Young Christian Workers (YCW)

What is the YCW?

The YCW is a movement of young people, young men and women, who are at work, in study-work situations, unemployed or in short term, insecure or casual work.

The aim of the YCW 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 develop as Christian leaders who will take an active role in society and in the Church.

The YCW seeks to enable young people to be active collaborators with God in the work of building the new world of His Kingdom of which the Church is a visible sign. The particular way in which the YCW works to fulfil its main purpose is to call young people and train them to be leaders in their daily lives amongst their friends, fellow workers, neighbours and family. So they become militants and apostles for the sake of the Kingdom.”

Who runs the YCW?

The YCW is organised and run at every level (local, regional, national and international) by young people themselves: “among them, by them, for them”. The young people themselves decide their programme of action after reflecting on the reality and conditions of those around them.

They are supported by adult companions/chaplains (priests, deacons, sisters, lay adults) who accompany the young people at all levels of the organisation.

What does the YCW do?

The YCW engages young people in a process of personal transformation and the transformation of the situations and conditions which affect them in their every day lives.

The YCW promotes the analysis of the realities of life, gospel based reflection and appropriate action in every aspect of daily life (work, apprenticeship, vocational training, neighbourhood, family etc) and an outgoing care and concern for those around them.

The members follow a structured reflection method: “SEE, JUDGE, ACT” through which they are able to consider more clearly the experiences of their daily life and that of their friends and identify the causes and consequences within a wider context. Then drawing on the inspiration and guidance of the Gospel message they commit themselves to practical actions among and with their fellow workers which will bear witness to the Kingdom of justice, peace and love.

This process enables young workers to recognise the God given value and dignity they have as sons and daughters of God. It helps them to discover their responsibility and vocation as Christians in society and in the Church and to become aware of their abilities and power to change situations of injustice for themselves and their friends.

The YCW brings young people together into small groups (usually 6-10 people) to help them answer their own needs and those of other young people through action. This action may be taken by an individual member in his/her place of work, in the family or with friends or the group may take collective action to change a particular situation for example by campaigning for the Rights of young people, working for better facilities at work and in the community. All actions are taken with an aim to serve, educate and represent young people.

One important tool of collective work is the Action Campaign. In each country, a campaign theme is decided by the young people (eg. The Right to work, leisure time, unemployment, health and safety, family life, citizenship, AIDS awareness, addiction, religious diversity) and the various groups take part. It is an opportunity to raise awareness of the issue among others and to consider an issue more deeply in the light of Christian faith and Church teaching. It is a means also of formation in leadership reinforcing the pattern of awareness, reflection, action and evaluation.

Through regional and national formation sessions young people are helped to develop this reflection and action into a long term capacity for adult social engagement and responsible Christian citizenship.