A Daughter of St. Paul’s way to celebrate New Year’s Eve and Day is rather unusual, and definitely different from what most people do. New Year’s Eve is a very special anniversary for us: 111 years ago, on New Year’s Eve 1900, a young seminarian, James Alberione, went to midnight Mass and then prayed for four hours before the Eucharist. This is how he described it fifty years later (he speaks of himself in the third person):
Particular enlightenment came from the Host and a greater understanding of that invitation of Jesus, “come to me, all of you” (Mt. 11:28). He seemed to fathom the heart of the great Pope, the Church’s call [for help], and the Priest’s true mission… He felt deeply obliged to prepare himself to do something for the Lord and for the women and men of the new century with whom he would spend his life.
This time of prayer and the inspirations he received from Jesus in the Eucharist was the beginning of the Pauline Family. So we celebrate this anniversary by ushering in the new year with a retreat, beginning with an evening hour of adoration, with each sister free to continue her adoration till midnight. (It’s an awesome way to start the New Year: if you don’t believe me, you should try it!)
Last night, my prayer was very much focused on the fast-developing digital and social media–both for our own sisters’ efforts in this field, and also that the many applications of this new technology will be used in ways that build up the human community. I am sure that Blessed James Alberione is looking down on us, happy to see us delving in to the new media (with our apps, digital ebooks, and facebook pages), but I’m guessing that he is also urging us on, so that we can reach millions with the hope of the Gospel! (By the way, this link takes you to a short biography of Blessed James Alberione, which includes a timeline of his life, excerpts from his writings, and video clips of him and of his beatification.)
I think he also would be encouraging me to post on my blog more frequently, so that is a New Year’s resolution that I’m making here and now!