A Moment I will be Happy forever!

I always had been fascinated by journey I make through and this time I decided to travel to Nagpur to meet some good YCS friends who are part of my family. I decided and the moment it was Nagpur, I had one feeling I will try to Meet Fr. Johnny, Former National Chaplain 1975-79 who is retired presently, decided set on  my travel to Nagpur and made a visit to all my people Alice Anthony, Melwin Titus, Former NEXCOS and Sabrina Philip and Glory Yakub who I last met in an NSLTP, Kanyakumari in 2011 and other well wishers, then decided to go meet Fr. Philip Topno, Regional Chaplain of YCS/YSM who happily received me and thanked him for his service to YCSYSM, it was even a special day where I was part of the Children’s Day celebration of the school which he is heading. We then decided to go meet Fr. Johnny, reached the St. Charles Seminary but found that he had been out for a visit, sad we then decided to have breakfast and went in to meet Sabrina Philip, ex YCS’er and had spent some time. On our return back we came back again to see whether Father had reached, we reached the place and asked and found out that he had reached, I had a sigh of anxiety, I am meeting the man who redefined YCS, and the one who fought it hard for the birth of YSM, and there was a voice which still was so Young and so energetic, saw him and literally had tears in me. Saying to myself ‘I have finally Met’, (The Moment I will be happy forever), Looking at his charisma and the way he received was still at great happiness, father had been  happy to see and receive all of us and was in much delight since I introduced myself that I come from Chennai, fondly recalling that the Catholic Centre where our Old Office was and the small hotel adjacent to it where even all workers were part of the YCS family, then said that he will make tea and we will celebrate, we were delighted and on inquiring about his health he said growing young and still energetic, we then made tea and started our celebration, I started sharing of the recent updates of the programs that took place from YCSYSM India and he was happy and was filled with Joy on sharing of the Golden Jubilee Celebrations.

I then started asking him some questions which I was more than happy that he recalled everything

1.    Father, Way back in your time we had a world council in which we had a question of the acceptance of YSM? Can you recall and share what had happened?

Kamal, (Had a wide Smile) I am sorry I will, but whatever I remember! We had been for the World Council, I, George Joseph, Sr. Jeanne, Christy Michael had been representing the Indian YCS, where we had a forum where we presented the YSM Context, we had a great battle ahead, other countries had never supported and it was not tough but we had a great time, there were discussions that went for hours and hours without breakfast nor lunch nor even dinner in that matter. It was finally a question where a priest raised does YSM accept Christ, then our Christy Michael intervened in between Father, Your Question is accepting Christ, and My name is Christy, I AM CHRIST, You Know those words changed the mindset of everyone, George Joseph was so happy was clapping all through even though he didn’t understand anything!. They had a discussion of all Chaplains and we concluded it by which YSM was accepted. It was indeed a turning point in YCS/YSM, I am happy you asked me, I am joyous I recalled it. You may even look at the report of it where you can find a lot more. This was just a small I remember.

2.    Your First Moment when you met Sr. Jeanne!

We met in 1965 and i Still remember she came to Archbishop’s House and then met Bishop Raymond and then came to meet me, I already had a fight with a sister and was walking with much anger, She came, I didn’t realise, she asked me whether can I meet Fr. John, and I replied I am Fr. John and she said about I have come to see about Youth work and the Archbishop said that you are the right person to contact. I’ve just come in from fighting with one sister about the youth, and now you come to talk about Youth! She has just complained about me..! What is your complaint? (Err.) Er… I have no complaint. I’m sorry you had a fight about the youth. That is what I have come about to find someone who can take up their cause and lead them. I am interested in the Young Christian Students Movement. I have just come from Jabalpur by Bus, where Bishop Leobard promised to get one priest to look after the same. Here, I have just one cyclostyled sheet with me. You may try this sheet with a few students. As soon as I get back to Madras, I will send you some more. I have to catch a train now to Madras. Sister, the train to Madras leaves us within half-an-hour. You are going by that train. Have you a ticket?.. You’ll get one, now and reservation! (Calmly) I will get one! Then i quickly took her and we reached the station, the train was departing, quickly took her to the unreserved seat, and she went inside I quickly pushed her luggage brought her something and gave her along and she went. You may find some time soon to go meet her.

3.    Amidst YCS/YSM in a Question of Relevance with Tuitions, Peer-Pressure and Exams, Pressure from Parent? What you would suggest Father as a Solution?

Simple! SEE-JUDGE-ACT! See Kamal, I believe the world is Changing and all need to adjust and move ahead, or else we be stagnated by it. YCSYSM was, is and forever a movement of Change, a movement that will change and I believe we need to start experimenting in small groups! We need to look ahead in small groups, changing them, through them the others change and it spreads like anything. That is how Sr. Jeanne started her life when she picked street children when she came to Chennai and experimented and change clicked and it spread.

So Forever SEE-JUDGE-ACT will be the best Solution, but it will take a lot of time.

4.     You’re Message for YCS/YSM Members?

Greetings to each of You! Kamal Francis just dropped in to see me and requested a message for you. I joyfully proclaim that YOU-YCS/YSMers are the WHATSAPP of Today! WHATSAPP? Who says so? Cardinal Joseph Cardijn said 50 Years ago. I am just joyfully recalling that message. It was he who said SEE; JUDGE; ACT. Today you are the WHATSAPP that sees things, events, and people around you! You then get together to reflect and judge on what you see! And then you Act. You shout and proclaim! Wow! That’s great! Let’s DO THAT!, So wake up! Get-up together in your small cells and see and share the WHATSAPP going on in your mind and scream out your WOW! In some wow filled actions in your units!

Ciao! Sayanora! Firmelenge! Bye!


5.    You’re Message for EX- YCSYSM Members?

Kamal Francis, Melvin Titus and Alice Anthony delightfully surprised me with their visit and we shared a cup of tea with memories of old and new full timers and members and asked for a message!. A Message for Old Timers! I consider myself to be the oldest timer ever   What better message could I give than that of Cardinal Joseph Cardijn: See; Judge; Act and the Review of Life!! Technically we are the WhatsApp of the Movement; Reflecting and Reviewing our Memories and Actions of the Past! Come Lets join the latest craze of selfies seeing ourselves and individuals as small groups sharing and evolving and planning out strategies a Jesus told us; Launch out into the deep.Lk:5/4. I recall now that Rabindranath Tagore poetized this prayer: Where the Mind is without fear and the head is held high: Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening thought and action; Into that heaven of freedom my father, let my country awake! Pg: 61 of Gitanjali! And I am reminded of our Modern “Hum Honge Kammiyab”.

I then thanked Fr. Johnny for his wonderful time sharing with us the best moments of YCSYSM of his time.


Kamal Francis
YCSYSM India Alumni



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