Young Christian Workers

Young Christian Workers


The Young Christian Workers is a Roman Catholic movement that begun in Belgium in 1912 by Father (later Cardinal) Joseph Cardijn. The movement attempts to train workers to evangelize and to help them adjust to the work atmosphere in offices and factories. Organized on a national basis in 1925, Cardijn’s groups were approved by the Belgian bishops and had the support of Pope Pius XI.

The organization was innovative, however, in that the apostolic activity was the effort of workers rather than of the clergy. In their attempt to bring Christian principles to their work situations, the workers made use of the formula see-judge-act. Members in French-speaking areas have traditionally been called Jocists, from Jeunesse Ouvrière Chrétienne. Using the same organizational and methodological principles, Cardijn organized similar groups of young farmers, students, and married couples.

In the late 20th century the organization was known in some areas as the Young Christian Movement. The aim of the movement is to help young workers reflect and take action themselves in order to gain freedom from what prevents them living with dignity and to bear witness to the presence of God and His plan in Jesus Christ within the world of working youth. For this purpose it helps young people to develop as christian leaders who will take an active role in society and in the Church.

In Zimbabwe the Young Christian Students’ and Young Christian Workers’ movement in the 1970’s did invaluable work in tackling the authoritarianism and injustices committed at workplaces and schools.