The Young Christian Workers (YCW) officially welcomed its new President, Kate Wilkinson, on Monday 24 July. This follows her unanimous election at the 78th National Council of the YCW held back in April 2017. The date also marked the 50th anniversary of the death of Fr Joseph Cardijn, who founded the YCW in Belgium in 1925 and was later to be made a Cardinal for his work with the movement.
Kate, 25, is a long-time member of the YCW having become involved in the movement when she was at high school. The President is a voluntary position, involving chairing the regular team meetings and annual National Council, representing the YCW at home and abroad, and coordinating the training and development programme. Alongside this new role, Kate works as a Chaplain at Carmel College, St Helens.
She takes over from Phil Callaghan, who has been President for the last six years. In recent years, Phil has overseen moving the YCW headquarters from London to Trafford Park in Greater Manchester, the largest industrial estate in Europe.
Currently, the YCW has hundreds of members across the country, working in parishes, schools, and workplaces to enable young people to develop critical awareness, actively engaged faith and social responsibility.
Commenting on the handover, Kate said: “The YCW has a proud history of encouraging young people to step up and take responsibility for the running and development of the movement. In this 80th year of the YCW in England and Wales, I am honoured to continue this. I would like to thank all those who have contributed to the movement over those years, but in particular Phil who has led the YCW so well over the years. We have a growing number of members and groups, established our new HQ and an ambitious vision for the future. I look forward to the opportunity to continue this great work.”
Phil added: “Kate will be an excellent President. She knows and loves the YCW. I’d like to thank all those who have made my years as President so memorable and enjoyable, it has been a privilege.”
In England and Wales, the first YCW group was founded in Wigan in 1937, with Father Gerry Rimmer as the Chaplain and Patrick Keegan, a young factory worker, as President. Patrick would go on to become the first lay man to address an Ecumenical Council of the Church when he addressed the Second Vatican Council on the role of the laity.
Later this year, the YCW will be celebrating their 80th year in England and Wales on 18th November 2017 from 3pm, with a Mass at the Cathedral Church of St. John the Evangelist in Salford, followed by a celebration in the Cathedral Assembly Room. All members, past and present, friends and supporters are welcome.
For more information on the Young Christian Workers see: www.ycwimpact.com