VATICAN CITY, MAY 13, 2004 (Zenit.org).- If St. Paul were alive now, he’d probably evangelize through the modern means of communication, says John Paul II.
The Pope offered that view today when he received the participants in the general chapter of the Society of St. Paul, a religious congregation, founded by Father Giacomo Alberione in Italy in 1914 to preach the Gospel via the technology of social communication.
Giacomo Alberione was born in 1884. During a prayer vigil on New Year’s Eve, 1900, he felt called to serve the Church in a particular way. The Society of St. Paul was the fruit of that inspiration.
In the talk the Pope addressed to his guests, he recalled some of Blessed Alberione’s most famous words: “If St. Paul was alive, he would continue to burn with a double flame: zeal for God and Christ, as well as for men of all countries. And for them to be able to hear him, he would climb the highest pulpits and multiply his words with the means of present progress: press, cinema, radio, television.”
This is the “apostolic program” that John Paul II proposed to the Pauline religious.
“If you fulfill it with constant fidelity to the original spirit of your Institute, you will offer a precious contribution to the mission of the Church in the third millennium,” he said.
In fact, the St. Paul Society directs media in several continents, including publishing houses, magazines, radio stations and television productions. It also has a presence on Internet.
Father Silvio Saddi, an expert in communication who since 1999 was director general of the congregation’s apostolic activities in Italy, was elected the new superior general in the general chapter, held in the town of Ariccia.
The Society of St. Paul, the Paulines, number 1,057 priests and religious brothers, with communities and apostolates in 28 countries.
The general chapter reflected on evangelization and social communication in a globalized, multicultural and computerized world.
From 1914 to 1959, Father Alberione founded a number of institutions, which together constitute the Pauline Family. He died in 1971.