The Apostle of the Media
A man who reached for the future
Like Paul, who declared: “The love of Christ urges us on” (2Cor 5:14), at the dawn of the 20th century Blessed Alberione felt interiorly moved by an appeal of love from Jesus in the Eucharist, who yearns to draw all people to himself and who prompted him to begin a new apostolate and a new religious family. Thus the young priest set out on a incredible adventure that, over the arch of many decades, led him to initiate innumerable projects.
He started in 1914 with a small group of boys and the order to publish Alba’s diocesan newspaper, and by the end of his life he had founded five religious congregations, four secular institutes, numerous Catholic publishing houses throughout the world, magazines, a network of media centres that he hoped would serve as sources of light for all who visited them.
His original interest in the medium of the press expanded as he realised that the Church of today must be present in the cinema, in television, in the world of music and in every field of human communication furnished by progress. He did not live to see the development of the Internet, but all the languages and instruments of modern communication attracted his interest because he saw them as ways of responding to the social and pastoral problems of his time. Participating in Vatican Council II, he had the satisfaction of seing the Council documents acknowledge many of the intuitions he had labored long and hard to concretise.
Blessed Alberione and the Media
“Ancient spirit, new forms.” This was the operative principle of Father Alberione as he strove to fulfill the mission entrusted to him by God. The ancient spirit was that of the Gospel, of St. Paul, of the best tradition of the Church.
The new forms were those suggested by human progress in the twentieth century for the influence of the masses and the mutual relations among people: the press, cinema, radio, television, the digital world– that is the means of social communication. With admirable ease and courage, Blessed Alberione entered this field and gave it an authentic sense of apostolate. He stands in the Church as a master in the use of these forms of the Christian apostolate.
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Thecla Merlo: A Woman of Vision
Thecla Merlo was the first woman who believed in the ‘vision’ of Fr. Alberione and collaborated with him in the founding of the Congregation of the Daughters of St Paul.
Her life project was to live as St Paul, apostle of all peoples; to have a universal mind and heart like his; to imitate his love: to give up her life for the sake of all; to bring the message of peace and salvation to humanity through the media of communications. Her example is one of immense courage, humility and faith.
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