Sunday, November 28, 2010

Pauline Pilgrims meet Daughters of St. Paul in Casa Generalizia Roma

A major component of the 2010 Pauline Pilgrimage to Italy was the special visit to the General House of the Daughters of St. Paul in Rome. We had a great welcome from the Sisters who gave us a presentation in the conference room (upstairs). We prayed in the magnificent Chapel. We especially enjoyed their company. In the dining room, we were reinvigorated with the delicious refreshments, freshly baked cakes, hot & cold beverages, all of which were so generously put before us. Click title to see short film.

What a great blessing in rounding up the grace-filled pilgrimage, which was designed to trace the footsteps of Blessed James Alberione and St. Paul the Apostle.

Many thanks to the Daughters of St. Paul in Italy and in USA.

Let us pray continue to pray for the cause of canonization of Blessed James Alberione whose Feast Day is on 26 November.

--Margie Skeels, Pauline Cooperator, NYC

Pauline Pilgrims' visit to Chiesa Gesu Maestro, Roma

2010 Pauline Pilgrimage: On the morning of Friday, October 29th, the pilgrims paid a visit to the Church of Jesus the Divine Master, in Rome. We were greeted by the shining statue of Blessed James Alberione who seemed to bid us to enter the wonderful doors decorated with olive branches, humanity, a book engraved with "I am the Way, Truth & Life," and a satellite dish. Once inside, it was an enthralling experience. We could have stayed on our knees if we had more time. We listened to the artist's explanation of many symbols exemplified around us! I wish we could stay there for eternity in praise of the Presence of Jesus, Our Divine Master, surrounded by the beauty of the altar and the space where the Word is proclaimed. The Pious Disciples of the Divine Master are devoted to the care of the Church and are entrusted with more. Click the title to see short video.

May God bless the cause of canonization of Blessed James Alberione; and may God grant abundant graces to the Pauline Family for the success of the works entrusted to them. Amen.

Margie Skeels, Pauline Cooperator, NYC

Monday, November 22, 2010

Arrivederci Roma - Pauline Pilgrimage 2010

The 2010 Pauline Pilgrimage was a great adventure which started in Milan and ended in Rome with many stops in between to discover the legacy of Blessed James Alberione which he built up as the Pauline Family tree with its 10 branches, first in Italy and then around the world. The visitation of St. Paul to Blessed James Alberione has inspired him, and, equally so, his spiritual sons and daughters; so much so that the 2010 Pauline Pilgrimage included visits to Tre Fontane where St. Paul was martyred, Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls where his tomb was discovered, & the place where under house arrest St. Paul wrote his letter to the Romans.

Many thanks to the countless kindnesses of my very dear fellow Pilgrims--Father Paul Aveni who was our Chaplain; Sr. Margaret Charles, FSP, Director of Pauline Cooperators (USA); Sr. Margaret Joseph, FSP; Sr. Anne F., FSP; Sr. Helena B., FSP; Mary Ann T.; Rae S.; Marguerite, Angela, Carol, Phivan; Rob; Dan; Marguerite who joined us in Assisi and Rome; my husband John; and Rosella, our tour director. May God bless them all and those who welcomed us with open hearts and open arms and open minds--the wonderful priests, brother and sisters in the Pauline Family in Italy. and those in USA, who were the movers behind the scenes and who accompanied us with their endorsements & very special prayers which accompanied us in the circuitous roads and beautiful vistas of Italy.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!


It's Monday -- let's make a Visit!

Dear Fellow Cooperators,

It is Monday, the day of Saint Paul. Let's all hie ourselves to the church or chapel and make a Visit to Our Lord, specifically for the intentions of the Pauline Cooperators!

Cooperators and their friends from around the world have begun to participate in this weekly virtually communal and union with Our Lord, Jesus Master. Just as Christ is truly present in the Blessed Sacrament in all the tabernacles of the world, so are we truly present to one another when we unite in prayer, wherever we are, at whatever time we choose, each Monday to beg the Lord to manifest His will for the Pauline Cooperators.

Help us, Blessed Alberione, Venerable Mother Thecla, Blessed Timothy, Sister Mary Scholastica and the rest who have gone before us. Beg the Lord to enlighten us, to show us how to grow into the vision of Blessed Alberione and be Cooperators for the 21st century. Guide us, make us faithful, give us patience and love to use the new means of social communication to bring Jesus Master, Way, Truth and Life to the world!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Beginning Renewal Time

Dear Friends,

I am beginning a semester of renewal in my religious life through the kindness of my community. This means a "retreat" from social media" to enter into the mysterious mystery of God's silence, as Verbum Domini says, silence as an important expression of  the Word of God. God's silence prolongs God's words.

Thank you to all of the lay Paulines taking on this Blog - don't think that I am going to ask you to stop! This is just the beginning of your great and wonderful part in the Pauline Family. Blessings and prayers to all of you - as I will have more time to enter into prayer and gratitude to God for you.

I meet you at the tabernacle, especially on Mondays which we have dedicated to prayer as the beginning of organizing the Association of Pauilne Cooperators.

God has wonderful and amazing gifts to reveal.

Sr Margaret Charles

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Movie in the making while treading in the footsteps of Blessed James Alberione

Dear Pauline Family Members & Friends,

Many thanks to Sr. Margaret Charles Kerry, FSP, Director of Association of Pauline Cooperators (USA) & Pilgrimage Director; Sr. Margaret Joseph, and all the Daughters of St. Paul in USA and in Italy, as well as the Society of St. Paul and Pauline Cooperators Office in Italy who helped us in treading the footsteps of Blessed James Alberione. It was quite a thrill to be with fellow Pauline Cooperators--Rae and Maryann--along with fellow pilgrims Angela, Carol, Phivan, and film crew: Sr. Ann (historian, translator), Sr. Helena (script writer), Rob & Dan (filmographers).

The pilgrimage fast-forwarded my knowledge and understanding of the origins of the Pauline Family with the 10 branches, which were founded by Blessed (Giacomo) James Alberione.

Blessed Alberione was born on 4 April 1884, in one room that was habitable and was next to a stable, in San Lorenzo, Fossano. Today this house stands proud as shown in the photo above. It is an important reminder of the point of departure for the mission, that is Bethlehem where our Lord Jesus Christ was born. Blessed Alberione told his religious sons and daughters to establish new houses in distant lands and follow the great commission set by the Jesus Christ, Our Lord, the Divine Master.

Pope Paul VI appreciated and encouraged the work of Blessed Alberione, and Pope Paul VI visited Blessed James Alberione before the latter died on 26 November 1971.

The pilgrimage revealed many aspects of the beginnings of the Pauline Family tree and how much its roots are grounded and, equally so, how much it has grown broadly and strongly since then until the present time. Blessed James Alberione continues to provide so much inspiration in the work of salvation which flows from the Blessed Sacrament.

Some of the many fruits of his labor and inspiration include the institutes, churches/temple/basilica, houses, convents, publishing houses, buildings, foundry, Bibles, prayers, songs, meditations/reflections, books, books and media centers, magazines, DVDs, CDs, movies, art works, documents, accounts, priests, sisters, lay cooperators/collaborators/volunteers, and local and worldwide presence. The sheer volume & quality of the work that is carried out by the Pauline Family makes a compelling case to participate in full force in fulfilling the promise of our baptism in Christ. Let us continue to make good use of social communication to spread the good news and promote Christianity as we occupy our place in space and time.

Click the title above to see some footage of the documentary film in the making. Readers interested in supporting the movie may find more information from the Daughters of St. Paul. Sr. Helena drew us to the site:

May God continue to pour His abundant blessings on the Pauline Family and its members (past, present and future) and may the cause of canonization of Blessed James Alberione be recognized, just as Pope John Paul II saw him through beatification. Amen.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Verbum Domini: Pope Benedict writes an apostolic exhortation on the Word of God!

Deacon Keith Fournier begins his November 14 article on the release of Pope Benedict XVI's apostolic exhortation "Verbum Domini" in a way that makes me want to read the rest of the article and the entire exhortation itself! He begins:
Verbum Domini is Masterful, Mystical, and Missionary. What is clear from beginning to end is that the current occupant of the Chair of Peter is a theologian of the highest order. He must have delighted his many students as 'Professor Ratzinger'. This exhortation gives us all a chance to join them and be taught by this extraordinary Pope. With the skills of an excellent teacher, Pope Benedict XVI takes the reader through one of the finest presentations of the Catholic teaching on the Sacred Scripture I have read.

Read the rest of Deacon Fournier's article.

Or jump right to the text of "Verbum Domini" itself. Caution - it's not for the faint of heart, being 194 pages of text followed by a nice index. Deacon Fournier printed it out, put it into a 3-ring binder, and keeps it next to his "prayer chair".

And from the Holy See's Press Office, for a detailed preview of what you will get in "Verbum Domini":


VATICAN CITY, 11 NOV 2010 (VIS) - At midday today in the Holy See Press Office, the presentation took place of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation "Verbum Domini" of Benedict XVI, on the Word of God in the life and mission of the Church.

Today's press conference was presented by Cardinal Marc Ouellet P.S.S., prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, president of the Pontifical Council for Culture, and Archbishop Nikola Eterovic and Msgr. Fortunato Frizza, respectively secretary general and under secretary of the Synod of Bishops.

The Apostolic Exhortation, which is dated 30 September, Memorial of St. Jerome, is the fruit of the Twelfth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, which was held in Rome from 5 to 26 October 2008. The document, which has been published in Latin, Italian, English, French., Spanish, German, Portuguese and Polish, is made up of an introduction, three parts and a conclusion.

Archbishop Eterovic explained how in part one, entitled "Verbum Dei", the Pope highlights both "the fundamental role of God the Father, source and origin of the Word", and "the Trinitarian dimension of revelation". Chapter one - "The God Who Speaks" - underscores "God's will to open and maintain a dialogue with man, in which God takes the initiative and reveals Himself in various ways". It also dwells on "the Christological aspect of the Word, while at the same time underlining the pneumatological dimension". This section of the document also focuses on the relationship between the Eucharist and Tradition, and on the theme of the inspiration and truth of the Bible.

"Our Response to the God Who Speaks" is the title of chapter two of part one. "Man is called to enter into the Alliance with his God, Who listens to him and responds to his questions. To God Who speaks, man responds with the faith. The most suitable prayer is that made using the words which were revealed by God and are conserved and written in the Bible", said Archbishop Eterovic.

Chapter three has as its title "The Interpretation of Sacred Scripture in the Church". The secretary general of the Synod of Bishops explained how "Sacred Scripture should be, as the Dogmatic Constitution 'Dei Verbum' says, 'the soul of sacred theology'. ... The biblical hermeneutics of Vatican Council II must be rediscovered, also in order to avoid a certain dualism evident in secularised interpretations which could give rise to a fundamentalist and spiritualist interpretation of Holy Scripture. Correct interpretation requires complementarity in a literal and spiritual sense, a harmony between faith and reason". This chapter also examines relations between Christians and Jews, noting that they enjoy "a very special relationship ... because they share a large part of the Scriptures".

Part two of the document is entitled "Verbum in Ecclesia". Chapter one - "The Word of God and the Church" - underlines how it is thanks to the Word of God and the effect of the Sacraments "that Jesus remains contemporary to mankind in the life of the Church", said the archbishop.

"The Liturgy, Privileged Setting for the Word of God" is the title of chapter two, in which the focus turns to "the vital link between Sacred Scripture and the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist". The importance of the Lectionary is mentioned, as is that of the proclamation of the Word and the ministry of reader, with particular emphasis being laid on the preparation of the homily, a theme of great importance in this Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation.

Chapter three of part two concerns "The Word of God in the Life of the Church" and highlights "the importance of biblical inspiration for pastoral activity, the biblical dimension of catechesis, the biblical formation of Christians, the use of Sacred Scripture in great ecclesial gahterings, and the Word of God in relation to vocations". Attention is also given to "lectio divina and Marian prayer", said the archbishop.

Part three of the document published today has as its title "Verbum Mundo". It draws attention to "the duty of Christians to announce the Word of God in the world in which they live and work". Chapter one - "The Church's Mission to Proclaim the Word of God to the World" - explains how the Church "is oriented towards the announcement 'ad gentes', to people who do not yet know the Word, ... but also to those who have already been baptised ... but need new evangelisation in order to rediscover the Word of God".

"The Word of God and Commitment to the World" is the title of chapter two, which recalls how "Christians are called to serve the Word of God in their most needy brothers and sisters and, hence, to commit themselves in society for reconciliation, justice and peace among peoples".

Chapter three of part three is dedicated to "The Word of God and Culture". It expresses the hope "that the Bible may become better known in schools and universities and that better use may be made of the social communications media, exploiting all the modern possibilities of technology. The theme of the inculturation of Sacred Scripture is also linked to the translation and diffusion of the Bible, which must be increased", said Archbishop Eterovic.

"The Word of God and Inter-religious Dialogue" is the title of chapter four. "Having established the value and topicality of inter-religious dialogue, 'Verbum Domini' ... supplies some important guidelines concerning dialogue between Christians and Muslims, and with members of other non-Christian religions, within the framework of a religious liberty which involves not only the freedom to profess one's faith in private and in public, but also freedom of conscience; in other words, of choosing one's religion".

In the conclusion, Archbishop Eterovic concluded his explanations, the Holy Father reiterates his exhortation to all Christians "to become increasingly familiar with Sacred Scripture".

Friday, November 5, 2010

Shout Out to the Pauline Pilgrims

Margaret Timothy Sato (Provincial Superior) wrote: A big shout out for all the hard work and sacrifices made by everyone who made the trip.

re: Pilgrimage to Italy joined by the Alberione film crew. Pauline laity helped carry the equipment and waited for the "its a wrap!" to go to the next location. 

Next Pilgrimage? The 100th Anniversary of foundation for the Pauline Family in 2014
The 100th Anniversary of the founding of the Association of Pauline Cooperators in 2017.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Confessions of a Pilgrim: Back to the Source

The 2010 Pauline Cooperator pilgrimage, "In the Footsteps of St. Paul", ended two days ago on October 30. I did not keep a journal or take photographs -- Phivan was the picture-taker par excellence, and several of our pilgrims kept notes or posted updates. But I did want to report on the spiritual benefits of the pilgrimage, specifically as it has to do with my mission as a Pauline Cooperator.

I began the pilgrimage in a mood of expectant floundering. Three years into my retirement from the University of Delaware, I am finding my way into the rhythm and activity of the rest of my life. I have a mission as a Pauline Cooperator. I love the Pauline charism, I love Blessed James Alberione, I feel a fierce desire to help continue what he began in response to his interior vision from Jesus Master. But what is my next step? What is a Pauline Cooperator? What do I do, and with whom? Expectant floundering, at its best!

The picture at the top of this essay shows the Cathedral of Alba, where Blessed Alberione experienced his call from Jesus Master during the Night Between the Centuries. Our pilgrimage took us to this and many other sites that are of great importance to the Pauline Family. On our last day, we visited the open tomb of Blessed Alberione himself. In reflecting on everything that happened on the pilgrimage, here are my first responses:

1) I am reading Tametsi Futura, the encyclical of Pope Leo XIII that had such an impact on the young James Alberione. I decided to do this today, and in looking it up, lo and behold I discover that it was issued on this date, November 1 -- All Saints Day -- in 1900. No wonder it was fresh on Blessed Alberione's mind on the Night Between the Centuries! It had just been issued, and the young seminarian was just soaking up its message.

Take a look below at the opening paragraph of Tametsi Futura. How relevant it is for us today! Having just come from Rome, where thousands of people crowded the streets and churches of Vatican City, I can relate not only to the opening lines about the tenor of the times, but the later hope Pope Leo expresses about the revival of interest in all things holy. How odd it was to see, in the midst of what we are told is a very secularized Italy, the pilgrims from all around the world on their knees, in prayer, standing in long lines, cheering the Pope, and otherwise showing signs that although Christ may be hidden, He is not unsought. Pope Leo XIII writes:

The outlook on the future is by no means free from anxiety; on the contrary, there are many serious reasons for alarm, on account of numerous and long-standing causes of evil, of both a public and a private nature. Nevertheless, the close of the century really seems in God's mercy to afford us some degree of consolation and hope. For no one will deny that renewed interest in spiritual matters and a revival of Christian faith and piety are influences of great moment for the common good. And there are sufficiently clear indications at the present day of a very general revival or augmentation of these virtues.

For example, in the very midst of worldly allurements and in spite of so many obstacles to piety, what great crowds have flocked to Rome to visit the "Threshold of the Apostles" at the invitation of the Sovereign Pontiff! Both Italians and foreigners are openly devoting themselves to religious exercises, and, relying upon the indulgences offered by the Church, are most earnestly seeking the means to secure their eternal salvation. Who could fail to be moved by the present evident increase of devotion towards the person of Our Saviour?

The ardent zeal of so many thousands, united in heart and mind, "from the rising of the Sun to the going down thereof," in venerating the Name of Jesus Christ and proclaiming His praises, is worthy of the best days of Christianity. Would that the outburst of these flames of antique faith might be followed by a mighty conflagration! Would that the splendid example of so many might kindle the enthusiasm of all! For what so necessary for our times as a widespread renovation among the nations of Christian principles and old-fashioned virtues? The great misfortune is that too many turn a deaf ear and will not listen to the teachings of this revival of piety. Yet, "did they but know the gift of God," did they but realise that the greatest of all misfortunes is to fall away from the World's Redeemer and to abandon Christian faith and practice, they would be only too eager to turn back, and so escape certain destruction.

2) I'd like to organize a weekly 24-hour Adoration from Pauline Cooperators and friends from around the world. Each Monday is dedicated to St. Paul. Could we not each make a commitment to spend one hour each Monday in A Visit to the Lord, in front of the Blessed Sacrament whether exposed or not as we can find in our local area?

Many of you -- many of us -- already make A Visit daily. I thought that how wonderful it would be if the Cooperators cooperated to have a 24-hour praise and adoration to the Blessed Trinity each Monday, a prayer rising to the Father through Jesus Master, in union with the Holy Spirit, asking that we discern how we might best, individually and as a group of lay Paulines, continue Blessed Alberione's vision of using the means of social communication to evangelize the world. We can ask Blessed Alberione, Venerable Thecla Merlo, Blessed Timothy Giaccardo, and all of the Paulines who have gone before to join us in this prayer.

Who's up for it? This is my first call. Pass the word. I will be "taking names" as they say, and filling out a schedule hopefully to cover all 24 hours, setting Greenwich Mean Time as the standard for converting everyone's individual local hour.