1953 – The European YCW


Queen Juliana Receives the Delegates

EIGHTY-FIVE National leaders and chaplains, from all the fourteen national Young Christian Workers’ movements of Europe, met last week at Hilversum, in Holland. They came together to consider their progress on the national and Continental level, and to consider the role of the European YCW in the sphere of European Unity. The conference was honoured by the reception by Queen Juliana of a delegation consisting of Mgr. Joseph Cardijn, Founder of the YCW, Pat Keegan, International Secretary, a representative from each of the national delegations and the national leaders of Canada, the Philippines, Cuba and Senegal, who had been awarded scholarships by Unesco to enable them to take part in the Conference.

Mgr. Cardijn spoke on “The Mission of the YCW in Europe.” M. Delcourt, research officer of the French Christian Trades Unions, spoke on the Schuman Plan, calling for a closer study of the status of the young miner and steel worker. But, as Pat Keegan, the president of the conference, said : “The basis of a United Europe cannot be just a united economy. Unity must be based on a cultural and spiritual unity, which in turn must be based on an educated, alert citizenry.”

The conference is due to meet again, in 1955, in Austria, at the invitation of the Austrian YCW. In the meantime, to promote greater unity between the national movements, the International Committee was asked to organize exchanges of national and regional leaders, to assist in arranging study weeks between groups of two or three countries speaking the same languages, and to extend its work as a clearing-house for the exchange of information, results of enquiries and experiences and new initiatives. The national YCW’s were also asked to collaborate with the International in compiling a report on the religious life of the young workers of their countries. Nor were those present allowed to forget their responsibilities to the rest of the world. Mgr. Cardijn and Pat Keegan referred constantly to their visits to India, Ceylon, the Philippines and the Belgian Congo, and to the missionary needs of the Church in those lands. These needs were emphasized by the presence of the Unesco scholars and of priests from Ceylon and Mauritius. In response to requests frOm Bishops, the established YCW’s of Europe were asked to recruit from amongst their experienced leaders who would go out to the rapidly industrializing mission fields in the East, in Africa and in South America.


The Tablet, 19 September 1953