CATHOLIC HERALD CORRESPONDENT "'HELP the young workers '`-"" of the poor countries overseas. They are your brothers and sisters". Mgr. Josef Cardijn, founder of the Young Christian Workers movement, made this appeal at a vast rally at Belle Vue, Manchester. on Sunday, when more than 5,000 youngsters and chaplains gave him a welcome which might have startled Cliff Richard.
"When I visit young people in Asia, Africa and South America, they ask me: 'Are the young workers in Europe thinking about us? Will they help us?" said Mgr. Cardijn.
He called upon YCW members in Britain to increase their knowledge of the underdeveloped lands and of the needs existing there, and to word out ways and means of giving practical help.
"This," he declared, "is the great mission of the world YCW for 1962."
Representatives of YCW sections in many parts of the country stepped on to the flower-decked platform in the Kings Hall, Belle Vue, to present their founder with spiritual bouquets and other gifts for his 80th birthday, which he is to celebrate soon. A group from Bootle ran the 37 miles to Manchester in relays to bring their gift, which was handed to Mgr. Cardijn on the platform by a lad in running kit.
Bishop Beck of Salford, who presided at the rally, read a letter from Cardinal Cicognani, the Papal Secretary of State, which said: "In his encyclical Mater et Magistra, the Holy Father pointed out the important role of the apostolate and the efforts to Christianise contemporary society. He is greatly consoled. therefore, to learn of the meritorious work being accomplished by the Young Christian Workers of England and Wales. and it is his earnest hope that ever greater numbers of his children will dedicate themselves generously to this praiseworthy form of epostolate."
The Pope sent his blessing to the rally.
Miss Mary Goggins, YCW National Secretary. and Herb Elliot. the world champion miler, also spoke.
SHOULD the Y.C.W. welcome Protestant members? I put this question to Mgr. Cardijn after the rally. And he replied: I certainly think so, provided that the Bishop has given his approval. I think that we should co-operate as much as possible with other Christians.
In missionary countries, he pointed out, even Muslims and Buddhists and other non-Christians have been allowed to join. "In Africa the YCW is expanding all the time, at a great rate," he added.
In fact, a number of Protestants are active YCW members, both in London and in the north. At least one Protestant clergyman was present at the rally on Sunday.
Mgr. Cardijn recalled that he had first visited Manchester in 1909 or 1910. As a student, he came from Louvain to gain knowledge of trade unions, co-operatives, and other working-class movements in the area.