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«AT THE CENTER IS JESUS CHRIST,
WAY, TRUTH AND LIFE
»

Synthesis of the papers of the Seminar
on the Spirituality of the Pauline Family (1984)

Acts of the International Seminar
on "Jesus, the Master"
(Ariccia, October 14-24, 1996)

by Antonio F. da Silva ssp

 

I. CONTEXTUALIZATION OF THE LIFE AND OF THE WORK
OF FR. JAMES ALBERIONE

During the preparatory work for the Seminar on the Spirituality of the Pauline Family centered on Christ Way, Truth and Life, the need to open the activities with a contribution aimed at the contextualization of the life and of the work of Fr. Alberione was soon felt. (return to summary)

1. Historical, socio-cultural milieu of the work of Fr. Alberione(pp. 19-64)

To start the discussion on the contextualization, Fr. Luigi Giovannini ssp presented a paper on "L’ambiente storico, socio-culturale dell’opera di don Alberione," (The historical, socio-cultural milieu of the work of Fr. Alberione), divided into five points: Fr. Alberione and history; the political-economic-social milieu; cultural-editorial-mass media milieu; religious milieu in general; the religious milieu in particular.

For Fr. Giovannini, the discussion on the milieu of Fr. Alberione is a historical-cultural discussion, and it is necessary to distinguish a "great" history, that of great men and of great events, which emerges and influences "minor" history, even on the private one which are marked by it. He stresses that the first is often the sum-total of thousands and thousands of private histories. (return to summary)

 

2. Elements for the physiognomy of a founder: Fr. Alberione and his institutes (pp. 65-137)

Once the broad framework has been established, while considering the socio-cultural-religious milieu, Fr. Giancarlo Rocca ssp punctually draws the principal characteristic of Fr. Alberione, which is that of being "one of the most prolific founders in the history of religious life" and undertakes his work in three parts.

In the first, Fr. Rocca presents a general view of the foundations of Fr. Alberione by taking into consideration the rise and the growth of the institutes of the Pauline Family, the foundations assisted by Fr. Alberione, the close of the foundation period.

In the second part, he deals with the question of charism of the Pauline institutes and their organization within the Pauline Family.

In the third part, he further discusses, while concentrating on the question of charism, the typology of a founder applied to Fr. Alberione. (return to summary)

3. The Word of God and Fr. James Alberione (pp. 138-156)

After having traced the historical context wherein Fr. Alberione lived and his physiognomy as founder of the Pauline Family in order to study its Christocentric heritage centered on Jn 14:6, it was important to present his relationship with the Word of God.

Fr. Rafael Castañeda ssp prepared for the Seminar a long paper in three parts: 1) Bible research at the dawn of this century; 2) The bible experience of Fr. Alberione; 3) The biblical experience of Fr. Alberione. In view of its publication, he re-elaborated his contribution into four points: 1) The personal itinerary of the Word in Fr. Alberione; 2) the "biblical texts preferred" by the Servant of God Fr. Alberione; 3) the sapiential exegesis of Fr. Alberione; 4) the exegetical contribution of Fr. Alberione.

Fr. Castañeda proposes to apply to the study of Fr. Alberione the same criterion that the Founder advised for knowing St. Paul: "The spirit of St. Paul is drawn from his life, from his letters, from his apostolate" (AD 94). He affirms furthermore that the articulated interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures is accomplished not only by the work of "specialists of scientific exegesis" but also thanks to the "colossal choir of listeners, researchers and communicators of human and religious experiences," composed of poets, painters, sculptors, musicians and religious founders." (return to summary)

 

4. The opera omnia of Fr. alberione: a proposal for a method of reading and interpretation (pp. 157-173)

Fr. Angelo Colacrai ssp presents his study by recalling the importance and the need of having an Opera Omnia of Fr. Alberione and to overcome the various types of partial approaches to arrive at a reading with a criterion of "totality" (p. 161).

He then points out two inspiring principles of his reading: 1) Fr. Alberione as the only Founder of the Pauline Family; 2) The overcoming of a static fidelity, which means uniformity, conformism, to arrive at a kind of fidelity that is dynamic.

Fr. Colacrai summarizes his thought by alluding to the theme of the Seminar: "The goal, therefore, of our approach, which we may describe at this point as ‘historical-critical,’ is that of discovering what is always valid of Fr. Alberione inasmuch as it transcends his geographical space and his historical time. To discover what is valid, for us today, also as regards our spirituality centered in this seminar on Jn 14:6, interpreted by Fr. Alberione." (return to summary)

Segue: Christ Way, Truth and Life, center of the Alberione vision

 

           Jesus Master yesterday, today and for ever

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