Blessed James Alberione

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"The harvest is plentiful" [Mt 9:37]

There is a variety of apostolates: the apostolate of good example, the apostolate of the word, the apostolate of prayer, the apostolate of good works, the apostolate of the Good Press and so on. Everyone knows and can see how important they are. And what zeal needs to be engendered today by everyone to form an army of people who will pray, an army of preachers, an army of holy missionaries! But what is needed more so than in other times is the apostolate of the Press; this Press which good or bad wields an almost hidden power, a power I would call omnipotent, which plots the course of present day society's reasoning and behavior.
When it comes to train primary school teachers there is a plethora of institutes, schools, budgets, legislative provisions and so on. Do not journalists today have a similar influence, indeed, a greater influence over all classes of society?
Of course we do not intend to speak of the press here in general, but of the good press, of that press which is part of the ministry of the preacher and of the gospel worker.
Let us train these apostles, these missionaries who will be fully equipped by way of virtue, zeal and sound teaching.
This is a special vocation. The need is for men with a priestly heart, because the Good Press mission is part of the priestly mission. Preaching, writes Benedict XV in his encyclical, is the principal office of the priesthood.
Union of souls
The question of the press is a very serious one and is becoming more so every day. Many Catholics are contriving, studying and devising ways to solve the problem. Has anyone yet come up with a solution? It is doubtful.
For most it is a question of money.
For others it is a question of distribution.
For some it is a question of writers.
For many it is a question of having up to date news.
For the ingenuous it is a question of a good time, vainglory, innovation...
But is this all it is?
It cannot be.
It is above all a question of people's souls
People need to be persuaded that the salvation of millions of souls depends on the press, as do Christian civilization and the well being of nations, not to mention the spread and strengthening of the Gospel among the masses.
It is a question of people's souls
Because it is a duty of all Christians, especially of good people, more so the clergy, to reflect and to take stock. The Pope has made this known. It is a duty; it is not a counsel.
It is a question of people's souls
The good press needs writers and propagators who will work with the right attitude and see it as a true apostolate. Prayers, many, many prayers are needed. People have to be taught that there is an obligation to put bad newspapers aside and to get good ones; everyone must work to remove the bad press from their environment.
It is the wish of the Good Press Cooperators' Union to rally all those who are convinced of this; to persuade those who are not yet convinced; and to channel their prayers, offerings and activity toward this great apostolate.
Join now and read this bulletin carefully.
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The Printing School of Alba was instituted and has as its purpose the formation of the apostles of the Good Press.
"Now we begin": the Pious Society of Saint Paul
The Printing School of Alba was opened seven years ago in August 1914. This was a period of preparation, apprenticeship and training.
At last we shall soon have a purpose-built house. There is a sufficient number of people bound in mind, heart and soul for the work of the good Press. There is an understanding, somewhat, that God alone does everything and works unfailingly if we seek the kingdom of God and his grace. The teachers of science and the arts are already well prepared; there are genuine and numerous vocations that the Lord sends in proportion to need… and so on.
So now we have to start.
Therefore the house assumes its real name, "Pious Society of Saint Paul", gradually putting aside the name it had previously; thus too are constituted its two divisions, male and female, each having those who apply themselves to work and those who combine study and work. Hence we will set out the extract from the Regulations for whom it may concern.
(Printing School)
Seminary for the training of men and women missionaries of the Good Press

1. It is an institute the purpose of which is to train zealous workers for the Good Press, that is, persons who consecrate themselves to this work as a true Christian apostolate. In other words, it trains its own printers, promoters, book and newspaper writers who will spread Christianity by means of the press as the priest spreads it through speech.
2. It has two branches: one for male workers and writers, the other for female workers and writers. The aim is to instill in both branches a spirit of apostolate, love of souls, love of the Church, and the necessary virtues for this kind of life. For both the young men and the young women there is ongoing instruction in the art of the press: composing, writing, printing, distributing good periodicals, newspapers and bulletins.
3. Besides training in matters spiritual, moral and professional, the workers (the young boys and girls who intend to take up manual work and promotion only) also receive an appropriate supplement of education and instruction. Theirs is a five-year course.
4. Besides training in matters spiritual, moral and professional, the girls who intend to become writers attend to study and in general follow the courses and subjects of a student for a teacher's certificate. Theirs is an eight-year course.
5. As well as prayer life and work, the boys who intend to become writers, promoters and journalists also have study. In general such studies are those assigned to aspirants to the priesthood. They may also work for a degree in social sciences.
6. There is an entrance fee of L. 30 for all. For the first two years everyone pays a monthly fee of L. 30. Following that period there is no further charge. Clothing and laundry expenses are to be paid for by parents, relatives...
7. The Institute has been operating for six years.
To be accepted a person must be over eleven years of age, be of good behavior, and have the necessary physical, moral and intellectual qualities required.
8. This is truly a modern and necessary apostolate for our times.
Those pastors who guide genuine vocations to the religious life will be doing a holy thing. Special importance is to be given to late vocations; that is, to those really good youngsters who, because of particular difficulties, were unable to enter similar Institutes earlier.
For further information and clarification write to Teol. Alberione Giacomo, Alba.
In the house: how we work and what we do
How we work. The press is a new field of work and is thus not always understood. It is a work on public view and thus subject to the judgment of the masses! The Good Press is a good thing but it involves pain and sacrifice. Yet those who in general see the students at work are wonder-struck: each one is recollected and attentive as becomes the undertaking of a sacred action! People work and people pray! People work and during the day at least half, now one group now another, ask to shorten their rest and recreation to finish their work, correct it, or do something extra or better. It is a begging, a deliberating, a holy competition.
Most people consider the press a trade. In the Printing School we want to raise it to the place it merits, which is, a mission, an apostolate. Not something new therefore but something done in a new way, "non nova sed noviter". So we were obliged to do without craftsmen because they were imbued with quite different - the ordinary, the dominant - ideals. Having [to provide] for everything ourselves meant there were extra difficulties, mistakes, studies, and trials. But good will, combined with God's grace, contrives little by little to get around the obstacles and to advance, slowly but surely, day by day. Above all we conserve and we nourish that spirit which is our main wealth, our one capital, Providence's best gift to this house which is "to consider the press an apostolate, a holy priesthood", bringing to it that intellectual and moral preparation that one brings to an apostolate, to a priesthood.

What we do. At present we print forty bulletins, five broadsheet weeklies, Vita Pastorale (magazine for the practice of priestly ministry), Armonie sociali, books, pamphlets and so on. We keep a large stock of the best up to date publications; we establish libraries, book repositories and so on.
On balance
The present print output of the Printing School of Alba is as follows: 40 parish bulletins; Gazzetta d'Alba with five editions, good books, devotional books, catechisms, publicity pieces, and so on. About 10,000 copies of Vita Pastorale for the practice of pastoral ministry are dispatched, all or almost all, to parish priests.
Every week, on average, L. 2000 of good books and religious objects are sold.
In the year up to March about 30 libraries were established; 170 repositories for the resale of good books and religious objects were opened; there was a turnover for the Good Press of over one million; several million copies of good books, pamphlets, newspapers, leaflets and bulletins were spread and distributed.
The young boys and girls continue to dedicate themselves to study, work and prayer with real commitment, and Divine Providence assists the house it willed in a thousand ways. May God bless our benefactors and grant us the grace to administer, as it pleases him, the means that he places in our hands in such a way as to find ourselves content at the hour of our death.