Shown during the 2014 gathering of Pauline sisters this PowerPoint presents some of the Church documents that influenced Blessed James Alberione in his founding of the lay Association of Pauline Cooperators. It also shows the history of the development of the lay vocation & mission in the Catholic Church and the renewed ecclesiology of Vatican II and post-Vatican II studies.
Changes in technology bring new tools to the field of evangelization. The real change is coming about because of our understanding of who we are as Church within a post-modern society. Communion and mission together form the vital environment that reunites all the faithful and on which all depend: “All the members of the People of God - clergy, men and women religious, the lay faithful - are laborers in the vineyard. Every one of us possessing charisms and ministries, diverse yet complementary, works in the one and the same vineyard of the Lord” (ChL 55)….In this vision of Church-communion each of the members lives in relation with the others, without losing their uniqueness which enriches the whole The Laity, enlightened by the ecclesiology of communion, have become aware that they are not meant to substitute anyone, but to exercise their own mission in the Church. But they were lacking what men and women religious have: formation. Christifideles laici echoed that new awareness: “The fundamental objective of the formation of the lay faithful is an ever-clearer discovery of one&apos;s vocation and the ever-greater willingness to live it so as to fulfill one&apos;s mission” (ChL 58). To live this new way of being Church, it called for the boundaries of exclusivity to disappear so as to enter into a new ecclesial vision whose name is “communion.” In this vision of communion, the starting point is found in common sources, a common mission, a common spirit, so as to then emphasize diversity, the different ways of participating in the single mission of the Church; we start out from unity so as to then differentiate the various forms of living it. Quoted from Laity in Redesign, 2011 Interchapter
The Laity in the Process of Redesigning, Seoul, Korea, June 2011. In this new ecclesial dynamic the charism is the unifying element, the bridge which brings about encounter, the root of mutual relationships, and the ring that unites and diversifies their identities…. The foundational charism, presents the mystery of communion for the mission. Every evangelical family presents itself to society as an icon of the Church, which will be expressed to the extent that it is lived in communion between Christians of diverse identities, lay and consecrated expressing unity in diversity. It is a communion for mission, framed and energized by the charism.
Faced with the industrial revolution and the rapid changes in European and world culture and knowing that the tools of communication influenced and were influenced by social change Fr. Alberione believed that the Church was called to use technology to respond to the errors that were being spread through these same means.
Alberione recognized that the same media employed by the “many writers and propagandists of socialism and of modernism” could be used to make Leo XIII’s ideas widespread. He prayed to know how to bring about a new way to proclaim the teaching of the Church and diffuse the Gospel: Not long before there had been a congress (the first he had attended). He had fully grasped Toniolo’s9 calm but profound and fascinating speech. He had read Leo XIII’s10 invitation to pray for the coming century. Both spoke of the Church’s needs, of the new means of evil, of the duty to combat the press with the press, organization with organization, of the need to get the gospel [message] across to the people, of social issues… What Toniolo said about the duty of being Apostles today and of using the means exploited by the opposition made sense to him. Alberione’s vision emerging from the “apostle of Rerum novarum” Blessed Toniolo, continued to grow to encompass everyone together for the apostolate: women, men, lay people, the single, the married, religious, and clergy as the “building of Christ.” His evolution of thought on subsidiarity and the equal dignity of all men and women developed with this first social encyclical.
Still in this era Leo had declared that there are two distinct classes in the Church: pastors and their flocks, the leaders and the people. “The role of the first order,” he wrote, “is to teach, to govern and to lead men in life; to impose rules. The duty of the other is to submit itself to the first, to obey it, to carry out its orders and to honor it.” Projecting himself mentally into the future he felt that in the new century generous people would experience what he was feeling; and that teamed up into an organization they could bring about what Toniolo kept on repeating: “Unite; if the enemy finds us alone he will defeat us one by one.”13
Through Rerum novarum Leo XIII invited lay people to be involved in social action. Graves de communion ON CHRISTIAN DEMOCRACY Il fermo proposito ON CATHOLIC ACTION
There were lay movements before this: Beguins a sisterhood of spiritual lay women, encouragement in St Francis DeSalle’s wrote a guide for the lay faithful 350 earlier, in the early 1800s Saint Vincent Pallotti was known for approaching the &quot;faithful of every class, rank, and condition&quot; to minister to &quot;those who are most spiritually needy.&quot; He established the Union of Catholic Apostolate, laity, sisters, priests, and brothers ,together in mission. Cardinal Newman introduced consulting the laity in matters of significance in the life of the Church. Lumen Gentium (Dogmatic Constitution on the Church) that every baptized Christian possesses a supernatural instinct for the faith (sensus fidei). Catholic Action was the name of many groups of lay Catholics who were attempting to encourage a Catholic influence on society. Catholic Action movements arose in Western Europe during the 1920s and ’30s—typically in response to the plight of the industrial working class, as well as to the rise of atheistic Communism—and spread soon after to the United States. In Belgium The Young Christian Workers supported free trade unions; In Italy, since 1867, Italian Catholic Youth Society, in the United States in 1940s The Christian Family Movement involved Catholics who met in one another’s homes and fanned out to ministries ranging from marriage counseling to drug awareness programs.
Catholic Action encouraged was an invitation for Alberione to begin “co-workers for the good press,” who worked alongside the priests and religious as they published and distributed newspapers, books and films. Even though Pius X and XI supported Catholic Action they still saw the “church is an unequal society – two categories – the pastors and the flock. With the pastoral body only is …. And the multitude is to be led.” Joseph V. Sommers. Review for Religious Pius X restricted the term Catholic Action to the laity&apos;s share in the apostolic mission of the hierarchy; he set the universal aim for Catholic Action--to establish, defend, and fully extend the Kingdom of Christ in individuals, in families, and in the whole of society; he stressed its special necessity in our times: he gave it pre-eminence among the means recommended for the reconstruction of the social order according to a Christian pattern; he based the obligation of Catholic Action on membership in the Mystical Body, on the law of charity, and obedience to the pope; he outlined its subordination to the direction of the hierarchy; and he recalled to priests their obligation to guide and encourage this apostolic organization among the laity.
Pius XI took strong interests in fostering the participation of lay people especially in the Catholic Action movement NON ABBIAMO BISOGNO (On Catholic Action in Italy) 1931Pius XI gave Catholic Action its classical definition as a lay Catholic movement calling for participation and collaboration of the laity with the Catholic hierarchy. Pius XI, 1939 “The Church, the mystical Body of Christ, has become a monstrosity. The head is very large, but the body is shrunken…The only way that you can rebuild it is to mobilize the lay people. You must call upon the lay people to become, along with you, the witnesses of Christ.” Beginning of the 20th century, in the Liturgical Renewal Movement, Karl Rahner, Yves Congar, (and AlberioneSr. Mary Margaret Tapang, pddmBLESSED JAMES ALBERIONE AND THE LITURGICAL MOVEMENT). trying to construct a more positive theology of the laity. “A total ecclesiology…What is required is a comprehensive vision of the whole Church, the whole people of God.” Mater et Magistra ushered in a new era of social thought that was optimistic about openness and dialogue, and hopeful about the ability of the Church to walk alongside humanity.
 James Alberione, Mi protendo in Avanti. Rome, 1954, p.344 In the 1950s Alberione’s intuition led him to believe that there was more in store for the laity—a genuine secular holiness, that there could be a mutual exchange of goods and a true friendship between the consecrated religious and the lay faithful. This awareness came from the knowledge that Cooperators desired to imitate the path to holiness found in Pauline religious life. He invited Cooperators to live the same two precepts of charity as the consecrated Paulines “All together we have a union of persons who aim and help one another to promote ‘the glory of God and good will among people’ in accordance with the example of St. Paul.” The Cooperators are thought of as persons who understand the Pauline Family and are united in spirit and purpose with it… For its part, the Pauline Family desires to promote their Christian education, to guide them to live an exemplary life, and to make them sharers in the goods of the Congregation and in the merits of the apostolate. Alberione, 1954
There is the Union of Pauline Cooperators. These are ordinary Christians who wish to live better lives than many Christians. The word “charism” was not in popular use until after Vatican II. In the 1950s and 1960s, understanding of the role of the laity in the Church was developing. The laity were still dependent on the hierarchy for their apostolate. Religious congregations directed the laity toward a holiness based on the consecrated life. Spiritual practices were articulated through devotion, prayer, and discipline.
Mater et Magistra confronted a dominant characteristic of Catholic spirituality known as detachment, which was geared to the sacral while elements of the world were to be used carefully and cautiously. We live in a time of great changes in the understanding of the human person. This has affected psychology, developmental sciences, physiology, spirituality, anthropology (an emerging theme in Social documents since Vatican II’s Gaudium et spes, 22). &quot;it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear&quot; postmodernism is highly skeptical of explanations which claim to be valid for all groups, cultures, traditions, or races, and instead focuses on the relative truths of each person
Michellina Tenace who spoke at our General Chapter Starting Afresh from Baptism, says “the beauty of Christianity is not being manifested in the first place through works but through a mentality of communion.”Christ broke down the dividing wall that kept us apart from God and each other, bringing about a people called into assembly (ekklesia) and marked by holiness (Eph. 2:3-16). It is through Baptism, we read in Lumen Fidei, that “the life of the believer becomes an ecclesial existence.” Dominican Timothy Radcliffe states in Take the Plunge, “It is necessary to grasp why so much hangs on our understanding of this moment of Baptism, when all the faithful are anointed as priests, prophets and kings. The flourishing of all our Churches depends upon getting this right. If we do the energy of the whole Body of Christ will be unlocked.” 189.
Yves Congar set the dialogue for this identity when he wrote: “At bottom there can only be one sound and sufficient theology of the laity, and this is a ‘total ecclesiology’”  Yves Congar, Lay People in the Church, (London: Geolffrey Chapnan, 1957) xvi.
The Second Vatican Council emphasized the reality that all the faithful share in the responsibility of teaching, guiding and sanctifying. These roles are not restricted to the clergy or religious Vatican Council, suggested that the discussion on church and ministry can be either entered through the door of the hierarchical priesthood (and consider the bishop or priest’s exclusive call as a paradigm for all ministry) or the door of the community. If we enter the first door the layperson may be seen as a participant in a work properly belonging to the ordained. If we enter the door of community then we may describe the whole church as receiving the mission of Christ and affirm diverse ministries within this community.Vatican II entered the door of community.
Gaudium et spes exhorted “the people of God as a whole…especially pastors and theologians, to listen to the various voices of our day, discerning them and interpreting them, and to evaluate them in the light of the word, so that the revealed truth can be increasingly appropriated, better understood and more suitably expressed” (GS 44; 62).
The word evangelization, or words with similar meaning, was used over two hundred times in the Second Vatican Council documents. “Ever since the risen Lord sent out his disciples to make disciples of all nations, the Catholic Church has engaged in what we now call “missionary activity”….But the way we speak of this activity has changed over the centuries. In fact for about fifteen centuries the word ‘mission’ was not used to refer to this activity….the noun “evangelization” began to be used by Catholics only about fifty years ago.” in RN the word “Gospel” is only used eight times and “evangelization” was not at all in use in Church documents until the Second Vatican Council Alberione brought together the Church’s social teachings and mission of Gospel proclamation. In his historical-charismatic survey of the beginnings of the Pauline Family, Father Sgarbossa describes Alberione’s grasp of this era. The expression New Evangelization was used in Medellin (Men helin) 1968 influencing Pope John Paul’s adoption of the term which he employed at Puebla 1979. Today Pope Francis is asking us to re-examine the culture of and structures of the Church so that they are really at the service of Gospel proclamation to “embark upon a new chapter of evangelization
Vatican II ushered in the “age of the laity”
“In Church Communion the states of life by being ordered one to the other are thus bound together among themselves... They are different yet complementary, in the sense that each of them has a basic and unmistakable character which sets each apart, while at the same time each of them is seen in relation to the other and placed at each other&apos;s service” (ChL 55).
Professor Clifford, director of the Centre for Vatican II and 21st-century Catholicism at Saint Paul University in Ottawa, Canada, shared that we may still have “a notion of ministry whose aim is to bring people back to the parish on Sunday morning.” She explains that this is not really the end of evangelization. “The end is to form the community of baptized disciples to go out and enable them and support them as they go out and live the Gospel every day of the week.” Baptism, the gateway to the ecclesial community where we are empowered for witness and mission, is the key to understanding evangelization as our common, communal response to the gift of new life in Christ. In return, linked to the dawning of a new sacramental sense in the lives of Christians evangelization enables the awakening of faith and the discovery of the Gospel.  Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults. Study ed. Chicago, Ill.: Liturgy Training Publications, 1988. 229.  Lumen Fidei, §40.  Cabié, Robert. The Sacraments. New ed. Collegeville, Minn.: Liturgical Press, 1988, 85.
The Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II, Pastores dabo vobis, states the same in reverse: “The more the laity’s own sense of vocation is deepened, the more what is proper to the priest stands out.”  Ibid, n.3, 11. 46
Enlightened by the ecclesiology of communion, laity have become aware that they are not meant to substitute anyone, but to exercise their own mission in the Church. But they were lacking what men and women religious have: formation. (laity in process of redesign 2011). , 58.
Joana T. Puntel, FSP “Sensitivity to History and to the Requirements of the Areopagus of Social Communication Today,” Interchapter, Nairobi, Kenya, Daughters of St Paul. 1998. How will we organize our evangelization efforts together with the laity? Instead of taking or bringing the Gospel will we use the language of Encountering the Gospel’s power or finding grace in all things? Revealing the Gospel with? Living the charism with? Just as Paul did…
“In this vision of communion, the starting point is found in common sources, a common mission, a common spirit, so as to then emphasize diversity, the different ways of participating in the single mission of the Church; we start out from unity so as to then differentiate the various forms of living it ”Laity in Process of Redesign, 2011 Also in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI said “Laypeople share in the responsibility of the Church’s ministry. There should be a renewed awareness of our being Church and of the pastoral co-responsibility that, in the name of Christ, all of us are called to carry out.” Address to the Plenary Assembly of the International Union of Superiors General, May 7, 2001.
The arrival of the “laity” in the mission previously considered belonging “to religious” has been seen and lived in various ways by the religious. From the Interchapter paper 2011
When religious begin their journey with the laity they come from a space of separation from the “world” and from Christians who, since they are lay, belong to the “world.” Laity are looked upon as the receivers of the mission of religious, not as companions in mission; they receive spiritual help, but from on high. In the successive phases, the religious discover the laity as “collaborators” in the mission. Thus, they feel called to share their experience of life, to be “experts of communion,” “guides in spirituality...” That is, they discover themselves as signs for other Christians. The following and definitive step is expressed as: “we are with you in the same mission and together we witness the Christian faith in society.” This process is called “shared mission,” and “living charism with the laity.” Laity in the Process of Redesign
The laity first feel themselves to be collaborators of the religious; Then participants in the mission of the religious; and finally, they feel the mission as their own. And the vocabulary changes: they begin to speak of “our” mission, because it is the mission of the Church, and they carry it out with the same qualification as the religious, together, at the service of the Kingdom.
Richard Gaillardetz quotes John Zizioulas, from Being as Communion: “There is no such thing as a non-ordained person in the church” (35), Reminding us of Alberione’s saying that Even the smallest act has the value and the solemnity of a sacred rite. Alberione, James. “Pauline Calendar 1957.” Rome: Society of St. Paul, 2009. Paul and Vatican II At that time the Areopagus represented the cultural center of the learned people of Athens, and today it can be taken as a symbol of the new sectors in which the Gospel must be proclaimed. John Paul II
120 Evangelii Gaudium In virtue of their baptism, all the members of the People of God have become missionary disciples (cf. Mt 28:19). All the baptized, whatever their position in the Church or their level of instruction in the faith, are agents of evangelization. The new evangelization calls for personal involvement on the part of each of the baptized. Since every Christian is challenged, here and now, to be actively engaged in evangelization indeed, anyone who has truly experienced God’s saving love does not need much time or lengthy training to go out and proclaim that love. As Cardinal Bergoglio, Pope Francis was the principal author and presenter of the &quot;Aparecida Document,&quot; which reads that the reform of the laity must involve reforming them to become &quot;missionary disciples in communion.&quot;
Every Christian is dedicated to Christ, anointed by the Holy Spirit and remains unique and unrepeatable. The call to mission is fulfilled by each person placing their gifts and talents at the service of the Church and in turn receiving and making their own the richness common to the whole Church. That is why Pope Francis said in order to evangelize all a person needs is Baptism. The absolute newness of Jesus Christ in history continues in the absolute newness of the baptized person in society. I invite everyone to be bold and creative in this task of rethinking the goals, structures, style and methods of evangelization in their respective communities.  Evangelii Gaudium, §33.
Lay Vocation and Mission: Rerum Novarum to Evangelii Gaudium & Blessed Alberione
Lay Vocation & Mission
The Second Vatican Council represented a rediscovery of two
foundational interrelated truths: the universal call to holiness and
the universal call to evangelization.
Blessed James Alberione
The Daughters of St. Paul in the various
countries must have Cooperators; much
patience and prayer is needed. There are
23,000 parishes in Italy, and therefore these
centers must number 23,000—at least one per
parish, and the large parishes should have
two. So what must be done? We must pray for
the grace to accomplish this.
To the Daughters of St. Paul, 1929-1933.
To share our mission
with the laity is not
only a heritage that
left the Pauline
Family: it is part of
a long journey that
the Church has
Rerum novarum (1891)
…inspired Alberione to open his foundations to
the laity in a unique way within the Pauline Family.
It remains an essential document that began a
Spirit initiated chain-reactionSpirit initiated chain-reaction
renewing the Church’s self-awareness as communion.
“That new apostles would restore true meaning
to law, school, literature, the press, public
morality; that the Church would have a new
missionary impulse… that society would
absorb the great teachings of Leo XIII’s
encyclicals, especially those dealing with
social questions and the liberty of the
Abundantes Divitiae Gratiae Suae,17-19.
In 1915 Alberione stated his concern:
“They know the usefulness of a communion, of a
holy rosary campaign, of the construction of a
sanctuary, but they do not know the
encyclicals: Rerum novarum, Graves de
communion, Il fermo proposito.”
» Pius X adopts Catholic Action in Il fermo proposito
» Alberione includes a chapter for “cooperators of
Catholic Action” in Notes in Pastoral Theology
» Alberione founds “Co-workers for the Good Press.”
» Pius XI defines Catholic Action in Non abbiamo
» New development: the autonomous activity of the
laity in society may bring a Christian influence.
“The Pious Society of St. Paul is composed
of two branches: one masculine and one
feminine, both having a common life and
the vows; and a third branch made up of
Cooperators of the good press.”
Transmitted to the Holy See in 1921 by Bishop Re
(Alba) from a report by Alberione
Mater et magister
John XIII’s Mater et magister (1961) invited the
laity to utilize the methodology “observe,
judge, and act” of Catholic Action to take up
the challenge of social reform.
consecrated Paulines to
include the laity in their
projects, assist them in
organization, share their
joys and sufferings, and
continue a formation with
the Cooperator magazine.
In 1960 Alberione wrote:
They will be in
harmony with the
Pauline apostolic life
by their prayers,
offerings, and works
carried out in the
Mater et magistra also moved Catholic
spirituality toward a more immanent
spirituality of engagement…breaking down
the wall between everyday life and the
spiritual life, which Guadium et spes will call
“among the more serious errors of our age”
With Vatican II came a
on baptism. The
council affirmed that
all people are called
to holiness and that
each member of the
Church has the
…changed the Church’s vision from a society
of faithful Christians to a people of God.
“Through their baptism and confirmation all
are commissioned to the apostolate by the
Lord Himself” (33).
The renewed ecclesiology of Vatican II was the
result of decades of grappling with the
emerging theology of the laity.
“Lay people, too, sharing in
the priestly, prophetical
and kingly office of
Christ, play their part in
the mission of the whole
people of God in the
Church and in the
Decree on Apostolate of the Laity, #2
Gaudium et spes
The council’s Pastoral Constitution on the
Church, (1965) invited the laity to participate
actively in the entire life of the church not
only to animate the world with the spirit of
Christianity but also as witnesses to Christ in
all circumstances and at the very heart of the
The task of evangelization
is the duty of every
believer, and it is
proper to the laity and
not just for the
ordained. In fact ‘the
Church exists in order
On Evangelization, 1975, 14.
Lay mission & vocation
“The commitment of the laity to the work of
evangelization is changing ecclesial life.”
John Paul II in Redemptoris missio, 1979, on the
ecclesiology of communion promoted by Vatican II.
Lay mission and vocation
In this vision of Church-
communion each of
the members lives in
relation with the
others, without losing
their uniqueness which
enriches the whole.
Christefidelis Laici, 1988, 55
The laity should be conscious of
their own standing in the Church:
not as mere recipients of
doctrine and the grace of the
sacraments, but as active and
responsible agents of the
Church’s mission to
evangelize and sanctify the
ADDRESS OF HIS HOLINESS JOHN PAUL II
TO THE BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
ON THEIR "AD LIMINA" VISIT
Consecrated persons are
asked to be true
experts of communion
and to practice the
architects of the
‘plan for unity.’
Vita consecrata, 1996
objective of the
formation of the lay
faithful is an ever-
clearer discovery of
ones vocation and the
willingness to live it so
as to fulfill one’s
“We will need to seek different ways of
organizing our communitarian-apostolic life.
We must do this in an intelligent way and
according to the new communication. If we
enter into communion with the laity, new
paths for evangelization will open before us.”
Sr. Joana Puntel, Interchapter, 1998
“Share the riches of your charisms with all those
involved in the one mission of the Church
which is to build up the Kingdom.”
Benedict XVI, 2001
“If there were no vocation problem, it would not be necessary to
promote the laity in the charism and mission “proper” to the
“It is sufficient that superiors establish someone as a companion
of the lay groups while the religious communities continue
their own life on the margin of these relationships.”
“It is the Holy Spirit who proposes this profound change in
ecclesial relationships. It is a call directed to the religious to
situate themselves in the Church in a different way, so as to
enter into a more authentic communion.”
Journey from separation to communion
Laity are looked upon as the receivers of the mission of
religious, not as companions in mission; they receive
spiritual help, but from on high.
Religious discover the laity as collaborators in the
mission. Thus, they feel called to share their
experience of life, to be experts of communion, or
guides in spirituality.
“We are with you in the same mission and together we
witness the Christian faith in society.” We have a
“shared mission,” and “live the charism with the
Journey from separation to communion
First feel themselves to be collaborators of the
Then participants in the mission of the
Finally, they feel the mission as their own and
speak of “our” mission.
Journey from separation to communion
“This requires a change of mentality for the
laity, shifting from considering themselves
collaborators to recognizing themselves as
co-responsible for the being and action of the
Church, favoring the consolidation of a
mature and committed laity.”
Pope Benedict XVI
Living the Pauline charism
Baptized into communion with God in
Christ through the Spirit we form a
communion of believers sent in mission.
Pope Francis, 2013
“It would be
envisage a plan of
evangelization to be
carried out by
the rest of the
simply be passive
St. Paul with co-workers Aquila and Prisilla.
This is the Church’s symphony, the rich variety
of gifts and charism freely given by the Holy
Spirit as he wills, all working together in
harmony (Eph. 4:11).
“What does it take God to stir up Cooperators
for the Pauline Family? With one Fiat God
created the heavens. UCBS, 1924