A campaign to shorten the Eucharistic fast

Today, we present a historic document from the IYCW dated 1 March 1962 in which the International Secretariat wrote to national movements asking them to study the issue of the length of the Eucharistic fast.

For many years already, the Belgian JOC had been campaigning for a reduction in the length of this fast so that young workers would not be forced to go to work without breakfast.

Now the IYCW was encouraging its member movements to contact their bishops and even write to the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Sacraments.

As we all know now, this campaign in which the YCW was not alone was ultimately very successful.

And we also note poignantly that one of the signatories of the letter was IYCW vice-president Betty Villa from the Philippines who died just a few days ago on 13 May 2023 at the age of 96.

RIP and thanks for everything, Betty.

March 1st, 1962



Dear President, Dear Chaplain,

Dear Friend,

On a number of occasions, during trips or meetings, we have noted that in numerous countries the present discipline governing the Eucharistic Fast keeps many workers away from Communion.

There is no doubt that the Ecumenical Council, which opens October 11th, will make a thorough study of this aspect of the canon law of the Church, with the thought of allowing all men easier access to the Sacraments.

May we suggest, therefore, that you study without delay, just what form this problem takes amongst the young workers of your country, particularly those who, through Catholic Action, have come to discover the meaning of the Eucharist and who wish to partake of it more frequently.

If you believe that a reduction in the duration of the Eucharistic Fast would be advantageous, we ask that you speak of it to your local Hierarchy, and that you write a letter to the Preparatory Pontifical Commission on the Discipline of the Sacraments.

As a model, we are attaching the text of the request submitted by the YCW of Belgium.

We believe that a reduction in the duration of the Eucharistic Fast would be of benefit to the workers of the world.

Yours fraternally in Christ,

Permanent Committee of the International YCW

Denyse Gauthier


Secretary General

Betty Villa Vice-President

Norbert Balle Secretary General

Joseph Cardijn General Chaplain

M. Uylenbroeck Assistant

General Chaplain

Bartolo Perez



Reducing the length of the Eucharistic fast (Cardijn@Vatican II Blog)