCW in Poland. 5/6: First YCW international representative action before the International Labor Office.

1938 – Cardijn travels to Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Yugoslavia.

1939 – Preparation of the YCW world-wide pilgrimage to Rome.

5/9: Planned date for the YCW pilgrimage to Rome cancelled owing to the war.

1942 – 11/6: Cardijn and the two Belgian national presidents are arrested.

21/9: Cardijn released from prison.

1957 – 23/8 – 4/9: Rome ( Italy ) Gathering First Internatinal Council and official foundation of the IYCW.

1961 – 2-11/11: Second International Council in Rio de Janeiro ( Brasil ),

1965 – February: Cardijn is made cardinal.

30/11 – 14/12: Third International Council in Bangkok ( Thailand ).

World survey on leisure activities of young people. Plan of Action of migration, big cities.

1966 – IYCW world enquiry on leisure.

1967 – 24/7: Death of Cardijn.


More information can be found here:

IYCW International Council 2016

International Colloquy of former YCW leaders 2016