Laetitia Navarro: “Young Christian Workers will always have a future!  »

Laetitia Navarro: “Young Christian Workers will always have a future! »

Laetitia Navarro, 24 years old, soon to be 25, has been the new president of the Young Christian Workers (JOC) since August 17. Involved for twelve years in this emblematic organization of social Catholicism, she is overflowing with gratitude for what she received there and dreams that young jocists will have the same experience as her. “Last July, during our national meeting, I spoke in front of 6,000 members” marvels the young woman who says that as a teenager, she was “a shy young person who did not dare to speak or go out to meet people. others.” Its objective: for the voice of French youth to be heard more by politicians, particularly on the issue of professional guidance.

In Saint-Fons, a working-class suburb of Lyon where she grew up with her mother, grandmother and three little brothers, Laetitia quickly became aware of societal inequalities. HLM bars, immigration and unemployment outline the landscape of his childhood; with the football field, “the only green space in my neighborhood” explains Laetitia. At home, on the other hand, sharing and solidarity reign supreme: “We didn’t count what everyone ate,” the jocist modestly illustrates. Unity, sharing, a sense of commitment and a deep-rooted faith in God: the adults around him trace the path, like the leaders of a rope. “I saw them go to mass. My grandmother was responsible for reception in her parish and I went to catechism” relates Laetitia.

At thirteen, in search of sharing and on the advice of a priest from her parish, she discovered the JOC. She appreciates the warm welcome, the three-word concept of life review groups: see, judge, act. Very quickly after her arrival, she took charge of one of these groups. “We share about strong situations experienced by members or those around them, such as harassment or family difficulties” explains the one for whom the JOC is today a family.

“Originally, our method at the JOC was: pray, see, pray, judge, pray, act” Father Guérin, the founder, would have confided to Father Yves Moreau (La Croix, 03/11/09 ). Founded in France in 1927, the organization inaugurated a series of secular movements whose mission consists in particular of bringing out charismatic leaders and concrete witnesses of their faith. JAC – Christian Agricultural Youth, which later became MRJC (Rural Movement of Christian Youth) –, JIC – Independent Christian Youth –, JEC – Christian Student Youth – and their female counterparts (JOCF, JACF, etc.): all these movements inserted under the name of what Rome calls Catholic Action. First encouraged by the bishops, they experienced their golden age in the post-war years. At the beginning of the 1960s, the JOC and the JOCF had 25,000 members.

There are 6,000 of them today. These figures, however, do not make Laetitia blink, for whom the future of the movement is in no doubt: “The JOC will always have a future because young people want to get involved!” she says, determined. The new president, unaccustomed to the media, is searching for her words and moving forward slowly. Funding for the JOC? Laetitia only describes the broad outlines. Projects? You have to see the proposals published on the site at the end of the gathering of activists in July. Does the JOC remain a breeding ground for left-wing activists? The young woman prefers to avoid political questions. However, we know that Jacques Delors, Cécile Duflot, Laurent Berger and even his successor Sophie Binet came from there… Laetitia mentions one or two personalities present this summer: “There was Monseigneur Le Boulc’h, bishop of Lille, Pierre Dharréville also, (communist deputy for Bouches-du-Rhône, Editor’s note) and members of unions.”

But when it comes to faith, the young president responds readily, and firmly. At the mention of the Belgians who no longer accept the acronym and chose in 2014 to call themselves “Organized and combative young people”, the young woman puts the dot on the “i”: in France the JOC means Christian Workers’ Youth , and nothing else. Proud of the Christian identity of the JOC, Laetitia nevertheless reminds that everyone is welcome, whatever their faith. “Some members,” he assures, “are Muslims, atheists or Protestants.”

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