International Coordination of Young Christian Workers


International Coordination of Young Christian Workers



The Young Christian Workers (YCW) was founded in Belgium in 1925 at the initiative of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn who was then a young priest. The experience of this group of young working men and women led by him rapidly spread to many other countries in all five continents, and in 1957 International Young Christian Workers was officially established. YCW is a learn-by-doing movement, based on the "see, judge, act" method, and works to protect the dignity, due to all sons and daughters of God, of young workers and unemployed men and women, living in situations of exclusion, exploitation and repression. Following a radical internal crisis which sadly split the movement, in 1987 at the World Council of national YCW movements held at Frascati (Rome), the ICYCW was founded. The purpose of this new structure is to coordinate and support the work of the national movements in their evangelisation of young workers, faithful to the thinking of Joseph Cardijn. Previously recognised by the Holy See, the ICYCW was confirmed as an International Association of the Faithful by the Pontifical Council for the Laity’s decree of 13 November 2004.

The identity of ICYCW is defined by the aims shared by all the YCW movements: showing young people that genuine freedom and happiness are to be found in the truth of the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the gift of the Holy Spirit, and to urge them to work for true liberation by bearing witness to the presence of God in the labour world. The YCW serves young manual and office workers, student workers, the unemployed or precariously employed, of both sexes. According to Cardijn’s intuition of a movement "of young people, by young people and for young people", all the organisational aspects are handled by the young members themselves. It provides a continuing learning process in which they reflect and organise specific actions designed to bring about change. The experience in educating and giving responsibilities to its membership provided by the YCW through the "revision of life" covers every dimension of human existence, aimed ultimately at leading young people to commit themselves actively as workers and believers.

As a coordination structure ICYCW respects the organisational and operational autonomy of the national member movements committed to meeting the specific needs and operating in the particular living and working situations of young workers in their countries. The national movements, created by the federations, dioceses or zones which comprise the grassroots groups living in parishes and neighbourhoods, hold periodic meetings where necessary and possible, giving rise to continental or regional Coordinations. The decision-making body of the ICYCW is the International Council which convenes every four years, and to which all the member movements, associations or partners are invited. The International Secretariat serves the national movements, and comprises four officials elected by them, accompanied by an Ecclesiastical Assistant. The Secretariat facilitates exchange of information, teaching aids, staff and experience between the movements; it helps to provide training for officials and accompanying persons; it works to spread the YCW worldwide; it supports and coordinates development activities; it speaks out on behalf of the life, experience and problems of young workers at the international level.

ICYCW comprises 61 member, associate and partner movements in 61 countries as follows: Africa (27), Asia (8), Europe (11), Middle East (4), and South America (11).

Nouvelles, a six-month information bulletin; Jeunesse sans Frontières, published three times a year; Aumôniers, a six monthly magazine which is also used  for teaching purposes.


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