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Pope Francis meets with readers of Italy's Catholic news magazine 'Famiglia Cristiana' Pope Francis meets with readers of Italy's Catholic news magazine 'Famiglia Cristiana'  (Vatican Media)

Pope meets with readers of "Famiglia Cristiana" marking 90th anniversary

Pope Francis pays tribute to Italy's most widely circulated Catholic magazine, "Famiglia Cristiana," and encourages readers and staff to follow in the footsteps of its founder, Blessed Fr. James Alberione, who said to his priests: "Sow good ideas so that they may bear good works."

By Vatican News staff writer

Greeting readers and staff of Italy's "Famiglia Cristiana," Pope Francis noted how they represent the wider Christian family of today's world. The magazine is celebrating 90 years in existence, and the Pope likened it to a good grandmother who has witnessed and learned much over these nine decades.

Role of Blessed Fr. James Alberione

The Pope said the apostolic spirit of Blessed Fr. James Alberione lives on today, as the magazine continues what he called for by creating the periodical that "brings families a Christian vision of reality, current events, the great issues of the world and the Church." This apostolate also involves the whole Pauline Family he founded, priests, religious brothers, sisters, as well as lay journalists and experts participating in this important media ministry, said the Pope.

Good ideas can lead to good works

Quoting Blessed Fr. Alberione, the Pope recalled how in 1915 he told young priests, "Sow good ideas so that they may bear good works: this is the work that matters. Religious ideas, social ideas, ideas of economics, ideas of virtue..."  The Pope told his audience that you - the readers - are "the real assets" of a magazine like Famiglia Cristiana, and the Paulines who run the periodical have always been attentive to building relationships with their readers and creating networks with them for a collaborative creation of contents offering greater understanding.

The Pope encouraged being present and operative in today's culture and the new grammar of communication, and to be of service to all God's people, especially those who are living on the peripheries of life. Two special themes are quite relevant today, he noted, that of fraternity and the other integral ecology, while the method of engaging remains the same: dialogue and listening to strengthen relationships.

Real dialogue requires going beyond ourselves

Looking at the importance of dialogue, the Pope underscored that this means going beyond just having simple contact or an exchange of messages. True communication is a deeper excercise that calls for breaking out of one's own way of seeing things or bias, looking to the broader horizon, "indispensable at this time of a changing epoch." Communicators need to make an "outward journey", the Pope added, and that may require changing attitudes and ways of thinking.

Always return to the Gospel

The Pope added to his prepared text that everyone should always refer to the Gospel and draw strength from its ever newness, message and mission. And this will give us courage to move boldly forward in proclaming the Gospel, and help overcome a temptation to go backward to ways that can block our growth today.

Recalling the author of the Letter to the Hebrews, the Pope said, "We are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who have faith and keep their souls" (Hebrews 10:39), but we go forward with the power of the Gospel and the communicative power that creates community.

Recalling Blessed Fr. Alberione's words, he said the world needs Jesus Christ, the Way, the Truth and the Life.

21 May 2022, 13:00