Founding of Great Youth Movement Recalled
EVEN THE MOST OPTIMISTIC FORECASTS OF THE FATE OF Frenchmen and their Catholic activities in occupied territory and under Government ruling by allowance of Nazi Germany leave room for grave doubts as the continued freedom of such movements as the kunesse Ouvriere Cat holique.
And that is how the famous Jocist movement of France, which when the war began comprised 1,300 sections, took root in a country which saw in its amazing growth the hand of Divine Providence.
An article in the July-August issue of " The Young Christian Worker " magazine, goes on to describe the rapid strides made since the first meeting at Clichy. In 1928 the French workers held their first study week and National Congress when over 3,000 young people attended. As fruit of careful training of leaders and solid organisation, it was possible to hold the Regional Study Week in various parts of France in 1936, which most of the leaders of the movement attended.
£2,000 A YEAR BUDGET In that same year the French Jocists were administering a vast and intricate organisation with an annual budget of over £20,000 a year, having set on foot an admirable service for sick young workers with over 50 sections in various sanatoria, and another service for the unemployed which has given help for thousands of young workers.
They presented a petition signed by 20,000 unemployed to the International Labour Conference in Geneva, and organtsed national campaigns for safety at work, better wages, the organisation of leisure, etc.
" Ten years after its foundation," says the writer of the article quoted, " the Jocists decided to celebrate the event by a great Congress in Paris. No effort was spared to make it a tremendous success. Over 85,000
working lads and girls took part in the celebrations. In =all its long history, Paris had never seen such a vast gathering of youth. The Paris Wembley Stadium,' the Parc des Princes, was hardly large enough to contain all the young people who flocked to take part in the Congress events, the unforgettable ' Night Festival.' and especially the Congress Mass, celebrated by a former young worker."
THE ROME CONGRESS
In 1939, but for the war, 10,000 French Joeist pilgrims would have gathered before the Pope in Rome in a great congress of youth, " now all seems lost," continues the writer. " France has been over-run by the forces of evil, arid their triumph has swept away nearly all the material signs of the achievements of our French brothers. Tbeit Headquarters is in enemy hands, and many of their finest leaders most have lost their lives in the heroic defence of their native land." Yet "tif faith is to be victorious, and if the achievementTheists of the stands out in the modern world as an example of what free men can do when inspired by Christian Charity, then we may set realised in God's good time the prophecy of Cardinal Ver. dicr, who said : " I am confident that this monument wilt save France."
It is now learnt, under the direction of the Rev. E. Langdale, Ecclesiastical Assistant of the Y.C.W. in the Archdiocese of Westminster, a boys section of the movement has been formed among the Belgian refugees housed at the Catholic Club. Vauxhall Bridge Road, S.W.
A dozen boys attended the initial meeting held last week, led by Gerard Rugge, aged 15, who spent a 6-months' probation period among the Jocists in his country, and who is well-trained in the Y.C.W. ideas. Rugge is anxious to communicate with other Belgian and French boys in the country desirous of forming sections.