Blessed James Alberione as a seminarian was steeped in the teachings of Pope Leo XIII, who brought the Gospel message to a world reeling from the effects of the industrial revolution. As a young priest he followed carefully the life and writing of St. Pius X, a humble and holy Pontiff who initiated liturgical reforms and defended Church teachings throughout his Pontificate. When the world had plunged into total madness in August of 1914, with one so called Christian nation fighting another, Blessed Alberione founded the Society of St. Paul on August 20, the very day that Pius X died. On his own death bed Blessed Alberione was visited by Blessed Pope Paul VI, who greatly admired and respected him. The role of the Papacy in the Pauline family is illustrated in countless ways. Perhaps, most telling is the 4th vow of Fidelity to the Pope in matters of the Apostolate that is a part of the Society of St. Paul's consecrated service to the Church. Blessed Paul VI was known as the “Pilgrim Pope,” making eight international trips that set the precedent for his successors who more then ever see themselves a pastors of the world. Blessed Alberione had often told the members of the Pauline Family that they had the entire world as their parish.
Pope Francis began his current trip with a visit to Cuba. Fr. Francis X Borrano, the priest who founded the Society of St. Paul in the U.S., had also started the Society in Cuba. Unfortunately when the communists took over in 1959, the Society was expelled from the country. The good news is that the Society has returned to the island to restart our work there of evangelization. Pope Francis' visit there these days has uplifted the Church and given us the capacity to tell the Good News to a people accustomed to bad news.
In Philadelphia the Pope's visit coincided with the World Meeting of Families. Our Pauline Family was there in force. Together we had ten tables displaying our products and our common spirituality that the families of the world can benefit from. Bishop Robert Barron was the keynote speaker for the World Meeting of Families and he has been a leader in using the media to promote the beauty and truth of the Catholic Church. He gave a presentation on becoming the image of God by everyone becoming a priest, a prophet and a king. By doing this we break down the gates of Hell and set free those who are trapped in the slavery of sin.
Many of the members of the Pauline Family attended the talks at the World Meeting of Families and participated in the public liturgies celebrated by the Holy Father during his visit. Our main ministry these days, however, will be one of prayer so that the nation and the world can clearly hear the message of peace and hope that Pope Francis brings wherever he goes.
In 1890, Pope Leo XIII wrote his Rerum Novarum addressing the evils that accompanied the industrial revolution and offering godly advice on how to correct the evils while maintaining the good that came from the technical and scientific breakthroughs of the time. Pope Leo was severely criticized by politicians on the Left and the Right. Many in the Church felt that Pope Leo had ventured into the realm of economics that it was best to steer clear of. Pope Francis faces the same criticism today. He however has heard the cry of the poor. He has responsibility to articulate the teachings of the prophets of Israel who declared that true religion always would take care of the poor, the weak, the widow and the stranger in the land.
David Brooks in an OpEd piece for the New York Times accurately predicted what the Pope's visit to the U.S would accomplish: “Millions of Americans will display their faith in public. Francis will offer doctrinal instruction for Catholics. But the great gift is the man himself — his manner, the way he carries himself. Specifically, Francis offers a model on two great questions: How do you deeply listen and learn? How do you uphold certain moral standards, while still being loving and merciful to those you befriend?”
Fr. Jeffrey Mickler has been a priest for over 40 years and has ministered to a wide variety of families in Detroit, New York, and Youngstown. Fr. Micker is a member of the Society of St. Paul, a religious society that is present in over 40 countries that specialize in media of all kind. In recent years, the S. S. P. has devoted much time on the use of social media and the internet as a means of bringing the Gospel to the world. To that end Fr. Mickler has posted over 600 videos on line, all of which have had approximately 6 million total views on a variety of web sites including www.youtube.com/fatherjeffrey.