Fr Jim Monaghan, parish priest of Port Augusta parish and vicar-general of Port Pirie Diocese as well as a longtime YCW and YCS chaplain, has kindly shared his intervention at the Australian Plenary Council with us.
Through working life, human beings cooperate with their Creator. Yet the reality for so many workers is a total contradiction of this sacred relationship.
Work should give life, friendship, skills, and spiritual fulfilment, and put food on the family table. But the workplace is becoming the province of idols. Money, competition, exploitation, and shameful indignities. The lowest paid workers saved us during C-19, but their conditions remain shabby and inadequate. The wealth of the few contradicts the common good. Some union leaders have been seduced by greed and ambition.
The organisation of work has become an obstacle to the life of faith. 12 hour shifts, 7 day rosters, FIFO jobs have eliminated weekends and affected the cohesion of families. How many fathers are now visitors among their own children? Where does the Lord’s Day fit? The loneliness and stress of work – a breeding ground for addictions.
Working people need missionary leaders from among themselves, to redeem the world of work. What do priests and bishops know of the workings of work? The answer is – nothing. We need men and women inspired by Mary the young worker and Joseph, who know the smell of the sheep. Workers can rediscover their eternal dignity as the daughters and sons of God.
The Review of Life Method of See, Judge and Act, originally formulated by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn and refined through the lives of countless worker leaders, forms leaders for the mission among the workers and their families.
Archbishop Fisher challenged us to Wake Up! Our Church has been asleep, in regard to the world of work. The devil has crept in under the cover of darkness. We need to form leaders with the heart and mind of Jesus so workers can be the Light of the World..
Jim Monaghan, The worker mission (Australian Cardijn Institute)