Pope Francis says "Don't forget prayer. It is the most important means of communication...If I communicate with the whole world and not with the Lord, something is wrong."



Sala Clementina
Thursday, 25 November 2021

 Dear brothers and sisters!

I welcome you together, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of the death of Blessed James Alberione, founder of the various religious congregations, of the institutes of secular consecrated life and of the lay aggregations that make up the Pauline Family. I thank the Superior General of the Society of Saint Paul who has been the interpreter of all of you.

This anniversary is for the Church, and particularly for you, a propitious occasion to remember the great things done by the Holy Spirit in Blessed Alberione and through him, and to reaffirm the importance of his charism in the current context, in the perspective of the new evangelization. In fact, with great foresight your Founder was able to grasp for the twentieth century the need for the "Word of God to run" (cf.  2 Thess  3: 1) and to spread using and making the most of the most effective tools and languages ​​offered by technological progress.

The figure of this exemplary witness to the Word appears vivid to us in the "portrait" that St.  Paul VI made of him : "Humble, silent, tireless, always alert, always collected in his thoughts, which run from prayer to work, always intent on scrutinizing the "signs of the times", that is, the most ingenious ways of reaching souls ». And thus the Pope continued: "Our Fr Alberione has given the Church new tools to express herself, new means to give vigor and breadth to her apostolate, new capacity and new awareness of the validity and possibility of her mission in the modern world and with modern "( Address to the Pauline Family , June 28, 1969).

These expressions, dear brothers and sisters, concern you individually and as a religious family. They challenge you in the concreteness of your existence as consecrated persons, who from prayer receive the ability to scrutinize the "signs of the times" to adapt apostolic projects to the situations and needs of today's people.

Don Alberione often repeated that your true founder is the Apostle Paul. He always showed you him as the inspirer and the father, as the model to imitate in the total self-giving to the Lord Jesus Christ and to his Gospel. letting himself be led by his love on the way of sanctification. And his strong and clear intuition was that this way is for you the way of the apostolate , that is to say, the service of brothers thirsting, perhaps unwittingly, for the light and joy of the Gospel. And it is precisely the passion for the Gospel. Passion for the gospel, I emphasize this. Because the Gospel cannot be lived without passion. The Gospel of words alone does not work: the Gospel comes from your heart, the passion ... It is precisely the passion for the Gospel that shines in its countless apostolic initiatives, animated by the same motivation and purpose that we find in the Apostle when he writes: " free from all, I made myself the servant of all to gain the greatest number ... I made myself weak with the weak, to gain the weak; I have done everything to everyone, to save someone at any cost. I do everything for the gospel, to share it with them "( 1 Cor 9:  19-23).

And it is always Saint Paul who suggests to your Founder the way in which the apostolate of your religious family, while being diversified, can be considered "unique", as is your spirituality (cf  Eph 3.10). It is in this sense that you are all, with full rights, "Paulines", because you are all spiritually sons and daughters of Saint Paul, with a single spiritual tension towards Jesus Christ, the Master, the Way, the Truth and the Life. And each Congregation and each Pauline Institute contributes to making its own particular contribution to the service of evangelization. The Society of Saint Paul and the Daughters of Saint Paul through book, periodical, multimedia and digital publishing. The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master through the liturgical, priestly and Eucharistic apostolate. The Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd in the parish ministry. The sisters of the Queen of the Apostles Institute with the vocational apostolate - this is what we need today! -. And then there is the specific contribution of the Institutes of secular consecrated life: the San Gabriel Archangel Institute; the Maria Santissima Annunziata Institute; the Jesus Priest Institute and the Holy Family Institute. The members of these Institutes, as well as the Pauline Cooperators, serve the Gospel above all in dialogue with the contemporary world - which is somewhat the cornerstone of all Pauline spirituality - in which, as laity and seculars, they are fully inserted.

It is true that technological evolution has led the whole ecclesial community to assume the modern tools of communication as elements of ordinary pastoral care; however, your presence is still necessary today - indeed, I would say more and more -, animated by your own charism and enriched by the experience of working "in the field". This is decisive.

In the context of the synodal journey that we have undertaken, I ask you not to miss your contribution. This is why I encourage you to work together on a network, each contributing his "own", according to the desire of Blessed Alberione.

Fifty years after his birth in Heaven, the celebrations for your Founder offer you the opportunity to recognize even better the prophetic value of his witness. Following his example and with his intercession, you too choose the means of communication as a "pulpit", so that, as he himself said, Jesus Christ can be made known to the men of our time with the means of our time. I thank you for the commitment with which you work and, above all, pray. Don't forget prayer . It is  the most important means of communication: communicate there [points up]. If I communicate with the whole world and not with the Lord, something is wrong. Work and prayer, so that the holy People of God may nourish themselves more and more on the Word of God. Seeking "in everything and with full heart, in life and in the apostolate, only and always, the glory of God and the peace of men "(Cf. Don Alberione,  Prayer of covenant with God ).

May Mary, Queen of the Apostles, accompany you on the streets of the world as apostles and apostles of the Gospel, always open to "learning from common people", as Fr. Alberione still loved to say. I too accompany you with my prayer and my blessing. And please, I ask you to pray for me. Thanks.