Spirituality for Today – October 2009 – Volume 14, Issue 3

Saint of the Month

Bl. John XXIII – October 11

A photo of Pope John XXIIIPope John XXIII

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born on November 25, 1881, in Sotto il Monte, a small village in the province of Bergamo, northern Italy, to a poor family of sharecroppers. He studied at the seminary in Bergamo, the capital of his home diocese. He was very talented and graduated early at the age of 19. He was ordained in 1915 after reaching the minimum age for priesthood required by canonic law. Before that, he studied at the Gregorian University in Rome in 1921 he worked on diplomatic posts in Bulgaria and Turkey, and then from1944 in France. These were difficult places to work and the missions' success greatly depended on tact.

After returning to Italy in 1953 he was sent to Venice as patriarch. It seemed that this prestigious function would be the highlight of his career. Yet after the death of Pius XII, he was unexpectedly elected pope on October 28, 1958. The new pope, John XXIII, was already 77.

His pontificate was a very dynamic one. He made a great contribution to international relations, launching initiatives that started a dialog between the countries divided by the Cold War. His diplomatic experience and great personal charm made him a popular figure outside the Catholic community as well.

John XXIII noted the need for deep changes in the Church, so he summoned the Second Vatican Council. The Council started on October 11, 1962. The pope took part in just one session; he died on June 3, 1963. He monitored the Council's work until the end of his life. He was beatified on September 3, 2000.

whose Providence gave Bl. Pope John XXIII
to the Church as a guide and model of love for each person,
let the teachings and intercession of "the Good Pope"
help us fulfill Christians' mission in contemporary world.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen

From Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives