The life of young workers and their rights have always received the full attention of Pope Francis. On the occasion of the IYCW International Council, Pope Francis, through the Holy See Secretary of State, sent a message of encouragement to the IYCW to continue its work for a better life for all young workers.
Holy See Secretary of State, Cardinal Pietro Parolin, wrote to the International YCW on behalf of Pope Francis for the movement’s postponed international council, which was finally held via Zoom last month.
“His Holiness trusts that in this time of economic and social crisis, the Council’s deliberations will reaffirm the efforts of young people to advance the Kingdom of God through the building of a more just and equitable society which leaves no one behind and which promotes respect for the fundamental rights of all, including that of safe and dignified employment,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.
In May 2020, Holy See Substitute, Archbishop Edgar Peña Parra, also wrote to the IYCW for the council, which was initially planned to take place in Lima, Peru in August 2020.
“His Holiness assures the delegates of his spiritual closeness as they share their experience of the challenges facing today’s youth, especially in the context of the grave social and economic repercussions of the coronavirus pandemic,” Cardinal Parolin wrote.
“He prays that their deliberations will promote efforts internationally to raising awareness and respect for the dignity and rights of working people and to rejecting the culture of waste.
“He likewise encourages the apostolate of YCW to help young Christians to grow in closer spiritual and practical solidarity with their brothers and sisters, particularly in the poorest countries and with those who struggle to find employment, so that young people everywhere may have the opportunity to encounter Jesus Christ in their work and to sanctify their lives by contributing to a more just and fraternal world.”
Sarah Prenger, the outgoing International President of IYCW emphasized the closeness of Pope’s message to Cardijn’s thought.
"The Holy Father assures us of his spiritual closeness. This closeness is also visible looking at the messages. This is so much like one of Cardijn's founding thoughts for YCW: the conviction that all of us are called to realize the kingdom of God on earth, in our homes, schools, workplaces, neighborhoods and societies, by contributing to justice, respect and dignity. Both messages which specifically emphasized what action is needed today encourage us to continue trying to act in solidarity, knowing that his prayers accompany us while we raise awareness about young workers' dignity and the rejection of consumerism or, as the Holy Father calls it: “the culture of waste," Sarah said.
The newly-elected IYCW treasurer, Leizyl Salem, also commented on Pope’s message saying that “for the IYCW, the letter of the Pope means hope and being valued. The content of his message provides a source of motivation to all of us acting for justice and dignity, believing that every human is sent by God and has a God-given dignity. Hope because of the blessing that was given, accompanied by his prayer supporting our commitment to act for justice and dignity.”
Sarah Prenger, the outgoing IYCW President and Leizyl Salem, the newly elected IYCW Treasurer