Happy New Year 2024! As mentioned in my previous post on jocist event anniversaries for 2024, I’m also going to welcome the new year with a people anniversaries that will occur over the course of the coming year.
Those people include YCW lay co-founder and jocist martyr, Fernand Tonnet, as well as Henry du Roure, secretary-general of the French Sillon movement that foreshadowed the YCW, who was killed in the opening weeks of World War I.
We will also remember several “centurions” born in 1924, namely Lucio Gera, Remi De Roo, Marcos McGrath, Fernando de Arango Álvarez and René Delécluse.
The French priest, Henri Godin, a major figure in the development of the worker priest movement, is another critical figure in our history.
We list several YCW leaders, who were martyred in 1944 either by execution or in concentration camps, beginning with Jesuit Yves de Montcheuil, a French YCW and YCS chaplain as well as one of the great theologians of the mid-20th century.
We also remember two Argentinian priests, YCS chaplain, Carlos Mugica, another martyr killed by the military in 1974, and theologian, Lucio Gera, who greatly influenced young Jorge Bergoglio, now Pope Francis.
People in order of anniversary date
Here is the full list of this year’s anniversaries in date order where known.
10 January 1914: Birth of Bishop Barthélemy Hanrion OFM of Dapango, Togo, born in Grenay, Pas des Calais, France, a YCW chaplain from 1943, and a signatory of the Pact of the Catacombs
15 January 1994: Death of Cardinal Gabriel-Marie Garrone, an important promoter of Specialised Catholic Action as a seminary professor and later as archbishop of Toulouse and at Vatican II.
16 January 1924: Birth of Lucio Gera, an Argentine priest and JOC chaplain, who became known as a founder of the “theology of the people.”
16 January 1944: Accidental death of Henri Godin, JOC chaplain in Lille, co-author of famous book “France: pays de mission?” (Is France a mission country?) and founder of the Mission de Paris.
7 February 1884: Birth of Cardinal Achille Liénart of Lille, France, one of the first YCW chaplains in Lille, a major early promoter of Specialised Catholic Action and major figure at Vatican II.
10 February 1924: Birth of Marcos McGrath, a Holy Cross (CSC) father, who became archbishop of Panama City. At Vatican II, he was presided over the Signs of the Times Sub-Commission, which adopted the See-Judge-Act method.
20 February 1924: Birth of Jesuit Fernando de Arango Álvarez was a Cuban JOC chaplain, who was expelled from Cuba by the Castro government and later re-organised the JOC in the Dominican Republic.
24 February 1924: Birth of Bishop Remi De Roo of Victoria, British Columbia, a promoter of the YCW in Canada and Vatican II Father.
13 April 1904: Birth of Yves Congar, a French Dominican, who gave retreats to early JOC leaders and chaplains in France and Belgium, wrote extensively on the theology of the laity and played a major role at Vatican II.
26 April 1944: Birth of Jorge Parisotto, a national chaplain to the Brazilian JOC during the dictatorship period of the 1960s and 1970s and later regional chaplain for the Americas.
2 May 1914: Birth of Bishop Marcello Mendiharat Pommies, founder of the YCW in Salto, Uruguay. Also worked closely with the JAC and MIJARC movements.
11 May 1974: Date of assassination of Carlos Mugica was an Argentinian Jesuit worker-priest, who was also a YCS chaplain.
22 May 1904: Birth of David Ogilvie-Forbes O.S.B. was an English Benedictine priest, who was also well-known chaplain to the YCW in Warrington.
1 June 1914: Birth of Marguerite Fiévez, pioneer of the JOCF in Belgium, first secretary the International YCW, later Cardijn’s secretary, archivist, biographer and YCW historian.
23 June 1974: Death of Albert Bonet y Marrugat, the founder of the “Federació de Joves Cristians de Catalunya” (FJCC) or ‘Young Christians of Catalonia’, precursor of the Catalonian JOC. Later an expert in the Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate at Vatican II. Born in 1914.
18 July 1894: Birth of YCW co-founder Fernand Tonnet.
19 July 1904: Birth of Reynold Hillenbrand, national chaplain to the US YCW and noted liturgical reformer.
27 July 1944: Death of Francis Chirat, a French JOC leader and member of the Resistance during World War II.
2 August 1994: Death of Fr Victor Salandini was a Californian priest who was chaplain to the YCW and worked closely with Cesar Chavez. He became known as the “tortilla priest.”
11 August 1944: Execution by shooting of Yves de Montcheuil, a French Jesuit theologian, YCW and YCS chaplain and a member of the French Resistance during World War II.
20 August 1964: Death of Fr Abel Varzim, a Portuguese priest who studied in Belgium where he met Cardijn. Upon his return, he founded the Liga Operária Católica (Catholic Workers League).
21 September 1914: Death of Henry du Roure, secretary-general of the Sillon, writer and role model for Fernand Tonnet and other early YCW leaders.
10 October 1914: Birth of Marcel Touquet, a YCW leader from Paris, who was sent to Germany under the forced labour regime. He became a leader in a jocist network leading to his arrest and eventual transfer to Peenemunde, where he died.
29 October 1944: Death of Roger Vallée, a French seminarian, who was called up for forced labour in August 1943. In Germany he helped organised study circles and masses for workers leading to his arrest and his eventual transfer to Mauthausen where he died.
1 November 1924: Birth of René Delécluse, YCW leader from northern France, who became an extension worker for the International YCW in Asia.
3 November 1934: Birth of Maryknoll Fr Tom Danaher was chaplain to the Hong Kong YCW and active in social ministry there.
10 December 1914: Birth of Cardinal Reg Delargey of Wellington, New Zealand, co-founder of the YCS in New Zealand, promoter of the YCW, and Council Father at Vatican II.
Here I’m listing those people where the actual anniversary date is unknown.
Born in 1914, Leo Davis was a YCW and YCS chaplain from San Diego Diocese in California, USA, who also founded the Cardijn Center there.
Marie-Thérèse Joos was an early leader of the Belgian JOCF who died very young in 1934.
I am sure there are many more lay leaders and chaplains to be added to this list, which is heavily biased in favour of movement chaplains, male leaders and in general those from countries of the Global North.
Women are sadly lacking, not to mention the almost complete absence of people from the Global South.
Please feel free to add more names in the comments below.
So much more to be done to document the amazing history of our movements!