Pope to Paulines: Invoke hidden thirst for God across all channels of communication

Pope Francis greets participants in the 11th General Chapter of the Society of St. Paul and urges Paulines to embrace all means of communication to bring out people’s hidden desire for God.

By Devin Watkins

While the Society of St. Paul are 11 . closee General Chapter — held from May 29 to June 19 in Ariccia, near Rome — met Pope Francis Saturday in the Vatican with members of the institute founded by Blessed James Alberione.

In his prepared remarks delivered to those present, the Pope recalled the leading theme of the chapter: “‘Let yourself be transformed by renewing your way of thinking’ (Rom 12:2): Called to be craftsmen of community to prophetically announce the joy of the gospel in the culture of communication.”

He noted that St. Paul exhorts Christians to “allow themselves to be changed,” meaning we must make room for the Holy Spirit to conform to Christ, transforming the world around us.

Transformed to transform the world

Blessed Alberione, the Pope said, called on Paulines to renew their thinking.

“Our mentality must first of all be changed, converted and assimilated with that of Jesus, our Teacher, in order to contribute to the spread in society of a way of thinking and living based on the Gospel.”

Pope Francis said Paulines should not only embrace all means of communication to spread the Church’s teachings, but also “integrate the message itself into the new culture created by modern forms of communication.”

Technology to build a meeting culture

An important aspect of modern communication, the Pope said, is that of “interpersonal relationships in a globalized and interconnected world,” which influence both the church and society.

“After the initial euphoria for technological novelties, we now recognize that it is not enough to be ‘on the web’ or ‘connected’, but to understand how our communication – enriched as it is by the digital realm – effectively builds bridges and helps build a culture of encounter.”

Pope Francis said Blessed Alberione wanted the Paulines to offer themselves fully to the apostolate, following in the footsteps of St. Paul.

The Apostle of the Gentiles, the Pope said, was filled with a missionary spirit, but carried out his mission in communion with others around him. In other words, he worked “with a network” to communicate the Good News to people where and how they live.

Invoke the thirst of people for God

Pope Francis, for example, encouraged the Paulines to use their professional competences for the sake of the Gospel in community.

“You are called to live in brotherhood,” he said, “in your relationships with the diocesan communities in which you live and within the larger and diverse Pauline Family. Your horizon is that of Paul: all mankind of our time.”

The Pope concluded his speech by recalling that the mission of the Paulines is to help people who seem far from the Church to become aware of their “longing for God and thirst for love and truth”.

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