Liturgy and Social Justice
|Hillenbrand's Quest for Social Justice
Hillenbrand was a child during the time of the unheralded brutality of World War I and witnessed of the growth of atheistic communism. He was ordained in the roaring year of 1929, but began his priesthood in the Great Depression: by 1931, 624,00 Chicagoans were out of work. By the time he was named Rector of Saint Mary of the Lake Seminary in 1936, Hillenbrand had developed a keen sense of the need for social reconstruction between nations and between individuals. The same individualism which meant that people ignored the needs of their neighbor could also lead nations to war with one another or seek the atheistic collectivism of Soviet-style Communism. As rector he began inviting guest speakers on liturgy and social justice to speak to seminarians, including Virgil Michel, H.A. Reinhold, William Busch, Donald Attwater, and Dorothy Day (right), the ﬁrst woman ever to speak at an American Catholic seminary. (photo courtesy of the Milwaukee Journal).
|Hillenbrand's Organizations in Action
Catholic Action: Something of an umbrella term deﬁned as the “participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy,” that is, the sanctiﬁcation of souls, Catholic Action was highly praised by Popes Pius XI and XII, and informed Vatican II by urging the laity to take seriously their vocation to Christianize the world. Small groups organized in “cells” would meet with a priest chaplain and use the “see-judge-act” method to bring “the whole program of the Divine Heart” to all aspects of life: the farms, the workplace, families, schools, and racial and social class struggle. The life of the Trinity, found at its source in the liturgy, required diﬀusion through out society at all levels, and spurred many similar movements with more specialized groups.
Young Christian Workers: Founded on the principles developed by Cardinal Joseph Cardijn of Brussels, Young Christian Workers was founded to promote education on the needs of youth being drawn into modern industrialized society. Young people were reminded of their eternal destiny as human beings, not slaves or machines. Young people were encouraged to continue their formal educations, and a network of social services was established to help the displaced worker, particularly in crowded urban areas. Additionally, the YCW as an organization was able to represent the interests of young workers with national and international civic authorities.
Catholic Family Movement: Hillenbrand understood that industrialization and the ravages of war had their toll on the American family. In 1943, the CFM was begun to help couples strengthen their witness as an apostolic force within society. Strictly a lay movement, CFM groups used the same “cell” method developed by Cardijn. Cardinal Stritch asked Hillenbrand to start the CFM in Chicago, and Pat and Patty Crowley of Sacred Heart parish in Winnetka, Illinois served as its ﬁrst executive directors. Holding conventions and publishing a journal entitled For Happier Families, the CFM grew rapidly, with over 5000 couples participating worldwide by 1952. The meetings `prayed the Liturgy of the Hours and participated in the missa recitata, anticipating the more widespread liturgical reforms of the next decades.