The role of the jocist chaplain

In today’s Cardijn Reflection, we present Cardijn’s preface to the book L’aumônier jociste (The jocist chaplain) written in 1935 by Fr G. Fabre.

Here we see briefly but clearly spelt out Cardijn’s belief in the primordial importance of the chaplain in the YCW.

Stefan Gigacz

Father G. FABRE of the Diocese of Paris


Preface by Canon Jos. CARDIJN



The role of the jocist chaplain is as essential to Jocism as the role of the soul to the body. There can be no jocist militants, no genuine jocist action, no genuine jocist life without this soul of all apostolate which is the charity of Christ, the personal Christ and the total Christ. To enlighten the perspective of the militant, to orient his action of conquest, to penetrate with divine grace his or her jocist life with divine grace, in a word, to communicate to him or her this living and conquering charity, the priest is irreplaceable.

But the role of the Jocist Chaplain requires an appropriate psychology which makes him the inspirer, the animator, the driving force of the jocist apostolate. While the priest does not carry out Catholic action himself, the jocist chaplain will understand especially that it is not his role to live the YCW in the way of the jocist militant, but that he must make it live, and to achieve this he must help make it understood and loved. 

To achieve this, he will need to penetrate the YCW, understand it, love it; desire it in a priestly manner. As a multiplier of jocist militants, his role is above all that of a spiritual fatherhood. He will not fulfill this role if he does not understand and experience the problem of young workers and if he does not have in his heart this passion for the reconquest of all the souls of the huge mass of young workers.

Father Fabre has admirably understood and described the psychology of the jocist chaplain. Although he is not involved in any of the sectors of the jocist front, his psychological sense and his love of souls has led him, by a kind of intuition, to discover the genuine and authentic YCW.

The scientific aspect of his presentation, far from harming its practical value, gives it a new value. The YCW will have had the rare privilege of seducing superior minds like M. Bayart and inspiring captivating theses like this one. Father Fabre has allowed himself be captivated by the YCW. His book cannot fail to initiate a large number of seminarians to their future role as chaplain of Catholic Action. 

For many of our chaplains, he will bring light and comfort in their very difficult but necessary apostolate. He will enable them to discover the true nature of their priestly role and enable them to better understand the inevitable need for a complement to their own apostolate, which is the lay apostolate of young men and women workers through their daily lay life, in their working and working class milieu, among the mass of their working brothers and sisters.

Father Fabre’s ambition is to encourage each jocist chaplain to raise up these lay workers of the future. May his call be heard and answered! He will have rendered the greatest service that a priest-philosopher can render to the YCW.

Canon J. CARDYN.


Joseph Cardijn, Preface, p. 5-6, in G. Fabre, L‘aumônier jociste, Librairie de la Jeunesse Ouvrière, Paris, 1935, 175p.

Original French version

Joseph Cardijn, Préface, G. Fabre, L’aumônier jociste (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)