believes in personal contact
"PTO approach lads from the sociological angle is to make a mistake," writes Gerard McLindon, of the St. Cecilia's L.O.M.
Praesidium, Liverpool. " We asked them all if they were interested in social questions, and we found that not half-a-dozen out of two hundred were even slightly interested."
This, says Gerard, was on a recent canvass of the parish when Legionaries got every boy in the parish to put down in writing what his interests were.
" The best approach is personal contact," he goes on, " and then when you have them interested in the youth apostolatc in general you can begin to interest them in social questions. But 'our priest is always insisting that the first aim of the Legion of Mary is our own holiness, and that if we look htter that enthusiastically all the rest will follow."
The above is also the opinion of a big number of workers for youth I have spoken with, and roughly it amounts to this: that you won't make is good job of running a junior C.S.G. study circle, apart from in seminaries, and certain colleges and convents. Gerard's argument is particularly sound, too, in insisting on what is the excellent characteristic of the L.O.M., namely, that as a Catholic Action organisation, it puts first things first, which means that personal sanctification is the members' number one concern.
This, I've noticed recently, is not the case with quite a number of other youth activities of ours, and it seems to me that we've got to pull our spiritual socks up if we want to make a success of the N.C.Y.A.
" SACRISTIFIED " On the other hand, I'm not suggesting that our boys should become " sacristified," to borrow Fr. Vincent
Rochford*s famous expression. nor that they shouldn't put all their zeal and energy into that particular active apostolate that as a means to achieving their personal sanctification the L.O.M. eatrusts them with. Our Youth Movement, like the gem with the numerous facets, has fortunately (and should continue to have. I think) a variety of organisations with different methods and catering for a variety of youth, many of whom are indifferent. Those in the last category are a tough problem, and any suggestion you make that you're concerned with their personal sanctification will quickly get you retiring with your tail between your legs !
Looks to me like the best way ivith the tough ones is a lasso from a distance with a fairly wide noose. no tightening up for a time, and then gently reining in. Your lasso is, of course, your intimate circle of the ilfte, front whom you send out a Leader right to where your quarry is; he stays with him all the time, but there is no immediate pressure brought to bear on hint. That conies in due course. Incidentally, the one holding the lasso is our Lord, Who will do the pulling when the time's ripe.
YOUTH TO CONQUER YOUTH What enthuses me is seeing the results of the miracle worked by Pius
XI when lie sent youth out to conquer youth. Was there ever an adventure more romantic offered to ardent hearts? Was there ever a more enthusiastic response than that seen in all
the L.O.M.s, Y.C.W.s, Grails, Squires, and the rest, that have shot up and blossomed in the last two decades'?
l'nf doing my little bit to attract attention to the work of the N.A.B.C., whose executives have shown themselves ever ready to co-operate with our youth workers. 1 know none of you are bad-minded enough to think I'm a shareholder in this organisation, but really, I'm only voicing the opinions of several priests in talking well of the N.A.B.C. Incidentally, a correspondent has written to say how glad he was to read the story of some Islington boys I published recently who had attended a course in Club Leadership held in London some time back. The course in question was arranged by the London Federation of Boys' Clubs in conjunction with the N.A.B.C. Since its formation, over fifty years ago, the aim of the London Federation has been to consolidate and extend the work of boys' clubs in London. Its headquarters are at 222, Blackfriars Road, Southwark, S.E.1, and London clubs affiliated to the L.F.B.C. become also members of the N.A.B.C.