The Vocation of the Laity

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					                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     December 2007

                     The Vocation of the Laity
                          – from the writings of Joseph Cardijn
Each Christian, each Catholic, by           essential nature of a vocation is that            charity in all the acts of our life. We
his baptism, must be an apostle and         it comes from God. It is a call from              bear witness to Christ in all the actions
a missionary – he has an apostolic          God addressed to a soul, giving it to             of the day, witness to his charity and
                                                                                                                                              Joseph Cardijn in his wisdom often said           At the heart of our charism as the YCW          subscribers. Accompanier as suggested in
and missionary vocation. Each one           understand what God expects. The word             generosity, to his desire to save men.          that we are always at the beginning. In           is the Truth of Method, designed to equip       its title, is a supplement publication for the
is called by God to existence, to life      ‘vocation’ is the Latin for ‘call’, and by                                                        order to stay relevant, to read the signs of      us to respond to God revealing Godself          support and on-going formation of those
and to a collaboration in his creative      a vocation God calls someone. The                 The purpose of a vocation is eternal            the times, we need to be open to adaptation,      in the midst of our daily reality. Seeing,      in the Movement who accompany our
and redemptive work. The earthly            fulfilment of a vocation is humanity’s            as well as divine. … The temporal               to change and to be changed. If we are not        judging and acting is a spirituality rooted     young people. The YCW is designed for the
vocation is an apostolic and missionary     answer to this call from God.                     purpose is only a means, necessary as           open to this process of rebirth, of creativity,   in the Christian understanding of God           young people within the Movement and
vocation…                                                                                     it is, to the eternal end. Thus a worker        of recommitment then the danger is we             truly incarnated into our reality, i.e. God     will be their vehicle for sharing news and
                                                                                              must defend, help, protect the workers;         stagnate and fail to grow as individuals and      alongside us, in the mess, chaos, beauty        opinions.
Workers must know what is their                                                               but the purpose of his life is not to give      as a community. Beginning again, being            and struggle of human existence. If we take
                                                                                                                                                                                                this spirituality seriously we cannot but be    Another change has been in the editorship
vocation. They have a divine vocation,                                                        them more money or more free time.                                 “we are always at                                                              team. I have agreed to take on the editorship
                                                                                                                                                                                                changed by this process of discernment, of
a mission which no one else can fulfil.                                                       He is not labouring to obtain them a                                                                                                              of Real Life and Accompanier together with
                                                                                                                                                                   the beginning”               challenge, of daily recommitment to be a
Without that mission, the work of                                                             few years of material well-being on                                                               disciple of Christ, someone who is called       Patricia Hardcastle Kelly, who generously
creation and redemption cannot be                                                             earth, but an eternity of happiness in          open to change, is often challenging and          to bring the Gospel into the midst of our       has given much of her time and skill already.
completed. … That is why the poorest                                                          heaven. If he is an apostle, such is the        scary because it means going out of our           daily lives. It is our tool to keep relevant,   Many thanks go to her for her energy and
of workers can be called by God to                                                            revolution he desires.                          comfort zones and risking something new,          to keep real, to keep reforming our Church      enthusiasm. I am aware that I am following
                                                                                                                                              perhaps alien or different. In John’s Gospel                                                      in the esteemed footsteps of Fr. Brendan
become a pope, a bishop, a priest,                                                                                                                                                              and world, so slowly the Reign of God is
                                                                                                                                              Jesus says, ‘I tell you most solemnly, unless     revealed in and through us to others. So, in    Hoban, who gave a considerable amount
a monk, a missionary, a saviour of                                                                                 Challenge to Action
                                                                                                                                              a wheat grain falls on the ground and dies,                                                       of his time and energy to the re-launch
humanity, because each has, without                                                                                                           it remains only a single grain’ (Jn 12:24).                                                       and collation of Real Life in recent years.
                                                                                                                                                                                                   “Seeing, judging and acting
exception, a divine vocation.                                                                 Reflections                                     Just as nature has a circular pattern of death
                                                                                                                                                                                                   is a spirituality rooted in the
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                I would like to offer my personal thanks
                                                                                                                  Continued from page 3       and regeneration, so Jesus reminds us, we                                                         to Fr. Brendan for all his hard work and
The worker has a divine vocation in his                                                                                                       need to go through the same process of                 Christian understanding of                 dedication to this project.
work. It is work that must continue                                                           Our society is all about fast everything and    renewal and growth. Theologians remind                      God truly incarnated”
God’s act of creation, make use of the                                                        taking the time out for this reflection can     the Church of the necessity of ecclesia                                                                 “the YCW has something
                                                                                              seem strange. Maybe that is why although        semper reformanda or a Church always              a sense if our Review of Life is working,          relevant and vibrant to offer
creation, discover all the riches within    God calls everyone without exception.
                                                                                              it is sometimes the difficult part it is also   ready to reform itself, to recommit itself,       each time we meet, we continue to be                        our young people”
creation, and place them at the disposal    Each human person, however poor or
                                                                                              the most valuable for making sense of           according to the signs of the times, to more      renewed as individuals, as a Movement,
of humanity, in order that it may attain    humble he may be, is called by God.                                                                                                                 and as a Church because we should not be        I realise that this edition will mean a
                                                                                              what is really going on.                        effectively evangelise and sanctify our
its destiny. Without work there is          Because the greater part of humanity                                                                                                                exactly the same person at the start of the     considerable change in format, but I hope
                                                                                                                                              world.
nothing, neither moral, intellectual,       does not hear this call, God has sent his         So if you could give me any                                                                       meeting as at the end. Hopefully we have        it will be found to meet the various needs
or religious. Without work there is         only Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, to make                                                          However, just as nature has evolved its           been challenged to think about something        of its readership. I would really appreciate
                                                                                              advice as a worker new to YCW
no Host, not a single drop of wine to       them listen. For that reason he was                                                               own patterns of regeneration and growth           differently, to act differently, to recommit    your suggestions as to what you would like
                                                                                              what would it be?                               through centuries of development, so the
consecrate, no altar stone, no vestments,   willing to die for them. Unceasingly                                                                                                                ourselves in the struggle for justice, to       to see covered in Real Life/Accompanier,
                                                                                              To remember that it is about empowering         Church has throughout history developed
no Church. Without work there is no         he goes on calling all.                                                                                                                             see God anew in the midst of our shared         as well as articles and testimonies. It can
                                                                                              Christian leaders in life. Leadership           its tradition based on the sure foundations
religion. There is no kingdom of God                                                                                                                                                            experiences. To begin again.                    be a struggle to find material to fill the
                                                                                              training for both the adult companions and      of the revelation of God’s love made                                                              publication, so we would love to hear from
without work, and therefore work must       This call of God is for a life. Our Lord          young people is essential. Always give          present in the person of Jesus Christ. The        Thus it is with this publication. A new         you, and the experiences and wisdom you
be respected and treated with dignity,      asks our life of us. He asks us to give           tasks to bring out an individual’s skill base   message of the Gospel is unchanging, what         beginning, but firmly rooted in the             can share with the rest of the Movement.
honour and justice.                         it by transforming it into his: ‘it is no         and empower the adult companions to do          changes is how the Church makes this              traditions that have gone before, to attempt
                                            longer I, but Christ living in me’ (Gal           this as well.                                   message relevant to people of different           to make Real Life relevant to its readership    New beginnings offer fresh challenges.
The mystery of vocation is so profound      2:20). Thus a vocation transforms and                                                             ages, cultures and experiences. The Word          and practical in its support of the YCW         The YCW is entering a new and exciting
                                                                                              Never worry about numbers either, YCW           of God is alive and active, it is as dynamic      Movement. The change to the format is           phase with the launch of our national
and important a truth that we cannot        consecrates the whole life of those who
                                                                                              is not a numbers game, it’s about forming       as the God who continues to inspire and           pragmatic, in trying to ensure the most         project, Leading Life. We know that the
understand it with our unaided reason.      are called and who answer the call by             young leaders to live and engage with life      reveal Godself in the lives of individuals,       economical means of production, to help         YCW has something relevant and vibrant
We have to meditate on it. The Holy         allowing the life of Christ to grow in            in a Christian way. Keep a journal on the       and the Church community as a whole. As           ensure the editorship team have enough          to offer our young people within the
Spirit must enlighten us as to its          them.                                             positives that you have achieved each day       disciples of Jesus we are called to respond       time to plan, collate and produce a regular     Church community and beyond it. Let’s
meaning, which is eternal, divine and                                                         (no matter how small). Always reflect,                                                                                                            unite in solidarity, within prayer, within
                                                                                                                                              to this active, alive God who plants Godself      publication, and to meet the needs of the
decisive for the world.                     The call demands also that we should              because this is where growth comes              in the midst of our daily lives. This means       various people within the Movement              action, to work together for the future of
                                            be witnesses to Christ. We must bear              from, remember that we are always given         recognising God revealed to us in our daily       who find it of value. Thus Real Life has        the Movement within England and Wales.
A vocation is not enthusiasm or             witness to Christ, not by words only,             challenges for a reason and be patient          lives, in the midst of our friendships, our       given birth, so to speak, to two offshoots:     We have a word in Italian, coraggio, a word
sentiment, any more than it is a need       not by some deeds only, but by the                with yourself. And finally, pray and don’t      work, our family life, and our leisure time.      Accompanier and The YCW. Real Life will         often used by Pope Paul VI to encourage
to give and dedicate oneself. … The         whole of our life, by our generosity and          worry!                                          What is this alive, dynamic God calling us        continue to be a mixture of articles and        and fire up those to whom he addressed.
                                                                                                                                              to do today? How can we be disciples of           testimonies from current YCW members            It means more than the literal translation
                                                    Real Life - The Journal of the Young Christian Workers                                    Jesus today, in this time and moment? How         and Adult Companions/Chaplains, news            ‘courage’. It means stand up, be proud,
                                                    Editors: Fr Geoff Munnery and Patricia Hardcastle Kelly                                                                                                                                     persevere, go for it! Let us have this sense
                                                                                                                                              can we bring the changeless values of the         items informing the membership of current
                                         YCW & Impact, St Joseph’s, off St Jospeh’s Grove, Henodn, London. NW4 4TY                            Gospel into the fast-moving and changing          events, and archive articles reminding          of mission as YCWs present and past, not
                                       020 8203 6290 info@ycwimpact.com www.ycwimpact.com Reg Charity: 306149                                 cultures that we find ourselves in, and make      us of the rich vein of teaching of Joseph       to fear change, but to embrace it.
                                                                                                                                              it relevant, fresh, and alive?                    Cardijn. This will be distributed to all                                           Fr Geoff
Introducing the Editors
                                                                                                                                                               Reflections of a President
                                                 Fr John was kind and patient about the           schoolwork, depending on our status and
                                                 ‘translations’ I sent back, which often had      stage in life – is a fundamental part of
                                                 a lot of highlighted text marking what I had     our existence. ‘God said, “let us make
Fr Geoff Munnery
                                                 been unable to translate!                        man in our own image, in the likeness of
                                                                                                  ourselves”’ (Gen 1:24), and immediately         Anne Marie Johnson (nee Finnigan) is a          There were about ten of them and to my         helps me identify my role as a mum now.
                                                                                                  tells us to ‘“fill the earth and subdue it.”’   former YCW National President. Here,            mum’s horror they used to hang out of          In making sense of my situation as a wife
                                                 In March 2007, I went to Barcelona to
                                                                                                  (Gen 1:28) The Church Fathers, writing in       Sara Conway interviews her about her            our windows and have a cigarette during        and mum, I often think of offering God
                                                 interpret for the International Chaplains
                                                                                                  the first few centuries AD, remind us that      memories and experiences of her journey         the meetings. We met for over three years      all my ‘work, my hopes and struggles,
                                                 meeting: a fantastic, utterly exhausting
                                                                                                  we were created both to worship God, and to     before, during and after the YCW.               in my parents’ front room and these lads       my joys and sorrows’. Sometimes when I
                                                 week! My initial nerves weren’t helped by
                                                                                                  work, just as God did to complete creation                                                      became regular group members, much to          have had a hard week with the boys there
                                                 trying to interpret from the car radio as I
                                                                                                  (Gen 2:1). Jesus worked as a carpenter                                                          my amazement.                                  seem to be a lot of struggles! I believe
                                                 was driving to the airport, but I received a                                                     How did you get involved initially
                                                                                                  (Mk 6:3); Paul urges the Thessalonians to                                                                                                      my responsibility is the formation of my
                                                 warm welcome, particularly when I offered
                                                                                                  ‘attend to [their] business and earn [their]    with YCW?                                       When I reflect back now, YCW was really        children at this moment in time. Through
                                                 to help with the preparations, having
                                                                                                  living’ (1 Thess 4:11). Jesus’ parables use     It was through my Dad really. He had been       for guys like these I have mentioned. They     the method I have an opportunity to reflect
                                                 arrived a day early! The testimonies given
                                                                                                  images of everyday life, and especially         a YCW member himself during the 1960s           were in the workplace, unemployed, young       upon how much family time I have had
I am a priest of the Archdiocese of              by both chaplains and YCW members were
                                                                                                  work – the shepherd looking after his           and was a great supporter of it. As I and       people, taking positive action to change       the chance for in the last week. The skills
Southwark. I have been a priest now for          deeply humbling and moving, particularly
                                                                                                  flock, the housewife sweeping her house,        my siblings approached our teens, he was        their lives and the lives of others. I never   I learnt of reflection help me to make an
just over 10 years, serving in 2 parishes        those from the Philippines and Peru, which
                                                                                                  the farmer planting and reaping his crop…       convinced we needed to start up a new YCW       knew how many one-to-one chats my Dad          informed decision on what action to take. I
(Gravesend and Tooting) and currently            I was relieved not to be interpreting, as it’s
                                                                                                  Right from the beginning of the Church,         group for the young people in our area. I       (as our Adult Companion) used to have          am also fully aware of life around me, of the
as chaplain to Southwark Catholic Youth          difficult to interpret when you are choked
                                                                                                  day to day work was as important a part of      thought it sounded old even back then!          with them until his funeral 9 years ago. The   other mums in my community, taking time
Service. I have been involved with the           up. I talked a lot with the delegates from
                                                                                                  the Christian experience as daily prayer.       When we finally got something started it        same lads turned up to pay their respects      to see where there may be an opportunity
YCW for 11 years, acting as Regional             central Africa, where I was born and lived
                                                                                                                                                  was at Our Lady’s and English Martyrs in        and one in particular told the family that     for sharing experiences together and taking
Chaplain to Southwark for the majority of        until I was 10. Hearing first-hand the very
                                                                                                                                                  Urmston in 1983. I only went along to see       if had not have been for the group and my      action there.
that time, as well as assisting at a National    real struggle that most people in the world
                                                                                                                                                  what it was about and the rest is history!      dad listening to him, he would have been
level together with the other regional           face just to live a life of the most basic
                                                                                                                                                  There were about twenty of us in the end,       dead by now. Apparently he was thinking        So how has YCW changed your
chaplains. This year I was asked to assist       human dignity for which we are all created
                                                                                                                                                  and we all really enjoyed the local actions     of committing suicide and my Dad’s time        life?
Fr. Michael Jones in his role as National        really puts the relatively comfortable
                                                                                                                                                  and making a difference. There used to be a     and energy spent with him gave him hope        Unbelievably! It has changed the way
Chaplain to the Movement. I have been            existence that most of us in England &
                                                                                                                                                  strong regional presence and the President,     for life and for his future. They all agreed   I approach situations and reflect on
acting as sub-editor to Real Life since its      Wales enjoy into perspective. I was truly
                                                                                                                                                  Treasurer and Secretary from each group         that YCW, and particularly my Dad, had         decisions. I was at a friend’s 40th birthday
re-launch several years ago.                     inspired by what I saw, heard and learnt;
                                                                                                                                                  would meet together to discuss what issues      changed their lives.                           the other night and as I looked around the
                                                 impressed at the humble generosity of
                                                                                                                                                  were affecting their group. It soon became                                                     table I was sitting at, I realised that all 14
Patricia Hardcastle Kelly                        the chaplains and YCW members; deeply
                                                                                                                                                  clear that similar issues were arising within   There were many more key moments I             of us were friends through YCW! Not
I am 36, married, and live in North              moved by the testimonies and our prayer
                                                                                                                                                  regions and so the study day was born! A        experienced as an area worker for the          only that, but the genuine quality of the
Yorkshire. I work from home as a freelance       together.
                                                                                                                                                  regional study day was a chance to meet         YCW. I think it was when I saw the power       friendships was amazing. We all think in a
editor and translator, which is how I have                                                                                                        with other groups of young people and           the process has on young peoples’ lives        YCW way, we are open to unpacking ideas
recently come to know the YCW. Next year         In August I went to Paris to interpret for       On my journey I have been helped to value       have a whole day together to discuss key        that I was really touched. I remember a        and not narrow-minded. We all try to live
I hope to start a part-time PhD in theology,     the European YCW members meeting.                my work, my search for work, my study,          issues together (always followed by Mass        Drugs Awareness day that we held in the        out the YCW in our current situations and
studying the laity in the contemporary           The warm, genuine welcome from the               because my work is one of the two things        and a disco!).                                  Shrewsbury diocese. (All of our local          therefore are not selfish and always have
Church; one of my areas of focus will be         England & Wales delegation made the              I have been created to do – the other, of                                                       enquiries at the time identified drugs as a    time for others. In my darker moments it is
the ‘Cardijn movements’.                         weekend truly special, and I was once more       course, being to come close to God. While       Was there one pivotal moment where              key factor in the young peoples’ realities.)   these people that have reached out a hand
                                                 deeply inspired and impressed. Somehow,          I am sorry that I didn’t come across the        it all just clicked into place?                 We invited two young ex-heroin addicts         to me, without judging, it’s faith coming
With a degree in French and Music, I began       despite a lack of common languages               YCW when I was young enough to be a             There were many moments I think and             along to the day to talk to the young people   alive and active. The decisions we make
working in medical publishing, based in          (when interpreters weren’t available!),          member, I am humbled and privileged that        it is really difficult to identify just one.    about their reality, their experiences as      are reflected on in the light of faith. I still
Oxford, and then moved to the Bishops’           everyone managed to communicate and,             the National Team and Fr Geoff have the         Actually I do remember that after about a       an addict. Seeing these young men stand        belong to a review of life group myself and
Conference, based in London. I heard little      most importantly, laugh and joke together.       confidence in me to ask me to help with         year and a half of attending YCW at Our         up tall, amazed that so many people            this has supported me through the darker
or nothing about the YCW during that time        What really stands out for me is how             producing Real Life and Accompanier.            Lady’s, we decided that I would start up        wanted to hear their stories, and feeling      times too. My friends help me see the need
– what I did hear was usually accompanied        cheerful and enthusiastic everyone was                                                           my own group in my home parish as well.         valued and empowered by being given            for prayer and reflection in life. Through
by the rider that ‘it’s not well-known in this   – no matter how tired they were, how             The YCW still has something so precious         Unfortunately the priest thought we were        that responsibility was inspiring. I also      this process, we know that we have the
country’.                                        hard they had been working, whatever             to offer young people, whether they are         young communists and did not allow us to        remember a young person called Bernadette      confidence faith and power to change a
                                                 their home circumstances and personal            studying, seeking work, or working. The         use the church, so we began meeting in my       Phoenix (now a good personal friend). She      situation.
A couple of years ago, my husband and I          anxieties, everyone was unfailingly kind         belief that they are ‘worth more than all the   parents’ front room.                            was so shy when a parish priest identified
bumped into Fr John Marsland in Rome             to each other, and the meeting was full          gold in the world’; the ‘See-Judge-Act’,                                                        her as having potential to be president
– we had both known him when he was              of laughter and real joy in the risen Lord.      which helps them deal with their crises,                                                        of the group. When she began to attend         So what, if anything, did you find
                                                                                                                                                  There were just four of us for the first few
at the English College – and, over a glass       St Paul would be proud!                          small and large, which are an inevitable                                                        leaders’ training events and was asked to      difficult about the method of See-
                                                                                                                                                  weeks. I remember walking to the local
of wine, he told us about his work for the                                                        part of life; helping them to make a real,      shop one night and passing some lads I          speak at events I saw her grow and blossom     Judge-Act-Review?
ICYCW. Perhaps rashly, I offered to help         The fruits of these two meetings were            positive difference in their own lives,         knew from school (but never really spoke        in confidence and develop great skills as a    I think taking action is sometimes the
out pro bono if my skills would be any           professional and personal: suddenly what I       in the lives of their peers, and in their       to because they were too ‘hard’). These lads    group leader. The pride that she showed in     hardest part of the method. To be self-
use; Fr John’s eyes lit up and I have been       am translating makes sense; and I am glad        communities. Perhaps now more than              started saying ‘Is it true you are running      her group and the difference they had made     motivated to actually change something
helping on and off ever since, initially with    to offer my skills in whatever way they can      ever, in a world of unstable, poorly-paid       this Christian thing for young people…          to their community was wonderful to see        (especially in your own life) and to be able
the ICYCW and now with the YCW too.              best be used to help the YCW develop.            jobs which rarely use all their abilities,      YCW or something?’ I was terrified and          and a true transformation.                     to motivate young people at the same time
I really struggled to start with, translating                                                     and a lack of respect from society reflected    muttered yes, then told them it was at my                                                      is demanding.
minutes – so not full sentences – of meetings    Fr Geoff once said that he felt I had ‘found     back through a media which treats them          house and they could have tea and biscuits      How do you combine YCW into your
in an organisation I didn’t understand at        a little niche of happiness’ helping with the    with suspicion, they desperately need the       if they came along. I think they laughed. I     life now?                                      Also relating things to scripture and the
all – I wasn’t familiar with the ideas, so       YCW – and he is absolutely right! I am           hope and the help that the YCW can give         never expected to see them again, but sure      I think the See-Judge-Act-Review method        Gospel enquiries part of the method can be
often I might as well have been translating      convinced that our work – be it searching        them. So let’s give them all we can – they      enough the next week these lads arrived         is something I do subconsciously and           difficult. I think this is because we are so
Greek for all I understood of the original!      for employment, a paid job, studies or           deserve it!                                     with some friends and piled into the house!     automatically now. Seeing my reality           used to everything in life happening ‘now’.

				
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