After that, guided by various sisters and brothers of the Pauline Family, we proceded to reflect on the spirit of the Apostle through the lens of our father Alberione, in order to try and imagine a hermeneutic of our Founder that would update our charism and be the foundation of the everyday reality of the specific mission to which we have been called - a mission articulated in apostolate, spirituality, poverty and study.
Lastly, we gathered in 9 groups according to language (3 Spanish, 3 English and 3 Italian) and questioned ourselves in order to carry out a communitarian discernment to drawup guidelines for relaunching the Pauline charism in its triple perspective of apostolic content, the pastoral dimension and spirituality.
Here in brief is the fruit of what we elaborated during the Seminar that we experienced together these days.
The contents of Pauline witness
1. The primary content is Christ, communicated in the style of Saint Paul. At the same time, as the Apostle reminds the Philippians (cf. Phil 4:8), every area of human research, even what is not explicitely Christian, is included in our apostolate as long as it responds to the criteria of truth, nobility and justice. Every question that promotes the truth about human beings and their natural ambient is by definition not foreign to us.
2. Our apostolate calls us to be prophetic and critically aware in all cultures regarding the great themes of the current times, above all in societies such as ours, characterized by the phenomenon of globalization, secularization and afflicted by the negative consequences of the structure of sin (poverty, exclusion, egoisms, indifference, etc.)
3. As Daughters and Sons of Paul at the service of the Church and the social contexts in which we are present, we feel the call to be interpreters of the “signs of the times,” with the necessary discernment:
a) promoting the role of women in the Church, in society and in the Pauline Family;
b) supporting a greater responsability of the laity in the Church;
c) emphasizing the need for unity through a frank interreligious and ecumenical dialogue;
d) relaunching the values of solidarity, communion and faith;
e) defending the Christian meaning of the family, its importance and it value in society;
f) denouncing the havoc wrought by people and nations against nature and natural beauty, without however giving in to a simplistic environmentalism.
4. We are concerned about the transmission of the faith to the new generations: for this reason we feel called to address them, forcing ourselves to use their own language and to promote the educational agencies that share our same vision of the human person.
Pauline strategy and pastoral style
1. The pastoral service which has been entrusted to us is that of addressing a public that is always more heterogeneous in its concrete context of life, culture and degree of adhesion to the Church and the Gospel; a public that communicates in an always more “interactive” way with the sources of the message and thus is always less a passive receiver.
2. Among the privileged members of our audience, by the explicit indication of Blessed James Alberione, we must address our works to the so-called opinion leaders, both lay and religious, and to those who work in social communications.
3. Our apostolate is called to be “a spearhead” and “a bridge,” that is, one that looks ahead without fear in regard to contents and means; and one that is capable of creating relationships and dialogue not just between the church and the people of today, but also among these people themselves.
4. We feel the call to collaborate always more within the Pauline Family, promoting together our biblical and charismatic formation with the goal of increasing our sense of family and drawing up common projects also on the basis of already existing realities.
5. We are aware of the need to adopt a style of evangelization that is flexible, humble, communal, marked by gratuitousness and conscious that it is precisely in personal and communitarian weakness that the strength of the apostle and the apostolate resides.
6. We want to commit ourselves to form and involve more deeply in our apostolate the Pauline Cooperators and the other consecrated lay men and women of the Pauline Family. Furthermore, we consider it essential for our misson to bring about a greater involvement of prepared and motivated laity.
7. We consider it equally necessary to collaborate on the formative, cultural and apostolic levels with other publishers, both religious and lay.
The spiritual motivation of our identity
1. Ours is an apostolic, Eucharistic and liturgical spirituality founded in Christ Way, Truth and Life, whose purpose is that we might be conformed to and live in Christ. It is also a spirituality of communion in the Pauline Family.
2. We feel the need to “liberate Paul,” striving to know him better in a vital way, so as to understand him always better as the model for an apostle: this with the purpose of strengthening in us a spirituality that is at one and the same time mystical and apostolic, avoiding risky dicotomies.
3. As Pauline men and women, we must become more aware of the necessity of witnessing in order to be “agents of change” as Paul was, above all in view of the three-year preparation for the centenary celebration of the birth of the Pauline Family.
4. Finally, we desire that the Pauline charism be relaunched by means of an updated hermeneutical re-reading of Paul and Alberione.
We express the lively desire that the interest manifested in the Apostle during these days by all the participants might not end with the closing of the Seminar, nor with the closing of the Pauline Year. Thus we assume the commitment to deepen our knowledge of the thought and life of our “father, model and founder St. Paul” and to transmit to our brothers and sisters throughout the world what we have lived, learned and reflected on together during these days.
The participants in the International Seminar on Saint Paul
Ariccia, 29 April 2009