1960: Cardijn: Apostolic formation

2. The consciousness of the apostolic and missionary significance of the whole of life and realisation of this apostolic mission of the lay person thus supposes a formation that is both human, divine and Christian. This formation forms an integral part of the lay person’s general formation in the religious and moral field. The whole of religious formation is essentially apostolic.

Apostolic formation thus commences in the family, in parish catechism and at school. It reaches its culminating and decisive point at the age that determines the orientation of personal life –between 14 and 25 years – when the young man or young woman become adults and are confronted with the problems of their own bodily and psychic transformation, their professional and family future, their human mission in the world of today and tomorrow.

To be effective, this apostolic formation must be both:

  • an apprenticeship in the discovery of human problems (knowledge, seeing, learning to understand) thanks to the observation of lay life itself and a conception of life in the light ofhuman destiny;
  • a search and an implementation of solutions that are needed to these problems (knowhow to judge in the light of a few principles) and from there, an action beginning with one’s immediate milieu;
  • an exercise in indispensable collaboration that will enable the organisation in common of tested solutions appropriate to the physiognomy of the present world.

The present and future dimensions of the task to accomplish by lay people demands that theformation that is given to them in view of their own proper and irreplaceable apostolate be moreand more realistic, deep and methodical.
In becoming conscious of the global dimension of human problems in which he is involved, the lay person must at the same time have a vision of the mission of the Church in which the whole apostolic, personal and collective mission will be profoundly embedded. Through this the lay person’s relationship with the Church will be clarified both in regard to the solution of these problems, in regard to the definition and scope of his or her lay apostolate, as well as in regard to the formation and the attitudes that the lay person must seek.

Joseph Cardijn, 30 October 1960 , Note for the Vatican II Preparatory Commission on Lay Apostolate


Joseph Cardijn, Note 1, The lay apostolate (Joseph Cardijn Digital Library)