THE All-London Young Christian Workers' rally, held at St. Pancras Town Hall, North West London, on the Feast of Christ the King, was one of the biggest annual meethigs ever organised by the Y.C.W. in London.
Every seat was taken. and hundreds were standing in the galleries and down the side aisles of the hall.
It was a tonic, said Cardinal Godfrey in his address. to see such enthusiasm for Catholic action, among such a youthful gathering. The movement's initials Y.C.W. could well mean "You Can Win."
A novel start to the rally was provided by three sketches performed on the stage to show the problems facing the young Londoner (I) At work. (2) At play. (3) At home.
In the first sketch, a young electrician at work did some self questioning on "What does Being a Christian worker mean?"
In the second sketch (a coffee bar setting) a boy and girl were having a heart to heart talk about their leisure time: "How can the young worker get the most out of his spare time without drifting?" The third sketch showed a young married girl in her kitchen, thinking aloud on the vocation of marriage: "Is married life anything mare than two people just living together?"
Douglas Fairlie, a 22-year-old Y.C.W. member, gave a commentary on the problems discussed in each sketch: Each and every young worker has a vocation and a dignity. No one has the right to take that away. If the young worker is to develop his personality, he must have definite ideas on how to spend his after-work hours. Marriage requires extensive preparation, such as that obtainable through Y.C.W. study days and discussions.
The chairman of the rally was a young designer and draftsman, Terry Smith. He said that one of the greatest problems facing young workers in London was the lack of community life. For many young workers, the only community life was "with the gang". Members of the Young Christian Workers' movement must see in these gangs an opportunity: Here were units of young workers which could, with guidance and encouragement, help to build a better, cleaner world, instead of helping to corrupt it.
"Last year," be said, "the older members of the Young Christian Workers began a campaign to foster happy marriages. Courting couples were encouraged to meet in groups so that problems could be shared and discussed. The responsibility of building a home and preparing spiritually for marriage was emphasised."
The Y.C.W. had also carried out a survey of apprenticeship schemes, he said, taking action on a local and national level in order to improve the situation of apprentices, The need for a united effort to relieve the plight of the refugees in this, the World Refugee Year, was emphasised at the rally, and copies of "Onslaught", the magazine published by the World Refugee Council of Gt. Britain, were on sale.
A collection for Y.C.W. funds during the rally raised £49.
Among the civic dignitaries who attended the meeting were the Mayor and Mayoress of Poplar, Southwark and Finsbury; the Deputy Mayor and Mayoress of St. Pancras, Mrs. Margaret Lipton, M.P. for Brixton; Aid, Chile, M.P. for Finsbury; and several members of the London County Council.
A special welcome was extended to a Y.C.W. regional leader from Holland, who had come over specially for the London rally, and to the St. Helen's Choir (all Y.C.W. members) who had come down from Lancashire for the Young Christian Workers Dialogue Mass televised from the Church cg Notre Dame, Leicester Square, London, that morning.