New President of the YCW in England and Wales

The Young Christian Workers has officially welcomed its new President, Kate Wilkinson today. This follows her unanimous election at the 78th National Council of the YCW held back in April 2017.

Kate, 25, is a long-time member of the YCW having become involved in the movement when she was at high school. The President is a voluntary position, involving chairing the regular team meetings and annual National Council, representing the YCW at home and abroad, and coordinating the training and development programme. Alongside this new role, Kate works as a Chaplain at Carmel College, St Helens.

She takes over from Phil Callaghan, who has been President for the last 6 years. In recent years, Phil has overseen moving the YCW headquarters from London to Trafford Park in Greater Manchester, the largest industrial estate in Europe.

Commenting on the handover, Kate said: “The YCW has a proud history of encouraging young people to step up and take responsibility for the running and development of the movement. In this 80th year of the YCW in England and Wales, I am honoured to continue this. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the movement over those years, but in particular Phil who has led the YCW so well over the years. We have a growing number of members and groups, established our new HQ and an ambitious vision for the future. I look forward to the opportunity to continue this great work.”

Phil added: “Kate will be an excellent President. She knows and loves the YCW. I’d like to thank all those who have made my years as President so memorable and enjoyable, it has been a privilege.”

Today also marks the 50th anniversary of the death of Fr. Joseph Cardijn, who founded the YCW in Belgium in 1925 and was later to be made a Cardinal for his work with the movement. Cardijn visited Britain on a number of occasions, remarking that "it was the best retreat I made at the beginning of my priesthood." He was inspired by his talks with Trade Union leaders, clergy and of course, local workers.  

Later this year, the YCW will be celebrating their 80th year in England and Wales on 18th November 2017 from 3pm, with a Mass at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist in Salford, followed by a celebration in the Cathedral Assembly Room. All members, past and present, friends and supporters are welcome.

Local YCW Groups Meet Up

On Tuesday 4 July, YCW groups from Sandbach, Urmston and Trafford Park met at the National Headquarters.

They come together to share their experiences of what they do in their groups and also why they joined the YCW. Amelie led the introductions and split the group into three separate groups which gave time to share more about themselves and their groups. Also within their groups they participated in answering questions with the answers located around the HQ.

After the review of the questions the group were able to enjoy a BBQ that was prepared.

After the group had eaten, they came back together to discuss some scenarios ranging from refugees and homelessness to being grounded for something a younger sibling had done. The group had to order them as they thought was most unjust. This exercise led to a great in-depth group discussion on realities of today’s society.

Young Voter Turnout Surges!

Reports about voter turnout figures for the recent General Election show that younger people turned out to vote in record numbers on June 8th.

58% of 18-24 years old voted this time round, compared with 43% in 2015 and 44% in 2010. Overall turnout increased by 3% to 69%, which shows that although younger voters still turned out below average, the increase of 15% has significantly closed the gap. It is also worth noting that the turnout of people 70+ was 84%, so there is still a large divide across the generations. 

Before the election, the Bishops of England and Wales stressed the importance of engaging in our political system more widely, inspired by the message of Pope Francis in Evangelii Gaudium. They concluded with this prayer: "Lord grant us wisdom to act always with integrity, seeking the protection and flourishing of all, and building a society based on justice and peace."

Let us stay true to this message.

Pray for Manchester

YCW England and Wales would like to express its sorrow at the horrific bombing in Manchester last night. We send our condolences to all those who have lost loved ones and keep in our prayers all those who have died and those who are injured.

Whilst any attack like this is appalling, it is all the more shocking to see so many children and young people targeted in such as cruel way.

Within the YCW we regularly discuss the need for young people to have a meaningful and pleasant social life. It is an essential part of growing up and developing ourselves as active members of society.

These young people were simply enjoying their lives, their friendships, their families.

In response, The Bishop of Salford, John Arnold, has said that: “We must all commit to working together, to help the victims and their families and to build and strengthen our community solidarity.”

Cardinal Nichols has added: “May God grant strength and enduring faith to all who are bereaved, injured and traumatised. May God welcome into His merciful presence all who have died. May God turn the hearts of all who commit evil to a true understanding of His desire and intention for humanity.”

At this painful time, please take the time to comfort our young people and their families in love and prayer.

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Joseph Cardijn and Fatima

As the Catholic Church celebrates this month the 100 year anniversary of the Apparitions of Our Lady at Fatima, we recall the account of Joseph Cardijn from his visit there in 1953.

Cardijn speaks of how Fatima has a global importance, particularly for lay people in the church. He says: "This solemn consecration of the whole of humanity highlights the importance of the lay apostolate, an organised and adapted apostolate, without which the Church will never succeed in conquering the modern world for Christ, particularly the worker world, which is in the process of being born and developing in every continent and in every race on earth." 

The inspiration of the young people at the centre of the Apparition, reinforced Cardijn's view about the need to support the young find their place in the world, saying, "The YCW is not an accidental, accessory, arbitrary and secondary means in the pastoral ministry, in pastoral life. Young workers need and have a primordial right to understand their worker and Christian vocation in the Church, in their life and in their worker milieu of life."

"This apostolic formation and organisation of young workers is not easy. It requires not just perseverance but also support and mutual support among the priests who are responsible for it."

We continue to pray for our brothers and sisters in the YCW of Portugal, may Our Lady of Fatima keep their work going strong!

For more information, please find a full account here:

Make Sure Your Voice Is Heard

With the General Election coming up on the 8th June, it is essential that you are registered to vote.

The deadline for registration is 22nd May, less than 2 weeks away.

You can do so online here: (It should only take 5 mins)

The YCW believes it is vitally important for the voice of young people to be heard in the campaigns, manifestos and ultimately, the result. This means that the politicians and their parties should do their utmost to engage with young people, listen to their concerns and priorities and then show, through their actions, a willingness to respond.

But this also means young people taking the responsibility to get involved too.

Since the election was called, 390,00 young people have registered, which is fantastic. However, there will be many more who have not and will miss out on the opportunity to have their voice heard.

Pope Francis puts it simply: "A good Catholic meddles in politics, offering the best of themselves." Let's make sure we fulfil our calling to engage fully in public life and use our votes on June 8th.