Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Honoring Christmas Traditions

Throughout the nearly hundred years of our existence, the Pauline Family has benefitted from the faith and generosity of others. According to various historical accounts, it’s clear that from the earliest days, these people knew they were doing more than simply helping a new foundation in need. They were carrying out a mission. This was due in no small part to the gift Founder Bl. James Alberione had of being able to explain and inspire, even as he turned to them for the special needs of “St. Paul” or simply “the house.” On his part, he promised his own prayers and those of the community. It’s a tradition we gratefully continue.

In his November/December 1952 letter to the Pauline Cooperators, who were among our first donors and benefactors, Fr. Alberione wrote of an ambitious project: to build a temple in honor of Mary, Queen of Apostles, in Rome. This was the result of a vow he had made during the Second World War if she would keep every Pauline safe. Though money and materials were scarce, he kept his promise and lassoed friends and benefactors into the project with him. He wrote:
“Behold the Son of God who became man to save the human race.  We consider him as a gracious, beautiful baby in the crib. You are the Cooperators of this effable mission with prayer and good example, with the writing and the distribution of good books, with sacrifice, with your help, and with offerings to the Society of St Paul.

“Each year, in the name of this baby, Jesus, who begged a cave, a crib, and swaddling clothes, I come to ask charity and help from you.…the Cooperators and persons who will gather in this magnificent Temple to honor Jesus, the Master of humanity, and his and our Most Holy Mother, and to implore graces.

“See what great joy and value it is to give something to Jesus?…Jesus will say to you, dear and generous Cooperators: ‘I was naked and you covered me; I was thirsty and you offered me to drink; I was a stranger and you took me in… Come therefore, O blessed, into the reign of my Father ….’ You have the wisdom of the Divine Spirit and the supernatural virtue of charity. Know that we have had many proofs of this in the past, in fact, every year.

“God willing, we will celebrate a special Mass for you on Christmas night.  Unite yourselves to us in spirit. I will make your intentions my own.

“Most fervent best wishes for the New Year: to you and your families, and for all the things which are close to your heart. Through your generosity we are opening a new house abroad, new vocations are coming, and new editions bring light and comfort to the human race.

“Let us always fix our gaze toward heaven. Children, society, and the interests of God have won you, who are courageous persons living their life of faith at home, in church, and in society.

“May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, descend upon you and remain always in you—in light and joy and in an increase of grace and merit, now and for eternity.
                                                                        Affectionately, Fr. Alberione"

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