Opening of the Pauline Year – Benedict XVI

Opening of the Pauline Year – Benedict XVI
June 28, 2008 – Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.
ROME – FSPs and SSPs Open the Year Dedicated to St. Paul
On 30 June 2008, in the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary-Basilica, Rome, a very meaningful place for the whole Pauline Family, numerous FSPs and SSPs gathered to inaugurate the Year dedicated to St. Paul. Following the Eucharistic Celebration, two experts on the life and writings of Paul–Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Chancellor of the Pontifical Lateran University and President of the Pontifical Academy for Life, and Professor Francesco Giorgino, TV reporter and Lateran University professor–each offered the participants a profound reflection on evangelization today in the world of communication.
The key concept of the two talks was the obligation to evangelize: “Those who meet Christ are obliged to be evangelizers, missionaries,” Bishop Fisichella emphasized. “No one is exempted from this.” A similar thought was expressed by Professor Giorgino, who said that “evangelization is the password for accessing the teachings of St. Paul, who used every instrument at his disposition to carry out his mission, even when it meant coura-geously going against the current. In this way, Paul was able to establish what we would call today a -relation-ship based on communication- with the people of his time.”
The evening was enriched by the artistic input of soprano Anna Elena Masini, who sang selections from the works of Adriana Del Giudice. The audience appreciated in particular her rendition of “La Luce” (“The Light”) from the opera D’amore e luce, inspired by the text La bottega dell’orefice by Karol Wojtyla.
The gathering at Queen of Apostles Sanctuary also offered both FSPs and SSPs the chance to present the joint initiatives they have programmed for this Jubilee Year.
The Pauline Family of the Triveneto region has planned many communal initiatives to celebrate the Pauline Year. A few of these are:
29 June 2008 – Bishop Giuseppe Zenti solemnly opened the Pauline Year in the Church of St. Paul, in the presence of the Pauline Family and a large number of people from different parts of the diocese. Many immigrants from Sri Lanka, the Philippines and Africa participated in the Liturgy-a fact that underscored the universal heart of the Apostle Paul. An exhibit on St. Paul was also featured for the occasion.
26-28 September 2008 – The Daughters of St. Paul, in collaboration with the St. Zeno Institute, will hold a 3-day Bible Encounter guided by Biblical scholar Fr. Romano Penna. Theme: The Crucified and Risen Christ: the Heart of Paul’s Experience.
Also being planned by the Pauline Family in collaboration with the Toniolo Cultural Center: a series of encounters on the cities associated with Paul, symbols of situations typical of those cultures. Speaker: Fr. Rinaldo Fabris, an expert on the Letters of St. Paul.
Meetings on the Book “I, Paul”
This 3-day initiative was first tried out on an experimental basis in Verona and is now being “exported” elsewhere. The first evening consisted of reading excerpts from the book “I, Paul: An Autobiography,” by François Vouga (Pauline Editions). A meditative listening to the texts alternated with input by the evening’s guest speaker, listening to selections of music and a slide show presentation.
The following evening centered on a prayer vigil held according to the Pauline method of adoration. Participants included religious from nearby parishes, members of the Apostolate of Prayer and many other people interested in deepening their spiritual lives.
The third evening, representatives of the Pauline Family in the Triveneto region offered short testimonies concerning their Institutes. The encounter was enriched by a book display featur-ing texts on St. Paul.
Pilgrimage to Alba
21-23 November 2008 – The Pauline Family will make a pilgrimage to the sites associated with the Pauline charism, in particular the Temple of St. Paul and the more significant places linked to Fr. Alberione.
Pilgrimage to Rome
25 April 2009 – The Pauline Family of Triveneto, plus friends and relatives of our brothers and sisters, will go to Rome for a world gathering of the Pauline Family. The participants will take the opportunity to visit the places in the Eternal City associated with the Apostle Paul.
St. Paul Contest
To celebrate the Pauline Year, the monthly formation and methodology periodical, Catechisti Parrocchiali (Parish Catechists) is offering its readers articles on St. Paul, a comic strip on his life and activities, and now also a contest entitled, Imagining St. Paul.
Catechists and their students are invited to participate in the contest through various types of creative input (literary, artistic, multimedia, etc.) that reveal an aspect of the Apostle or illustrate an event in his life. The contest is divided into two categories: one for children preparing for First Communion and the other for young people preparing for Confirmation. Awards will be given to the first five groups of children/catechists in each category.
Why a contest on St. Paul? To emphasize the Pauline Year, of course, by helping children (through their catechists) get to know the Apostle of the Gentiles more profoundly. The contest offers participants a wonderful opportunity to discover this great herald of the Gospel, lover of Jesus and the Church, and passionate animator of Christian communities. St. Paul’s experiences and the profound human-spiritual dimensions of his personality make him a fascinating figure who can cast greater light on the faith journey that young people are called to carry out today.
Rome – 190 priests meditate on St. Paul
On 22 November, 190 priests and students of St. Paul International Pontifical College participated in a retreat on the theme, Paul: Servant of All for the Sake of the Gospel, guided by Sr. Bruna Fregni, fsp. Fr. Giovanni Marconcini, spiritual director of the College, invited Sr. Bruna to animate this event because he wanted a member of the Pauline Family to help the group get to better know the figure of St. Paul during this year dedicated to the Apostle.
Sr. Bruna’s meditation, which centered on 1 Co. 9:19-23, was enriched by a visualized song inspired by Paul’s Hymn to Love. Afterward, during the celebration of Evening Prayer I for the Feast of Christ the King, she offered the group several ulterior lines of reflection drawn from Blessed James Alberione’s statement: “Give everyone the charity of the truth.”
St. Paul International Pontifical College was built in the 1960’s by the Sacred Congregation for the Propagation of the Faith (now the Sacred Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples) as a residence for seminarians from various parts of the world studying in Rome. Currently, the College offers a “home away from home” to priests from about 45 different countries, above all from Africa, Asia and Latin America, all of whom attend various pontifical universities in the city.
The apse of the College chapel contains a huge picture of St. Paul preaching in the areopagus of Athens.
Rome – Animated Film for Children 
 To celebrate the Pauline Year, the Daughters of St. Paul have dubbed an animated cartoon series for children produced by the national TV-radio network of France into different languages. The film, entitled “Paul: An Adventurer for the Faith,” is now available in English, French, Spanish, Italian and Portuguese.
Through this cartoon series (total running time, 56 min.), the FSPs want to help children get to know the life and mission of the great Apostle of the Gentiles. The eight 7-minute episodes faithfully follow the story of St. Paul’s adventurous life as recounted in the Acts of the Apostles: his travels, the storms he weathered on the high seas, his shipwrecks, the challenges he faced, his arrests and his contacts with new peoples.
The Daughters of St. Paul are convinced that this animated film will capture the interest of children everywhere, allowing them to discover the remarkable figure of Paul, a person of firm faith and great courage, a missionary open to all the cultures of his time.
Rome – Theater Performance “Am I Not Free?” 
In preparation for the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, Velletri Prison’s Compagnia Il Ponte Magico (The Magic Bridge Company), in collaboration with the FSP Center for Culture and Communications, will perform the play “Am I Not Free?” in the Queen of Apostles Sanctuary, Rome, on 18 January.
After about 2 years of theater training within the prison prescints, the Company, thanks to the understanding and collaboration of prison director Dr. Giuseppe Makovec and the Department for Prisoner Supervision, is now ready to stage public performances that show how important and even essential the theater can be in helping prisoners reinsert themselves in society.
Antonio Lauritano, the director of the Company and author of the script, says that the purpose of his play is not to present a historical account of the life of St. Paul but rather to establish a dialogue between the Apostle and people today that brings to the fore the doubts, questions, desperations and uncertainties of every human being and the compelling answers offered by this great evangelizer, revealing the timeliness of his words for contemporary individuals in their concrete situations.
Besides the special meaning of a play of this type performed by prisoners, it is interesting to underscore another aspect of the initiative, namely, the collaboration between the FSPs and the national detension system to stage this performance. In fact, the costumes used in the play were all created by prisoners in the Latina zone, a first step toward expanding participation in this artistic endeavor and improving it by creating a “joint venture” between the prisons of this region and the FSP Center for Culture and Communications. Besides the play’s cast and technical production staff (all prisoners), the performance has been enriched by the contribution of many excellent musicians such as Maurizio Vatania, Federico Carra, Ilaria Innocenti, Terry Gisi, and the help of Rita Gisi, Silvia Venti, Rocco Duca and Alessandro Morbidelli.
Milan – Three Formation Meetings on Paul 
The Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul based in Milan have organized a series of meetings on St. Paul to be held in the first half of 2009.
Guided by experts, the encounters will focus on significant aspects of the Apostle’s personality and life so as to help every believer turn to the Apostle for courage, strength, commitment and fidelity in witnessing to faith in Christ Jesus in today’s world.
At the first meeting, which will be held on 16 February, Bishop Severino Dianich, a renowned ecclesiologist, will speak on the theme, “Creation, Humanity and the Church: from Paul to the Church of Today.”
On 20 March, Msgr. Romano Penna and Professor Gian Enrico Rusconi, will guide a reflection on the subject, “Paul and the Word of the Cross: the Wisdom and Foolishness of God; the Wisdom and Foolishness of the World.” On 14 May, Enzo Bianchi, Prior of Bose Monastery, will explore the theme “The Unfathomable Riches of Christ in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.”
The initiative, which is part of the program of activities of the Pauline Family of Italy to celebrate the bi-millennium of the Apostle’s birth, will be held in the Fr. Alberione Auditorium of the St. Paul Periodicals establishment in Milan.
A Pilgrimage with Paul to Seventy Cities 
To celebrate the Pauline Year, the Daughters of St. Paul have oragnized a pilgrimage with an icon of  St. Paul, called “Paul the Pilgrim” to the Italian cities where the Daughters are present.
The itinerary includes about sixty moments, characterised by many initiatives  tied to the person of the Apostle and the relevance of his  message for today’s world.
The theme of the pilgrimage, “The love of Christ spurs me on” (2Cor. 5:14), highlights the interior strength that made St. Paul a tireless traveler and apostle. The image reproduced on the icon was created by a Benedictine sister from Madrid for the chapel of the FSP in Alba (Cuneo),  the city where the Pauline Family was born. The FSP’s of Great Britain used this image for a poster they produced for the Pauline Year. This icon has become an international symbol of the Apostle Paul’s openness to all peoples and nations.
Three copies of the icon were produced: one began its journey from Alba and will proceed to the communities and book centers of North Italy; one icon left Rome and will “visit” the places of our Pauline presence in Central Italy and in Sardinia; a third icon left from Agrigento to journey to the Pauline places in Southern Italy.
All three icons will complete their journeys in Rome for June 29th, the solemn conclusion of the Pauline Year. Those interested can follow the progress of the icons and the accompanying programs at the website; click on the blog Paul the Apostle, then on the section “Peregrinatio Pauli”.
Rome – Pauline Award 2009
This year Fr. Fortunato Di Noto, founder of Meter Onlus, a non-profit association established to combat child abuse, will receive the Pauline Communications and Culture Award, bestowed on media workers and cultural associations that have best concretized the Pope’s message for World Communications Day through their activities.
The award ceremony, scheduled for 23 April, will conclude the Congress held each year in preparation for World Communications Day (this year, 24 May 2009). The event is organized and coordinated by the Pontifical Lateran University, the Pauline Communications and Culture Center and the National Office of Social Communications of the Italian Bishops Conference. The theme chosen by Benedict XVI for WCD 2009 is New Technologies, New Relationships: Promoting a Culture of Respect, Dialogue and Friendship.
During the Congress, various aspects of the theme will be highlighted by guest speakers Domenico Pompili, director of the National Office for Social Communications; Diego Contreras, from the Pontifical Holy Cross University; Michele Sorice, from the Pontifical Gregorian University; Maria Antonia Chinello, from the Auxilium University’s Faculty for Education, and Fabio Pasqualetti, from the Pontifical Salesian University.
The event will be opened by Bishop Claudio Maria Celli, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications and will be moderated by Dario Edoardo Viganò, president of the Pontifical Pastoral Institute Redemptor Hominis, and Massimiliano Padula, a professor at the same Institute. The day will conclude with a “lectio magistralis” entitled The Social Network and New Anthropological Profiles by Derrick De Kerckhove, director of the University of Toronto’s McLuhan Program for Culture and Technology.
The Congress will also feature two online experiences: the first, A Netbook for Every Child, will be presented by Paola Limone, an elementary school teacher, and the second, Living Online: Experiencing the
Network, will be guided by Favio Gallo, an expert on interconnectivity.

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