Christ as Our Way of Communicating


This week, we Paulines are praying the Novena to Jesus Divine Master. (The Pauline Feastday this year is Sunday, October 30th.) It is a beautiful, Scripturally-based novena in which we contemplate Jesus as Master, Teacher and Guide. Jesus is our way in everything, including how we communicate. Blessed James Alberione shared a beautiful reflection on how we are called to learn to communicate as Jesus did:

How did Christ communicate?

[Jesus] spoke in a simple and clear way even when he was teaching lofty doctrine. He adapted his teaching to the needs of every audience. The Gospel notes that he knew 
what was in every person (cf. Jn 2:25). He adapted himself to fishermen and shepherds, to those from Galilee and those from Judea, to the Pharisees, to his disciples, 
and to his opponents. How different is his conversation with the Samaritan woman from that with Nicodemus, who came by night! How different his teaching to the crowds from that given to the close circle of apostles! Yet it was always a question of the message of salvation.

He wanted his disciples to work in the same way.

The apostle [communicator], in fact, is not some great thinker who proposes his or her own conclusions, or has to defend his or her own teachings….. 
The apostle is a witness of what he or she has seen and heard from the Divine Master and from the Church in which [Christ] continues to live, teach, and guide.

What an immense privilege: to follow the Divine Master and cooperate with Jesus Christ in proclaiming his message of light, grace, and salvation.
-Blessed James Alberione


Trinity as the Foundation of Our Communication

Andrej Rublëv's icon of the Trinity

Andrej Rublëv’s icon of the Trinity

The Feast of the Most Holy Trinity has gradually become one of my favorites of the entire liturgical year. (I think the process was so gradual because it’s really hard to give a good homily on this unfathomable mystery.)  One of the reasons I consider it a personal feastday is how the Pauline spirituality of communication is founded on our understanding of the Trinity:

In the Christian faith, the unity and brotherhood of man are the chief aims of all communication and these find their source and model in the central mystery of the eternal communion between the Father, Son and Holy Spirit who live a single divine life (Communio et progressio, #8).

Our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, wrote a prayer to the Most Holy Trinity that concludes by asking that our entire lives may be a “Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit.” The framework of Blessed James Alberione’s entire spirituality is the Trinity, to whom he connects not just salvation history, but our own personal salvation history: the stages of our spiritual lives.

After taking a seminar with Don Giuseppe Mazza on this topic vital to communication spirituality, I’ve always wanted to deepen it. So this summer I decided to put aside my favorite Theology of St. Paul by James Dunn (which I am gradually working my way through), and I picked up The Trinity by St. Augustine. I hope to follow it up with other theological works on the Trinity, such as various works of Rahner and Catherine Mowry LaCugna’s God with Us: The Trinity and Christian Life.

Yesterday’s beautiful readings emphasized that God–who is eternal Communion between the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit–seeks a profound relationship with us. In the first reading from Deuteronomy chapter 4, Moses points out to the chosen people that God “wants” them for his own. Psalm 33 makes this desire of God explicit, and the second reading from Romans 8, Saint Paul explains how closely we are called to be in relationship with the Most Holy Trinity. Finally, in the Gospel reading (Matthew 28) Jesus asks us to help everyone to enter into this intimate relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, promising a special closeness to us as we witness to him: “I am with you always.” Yesterday, I simply prayed in wonder that the Almighty God so deeply desires a genuine relationship with me and with everyone on the face of the earth.

Some beautiful reflections on the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity:

Fr. Robert Barron’s Homily for Trinity Sunday (Podcast and Youtube) and Fr. Robert Barron’s Top 10 Resources on the Trinity

Trinity Sunday: Is It Relevant? at, by Marcellino D’Ambrosio, Ph.D.


We can make an act of faith in God’s eternal communion of love and his desire to draw us into that embrace of love every time we make that most simple, most familiar, but most meaningful prayer, the Sign of the Cross.

10 Reasons To Watch #MediaApostle Documentary

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that Blessed James Alberione is a huge hero of mine. As the Founder of the Pauline Family (including my congregation, the Daughters of Saint Paul), Alberione has always been a dynamic visionary whose holiness, profound spirituality, commitment to evangelization, wisdom, and leadership have guided me on my spiritual and apostolic journey. If you engage with media on any level, Alberione will probably become your hero, too, once you get to know him. Why?

Because he’s the first priest to so clearly see how the media are tremendous gifts for bringing the world to Christ and Christ to the world that he actually did something about it: he founded two religious congregations dedicated exclusively to communicating Christ.

Because his spirituality is not abstract or esoteric, but for real people living real lives today. 

And because this is how three recent Popes have talked about him:

* Blessed Paul VI: “A marvel of our times”

* St. John Paul II: “The first saint of the new evangelization”

* Pope Francis: “That great apostle of communications” 

If you engage with media of any kind as a producer, writer, graphic designer, artist, marketing, cinematographer, filmmaker, publisher…Blessed James Alberione is definitely someone you want to know!


Media Apostle: The Father James Alberione Story was eight years in the making, and I was privileged to consult with the filmmakers at several points–both in the early writing stage and later editing stages. I have already seen it numerous times, yet each time I’ve been inspired anew.

Here are 10 reasons I love this film and why you will want to watch it!

10. You want to know the fascinating story of this unlikely teen, kicked out of the seminary for excessive use of the media who then turned his life around, put the media at the service of the Church, and who will someday be a household name for every Catholic

9. You can choose between the two versions of the film, depending on how much time you have and how much depth you want to go into. (Better yet, watch the 50-minute version first, then fill in the details with the 90-minute Director’s Cut!)

8. Catch the vision of how the Church views media from the expert who pioneered the Church’s embrace of media as gifts from God

7. Be inspired how to prioritize your relationship with God in a hectic, media-saturated life by this busy, frail priest who founded 10 institutes and oversaw a burgeoning international press, yet prayed up to six hours a day

6. Discover Alberione’s secret of how holiness & media go together, in his spirituality for today that is holistic and engaged with our times

5. See and feel the support of today’s members of the Pauline Family, who, in the film, share how Alberione’s legacy continues to shape their lives and the world

4. Those of us living in our media world need this introduction to his profound media spirituality: from a man of action who was also a mystic!

3. Blessed James Alberione’s Christ-centered, Marian-enlivened, Pauline spirituality is especially geared to communicators, and is centered on God’s greatest communication with us: the Eucharist

2. Alberione’s approach to media–engage the whole person!is the perfect approach for those of us who produce media today. Watching this film can help us become better followers of Christ, and more professional media artists.

1. Come to know and claim Blessed James Alberione as your saint, who promised to pray for you when you use the media.


You can watch the film now!


Awesome #MediaApostle Documentary Releasing Today


Today my favorite film of 2015 releases: the long-awaited documentary: Media Apostle: The Father James Alberione Story.

Media Apostle will always hold a special place in my heart because it captures so well the engima of the media saint and founder of the Daughters of St. Paul, Blessed James Alberione. If you are looking for a spirituality that can nurture you in our media world, you will definitely want to see this film! If you know nothing about Alberione, watch the 50-minute version. If you know the outline of his life, watch the Director’s Cut, which is an intriguing 90 minutes!

I’ll post more about the film on Monday–how fun it was to work on it, the new insights about media spirituality that I received while reading the script and consulting on the various “cuts” of the film–but I didn’t want to wait to get the word out! You can visit MediaApostle to find out more about Bl. James Alberione, or to rent or buy the film.

Patron of Catholic Communicators

Celebrating the feast of Bl. James Alberione in our chapel in Toronto

Today (November 26) is the feast day of the Founder of the Pauline Family, Blessed James Alberione (1884-1971). Because he is “Blessed” and not yet “Saint,” this feast is not yet on the Church calendar, but as members of the Pauline Family, we have special permission to celebrate his feast.

Founder of the Society of St. Paul and the Daughters of St. Paul, Blessed James Alberione was one of the first in the Church to recognize the power of the media for evangelization and for building up a Christian culture. His words continue to inspire us today, in this Year of Faith:


Evangelization with the instruments of social communication must be carried out by persons who have conformed their entire existence to Christ, who have modeled their lives completely on Him, who are living witnesses to Him, who have made Him the whole meaning of their lives. 

Feast Day for Communicators

Bl. James Alberione

Today, November 26, is the feast day of Blessed James Alberione, the Founder of the Daughters of St. Paul and the entire Pauline Family. Sister Helena Burns, fsp, captures his spirit well in the trailer for the film she making about his life with Spirit Juice Studios:   Our newly designed website also has his biography up in poster form. If you don’t know anything about this amazing evangelizer, check it out here.

In honor of Alberione’s approach to the media as gifts of God, here is a prayer inspired by his writings:

Canticle of the Media of Social Communication

Response: Blessed by the Lord our God.

Blessed be the Lord our God, for our sister, the printed word, food for the intellect and light for the soul. R

We pray to you, Lord, for all the journalists of the world, cartoon and poster designers, publicity artists. R

Fill with the light of your wisdom writers, printers, distributors, and readers; keep them in your love and at the humble service of truth. R.

Praise be to you, O Lord, for our brother Cinema and his dynamic story-telling. He has the fascinating power of dialogue, drama, music and visual. R.

Guide, O Lord, producers, directors, actors and audiences towards all that is true and good, all that celebrated life and love of God. R.

Blessed be the Lord our God for our sister Radio who walks on the wings of the wine and makes the earth seem small. R.

We pray for all radio stations and transmitters; may this gift of God and work of humans be used for the freedom and growth and brotherhood of all your children. R.

Praise be to you, O Lord, for television. May this pulpit in the heart of every home not disturb but increase harmony in families and prepare a people guided by Gospel values. R.

Praise be to you, Lord God, for email and internet, CD, FAX, cell-phone, social media, and all the powerful means for the service of communication in the world and your Kingdom. May they sing your praise and glory. Amen. R.

Prayer for the Intercession of Blessed James Alberione

Most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we thank you in union with the whole Church and in Jesus Master the Way, the Truth and the Life for the gift of sanctity, light and grace bestowed on your faithful servant James Alberione, the untiring apostle of the Gospel to the whole world. Grant that we may follow his example with complete fidelity to his spirit. May he be a guide and protector of all those who work for the coming of the Kingdom of God through the means of social communication. May he be to us light, guide and support in our work of sanctification and in our apostolate. Through his intercession grant us the graces we need. Mary, Queen of the Apostles, and St. Paul the Apostle, graciously support our petitions with your intercession. Amen.

Prayer for Catholic Communicators

I realize I haven’t posted much this week, but it’s been a very full week for a number of reasons, the first of which is that I’ve been writing.

This week I did another quick segment of “DVD Picks” for Salt and Light Radio,  reviewing Tree of Life and The Perfect Game. I hope you have a chance to check it out! Of course, the segment really needs a new title, since I’m not sure how many people still catch new movies on DVD. I’m curious–how do you watch movies after they’ve left the theater? Do you buy or rent a dvd or a blu-ray dvd, download a movie online, or watch on-demand on your TV? Or how about watching a movie on your mobile phone? Feel free to post suggestions for the segment title–I’d love some ideas!

Chapel of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master, decorated for our feast day!

Today (the last Sunday of October) is a special Pauline celebration: the Feast of Jesus the Divine Master, Way, Truth, and Life. Just as Jesus is our Way, Truth, and Life, so we as communicators of Christ are called to be way, truth, and life for others. This is one of my favorite prayers written by Blessed James Alberione for the Pauline Family, and I think it’s a wonderful prayer for all Catholic communicators:

Invocations to Jesus Master

Jesus Master, sanctify my mind and increase my faith.
Jesus, teaching in the Church, draw everyone to yourself.
Jesus Master, deliver me from error, empty thoughts, and eternal blindness.
Jesus Way between the Father and us, I offer you everything and await all from you.
Jesus Way of sanctity, help me imitate you faithfully.
Jesus Way, may I respond wholeheartedly to the Father’s call to holiness.
Jesus Life, live in me so that I may live in you.
Jesus Life, do not ever permit anything to separate me from you.
Jesus Life, grant that I may live eternally in the joy of your love.
Jesus Truth, may you shine in the world through me.
Jesus Way, may I be a faithful mirror of your example for others.
Jesus Life, may I be a channel of your grace and consolation to others.

Saint Paul, Pray for All Christian Communicators!

If I had a favorite week of saint days, this might be it. Yesterday we had St. Francis de Sales, patron of writers and journalists, today we have the Feast of the Conversion of St. Paul, and tomorrow, Saints Timothy and Titus. All communicators of Christ.

To me, of course, Saint Paul is much more than a model communicator for Christ. He is a good friend, a patron, and a spiritual father. But he is also an amazing apostle, especially considering he had to forge his own trail in witnessing to and proclaiming Christ. Our Founder, Blessed James Alberione, had great things to say about St. Paul, highlighting why he is such a great model for Christian communicators in the digital age. Here are just a couple of things he highlighted.

Alive in Christ

“Paul is the disciple who knows the Divine Master in his entirety. St. Paul lives Christ totally; he probes the profound mysteries of his doctrine, of his heart, of his sanctity, of his humanity and divinity. He sees him as the supreme Teacher, the Host, the Priest. He presents the total Christ as he had already defined himself: the Way, Truth, and Life.”


“Before the Institute [of the Pauline Family] was placed under the protection of St. Paul the Apostle, many prayers were offered. A saint was needed who excelled in holiness and who at the same time would serve as an example of the apostolate [mission of communicating Christ]. In himself, St. Paul had integrated holiness and apostolate. He truly loved Jesus Christ: ‘What will separate me from the charity of Christ? Nothing…’ Before rendering his ultimate witness to the Master, he gave his whole life to the apostolate. We often call attention to the activity of St. Paul, but first we should call attention to his prayer.”

Writing Style

“Saint  Paul’s style of writing is highly personal, the mirror of a soul truly made to lead: ardent, fiery, sure of truth, affectionate as a mother, strong as a father.”


“The saint is not a worn-out man, a half-conscious individual who doesn’t know how to take his part in life. For St. Paul, sanctity is full maturity…

“The saint does not wrap himself up in himself; he opens himself up to development. He does not stay still; rather, his motto is growth and progress… Holiness is life, movement, nobility, dynamic enthusiasm!”

It’s interesting that, in my quick, superficial look at the writings of our Founder, he seems to highlight the “witness” and “transparency/authenticity” aspects of St. Paul as a communicator, rather than specific skills or creativity which St. Paul displayed abundantly, both in his life and his letters. Over the next few months, I’ll be praying about that and reflecting more in general on St. Paul as a communicator for Christ. I’ll begin by asking for his intercession for all Catholics working in the media and the arts with a prayer that I wrote several years ago:

Prayer to St. Paul, Communicator of Christ

Saint Paul, your heart was filled to overflowing with the love of your Lord Jesus Christ. It was impossible for you to stay silent about his great love for you and for all humanity; you could not keep the Good News to yourself.

You preached in places new and familiar, whether you felt welcome or not; you wrote letters filled with the Spirit and inventive phrases to try to capture the inexplicable mystery of Christ Jesus; sending them off to others in the hope of igniting in them that same unquenchable awe and joy.

Under your patronage, we too try to share with the world the unfathomable love of Christ, but our words seem poor and insufficient, our efforts deficient, our faith weak, and our doubts overwhelming.

We are not always certain what to say, what needs to be heard. What we hold inside seems incommunicable, inexpressible.

Help us to listen to the whisper of the Master in our hearts, in the anguished cries of our brothers and sisters.

Inspire us with the same fire that burned in your heart so that every act of communication will shine like a crystal that allows the Master’s glorious truth to pierce all blindness, his profound goodness to draw all hearts, his breath-catching beauty to break through all resistance.

Give us courage to risk, faith to entrust to the Master every word and action, love to persevere, openness to follow the Spirit’s lead, until those whom God wants to touch through our simple words and images are blessed, held, transformed in his grace. Amen.

A unique way to celebrate the New Year

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!

Documentary on Blessed James Alberione

You might enjoy a  new article by Catholic Exponent Online (for the Diocese of Youngstown, OH) about Sr. Helena making the new documentary on our Founder, Blessed James Alberione. Sr. Helena expresses our Founder’s attitude towards the media very convincingly, when she talks about how many Americans spend 7 hours a day watching a screen–or sometimes two screens. “So what do we do with that?” she asks. “How do we put our media lives together with our faith lives? Who’s going to lead us and show us the way? Are there any saints out there who have already done this? Well yes, as a matter of fact — Blessed James Alberione.”