1965: Pietralata Message

Message of the bishops who celebrated mass by Cardijn at St Michael Archangel Church at Pietralata on 17 November 1965.

[W]e met together as several bishops – former jocist chaplains, representing some sixty Council Fathers from five continents, gathered around Cardinal CARDIJN in the Church of St Michael, the worker parish of Pietralata in the suburbs of Rome, for a Eucharistic concelebration in thanksgiving for the forty years of apostolic action of the YCW.

Having shared the toil of the bishops of the whole world during the Second Vatican Council, we now address ourselves with confidence to them in order to associate them with our joy and to express our pastoral hopes. Our joy, as jocist chaplains, is to have discovered the extent to which lay people are keen to understand their own proper role in the world as sons and daughters of the Church and how much they wish to show themselves capable of assuming their apostolic responsibilities among their brothers and sisters.

Our hope is that all our brothers in the episcopate will become increasingly conscious of the possibilities of the laity, and in particular the worker laity, who are the hope of the Church at the heart of the world today.

* * *

The popular milieu of the cities and the countryside in effect comprise the great majority of the world’s population.

It would be vain to insist on the special attention merited by their conditions of life (low salaries, unemployment, malnutrition, illiteracy, housing) and the problems posed by urban concentrations, migrations from the rural and worker world, the difficulties specific to girls and young women, as well as the uncertainties of young people facing their future.

What we can attest is that, humble as it may be, the action of  these workers, both young and adult, take to deal with these situations and to attempt to resolve them, through the testimony of their love, gives their working brothers and sisters access to the revelation of Christ, and, through the spread of their example, open the path of Salvation to them.

This is the specific and unceasingly renewed experience of the genuine YCW in every continent.

We wish to express our conviction to all our brothers in the episcopate that, by offering the decisive support that many of them have had the opportunity of providing to the implantation of the movement in their dioceses, we dare to think that the exercise of a living collegiality will ensure its expansion, as well as that of all the movements devoted to the promotion of an apostolic laity in the midst of popular milieux. 

The most immediate fruit of this will be to ensure that all grassroots militants and leadership levels have access to the assistance of chaplains that they require for their apostolic formation and their perseverance in action.

Confident in the welcome that you will give to our testimony, we remain…


AGR, Archives Cardijn, N° 1629

Pietralata Message (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)


Chiesa di San Michele Arcangelo a Pietralata / Marten253 / Wikipedia / CC BY SA 3.0