Friday, October 21, 2016

A Saintly Pauline

Today the Church celebrates a Saint who embraced a very modern apostolate, Blessed Timothy (Joseph) Giaccardo. Father Timothy, as we affectionately call him in the Pauline Family, was the first ordained priest in the Society of St. Paul, after the Founder himself, Blessed James Alberione. As a parochial vicar in the parish of St. Bernard's in the Italian Piedmont town of Narzole, Alberione noticed the signs of a priestly vocation in young Joseph Giaccardo. When Alberione asked him if he wanted to become a priest, Joseph responded enthusiastically. Then he hesitated, since his family was poor, he did not have the necessary funds to put him through the seminary. Convinced of Joseph's priestly vocation, Alberione found benefactors to sponsor Joseph in the diocesan seminary. As soon as he could, Father Joseph Giaccardo asked his bishop permission to enter the tiny community founded by Father James Alberione. When the first group of Pauline priests pledged their lives to God through vows of obedience, chastity, poverty and fidelity to the Roman Pontiff, then Joseph took on the name "Timothy" in imitation of St. Timothy, a devoted disciple of St. Paul.
The group's mission was "glory to God, and peace to men." They would carry out this motto by living an intense prayer-life and then plunging into their work as writers and editors of Catholic publications. The ever-expanding Society of St. Paul would use the printing press, the radio, films and whatever new means would be invented to "preach." These priests would not only preach from a church pulpit, but they would expand their audience to thousands of readers and viewers by adopting high speed presses and radio and television to preach the Good News. Alberione's young followers were entrusted with the task of reviving the Alba Gazette, the Catholic newspaper of the Diocese of Alba. The paper was about to go under for lack of subscribers. After Alberione took over its direction and printing, the paper thrived. Today Gazzetta d'Alba (The Alba Gazette) occupies a four story building in Alba, Northern Italy. Alberione called his mission "The Good Press" (La Buona Stampa). Aware of the radio in its infancy then, Alberione told his band of very young men that they were to use not only the press, but any of the new means which would emerge to spread the gospel. Since many of the first Pauline priests and brothers entered as youngsters, the Founder entrusted their guidance to Father Timothy. Timothy learned from Alberione to live a saintly life. He was a writer and editor for God, as well as a sought-after confessor and spiritual guide. In the 19th century Italian world, anyone who was a journalist needed to obtain a license. Both Alberione and Giacardo enjoyed being bonafided "journalists!"
Father Timothy became Alberione's right-hand-man assisting his spiritual father in myriad ways. Father Alberione founded the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master in 1947. Their Mani as prayer-warriors for the rest of the Pauline Family. These Sisters pray two Eucharistic hours each day for all the rest of the Pauline Family; and in reparation for the evil use of the media. Some Sister Disciples are talented artists and architects who use their skill to promote high quality liturgy. The Sisters also have an apostolate of assisting the clergy. Blessed Alberione entrusted the formation of the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master to Father Giaccardo. Not all the official Church understood the genius of Father Alberione and his various religious congregations. When the foundation of the Sister Disciples seemed threatened to extinction because of the incomprehension of certain officials, Father Giaccardo offered his life that the Sister Disciples of the Divine Master would be approved and that they would thrive. The Lord accepted Father Timothy's offering of himself as a victim for the Father Timothy learned to accept the differences in personality between himself and Blessed Alberione. For example, Timothy loved ceremony, nice vestments and flowers on the altar. Alberione, instead, preferred simplicity. He enjoyed Gregorian chant and appreciated both art and music--to a certain degree. United in their goal of promoting the Good News with the press, Alberione and Giaccardo made a great Team for Jesus and the Church. John Paul II beatified Father Timothy on October 22, 1989. What is there to learn from this saintly priest and media apostle? His silence, serenity, his deep prayer-life, his humility, and his inventivness. In their era, they were pioneers who dared to

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