All India Catholic University Federation - AICUF
AICUF has been marching with the marginalized people for the past 95 years. In 1924, Fr. P. Carty, SJ, founded Catholic Youngmen’s Guild (CYMG) in St Joseph’s College at Trichirapalli to deepen the faith of the university youth. Its aim was “Doing the Truth in Charity.” In 1948, it was called All Indian Catholic University Federation, and eventually, in 1949, it was affiliated with the Catholic Bishops Conference of India.
From 1952 to 1967, Father Pierre Ceyrac, SJ, the well-known social worker, spearheaded AICUF to newer heights. He conducted the first national-level leadership camp in 1953 at Mysore. It was during his time that four national-level congresses were held in Chennai, Bangalore, and Mumbai with the following themes: “Unity,” “Towards a Better World,” “Problems of Student Milieu,” and “Students and Social Justice.” On average, 2600 student delegates participated in these congresses. In 1965, Father Ceyrac conducted the first national convention in Madras with the theme “National Responsibility and Commitment,” wherein all the AICUF leaders of all the units participated. In an interview in 2012, Father Ceyrac said, “AICUF was started for Jesus. He wanted us to work for the poor; ‘Whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you do unto me.”
Fr. Lawrence Colaco, SJ, took the mantle from Father Ceyrac as National Director of AICUF and took initiative to revise the constitution of AICUF, so the federation was divided into 14 regions. As AICUF was expanding all over India, changes in the constitution were needed and amendments were incorporated during national conventions.
In 1968, the second national convention was held in Chennai with the theme “The India we want.” With two national-level consultations held in 1970, the aim of AICUF was defined clearly for the upcoming decades. The association wants to contribute to bringing about social change. In a declaration issued after a major seminar in Madras, the federation stated: “We are born into an unjust society and we are determined not to leave it as we have found it.” Four commissions were set up; they focused on training in leadership for Dalits, refugees, Adivasis, and women.