James Alberione, a trailblazer

James Alberione

People thought a hectic life had ended and the flame was put out on 26 November 1971 when James Alberione breathed his last. Yet, after 50 years, the flame of his legacy is still burning brighter on the dark horizons of the media. His indomitable spirit and vision continue to ignite minds of men to carry on his mission of promoting the good news of love, joy and peace.

Young Alberione, at the age of sixteen, while studying in Alba, Italy, during the night that divided the twentieth century from the nineteenth, had a flash of inspiration which made him resolve to do something good for the people of the new century. From that moment on, he reflected and prayed much to get better clarity to live his new vision.

At that time in Europe, due to the technological revolution in communication and media, there was a rapid growth in newspapers, magazines, books, radio stations and films which was becoming easily accessible to everyone. Meantime there was a prolific spread of more immoral and destructive literature and films than the good ones.

For Alberione his mission became crystal clear, that was, to use the powerful media weapons to counteract the evil ones, and to use them to promote maximum good. He was convinced of the dynamic potential of the media to influence the minds of the millions. So he began to employ all his energies to spread the good word, the positive word, the creative word, through the fastest and most effective means of communication to raise the moral and spiritual standards of families and of society.

The Teenager Today in India can be called a dream-child of James Alberione who wanted to have various journals and magazines for the youth to build their moral, mental and spiritual personality. He organized those who shared his vision and mission, both young men and women, into various groups and sent them to various countries to continue the same mission.

Alberione himself wrote 113 books and numerous articles in various journals. He also encouraged others to write and to use all the media available to promote good literature and noble values. He motivated his followers saying, “We must defeat the bad press with the good press, bad literature with good literature, bad cinema with good cinema”.

Difficulties along his path were many. Many opposed his daring venture into the unexplored and untravelled terrain of the media world. Faced with difficulties he would say, “One must not toil fluttering the towel to shove away the darkness, instead light a candle.”

Today, his vision and mission are carried on with the latest modern media in most of the countries by his followers with dedication and determination. Magazines like The Teenager Today, Inspirational Quote, publications like Better Yourself Books, Insight Books, St Pauls Communications and Multimedia, St Paul Book Centres and Pauline Media Centres with about 500 full-time members, are some examples of his legacy alive in India.

When James Alberione died on 26 November 1971 at the age 87, various newspapers said about him: “The poor priest who owned an empire of mass media”, “He knew how to talk to the masses”, “Apostle of the modern world”, etc. He received several accolades from world leaders. The saintly Pope Paul VI called him “a marvel of our century”, and later Pope John Paul II said about him: “He became like a flaming torch that illumines the entire world.” May the legacy of his vision live on!

Vincent Carmel
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Vincent Carmel

Vincent Carmel brings with him years of experience in working with young people, and was actively involved with the Indore-based Universal Solidarity Movement (USM) for more than three years. A great lover of the North East, he was the Director of the North East Social Communications (NESCOM), organising motivational programmes for the youth of the region.