THE PUBLISHING APOSTOLATE
Handbook of Formation and Apostolate
Edition prepared by the Centre of Pauline Spirituality (Rome)
© Society of St Paul, General House, 1998
Seen and approved for printing
Rome, 4 April 1998
SAC. SILVIO PIGNOTTI, Sup. Gen. SSP
Grateful thanks for their help to: Elisabetta Capello, Luigi Giovannini, Antonietta Martini, Franco Pierini, Eliseo Sgarbossa, Maurizio Tirapelle and M. Damien Vieira
Translation: MIKE BYRNES, SSP
FOREWORD1. Importance of this book
The importance of the 1944 L'Apostolato dell'Edizione (AE), edited by the "Missionary Institute Pious Society of Saint Paul", is the fact that it is presented as a "Handbook of Formation and Apostolate". The book was intended to be used, as indeed it was, by generations of men and women Paulines. The fact that there is no mention of Fr Alberione on the cover or in the frontispiece or even in the short Foreword in no way diminishes the book's value. The absence of a name suggests that there were many editorial hands. Even so, its importance remains intact, if for no other reason than that any contribution by other Pauline men and women would have been explicitly requested by Fr Alberione, examined and set within limits defined by him.
The second edition of L'Apostolato dell'Edizione came out in 1950. On 26 November 1954 the General Curia of the Pious Society of Saint Paul granted the visto, or nulla osta for the third edition. The second and the third edition - only a few changes between them and so published with the same imprimatur1 - were printed by the Daughters of Saint Paul. This too is an indication of the caliber of a text destined for the Pauline Family to explain what Paulines mean by apostolate.
2. The structure of the handbook
The aim of the two-part work - the first, of a general and theoretical nature, the second, more practical - is to illustrate who the apostle is and what he or she must do. The title "apostle" describes2 every Pauline. The way the subject matter is set out, in numerous short chapters, highlights the particular pedagogical attention paid to its young readers.
1. The Apostolate. Here there is the description and explanation of the word "edizione" [publication] (its object, order, characteristic, demands and method).
2. The Apostle. In this division of Part One is a description of the ordinary minister - the priest - and then of "the religious", men and women, who together with the priest intend to respond to the "necessities of the times". The Pious Society of Saint Paul, in partnership with the Pious Society Daughters of Saint Paul, was founded for "publishing", an apostolate, in other words, which "lay people" may also undertake. Whether men or women, they can be "catechism teachers" without being directly dependent on a priest (cf. n. 251). What they do need, however, is "formation", spiritual above all, inasmuch as they must rely on a strong daily "prayer life". This comprises Mass, Communion, meditation, Visit to the Blessed Sacrament, and examination of conscience. They are to draw inspiration from the Virgin Mary, who brought forth (edidit) the Word by conceiving Christ. For Pauline apostles, an important characteristic is their veneration of Scripture.
Part Two has as its title the specific name of three "apostolates" into which publishing is divided: Press - Cinema - Radio. The book's third edition (1955) saw the addition of Television.
In this first edition, 38 chapters are dedicated to the Press (there will be 39 in the second and third). Four chapters are dedicated to the Cinema in this first edition and five in the second and third. In all three there is but one chapter for the Radio. Television is already mentioned implicitly in that it is among the means that the apostle must adopt because they are "quicker and more wide-ranging for promotion". In the 1955 third edition Television has a chapter of its own.
Thus the space allocated to the press is disproportionate with respect to the more modern means. But Fr Alberione is already pointing to the new map of world communication. The perception we glean is, above all, the desire to move with the times: technology at the service of publishing.
3. The history of the handbook
The history itself of AE is testimony of this move towards what is new and best for the apostolate. This "handbook" had, as we said, three editions; each one, however, brought up to date with additions. This ongoing and repeated integration of an initial project points to a broadening of the idea itself of apostolate. The changes added reveal a process of growth and, of course, a logical continuity with another text of the past, the Apostolato Stampa (AS), whence AE originates.
As an introduction to the text which we are presenting a great help would be to compare it with the 1933 work: SAC. ALBERIONE S.S.P., Apostolato Stampa. Alba, Pia Società San Paolo ; 170  p., 19 cm.
What you note immediately, apart from no mention of the Author in AE, is the visto on the last page of AS: "Seen, printing is not only permitted but highly recommended. Alba, 10 June 1933. Msgr. F. Chiesa, Ap. Adm."
Behind AS is the theological authority of Canon Chiesa, the vigilant and learned godparent of the Pauline Family.4
On the cover of AS is a reproduction of the old Pauline emblem. It shows an open book with the words of Jesus taken from Jn 14:6: Ego sum via veritas et vita; there is the sword and, on top, the letters JHS ("Jesus Hominum Salvator, Jesus Savior of humankind") with the halo.
Much of AS was originally published in Gazzetta d'Alba (1932) and even before that in Vita Pastorale (1931ff). Directed at an external readership its aim was also vocational.
As later in AE, already in AS Fr Alberione asks what the press apostolate is (it is the preaching of God's word through printing; it is printed preaching); what its specific objective is, its origin (it comes from God in that he is the author of the divine Book); its characteristic (it is pastoral); preparation; its requirements or presuppositions (feel and experience with Jesus, with the Church, with Saint Paul); the duties of Catholics; material work; Mary, Queen of History; necessity of the Mass, the Eucharistic Visit and Communion for the Press apostle; order (first in the press hierarchy is the Church's teaching, followed by Scripture and Tradition); pictures; the parish gazette; libraries; how to impart doctrine to beginners, to the proficient, to the perfect (or learned); the omnia vestra sunt; editorial work and promotion; veneration of Scripture an essential characteristic; Religious in the press apostolate; the sins of the press; the Bible and the press apostolate; promotion (publicity). At the end are practical norms to be observed for editorial work, the press and promotion.
AS has a total of 29 chapters, some more theoretical in nature, others more practical.5 For A. Damino6 "it is an original and remarkable book; a program policy for the Pauline Institute." It has to be acknowledged that AS retains a force and a fascination of its own, because some particularly noteworthy pages are no longer included in AE.
A glance at the Index of the text we are presenting will nonetheless show how AE, aside from the title, has incorporated and expanded the idea itself of Apostolato Stampa by including Cinema, Radio (and Television). These, too, are "apostolates" under the umbrella of "publishing".7
In the Foreword, unchanged in the three editions of AE and which, at least substantially, expresses the thought of Fr Alberione, we read: "The Pious Society of Saint Paul designates the whole of this activity [Press, Cinema, Radio] with the generic title of 'the publishing apostolate'. This book intends to deal with this apostolate, examining in particular the press apostolate. Here we will aim to follow faithfully the thoughts outlined [by Fr Alberione] in special conferences and contained, for the most part, in Apostolato Stampa...".
It would appear then that the relationship between the 1933 AS and the 1944 AP is that of parent and child. But there were also others involved. Who were they?
Sr Luigina Borrano of the Daughters of Saint Paul explained its origins in a letter to Fr Antonio Da Silva of the Pauline Center of Spirituality: "In the beginning there was no thought of a book but of Notes which would faithfully reflect the lessons which the Founder regularly gave for a number of years to a group of about 20 Daughters of Saint Paul… The precise instruction that he then gave me for the publication was this: we were to compile a Handbook of Formation and Apostolate in view of handing on his authentic teaching to the Pauline men and women of the future, just as he had communicated it to us, his pupils. This is why he wanted L'Apostolato dell'Edizione to convey - in a simple yet instructive way - all that was contained in Apostolato della Stampa and to follow, in full, the summary of his lessons… As regards the lesson notes, this is how things were: I did my best to write down faithfully everything he said, then I put it in order as best I could and submitted everything to him, in long sessions, during which time he dedicated himself completely to this. I can't recall his providing me with any manuscript. Sometimes he corrected the thought or dictated one or two passages."
Thus Sr Luigina. But we owe "Chapter VI, on the Way, Truth and Life Method to Fr Giovanni Pelliccia SSP who 'set out in writing the result of his research.' Although Fr Alberione pointed out that it was difficult and in a completely different style from the rest, he did approve it. The whole of this tract appeared in the first edition of L'Apostolato dell'Edizione. But in subsequent editions it was somewhat reduced and simplified."8
The revision of this book was passed on to Fr Attilio Tempra. In a typewritten pamphlet entitled Fr Alberione seen and presented by a close collaborator of his, he writes: "One day, while I was at Genzano [Rome] as chaplain to the Pastorelle Sisters, the Founder came to see me. He handed me a bundle of manuscripts and told me: 'This is a book I care very much about. Read it and prepare it for publication'… [Those notes] seemed rather approximate... There was not much logic in their arrangement and the difference of style was apparent. After giving it a hurried reading my judgment was… that it wasn't worthwhile publishing. The Founder invited me to read it again, more attentively, assuring me that I would find 'a lot of good' in it... I made some changes, corrected a number of expressions and gave it back to the Founder. He sent it on to Fr Giaccardo in Alba who was very happy to publish it" (p. 34f).9
There is no obligation on those who read the book now to share the opinion expressed then by Fr Tempra. But he gives us valuable pointers regarding the iter [course] of the work. It is likely, too, that Fr Giaccardo, at the behest of the Founder who trusted him, probably worked on it as well.
This explains why the handbook, even this edition,10 appears without the name of Fr Alberione as its author. It is the outcome, as it were, of the Pauline environment itself, male and female, and it was for them that this manyauthored compilation was destined.
4. Fr Alberione apostle of the Good Press from 1931 to 1944
To establish how old AE is we can take 1931 as a starting point, as for AS. The later dates are more exact: the delegated visto [seen], of Fr Tempra, was given in Rome on 10 December 1943; the nulla osta of Fr G. Giaccardo, for printing, was given in Alba on 2 January 1944; the visto, of the diocesan Vicar, Canon P. Gianolio, with the permission to print, was given in Alba on 5 January 1944. The printing of AE, by the Daughters of Saint Paul, was officially completed on 15 January 1944.
What became of Fr Alberione as apostle of the press from 1931 to 1944?
The first issue of Famiglia Cristiana bears the date 25 December 1931 and in the same year Fr Alberione publishes some moral instructions entitled La passione predominante.
In 1932, the silver jubilee of his ordination, Fr Alberione publishes Donec formetur Christus in vobis (a handbook of Pauline formation)11 and a collection of meditations, entitled Per i nostri cari defunti, for the month of November.
As well as Apostolato Stampa, further preaching of Fr Alberione is published in 1933, such as Considerazioni ascetiche sulla Confessione (monthly retreat for priests), Si vis perfectus esse (meditations for student clerics), Leggete le Ss. Scritture (ten Hours of Adoration on the Bible).
In general, what the Society of Saint Paul publishes is considered devotional and mediocre. In a Catholic Year Book of that time (1934) we read that the Pious Society of Saint Paul in Alba publishes La Domenica Illustrata and La Gazzetta d'Alba as well as "Il Divino Maestro della Famiglia Cristiana, La Madre di Dio, La Vita Pastorale, Una buona parola, and La Domenica - all periodicals which have a rather limited and local distribution."12
The outcome of all this, however, is an identification no longer just in theory but in fact between oral preaching and written preaching.
Giving the example as Founder, Fr Alberione carries out the press apostolate personally. The purpose of his words put down on paper is to nurture and to teach the entire budding Pauline Family and also, possibly, to secure some "vocations" from among an ever wider extern public.
To write is considered to be a primary activity, if not the condition sine qua non to be Pauline men and women. The AE handbook itself aims to train male and female "apostle-writers", as well as personnel to be employed in the technical and distribution areas.
The Pauline priest should be a priest-writer.
Even though only one of Fr Alberione's books comes out in 1935, Esercizi e ritiri Vol. I, many of his "Prefaces" fill the opening pages of books and pamphlets written by his clerics. I religiosi nella Chiesa, prepared entirely by the Pauline novices of the 1933-1934 intake, comes out with a Preface by Fr Alberione on the occasion of the Conversion of Saint Paul (25 January).
There is no lack of encouragement on Fr Alberione's part for the Geologia by G. Barbero; for the Nozioni di biologia vegetale by R. Casaliggi; for L'età contemporanea (History Lessons for those in 'Liceo') by C. T. Dragone; for the Progenie eroica (on Priests in the Missions) by L. Fornari; for Oltre l'Oceano (missions of the Servants of Mary) by E. G. Fornasari; for Il Medioevo (History Lessons for those in 'Liceo') by S. Lamera; for the Geografia generale by F. Muzzarelli; for L'Eneide (selected and annotated passages) by I. Pazzaglini; for L'Iliade (selected episodes with notes) by B. Roatta; for L'Orlando furioso (selected episodes with commentary) by I. Tonni.
The reader will of course realize that this is not a complete list. In fact, every year Fr Alberione encourages (indeed "obliges") his young people to write.13
In 1936 Fr Alberione moves from Alba to Rome. In that same year he can finally consolidate a dimension of his pastoral vision with the foundation of another Congregation of the Pauline Family: the Sisters of Jesus the Good Shepherd, familiarly called the Pastorelle Sisters.
On 12 April of that same year, 1936, the Constitutions of the Society of Saint Paul see the light of day.
In 1937 other books of his, such as Ss. Spirituali Esercizi (Istruzioni alle Maestre), Oportet orare, I Novissimi are published. From 18 April the inhouse bulletin San Paolo is printed in the Rome Pauline printing plant. And in the 1 August issue of the San Paolo he lays down that "in the examination before Orders every candidate will have to present a printed copy of a book he has authored."
Two books of Fr Alberione come out in 1938, Sectamini fidem (for Pauline priests, later entitled Mihi vivere Christus est) and Maria nostra speranza (for the month of May).
Meanwhile the cinema apostolate has started.14 Abuna Messias, produced by the Sampaolo Film (S.P.F.), believe it or not, wins official recognition (Mussolini Cup) at the Venice Film Festival - not improbably because the story narrated has a strong colonial flavor.
In 1939 four books of Fr Alberione come out and 13 May is the foundation date of the Società Anonima Romana Editrice Film (R.E.F.)
In 1940 a further six books bearing the name of Fr Alberione come out; 23 April marks the date when Pauline Father Enzo Manfredi lodges his copyright claim on his time-division telephone system (n. 38.30.65).
In 1941 three books of Fr Alberione come out and on 10 May Pius XII grants the decretum laudis to the Society of Saint Paul approving its Constitutions.
Italy breathes the air of war (1939-1945), but in AE Fr Alberione seems to ignore it, mentioning this situation only in a moral sense, referring to "combat" with oneself, against one's predominant passion, in an Ignatian reflection.15
Perhaps we can interpret this 1931-1944 output of Fr Alberione by using an eschatological key, where, in plain English, the important words are sin, death, judgment, Hell, Purgatory and Paradise.
In 1942 the Esercizi alle Maestre, Esercizi Spirituali Vol. II and some volumes of Hæc meditare, Series II come out.
1943 sees the publication of other volumes of Hæc meditare, Series II, and Vol. III of the Esercizi Spirituali as well as La Madonna di Fatima (with an invitation to pray to Mary's Immaculate Heart).16
In this account of events up to the threshold of 1944, with the aim of profiling Fr Alberione as an apostle of the Good Press, there is no trace of his radio activity. The radio - Vatican Radio had long been on the scene17 - is for Pauline men and women of that time more a theoretical than a practical apostolate, despite its acknowledged importance in AE.18 Some years later on, however, Fr Alberione will personally put himself to the test in front of a radio microphone.19
5. The historical and ecclesial milieu
From 1931 to 1944 Fr Alberione interacts of necessity with a Church and with a world, an Italian world, above all, which is leave-taking the first World War (1915-1918) to enter the second (1939-1945).
Pius XI reigns on the Chair of Peter from 1922 to 1939. Pius XII follows him (1939-1958). These are the two Popes to whom Fr Alberione owes obedience from 1931 to 1944.
In 1931, the fortieth anniversary of Rerum novarum, Pius XI issues his encyclical Quadragesimo Anno for the establishment of Christian social order. In the same year, in defense of Catholic Action opposed by Fascism, he publishes his Non abbiamo bisogno. The Nova impendent attempts to counter the grave economic crisis, the distressing increase in unemployment and the growing armament's race. In this same year he issues the Lux veritas, on the occasion of the 15th centenary of the Council of Ephesus.
Thus the Pope uses the apostolate of the press and becomes a model. He goes even further. At 4.30 p.m. on 12 February 1931, introduced at the microphone by Guglielmo Marconi and in the presence of Cardinal Pacelli, Secretary of State, Pius XI inaugurates Vatican Radio, addressing the world with history's first pontifical radio message.
The beginning of the militarist and imperialist (colonial) phase of the Fascist regime begins in Italy in 1932 and Pius XI issues the Charitate Christi compulsi on prayers and expiation to be offered to the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus "in the present danger for humanity." Publications, films and gramophone records hostile to the Church are condemned.
The extraordinary Holy Year or Jubilee of the Redemption, to celebrate the 19th centenary of the Redemption of humankind, accomplished on the Cross by Jesus Christ, begins on 2 April 1933. The encyclical Dilectissima nobis on the hardships of Catholics under the Republican Government in Spain is issued. Hitler becomes Chancellor of the Third Reich; at Dachau the first "concentration camp" is opened.
Again in 1933, on 11 February, Vatican Radio begins short wave broadcasts. On 6 June the Pope receives in audience a group of journalists and speaks to them of "the Catholic Press Union". On 18 September an audience is granted to delegates at a congress of advertisers discussing "Ethics, a dominant factor in all propaganda".
1934 is the year of the "long march" of the Chinese communists. Turin's La Stampa, is the first, in Italy, to print a telephoto sports picture (a soccer match between Italy-England). On 10 June Pius XI receives in audience Rome journalists and speaks expressly to them about the "press apostolate". On 10 August the audience is for the International Federation of the Motion Picture Press, regarding its theme "Concern for Motion Picture Morals".
In 1935 Pius XI issues an encyclical on the Catholic priesthood, Ad catholici sacerdotii. A lot of things are happening in the communication world of 1935: initial experiments in sending teletype news items to newspapers begin; a radio-telephone service starts in Japan, while jazz of a "Negro or Jewish origin" is banned on German radio. From 22 March till the end of August a TV channel in Berlin transmits low-definition (180 line) telecasts.
1936 sees the proclamation of Italy as an empire, now a colonial power, and Victor Emmanuel becomes Emperor of Ethiopia. In the same year a new Constitution comes into force in Russia which proclaims "freedom of the press" but demands the complete socialization of journalism. On 2 November the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) begins TV broadcasts with a good 405 line definition picture which is picked up by about 100 TV sets.
1936 sees a remarkable number of meetings between the Pope and mass media workers. On 18 April Pius XI speaks to the participants of the XXXVI Congress of La Croix and of the Bonne Presse in general. A few days later, on 21 April, a pontifical message is addressed to the International Congress of the Motion Picture Press concerning the moral uplift of the cinema. On 12 May the Pope inaugurates the World Exhibition of the Catholic Press in the Vatican.20 A few days later, on 16 May, he meets with representatives of the foreign press on the topic of "Spokesman of Ideas". The points that the Pope has been making thus far culminate in the encyclical Vigilanti cura of 29 June on Motion Pictures. On 31 October the Pope gives a talk to the participants of the Catholic Congress of Advertising on "moral duties". On 10 November he speaks of the "radio apostolate" to representatives of the Bureau Catholique International de Radiodiffusion. At the beginning of December Pius XI, now already old and unwell, sends a message of peace to the world from the studios of Vatican Radio.
We have collated all these data to illustrate how, during this 1931-1944 time frame, the Church already undertook the apostolate of motion pictures and of the radio, in addition to the earlier one of the press, adapting itself to the needs of the times, and employing these means, directly and indirectly, as they became progressively available.
1937 is the year of Mit Brennender Sorge ("With painful anxiety"), issued on 14 March, which deals with the worrying situation of the Catholic Church in Germany's Reich. Nazism stands accused by the Pope. Just a few days later he issues his Divini Redemptoris Promissio, against atheistic Communism. In both encyclicals there are references to the press (of propaganda in particular) and to social communication in general.
1937 sees the rise of Cinecittà in Rome, the complex of cinema studios where the majority of Italian motion pictures are made. Newspapers in Italy begin to employ stenographers who are engaged to gather the latest news broadcast on radio, while TV broadcasting in France becomes a regular feature.
In AE Fr Alberione mentions the "Daily".21 It remains, however, a dream, an apostolic but unreal one.
For 1937 Pius XI had given his approval to the following Missionary Intention for the Apostolate of Prayer: "Knowledge and love of the Missions will be promoted through the press, radio, theater and motion pictures."
1938, which marks the year of Abuna Messias, sees the annexation (Anschluss) of Austria by Germany where, following the publication of the "race manifesto", the first anti-Semitic measures are put in place.
22 April 1938 marks the date of authoritarian laws against the press in Spain.
Pius XII begins his pontificate with a pastoral program set out in the encyclical Summi Pontificatus.
Italy occupies Albania and Hitler invades Poland precipitating the beginning of the second World War.
In a pastoral letter of 1 January 1939, the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Verdier reminds Catholics of their duties regarding motion pictures and the radio. In the same year, in Italy, the Bishops of the Venice region promote the "motion picture pledge" not to attend films judged to be unsuitable from a religious and moral viewpoint. In 1942 such a pledge is extended to all members of Italy's Catholic Action.
On 31 July 1940, Pius XII speaks on the power, efficacy and necessity of good reading, while on 7 August his message regards the serious danger of bad reading material.
In 1941, television is already being used on a commercial basis in the United States.
1942 sees the invention of magnetic tape, and at Harvard a group of American scientists, under H.H. Aiken, develops ENIAC, possibly the first electronic or automatic calculator.
The "atomic pile" constructed by Enrico Fermi for the production of atomic energy goes into service in Chicago on 2 December. Kodak produces its first films for infrared photography.
On 27 October 1942, Pius XII speaks to Romanian journalists on the teaching influence of the press during the war.
This, in summary form, is the historical and ecclesial milieu of AS and AE.
6. Some reading suggestions
Two questions of a historical nature could help as a starting point. What influence did the Church and the State exert over Fr Alberione; and vice versa, what influence could Fr Alberione, as an apostle-writer, have exerted on the milieu of his time?
To have a satisfactory answer we would need to read the handbook AE in light of the important Pauline dates between 1931 and the end of 1943. Further we would need to compare the historical references in the text with a detailed chronology of Church history, and thus of the religious life, the socio-economic circumstances, and the development of the means of communication - all summarized in a nutshell above.
The attempt to answer these two questions can lead to the discovery of how Fr Alberione wanted to keep in step with the Church of his time, focusing more and more on forms of apostolate directed at a modern global world understood as the "Pope's parish".
It seems that Fr Alberione's intention was not so much to precede the Church as to follow her, as his Teacher, in the role of an intelligent and active disciple.
Of course, over and beyond a simple reading of the handbook, what we can intuit is the effort to practice updated theory regarding the technical means. We must not, however, overlook the book's aim, which coincides implicitly with the Author's explicit intention. Within the bounds of his institutions, Fr Alberione's wish is to form and to teach what "the publication apostolate" means and who the true "apostle" is.
At the basis of these very important premises of AE is a theological vision which the reader should not lose sight of.
The starting point to describe the publication apostolate is the exemplarism of the Trinity,22 which, in an encyclopedic project of Fr Alberione, is translated into "sciences-art-virtue", under the influence of the Christological trinomial "Truth-Way-Life". Exemplarism becomes "apostolate" or "publishing", and consequently, "editorial work-technology-promotion", as a teaching role of Christ and of the Church for the world's salvation.
If the reader keeps this exemplification in mind it will help her or him not to impoverish the vision that Fr Alberione has of the apostolate, reducing it from a theological to a technical-organizational one, while yet respecting all the while the urgency for integration and wholeness among the three parts. Apostolate is the apostle's goal; it is what draws him or her closer to God, to today's men and women; to the whole God (Father, Son, Spirit) and to the whole human being (mind, will, heart) through the whole Church (dogma, morals, worship), with complete pastoral action (prophetic, kingly, priestly).
Fr Alberione teaches us to move forward. He urges us, in harmony with a law of perfectibility, to keep up to date, which is to be understood as the capacity to excel, to plan, and to progress towards a state of wholeness which is real only if we move beyond the point we have already arrived at.
What we perceive clearly in this handbook, concurrent with the consolidation and expansion of a charism - once in-stitutionalized the criteria for apostolic action settle inevitably on prudence or legality rather than on creativity and prophecy - is the zest for growth which is a driving force to do a lot, to do it well and to do it in a way that is fitting.
At this point we would need to look at Fr Alberione in person as we look at ourselves in a mirror in order to know who we are.
The reader AE
is aiming at is whoever feels the need to restore meaning to "apostolate" and "apostle" - in other words, to their own charismatic identity - according to Fr Alberione. If Fr Alberione had no knowledge of such terms as "computer", "information technology", "telecommunications", "satellite", "optic fiber", "multimedia language", "CD-ROM", "mobile phone", "satellite phone", "high-definition TV" or any other means of interactive communication which progress makes available, it is only because he entered the world before us.
But to us he entrusts his very own mandate to go forward in the apostolate, following the ethics of communication, or [in his words] giving the alms of truth.
With words that may perhaps sound a little out of date, he encourages the reader to face the new challenges, and to take up in a responsible and adult way his very own title of "publishing apostle" - which pertains by right to any Pauline man or woman. Apostles, men and women, of the present age, who use the instruments and languages of today's world, so as to be in a position in the future to glean bigger and bigger sheaves in the Lord's harvest where workers are becoming more and more scarce.
For Fr Alberione the future that apostolic formation is gearing up to is eternity. To start from this word, so prevalent in his vocabulary, could be the right move for interpreting all of the other important words in this handbook.Rome, 4 April 1998
1 Granted at Alba on 12 November 1950 by Canon P. Gianolio.
1 Granted at Alba on 12 November 1950 by Canon P. Gianolio.
2 "Apostle of Jesus Christ". Paul usually identifies himself with this title at the beginning of his Letters.
3 It may be helpful to recall that regular TV broadcasts in Italy began only on 3 January 1954 (even though the RAI [Radio Audizioni Italia] was licensed to do so in 1952, once the 625 line standard was established). It would not be until 4 November 1961 that Italy would have a second television channel.
4 From 1930 to 1933 Can. Francesco Chiesa was working on a new theological synthesis which resulted in the four volumes of Lectiones Theologiæ Dogmaticæ recentiori mentalitati et necessitati accomodatæ. On the basis of these Lessons Fr Alberione deepened his understanding of Jn 14:6 in the light of three salvific activities of Christ as Truth (Teacher/Prophet), Way (King/Shepherd), and Life (Priest and Victim), thus accessing a way to interpret not only his ecclesiological vision, but also his pastoral orientation and the way to establish his foundations.
5 If Pauline praxis did not always keep pace with the theory of Fr Alberione's apostolate, the fault lies not so much with defects in the handbook as with difficulties of a practical nature and perhaps a consolidated Gutenberg mentality (more apparent in AS than in AE) which instinctively identified apostolate with printing. In any case, the good press can always be likened to the "Scripture" or "Bible", the booklibrary by attribution, and consequently to the works of the Fathers, the Saints and theologians.
6 Cf. A. DAMINO, Bibliografia di Don Giacomo Alberione, Rome 1994, 36.
7 Later there will be talk of "apostolate of social communication" or of "women apostles of Jesus Christ in the communications' world", designations that would embrace even such modern areas as information and telecommunication technology, multimedia, and interactive communication. What we can learn in general from comparing AS with AE is the urgency to take up or "evangelize" these new technologies and to use them for the apostolate. An "updating" or ongoing "formation" is in keeping with the Founder's thinking.
8 Thus A. DAMINO, o.c.
9 Cf. A. DAMINO, o.c., 50.
10 There is already a more recent edition in Portuguese, São Paulo (Brazil) 1967.
11 In Donec formetur (nn. 251-259) we find a summary of AS.
12 Cf. L. GIOVANNINI, Don Alberione e i Paolini nella storia della Chiesa e della cultura. Cronologia comparata, Rome 1982, 145.
13 "To implement what was prescribed by the Constitutions of the Pious Society of Saint Paul, the Founder wanted a site in Alba, early on, right from 1921, for Pauline editorial work. Later on this locale was baptized Sala San Paolo, and was provided with better equipment and additional personnel specialized in this field. As a condition for the definitive approval of the Constitutions Pius XII wanted Fr Alberione to erect a House specifically for the Pauline writers. This House was established in embryo form, in Rome, during the war, first at the Church of Santa Caterina della Rota, then at Borgata Laurentina or Montagnola, at the House of Jesus the Good Shepherd parish. A third move was to the new General House residence and lastly, in 1948, to Albano Laziale (Rome). To have their definitive approval, which arrived on 15 March 1953, the Daughters of Saint Paul had to set up their editorial house or House of Writers at Grottaferrata (Rome)" (G. BARBERO, Il Sacerdote Giacomo Alberione: un uomo - un'idea, Rome 1991, 741).
"Some say that you are born a poet but that you become an established writer only after a long apprenticeship, exhausting study and costly experience as a result of your mistakes and errors. Fr Alberione left no stone unturned in his efforts to train his writers. To this end manual work is laid down in the printing plant for students and it continues right on up to the early years of priesthood; to this end he established the famous and highly-esteemed Hall of Saint Paul, in Alba, a real and practical apprenticeship in editorial work; to this end the School of Apostolate; to this end, years later, the longedfor House of Writers" (Ibid., 456).
14 Cf. in this regard the testimony of Fr Barbero: "Fr James Alberione was not the first to realize that motion pictures could be used for preaching the Gospel and for teaching Catechism to children and adults. His merit was to use this new invention to do good, while many Christians were still treating it with a sense of diffidence. The motion picture apostolate seemed an enterprise bristling with insurmountable difficulties; one not suitable to be undertaken by members of a religious Congregation. The cinema was considered a weapon used by the enemies of good to corrupt morals; at most, one could go on the defensive as American Catholics had done, in 1934, by organizing the Legion of Decency, the aim of which was to keep the public away from indecent films. Although the Legion of Decency's role was only a dissenting one, Pope Pius XI had blessed and encouraged this movement in his encyclical Vigilanti cura of 29 June 1936 which was entirely devoted to a consideration of motion pictures. He pointed out that motion pictures could do good as well as evil. Censure is but the negative aspect; there must be pressure on producers to make educational films. The cinema was seen also as a means of amusement but it had to be elevated to a means of religious instruction and preaching of the Truth. This reflection became a springboard for Fr Alberione: 'We have to start the apostolate of Motion Pictures. Let us go to make an hour of adoration at Saint Paul's tomb' he said one day to some of his collaborators and they set off towards the Basilica of Saint Paul in Rome.
"The choice to start the motion picture apostolate fell on the young Pauline priest, Fr Fortunato Gregorio Delpogetto. With the help of trained missionaries he planned a wide-ranging film on the life and work of Cardinal Guglielmo Massaia, apostle of Ethiopia. The result was the film Abuna Messias, made in Ethiopia, under the direction of the producer Goffredo Alessandrini (1905-1978). On 9 August 1939 the film on Abuna Messias won the coveted Benito Mussolini Cup at the VII Venice Film Festival. The missionary work of Guglielmo Massaia (1809-1889) lent itself to make an interesting film although there was some criticism of the political background ending. The Holy See encouraged Fr Alberione with these words: 'Father, you go ahead, don't stop; the Lord will bless this more and more. Ecclesiastical authority approves the work of the Pious Society of Saint Paul in this, too, as in the printing apostolate. Dedicate more people to this work.'
"The experience acquired in the production of Abuna Messias helped to strengthen the organization of the Pious Society of Saint Paul in the motion picture field and, after the pause imposed by the war years (1940-1945), work started in 1946 with greater determination. Other steps followed the initial one. The move was made from 35 mm to 16 mm films; from films produced entirely by the San Paolo to others which were coproduced or bought outright from film companies for 8 mm production or for screening within certain areas and countries. To undertake this motion picture activity, especially from a financial point of view, a joint-stock company called Romana Editrice Film, abbreviated R.E.F. (1939-1951), was set up. Later Parva Film became part of it (1947) and in 1952 it assumed the business name Parva-Sampaolo Film, which lasted till 1955. Finally we have the moral entity "San Paolo Film", approved by Bishop Carlo Stoppa of Alba on 22 May 1956, and approved as a juridical entity by the President of the Republic of Italy, Giovanni Gronchi, on 5 February 1957" (G. BARBERO, Il Sacerdote Giacomo Alberione: un uomo - un'idea, Rome 1991, 527).
15 Cf. pp. 67 and 105. - Actually the war was an ever present factor for the author, not only in his role as Founder and responsible for hundreds of young people in danger, but also as a Christian writer. There is a wellknown incident provoked by a 1942 Christmas article of his published in the weekly La Domenica Illustrata, in which he called for the suspension of hostilities at least over Christmas, in conformity with the ancient practice of "God's truce". The author was accused of defeatism and threatened with jail. See below (p. 290, note 3).
16 Some volumes of Hæc meditare and volume IV of the Esercizi Spirituali, together with AE, will be published in 1944.
17 The Pope used it. In a radio message of 24 August 1939, Pius XII said: "Justice advances with the force of reason not with that of arms… Nothing is lost with peace. Everything can be with war…".
18 Fr Alberione speaks about it enthusiastically: "The work that awaits the Catholic apostolate especially in the field of radio conquest was understood in a remarkable way by radio's first apostle, Fr Vittorio Facchinetti, who is now the Bishop of Tripoli. He initially launched his idea for the need to consecrate this marvelous gift of God to the apostolate in the review Frate Francesco" (p. 480).
19 The first experimental radio broadcast took place on Christmas Day 1948. At precisely 8 a.m. "Radio San Paolo" (I 1 RSP) began calling its previously-advised listeners. At 8.10 a quite emotional Fr Alberione sat before the microphone and began to speak: " 'Glory to God in the highest and peace on earth to men of good will.' These best wishes of the Angels are also mine. On this most splendid day of the love of Jesus Christ for his Father and for all, these are my heartfelt wishes, Sons and Daughters; knowing how well you will understand and welcome them. They are a follow-up to the Mass I celebrated last night for everyone, those near and those far-off; my only preference being for those who are suffering. Experiencing just a useless and helpless servant, I asked Jesus to do everything, only Him, always Him… May God be known, served and loved! May all one day belong to that Kingdom which Jesus Christ came to win on earth, and which he will present to his Father. May he be loved first by us; may we make him known and loved, in the way He came from Heaven to preach on the Father: 'This is eternal life: that all may come to know God and the One sent by God: Jesus Christ.' 'Peace to all!'… The year which is closing has seen progress in the motion picture apostolate; there is a great desire to do better… The international organization of the apostolate by means of the Rome Center, the Bibliography Bulletin and the new international Book Centers are giving good results, amidst the difficulties which of their nature such works entail… Great confidence comes from knowing that everywhere, near and far, people repeat the offering of prayers, deeds and sufferings according to the intentions of Jesus in the Holy Mass and the intentions of Primo Maestro which, basically, are the implementation of the first two articles of the Constitutions. At this moment I bear in mind all my Sons and Daughters, in Italy and abroad, and I repeat as at the end of Mass: 'Benedicat vos omnipotens Deus, Pater et Filius et Spiritus Sanctus'." The broadcast lasted six minutes and as soon as it finished people phoned from a nearby house to say it was perfectly clear (cf. G. BARBERO, Il Sacerdote Giacomo Alberione: un uomo - un'idea, Rome 1991, 743-745).
20 A few days after his arrival in Rome, Fr Alberione celebrates Mass in the chapel of the Catholic Press Exhibition in the Vatican on 22 June 1936.
21 Cf. Chapter XVIII, from p. 284 onwards.
22 On this topic, see J. ALBERIONE, Ut perfectus sit..., I, 368ff; II, 149ff; - cf. A.F. DA SILVA, Il cammino degli Esercizi spirituali nel pensiero di Don Alberione, Center of Pauline Spirituality, Ariccia 1981, 79ff.
23 Whatever, it is significant that even then the Costituzioni della Pia Società San Paolo, published in 1942, at n. 2 (special aim of the Institute), oblige members to work "above all by means of the publishing apostolate, using the most fruitful and the quickest means, those which are more suited to the necessities and conditions of the times."