In 1953, Cardijn travelled toAsia for the first time, visiting India, Sri Lanka, then known as Ceylon, the Philippines and Japan.
These visits profoundly shocked him and gave him a new awareness of the challenges of world development.
In this article written on his return, he reflects on those problems and challenges.
At the end of a missionary trek
No trip has shocked me as much as my latest trip through India, Ceylon, the Philippines, Japan, Cuba and the United States.
The contrast between two worlds, one living in abundance and the other in misery;
The sight of these hundreds of millions of pagans abandoned in misery and destitution — without bread, without housing, without medical care against epidemics, without help for their intellectual and social development;
The encounter with hundreds of heroic missionaries, men and women, among whom Belgians form a legion of honor;
The threat of communism that hangs over the continent which contains more than half of the population of the world, which increases each year by twenty million inhabitants;
All these problems of evangelisation, assistance and culture which arise at the same time and which await an urgent solution provoke in the soul unspeakable anguish and anxiety.
The advances in technology and transport, the advance of industry, the birth of a worker proletariat, sprawling cities attracting millions of uprooted people are breeding grounds for the revolutions that are germinating in the Asian world.
This is the most decisive missionary hour in history for all Christians, priests, religious and laity. Are we sufficiently aware of this and are we sufficiently convinced of our duty to foster apostolic and missionary vocations commensurate with the needs of the world?
And wherever the YCW begins, wherever groups of young workers form and multiply; they are heroic in their faith and sublime in their hope, they are awaiting chaplains and teams of Jocist missionaries who will help them in their redemptive mission for the lifting up and salvation of their working brothers and sisters.
May our next International Week — a week of prayers, offerings of one hour of work, collections and meetings — be a first response from the Jocists of Belgium to their young brothers and young sisters in Asia! Whether it is the splendid start of a new stage of a more missionary YCW, that will be even more international in spirit, concerns as well as the responsibilities of our leaders and our members. This awakening of greater solidarity between races and between peoples is the only effective weapon against communism and the only guarantee of a world that will be more united in love and peace.
May Mary Most Holy, Patroness and Queen of missionaries, obtain for us from her divine Son that apostolic and missionary spirit which must be the soul of a. truly international and global YCW!
Joseph Cardijn, At the end of a missionary trek, in Notes de Pastorale Jociste, 1952, T. XVIII.4, p. 97.
Joseph Cardijn, Après une randonné missionnaire, in Notes de Pastorale Jociste, 1952, T. XVIII.4, p. 97.