Who Are the Pauline Cooperators?
Located in every continent except Antarctica, the Cooperators are lay men and women of the Pauline Family who have made the Promise to be a Cooperator.
We are scattered over many nations and cultures, but united in our commitment to communicate hope in Jesus Christ using the new means of social communication.
Although often listed last in the roster of the Pauline Family, the Cooperators came early into the mind of Blessed Alberione. He laid out the first Statutes for the Cooperators in 1918.
Why Lay Cooperators?
Until recently, the laity were seen more as marginal collaborators of the religious institutes which recruited them. And yet, the Pauline Cooperators were one of the first branches of the Pauline Family to be established by the Founder. We might well wonder why.
In 1900, as the 19th century came to a close, James Alberione was sixteen years old. The young seminarian thought and prayed much about the shape of development of the Church in the 20th century. In November of 1900, he read the encyclical Tametsi Futura. On December 31 of the same year, the "Night Between the Centuries," Blessed Alberione felt an unmistakable call from the Lord to do something specific to respond to the encyclical and help the people of the new century.
This desire to follow the light he had received from the Tabernacle had a profound effect on his life. He intuited both the rise in importance of the new media of social communication and the development of an expanded role for the laity in the Church.
In 1918, he laid out the first Statutes for a lay congregation, formalizing the group under the title “Union of Pauline Cooperators for the Good Press.”
The Founder’s prescience proved true in developments and documents on the laity that flowed from the Second Vatican Council and continue to the present time. The Vicar General of the Society of St. Paul recognized this in 1990 when he wrote:
"Now, however, it is indisputable that the laity, by virtue of their Baptism, have their own vocation which obliges them to walk on the way of holiness and of apostolate, and therefore can be called to live the charismatic project of a Founder… The role of mediation of the religious Congregations will be that of animating and stimulating the Cooperators to attain a Pauline spiritual maturity which also allows a greater autonomy.”
Hence a new Statute for the Association of Pauline Cooperators (its present title) was presented in the Xth Meeting of the General Governments of the Pauline Family in January 1992.
Today's Pauline Cooperator is a faithful lay person whom the Holy Spirit calls to share in the foundational project of Father Alberione and to realize it together with the other religious institutes of the Pauline Family. Cooperators are found all over the world, wherever the Pauline Family has spread.