Thanks to all for the efforts. The text below explains what was JMC. It was extracted from BLACKFRIARS, A MONTHLY REVIEW. Edited by the English Dominicans Published at Blackfriars, St Giles, Oxford
VOL. XXVIII No. 331 OCTOBER 1947
YOUNG CHRISTIAN SEAFARERS
The Jeunesse Maritime Chrétienne is a mass movement to reconquer the maritime world for Christ. It was at the Sea Apostolate Congress at Boulogne-sur-Mer, held in September 1929, that the first suggestion of forming a maritime section of the Jocistes was made by P#279;re Lebret, O.P. This Dominican, who must be given the credit for launching the J.M.C., was formerly a lieutenant in the French navy. In collaboration with the Abbé G. Havard of Saint-Malo he drew up provisional rules. Cardinal Charost, Archbishop of Rennes, gave them a cordial blessing, and the new oeuvre was established in his diocese. The first group of Young Christian Seafarers to be formed was on the Ile-de-Sein, a small island off Finisterre, mostly inhabited by fisher folk. In January 1930 the first issue of Jeunesse Maritime was published. For the past seventeen years this monthly magazine has been the official mouthpiece of the J.M.C. During the next few months other groups were set up in many maritime parishes of Brittany, Normandy, the Cotes-de-Nord, and elsewhere in France. The movement spread rapidly. A large body of members of the J.M.C. took part in the French National Pilgrimage at Lourdes in August 1930. In November more than three hundred young seamen made a pilgrimage to Sainte-Anne-d'Auray. P#279;re Lebret, having visited practically every seaport and fishing centre in France, reported on the investigations at the Apostolat Maritime Congress held at Saint-Brieux in September, 1931. He maintained that ignorance — general and religious — was the root cause of the material, moral, and spiritual troubles among seafarers. They were ignorant of their Faith and almost equally ignorant of their profession. To deal with this situation the only remedy was to form an elite capable of directing the mass and to give them a security in their material, moral and religious life. In an article which he published in La Nouvelle Revue des Jeunes (October 15, 1932) Pere Lebret made clear that it is no easy matter to evangelise the maritime world, for it includes many classes of seafarers. All that they have in common is that they spend the greater part of their lives outside the influence of home or parochial life. He stated that there were about 20,000 fisher lads, 10,000 to 15,000 young seamen in the mercantile marine, and about 35,000 to 40,000 cols bleus in the navy. This made a total of approximately 75,000 youths from coastal parishes and from the inland parts of France who were growing up without any organised effort to make them practising Catholics or to train them in their moral and professional duties. In 1931 there were only seven chaplains in the French marine militaire, and no more than five priests working (exclusively for seamen) in seaports. This meant that there was one priest for every 5,000 young seafarers.
Many of the French bishops and clergy felt that nothing could be done to deal with this state of affairs. But the Abbé Havard and P#279;re Lebret were undaunted. They found their inspiration in Catholic Action as defined by Rome — lay activity directed by priests. They visualised the J.M.C. as Catholic Action adapted to the maritime world, in particular the maritime world of France.
The objects of the J.M.C. are: the religious education of young seafarers; Catholic Action in the maritime world; propaganda for Christian social organisation among seamen of all types. Its membership consists of boys who intend to earn their living by the sea; students in nautical schools and colleges, and all seamen up to the age of twenty-five. The motto is: Joyeux, loyal, pur, conquérant. The spirit of the organisation is summed up as follows: "The young Christian seafarer (1) loves his job; (2) does his duty; (3) serves his mates; (4) brings them to Christ".
The J.M.C. functions by means of groups, formed in parishes, nautical schools, and on board larger ships. There are diocesan federations of such groups, the whole organisation being directed from the Secretariate-Generale (12 rue Duguay-Trouin, Paris, VIe). This is the headquarters of the Chaplain-General, P#279;re Butel, 5.J., who succeeded P#279;re Lebret a few years ago.
The formation of young seafarers embraces religious, social and professional subjects. The means adopted are study-circles, retreats, recollection-days, pilgrimages, and the publication of books, pamphlets, and periodicals. Three magazines are issued monthly: Jeunesse Maritime is intended for all types of readers. It contains bright and breezy articles on religion, hygiene, sport, nautical matters, and the cinema. The illustrations are always a special feature. The sections dealing with economic problems of the fishing industry or the mercantile marine are written by specialists and are most informative. En Route is a more serious publication intended for militants, i.e. the inner circle of the J.M.C. Pousse au Large is another type of monthly, edited for boys.
Mention should be made of several of the books issued by the J.M.C., above all the Livre de Priéres du Marin, rightly described by Cardinal Roques, Archbishop of Rennes, who contributes a preface, as le véritable 'paroissien' des gens de mer. In these 270 pages are to be found comprehensive instructions on prayer. There are methods of carrying out a dialogue Mass and a special form of Sung Mass for seafarers — this latter with musical notation. A dramatic touch is given by the rubrics that a model ship, a net, a basket of fish, and an anchor should be carried up to the altar at the Offertory! This prayer-book is compiled on definite liturgical lines, and includes both Vespers and Compline, also the Epistles and Gospels for all Sundays and chief feasts. There are liturgical blessings of the sea and ships, likewise a very complete collection of popular cantiques, familiar to almost every French sailor or fisherman. The music for most of these is given.
Le Christ et les Marins consists of devotional studies on our Lord's dealings with his fishermen apostles, with other chapters devoted to the references to the sea and ships in the Acts of the Apostles. As in most J.M.C. publications questions on each section are given. Sois fier de ton Métier! as the title indicates, is a booklet which aims at making every seafarer proud of his job. La Sainte Eglise Notre Mére deals with not only the Catholic Church but also with schismatic and heretical Christian bodies. Thus the 'three branches' of Anglicanism are explained, and the seaman is warned that une messe anglicane n'est pas une vraie messe. Two small booklets cover the J.M.C. organisation among young seafarers in the mercantile marine and the fishing fleets.
Guidance for the training of militants and entraineurs can be found in another pamphlet entitled, Pour bâtir la J.M.C. These young seamen are given lists of books on every sort of subject, including theology, liturgy, venereal diseases, navigation, maritime economics, and the co-operative movement. If they manage to find time to read such serious literature they must be fully equipped to argue with the most intelligent of their Communist or anteclerical shipmates.
Month by month one can follow the advance of the J.M.C. movement in its various periodicals. One realises that France, more than any other nation, has got down to the roots — or should one not say the keel — of the Sea Apostolate by concentrating on the training of seamen to be apostles of seamen, rather than by providing them with clubs and institutes, however necessary these may be as centres. Conditions in this country are utterly different, and it would be impossible to build up a vast organisation on the lines of the J.M.C. because Catholics are only a small minority both in the mercantile marine and the Royal Navy, even less among the crews of our fishing fleet. On the other hand there is plenty of scope for forming groups of Young Christian Seafarers in Ireland, indeed a crying need for them, because so many Irish lads, with the sea in their blood, are unable to answer this call except by joining the British mercantile marine or the Royal Navy. Again, similar groups could be created in connection with the Apostleship of the Sea Clubs in English and Welsh ports. In some ports, notably Liverpool, the chaplains have already started training groups of 'ship's leaders', i.e., seafaring promoters of Apostolatus Maris.
PETER F. ANSON
Thanks again for your kind help with the identification of JMC vignette. I am still looking for worldwide vignettes showing submarines, do not hesitate to offer if you have any for sale.