Pauline Family: Closure of the Centenary of the Pauline Cooperators
The first International Encounter of the Pauline Cooperators was a great feast of languages, cultures, songs and Pauline enthusiasm….a lively gathering marked by the colors of the world! The event, held to celebrate the Association’s Centenary, took place in Rome and in the places linked to our origins.
Almost 300 Cooperators from 25 countries (there were many others who were not able to participate because they did not receive a visa for Italy) made vibrant and tangible the intuition of Blessed James Alberione who, as early as 1917, had dreamed of the Cooperators as “ persons who understand the Pauline Family and form with it a union of spirit and purpose” (CISP, p. 384). In fact, our Founder wanted all of us–religious and laity–to be a single body striving to evangelize the “great parish” that is the world.
Through the moving accounts of their various experiences, we once again felt the beauty of being a Family and the need to open ourselves more to the gift of the lay vocation. We also perceived our responsibility to make the Pauline charism “shine” so that the illuminating power of the Gospel will reach every sphere of existence.
During the Encounter, the Cooperators, subdivided into study groups by language, shared their dreams and prospects for the future. They expressed their desire to live the mission entrusted to them with greater enthusiasm and “Pauline color”; they asked to improve the quality of their formation, including by participating in formation sessions on the level of the PF; they made the commitment to spread the Association above all among young people and to make the alberione.org/CP/ website more lively and interactive.
As Daughters of St. Paul, what can we do to help the Pauline lay vocation develop more and more? How can we transmit to the laity the passion for evangelization that throbbed in the heart of Blessed James Alberione? As we listened to their different experiences, the words of Pope Francis resounded in our hearts:
“We need well-formed lay people, animated by a sincere and clear faith….We need lay people who are able to take risks, to ‘get their hands dirty,’ who are not afraid of making mistakes, who move ahead. We need lay people with a vision of the future…. We need lay people with the flavor of life experience, who dare to dream” (17 June 2016).
In today’s context, the Divine Master is calling us to walk together, to make the most of our different charisms, respecting each one’s gifts and carrying out a joint apostolic action so as to offer everyone “the charity of the truth.”
May the Holy Spirit, who “makes all things new,” help us write together a new chapter in the history of the Pauline Family–a chapter rich in hope and one that takes on the vast horizons and luminous heritage of our Founder:
“Lift your eyes to the heights of this huge tree, the top of which cannot be seen: this is our House and it is truly an immense tree. You are just at the roots of it…. If only you understood the treasure that is in you!” (26 January 1919)
The Cooperators are also a part of this treasure that prompts us to look up at the branches of our great tree, which is rooted in the heart of God.
Sr. Anna Maria Parenzan