Letter to Pope John XXIII on the eve of the Council
To His Holiness Pope John XXIII.
Very Holy Father
On the occasion of the annual meeting of its Executive Committee which took place in Berlin in September 1962 and on the eve of the opening of the Second Ecumenical Council Vatican II, the International YCW wishes to express to Your Holiness how much it participates in the faith and hope that animate the Catholics of the whole world before this event of such providential value for the life of the Church for the present and the future. The IYCW desires particularly to thank Your Holiness for having convoked this Council, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and for having deployed an immense program of preparation involving so many personalities so rich in thought and experience.
We also wish to tell Your Holiness how strongly we commit ourselves in the name of the International YCW to unite ourselves with the Council through prayer and apostolic action among the working youth of the whole world.
Henceforth, we promise Your Holiness and the Bishops of the whole Church that with the grace of Christ, we will neglect no effort to put into practice the orientations that the Council will give, with the same attitude of faithfulness and with the same enthusiasm with which we have tried to spread knowledge and worked for the application of the providential encyclical “Mater et Magistra”.
Your Holiness knows how, in more than 90 countries of the world, young men and women workers in the YCW and the Church are striving to respond to their vocation as apostles of Christ and the Church in their whole life, in every milieu, among their brothers and sisters at work. It is the wish of the YCW to constantly multiply among the humble and smallest of the world the number of those who commit themselves to living in a Christian and apostolic manner and to unite them in an organised laity to collaborate with the Bishops for a Christian solution to the problems of life and the Christianisation of the working youth of the whole world.
It is in this spirit that we wish to express several wishes to Your Holiness that we humbly ask You to submit to the Ecumenical Council.
Enquiries that the YCW has carried out in all the countries where it exists regularly emphasise how much the living conditions both in rich and industrialised countries as well as developing countries influence the religious and moral life of young men and women workers. Could we therefore express the wish that in the pastoral work and liturgy of the Church an effort be made to come closer to the realities of life of working youth in order that the latter may more easily discover in the Church a response to their spiritual hunger.
We also wish to express a hope that is experienced by the whole Church in asking Your Holiness that the Second Vatican Council explain the apostolate of lay people as well as the organised laity within the Church, and provide orientations concerning its insertion into the overall pastoral work of the Church. As a movement of young workers, we also wish to humbly request an official recognition of the necessity of the proper, personal and community apostolate of workers and young workers themselves, as well as an insistence on the apostolic formation that must be given to this group of the population.
To concretise this effort of participation by working youth in the Council through prayer, the International YCW has launched an appeal to all its national movements in order that the latter will ask jocists and young workers to offer up to the Lord their whole daily work every Friday throughout the whole duration of the Council. This work offering with all its joys and suffering, and sometimes the offering of a “lack of work”, will be a prayer that the young workers make in union with the prayer of the whole Church for the success of the Council.
May Your Holiness in all His goodness as the common Father of all accept the feelings of total adhesion as well as the vows and promises that we wish to express in the name of the working youth of the world.
In renewing the expression of our total faithfulness, we humbly pray that Your Holiness will give His paternal blessing to the whole movement around the world.
Bartolo Perez, Jos. Cardijn, Betty Villa,
President Chaplain General Vice-President
Brussels, 8 October 1962.
Letter to Pope John XXIII (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)