Dear brothers and sisters,

I offer you my personal greeting and that of the whole General Government, thanking you for your presence in this 2nd International Seminar of the Pauline Editors, in which participate representatives of all our Circumscriptions scattered throughout the world, besides some members of the Pauline Family. Welcome to all!

We are gathered in this event, first of all, as «communicating apostles and as consecrated people»[1] who, following in the steps of the apostle Paul, serve the Gospel which is the power of God and salvation for all humanity (cf Rom 1,16). We too have believed and therefore want to talk (cf 2Cor 4,13) about the Gospel in an ever more globalized and pluralistic world, making use – as Pauline Editors – of all the languages of communication in light of the charism inherited from our Founder, Blessed James Alberione.

As has been illustrated in the Letter of Convocation of last May 8, this Seminar is born of the reflection made within the General Government regarding action line 1.1.2, of the X General Chapter, which asked us to update the document Editorial lines, contents, recipients of the Pauline apostolate[2]. Reflecting on this request, we have considered it more propitious to discharge this commitment making it to be preceded by a more deepened study about today’s editorial reality.  

The idea of realizing this Seminar – which already had also been thought about by the preceding General Government – has been supported not only in view of the renewal of the editorial lines, but also because we see as a true urgency for the whole Congregation to understand in what direction the editorial goes, considering the changes that have been produced in the field of communication, especially with the advent of the digital technologies.  

These are the reasons which – after having shared the idea of this initiative with the Superiors of Circumscription during the meeting of June 2016 – have pushed us to realize this 2nd International Seminar of the Pauline Editors, entrusting its organization to the CTIA and calling to it all the General Directors of the Apostolate and the Editorial Directors of our Circumscriptions, together with other Paulines and members of the Pauline Family who also exercise an activity of the editorial type.

By way only of general introduction to this Seminar, I want to underline four points which I see as important for the start of our works.

  1. A brief historical allusion: from 1988 to today

The 1st International Seminar of the Pauline Editors, carried out at Ariccia-Milan from 17 September to 2 October 1988, has tried to answer some questions about the Pauline editorship[3]: who is the Pauline editor? What concrete choices does the Pauline editor do in the Church and in the society where he carries out his mission? To whom does he turn to? How can he reach his recipients?

We remember that that event has been celebrated on the vigil of the 75 years starting from the birth of our Congregation. Of the Acts produced at that time you have already received the digital version through the reports and the proposals presented in the Final Document by the work groups divided into three sectors of the apostolate: Periodicals, Books, Audiovisuals. Regarding the interventions, the speakers have tried to present the historical-charismatic journey of the Pauline editorship and to situate that 1st Seminar in the social, ecclesial and mass media context of the time. Moreover, they have entered into the thick of the thematics concerning the organization, the business management and the study of the market, always with the objective of giving new impulse and greater clarity to the Pauline editorship, in the qualitative, quantitative and professional sense, and in a perspective of international cooperation.

We cannot deny that the Congregation during these last years – inspired not only by this Seminar but also while answering the directions of the various General Chapters and Interchapters that have followed in time – has made a significant journey through various initiatives and events and the elaboration of orientative documents in the field of formation, apostolate and organization. We enumerate some of the initiatives that are part of our history as Pauline editors, organized in particular in the last three decades. 

1988 (Ariccia-Milan, 17 September – 2 October) – 1st International Seminar of the Pauline Editors.

1988 (14 November) – Constitution of the International Technical Committee of the Apostolate (CTIA).

1991 (29 November) – Birth of the CIDEP (Ibero-american Center of Pauline Editors).

1992 (April) – Official presentation of common Trademark in the VI General Chapter.

1992 – Birth of the CAP-ESW and of the Europe Group (including Canada and the Congo);

1992 (Alba, 7–9 October) – Seminar on Apostolic Organization and Multimediality.

1994 (Ariccia, 12–23 October) – International Seminar on Pauline Formation.

1995 (Intercapitular Assembly of Caracas 2–13 May) – Approval ad experimentum of the Manual of Authority in the Society of Saint Paul.

1996 (Ariccia, 14–24 October) – Seminar on Jesus, the Master: yesterday, today and always. The spirituality of the Pauline communicator.

2000 (meeting of the General Council, 3-8 April) – Approval of the Methodological Guide for the elaboration of Apostolic Projects of the Circumscriptions (reviewed in the General Council of 10 October 2016).

2001 (Ariccia, 29 April-7 May) – 1st International Meeting of the General Directors of the Apostolate on the theme Single Pauline Multimedia Editor.

2005 (16 November) – Approval of the Editorial lines, contents, recipients of the Pauline apostolate.

2007 (26 November) – Constitution of the International Secretariat for Vocational Pastoral and Formation (SIF).

2008 (Ariccia, 18 June - 3 July) – Seminar on the Actualization of the Pauline charism in the third millennium: spirituality and mission.

2008 (Ariccia, 14-21 September) – 1st International meeting of the General Coordinators of the Vocational Promotion and Formation.

2009 (Ariccia, 19-29 April) – International Seminar on Saint Paul.

2012 (22 November) – Approval of the following Documents: Criteria for the San Paolo multimedia developments; Policies, procedures and administrative control in the Circumscriptions of the Society of Saint Paul; Ethical protocol of the Society of Saint Paul; Guide for the elaboration of the ethical Directory of the Society of Saint Paul; Norms regarding the human resources.

2013 (4 April) – Constitution of the Saint Paul Biblical Centerr.

2014 (Ariccia, 23-25 November) – Seminar about Fr. Alberione, Founder.

2017 (7 March) – Approval of the updated version of the Manual of Application of the Trademark.

2017 (Cinisello Balsamo, 23-28 May) – 1st International Assemby of the Referents of the Biblical Centers san Paolo/Paulus.

2017 (6 June) – Approval of the Lines of Pedagogical Identity and Fundamental Operative Choices for the Pauline Centers of Study in Communication (CPSC).

2017 (Ariccia, 16-21 October) – 2nd International Seminar of Pauline Editors.


  1. Do all for the Gospel as Pauline Editors

A journey, therefore, has been made. If the orientations that have gradually emerged have been put into practice and if, therefore, we have made some steps forward; or if, instead, we have stopped regarding some aspect; or if, straightaway, we have gone backwards in others, let us leave that a judgment may express it in this our Seminar. However, considering the itinerary described and bearing in mind the world in constant change, we propose even today the essential questions that concern our mission: who is the Pauline Editor in a society continuously changing, principally with the advent of the digital technologies? How does the Pauline editorship present itself today, put in confrontation with the other editorships, religious and lay, in a culture where all the persons and the institutions are within the universe of communication, in a reality that is ever more complex, plural and dynamic? Who do we want to reach? How do we want to arrive? How do we organize ourselves to carry ahead our mission? How is our rapport with our lay collaborators and what is their true participation in our apostolate?  

Even if there have been changes in the manner of operating in the field of editorship, we cannot say, however, that our identity as Pauline Editors, called to live and to work in the logic of the Gospel, has changed because of this. The world can change, but the challenge for us continues to be that of giving Jesus Master Way, Truth and Life (dogma, morals and cult) to men and women, employing all the languages of communication available along the way: «Give in the first place the doctrine that saves. Penetrate with the Gospel all of human thought and science. Don’t talk only of religion, but of everything talk in a Christian way»[4].

Regarding the identity of the Pauline Editor, of permanent reference for us is the apostle Paul, with his style of evangelization that we are called to assume. Like him, we cannot content ourselves with receiving and transmitting mechanically what we have received from the Christian tradition. It is necessary to reinterpret and reelaborate. Like him, we too are called to use creativity to connect the fundamental datum of the Gospel with the concrete cultural and vital situations of the various human and ecclesial environments[5], aspects that will be deepened in the course of this Seminar.

The X General Chapter has synthesized, in its General Objective, towards where the Congregation wants to go in the next years regarding community life, spirituality, formation and its evangelizing mission.  All aspects that this Seminar must take into consideration: «”I do all for the Gospel” (1Cor 9,23). Attentive to the signs of the times, to renew the thrust of our apostolic action converting ourselves, our communities and our apostolic structures so as to arrive to all, especially to the peripheries, even making use of the new languages of communication»[6].

  1. I do all for the Gospel” (1Cor 9,23). The Gospel, first of all, is Jesus himself, who «is light, newness, energy, rebirth, salvation»[7]. He is the point of departure of our mission.
  2. Scrutinize the signs of the times”, which are the big events, happenings, attitudes or relations, which characterize our time[8], to act prophetically in history.
  3. Renew the thrust of our mission”: do not act always in the same way, but adapt yourselves to every reality and historical period.
  4. Conversion” of ourselves, of our communities and of our apostolic structures”: without “conversion” there is no “renewal”.
  5. Arrive to all, especially to the peripheries”: also bear in mind in our concerns and editions the poor, the marginalized, all those who live in the peripheries of existence, in the same way as they were present in the heart of Christ, of the apostle Paul, of Fr. Alberione. This aspect is an essential component of our mission, which is truly “pastoral”.
  6. Also make use of the new languages of communication”: that is, take up evangelization with courage and audacity in the world of the digital networks. 

We invite everybody to enter this perspective, to let yourselves be enlightened by the logic of the Gospel, bearing in mind that «every time that we return to the font and recover the original freshness of the Gospel, there arise new roads, creative methods, other forms of expression, more eloquent signs, words loaded with renewed meaning for the present world»[9].


  1. Using the various languages of communication

In the 1st Seminar of the Pauline Editors, Fr. Renato Perino recalled that «we came from the printing press; soon we passed into editing printed matter. But notwithstanding the often audacious urgings of the Founder towards the use of all the other means of communication in a perspective of mass and of audiovisual character (dailies, movie production, radio and television broadcasting, discs, etc.), we must admit that, except for countable exceptions, we have not greatly shifted from books and periodic publications»[10].

Today, where are we? No doubt, editorial work printed on paper, in general, is still the base of our apostolate, a means of communication that makes us arrive with our message to so many persons and which, for almost all of our Circumscriptions, continues to be the principal source of economic support. Evidently, it is an apostolate to which we must continue to give attention and to carry on with creativity and quality, even if it makes us think to ask if, in this field, we are true editors or just simple printers.

In any case, our charism is open, as our Founder pointed out. Enumerating the means during his time, he said: «By “edition” we do not mean only a book: we mean other things. The word edition has many applications: edition of the periodical, edition of one who prepares the script for the film, of one who prepares the program for television, of one who prepares what to communicate by means of the radio»[11].

Our vocation and our mission are not exhausted nor are they identified with some particular means, but they are open to any change of the history of communication[12]. In this sense, it is necessary to face with courage the digital reality which already for some time provokes us to review the Pauline editorship and invites us to give some concrete answers, so as to arrive with our message to all those who live in this environment. Just to give an idea, «it is calculated that in 2016, on a world population of about 7.3 billion, there are 3.4 billion Internet users, 2.3 billion of whom are socially active and almost 2 billion by means of mobile devices (growing 17% compared to the preceding year)»[13].

Besides the reality of editorship, we cannot forget that the Congregation – in the field of its teaching mission and, especially, upon the push of the last two General Chapters – has opened itself to the projects of the Centers of study on the Bible and on Communication. Regarding the first, already there are initiatives going on which offer to our recipients instruments which are useful in the study and deepening of the Word of God. Concerning the issue of pedagogical commitment in communication, which integrates with full title our charism[14], we have today four Centers of Studies in Communication in the Congregation (Brazil, Philippines, India and Mexico), and others still in the phase of planning, which must become for the Pauline Editor not only the place for the development of the academic activities in view of the formation of professionals in communication, but also of true and fitting places for research and for the production of thought.

Other initiatives which open for us new forms of penetration in society are the Cultural Centers, the events surrounding the Word of God (Biblical Festivals and Bible Quizzes) and also the bookstores, which aim not only to be places of sales of products, but also to be true and rightfully cultural multimedia centers. All these expressions, which must integrate the individual Apostolic Projects, are a great opportunity for an ever profound contact with those who are already our recipients, but also to arrive at other persons and realities where we are not yet present.  


  1. The context of an outgoing Church. Who do we want to reach?

The Gospel, our charism and the Church are three realities which must walk together. In fact,  «a clear sign of the authenticity of a charism is its ecclesialness, its capacity to integrate itself harmoniously in the life of the holy People of God for the good of everyone. An authentic novelty aroused by the Spirit does nor need to cast shadows on other spiritualities and gifts to affirm itself. The more a charism will turn its gaze to the heart of the Gospel, the more its exercise will be ecclesial»[15].

An evangelizing Church is an outgoing Church, one in movement. Its the same as talking of a Church characterized by a missionary style, which takes note of the urgency of a “new  evangelization”, expression which for us Paulines has an entirely special shade of meaning[16]. The Church must think of herself as “outgoing” because she is missionary and because the heart and the end of mission is the announcement of the Gospel.

The Declaration of the last General Chapter has affirmed that we are Church and with the Church we want to be a Congregation which is outgoing[17]. Using other words, our Founder talked precisely about this when he insisted on the necessity of the Pauline Family to have a great opening towards the world, when he referred to the editions that should take into consideration the real needs of the people: «The Pauline Family has a wide opening towards the whole world. The editions must be addressed to all the categories of persons; all the problems and all the events are to be judged in the light of the Gospel. [...] In the one apostolate to make known Jesus Christ one must shed light on and uphold every apostolate and every good work; one must bring Christ to the heart of all peoples; one must let the presence of the Church be felt in every problem, with the spirit of adaptation and understanding for all needs, public and private»[18].

Evidently, talking of an “outgoing” Congregation does not mean that everyone must go where he wants. “Going out” must have at its base a clear project of evangelization, which is directed to the concrete persons of our time, using a structure and a method of work inspired by Christian values, with Paulines and lay collaborators aware that without an authentic evangelical spirit whatever new structure becomes corrupted in a short time[19].

Even if we must pay attention to the laws of commerce, industry and administration, the same way as to that of an ever more professional managing of an economy, we cannot however reduce ourselves to simple managers. We are apostles. As our Founder pointed out, «there was no need of a religious institute to engage in industry! Persons consecrated to God are not needed to work as businessmen!»[20].

Another important fact is that we Paulines are not in the Church to be transmitters only, even if they are of edifying contents. We are also called “to be Church”. In fact, when Pope Francis asks of Christians of all the communities in the world to give a testimony of fraternal communion which becomes «attractive and shining»[21], a «communion in differences»[22], he evidently asks the same of us, who are Pauline Editors.

For us Paulines it cannot be enough to reach all with the message of the Church. Talking more concretely, there is no sense promoting, through our means, a Church-communion, sensitive to the poor and the marginalized, as the papal magisterium asks of us, if within ourselves we live a style of life and of individualistic and pyramid-like work, without participation and without listening.

We cannot forget that «for every ecclesiology there corresponds a specific editorial communication»[23], but also a manner of being and of working. In this sense, an ecclesiology of communion and of participation, intrinsic aspects also in the pastoral work of the apostle Paul, asks of us today an interactive communication, not to be set aside in order to live and work in synergy.

These aspects also induce us to think about our rapport with the Pauline Family and to see until what point there is today effective collaboration in the sphere of the apostolate, in particular with the Daughters of saint Paul, who have the same apostolate as ours, and what we are doing concretely in this regard.  

Dear participants in this 2nd International Seminar of the Pauline Editors, the methodology of this meeting has been thought about in a way so that your presence may not be limited to that of simple hearers, but in order that you may also be able to give your active collaboration, sharing what you know and your experiences. In truth, we want to do teamwork that may help us to think of editorship today in the key of Paulinity. As already you have become aware, this Seminar will be more brief than the first, also because some themes, especially about organization and administration, have already been largely discussed and some steps have already been made in this sense, as we have hinted above.  

We hope to come to the end of the Seminar with some indication to help us review and update the editorial lines of the Congregation. However, I dare say that, even if at the end we might have more questions than answers, at least this Seminar will show us where we really are, will give us the right awareness that certainly will help us make some steps ahead. What we cannot do is, instead, to rest with arms crossed, looking like mere spectators at a world that ever more goes ahead.  

May Jesus, the Master, shed light with his Spirit on our journey and help us to carry out our works with the same apostolic zeal of the apostle Paul and of Blessed Alberione.  

A successful seminar to all!

 Ariccia, 16 October 2017


Fr. Valdir José De Castro

Superior General

[1] X General Chapter, Chapter declaration: Evangelizing today in joy as communicating apostles and as consecrated people.

[2] Cf X General Chapter, Action line 1.1.2.

[3] Renato Perino, Introduction to the International Seminar for the Editors of the Society of Saint Paul, in Acts of the International Seminar of Pauline Editors, Ariccia-Milan, 17 September-2 October 1998, pp. 13-14.

[4] James Alberione, AD 87.

[5] Cf Romano Penna, Being Christians according to Paul, Marietti, Casale Monferrato, 1979, p. 14-15.

[6] X General Chapter, Objective 2015-2021.

[7] Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, n. 61.

[8] Cf Pope Paul VI, Ecclesiam Suam, n. 52.

[9] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 11.

[10] Fr. Renato Perino. Introduction to the International Seminar, op. cit., p. 19.

[11] James Alberione, Pr 1954, 137.

[12] Cf Silvio Sassi, The single Pauline multimedia editor. World meeting of the General Directors of the apostolic activities, Ariccia, 30 April-5 May 2001, p. 1.

[13] Vittorio Meloni, The twilight of the media. Information, technology and market, Laterza, Bari, 2017, p. 83.

[14] Cf Constitutions and Directory, art. 74.

[15] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 130.

[16] «Chapter after chapter, the reading of AS makes us taste the “novelty” of the Pauline charism which is described as a “new form of evangelization” since because of the historical changes of the time, the mission of the territorial parish and of the parish priest with his faithful was not anymore sufficient to reach the masses far from the faith. In this apostolic vision, the press is “true” evangelization, complete and of equal dignity as the evangelization of the parish ministry: “written preaching side by side with oral preaching» (Silvio Sassi, Letter of the Superior General “Evangelizing in communication using communication”, Saint Paul Bulletin, n. 446, November 2014, p. 3).

[17] X General Chapter, Chapter Declaration: Evangelizing today in joy as communicating apostles and as consecrated people.

[18] James Alberione, l am with you, pp. 17ff, in Mi protendo in avanti, pp. 42ff.

[19] Cf Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 26.

[20] James Alberione, Haec Meditare II, 1948, pp. 173-174.

[21] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 99.

[22] Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, n. 228.

[23] Silvio Sassi, Context of media communication and Christian presence, in Acts of the International Seminar of the Pauline Editors, Ariccia-Milan 17 September-2 October 1988, p. 92.