On December 22, 2021, Pope Francis sent a message to the weekly Famiglia Cristiana[“The Christian Family”] in which he expressed his encouragement “to serve the truth with kindness through good journalism, which gives no room to media charlatanism,” as reported by “Vatican News.”
In his message, the Holy Father expressed his gratitude “for these 90 years in which Famiglia Cristiana has accompanied many generations, committing itself to be a friendly presence, a periodical of the people and for the people, careful to give the floor to the weakest and marginalized.”
This is how the Pontiff addressed the Director, the journalists, and the readers of the weekly, founded in 1931 by Blessed James Alberione. The Holy Father also encouraged them to “serve the truth with kindness through good journalism, which gives no room to media charlatanism.” Moreover, he invited them “not to adhere to any other front than the Gospel, listening to all voices and incarnating that docile meekness, which is good for the heart.”
According to “Vatican News,” His Holiness pointed out that “in a period when sometimes one is accustomed to hardness as a criterion of comparison, what Blessed James Alberione wrote about the weekly is valid, asking permission to enter and asking for a benevolent look of complacency, as a friendly person,” he highlighted.
History of Famiglia Cristiana
In his message, the Bishop of Rome also pointed out that Famiglia Cristiana was born “to encourage and support in Italian society a precise and constant commitment with the family. Thus the first one thousand copies of Famiglia Cristiana,” were printed in Alba on Christmas Eve of 1931 by Father James Alberione. “It all began tranquility, with no publicity. We must begin “with the straw of Bethlem,” said the Founder.
According to “Vatican News,” the first issue was sold for 20 centimes: twelve pages in black and white, and, beginning in 1937, its diffusion began to grow. In 1944, the War notwithstanding, it reached 100,000 copies. Since then, the print-runs increased from 120,000 copies in 1948 to 155,000 in 1951; 200,000 in 1953 and 300,000 in 1954.
In its first years of life, Famiglia Cristiana was a “handmade product”: The Doctor of Alba was in charge of the health advice column, and a Franciscan Friar directed the column “Conversations with the Father.” In 1954, the weekly acquired a professional editorial style with technicians, journalists, collaborators, photo reporters, and advertisements.
Voice of the Family
By 1956 the weekly reached 750,000 copies, 900,000 in 1959, and one million in 1961. The Milan and Rome newsrooms opened in 1971. The editorial staff grew and uses vanguard means and technologies to elaborate a product that is ever richer in services, columns and information. Thus it became the first weekly in Italy and the third in the European classification.
In 1981, the year of its 50th anniversary, Famiglia Cristiana had almost six million readers and print runs of 1,2 million copies. Its Website was launched in 1997. After some 10 years, in April of 2010, the “new” Famiglia Cristiana was born, in printed and online versions, with the intention of being “the voice of the family and of dedicating to its information, service, and appreciation.”