Today we observe the 46th anniversary of the death of a
great Father of the Church, Blessed John XXIII (known in history as Angelo Giuseppi
Roncalli). Many will remember him as the “smiling pope”. He was the
pope of senior age who called the Second Vatican Council.
In the course of time the Church has recognized this pope’s holiness and he was declared a “blessed” by Pope John Paul II. Blessed John’s liturgical memorial is observed on 11 October
and he is the patron of papal delegations.
Pope John Paul II thoughts of Pope John are a fantastic summary of John’s beauty:
Everyone remembers the image of Pope John’s smiling face and
two outstretched arms embracing the whole world. How many people were won over
by his simplicity of heart, combined with a broad experience of people and
things! The breath of newness he brought certainly did not concern doctrine,
but rather the way to explain it; his style of speaking and acting was new, as
was his friendly approach to ordinary people and to the powerful of the world.
It was in this spirit that he called the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council,
thereby turning a new page in the Church’s history Christians heard themselves
called to proclaim the Gospel with renewed courage and greater attentiveness to
the “signs” of the times. The Council was a truly prophetic insight of this
elderly Pontiff who, even amid many difficulties, opened a season of hope for
Christians and for humanity. In the last moments of his earthly life, he
entrusted his testament to the Church: “What counts the most in life is blessed
Jesus Christ, his holy Church, his Gospel, truth and goodness”
God our Father, you reward all who believe in You. May Your servant, John XXIII, our Pope, vicar of Peter, and shepherd of Your Church, who faithfully administered the mysteries of Your forgiveness and love on earth, rejoice with You for ever in heaven.
Born: 25 November 1881
Professed as a Secular Franciscan: 23 May 1897
Ordained priest: 10 August 1904
Appointed Apostolic Visitator in Bulgaria: 3 March 1925
Ordained bishop: 19 March 1925
Appointed Apostolic Delegate in Turkey & Greece: 12
Appointed Nuncio in France: 23 December 1944
Created cardinal & Patriarch of Venice: 12 & 15
Elected pope: 28 October 1958
Died: 3 June 1963