Monday, October 10, 2016

Feast of Pope St. John XXIII

October 11 is the feast of Pope St. John XXIII, pope from 1958-1963, best known for convening the Second Vatican Council. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000.  His feast is assigned to the day on which the first session of Vatican II opened in 1962. His feast is not on the General Roman Calendar, but can be celebrated locally.

Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli at Sotto il Monte, Italy on 25 November 1881; elected Pope on October 28, 1958; died June 3, 1963 in Rome; beatified by Pope John Paul II on September 3, 2000.

Angelo was the fourth child of 14, born to pious parents. His religious education was entrusted to his godfather who instigated in him a deep response to the mystery of God.

He entered the minor seminary in 1892 at the age of 11, became a Secular Francsican in 1896 and in 1901 he entered the Pontifical Roman Seminary. On being ordained in 1904 he was appointed secretary to the bishop of Bergamo and taught in the seminary.

His great friends among the saints during this formative period were St Charles Borromeo and St Francis de Sales, two outstanding intellectuals and also formidable pastors.

He served as a military chaplain during the First World War, served as spiritual directory of a seminary and in 1921 served as the Italian president of the Society for the Propagation of the Faith.

In 1925 Pius XI made him a bishop and sent him to Bulgaria as the Apostolic Visitator For his Episcopal motto he chose Oboedientia et Pax. In 1935 he was assigned to Turkey and Greece where he ministered to the Catholic population and engaged in dialogue with Orthodox Christianity and with Islam.

During the Second World War he used his diplomatic means to save as many Jews as he could by obtaining safe passage for them.

He was created cardinal and Patriarch of Venice in 1953 and was a much loved pastor, dedicating himself completely to the well being of his flock.

Elected Pope on the death of Pope Pius XII he was an example of a ‘pastoral’ Pope, a good shepherd who cared deeply for his sheep. He manifested this concern in his social encyclicals, especially Pacem in Terris, “On peace in the World.”

His greatest act as Pope however was undoubtedly the inspiration to convoke the Second Vatican Council, which he opened on October 11, 1962.

Pope John’s spirit of humble simplicity, profound goodness, and deep life of prayer radiated in all he did and inspired people to affectionately call him “Good Pope John.”

He was canonized by Pope Francis in St. Peter's Square on April 27, 2014, alongside the man who beatified him, Pope St. John Paul II.

Saint Quotes

On Family:

(16.) The family, founded upon marriage freely contracted, one and indissoluble, must be regarded as the natural, primary cell of human society. The interests of the family, therefore, must be taken very specially into consideration in social and economic affairs, as well as in the spheres of faith and morals. For all of these have to do with strengthening the family and assisting it in the fulfilment of its mission

—John XXIII.Pacem in Terris. 1963

Human rights:

(11) Man has the right to live. He has the right to bodily integrity and to the means necessary for the proper development of life, particularly food, clothing, shelter, medical care, rest, and, finally, the necessary social services. In consequence, he has the right to be looked after in the event of ill health; disability stemming from his work; widowhood; old age; enforced unemployment; or whenever through no fault of his own he is deprived of the means of livelihood.

—John XXIII.Pacem In Terris. 1963

On living wages:

(71.) We therefore consider it our duty to reaffirm that the remuneration of work is not something that can be left to the laws of the marketplace; nor should it be a decision left to the will of the more powerful. It must be determined in accordance with justice and equity; which means that workers must be paid a wage which allows them to live a truly human life and to fulfill their family obligations in a worthy manner

—John XXIII.Mater Et Magistra. 1961

On the Church:

(15.) Certainly, Venerable Brethren, when one views the faith which distinguishes the Church, the sacraments which nourish and perfect her, the universal laws and precepts which govern her, the unfailing glory that is hers by reason of the heroic virtue and constancy of so many of her elect, there can be no doubt that the Bride of Christ, so dear to her divine Redeemer, has always kept herself holy and unsullied.

—John XXIII. Paenitentiam Agere. 1962

On the Second Vatican Council:

(36) Everyone wants the forthcoming Ecumenical Council to give all possible impetus to the spread of Christianity. It must give louder and louder utterance to that "word by which the kingdom is preached" mentioned in the parable of the sower, and help to bring about the wider extension of "the kingdom of God" in the world. But all this must depend to a large extent on the dispositions of the souls which the Council will be endeavoring to inspire to truth and virtue, to the worship of God both in private and in public, to a disciplined life and to missionary zeal.

—John XXIII. Paenitentiam Agere. 1962

Eucharistic Prayer:

(48) And a devotion to the Eucharist that is ardent, constant and that carries over into works also has the effect of nourishing and fostering the inner perfection of his soul and assuring him, as he carries out his apostolic duties, of an abundance of the supernatural powers that the strongest workers for Christ must have.

—John XXIII. Paenitentiam Agere. 1962

From his Spiritual Testament:

Born poor, but of humble and respected folk, I am particularly happy to die poor, having distributed, according to the various needs and circumstances of my simple and modest life in the service of the poor and of the holy Church which has nurtured me, whatever came into my hands –and it was very little –during the years of my priesthood and episcopate.

—John XXIII.Spiritual Testament. 1954 p.343, Journal of a Soul

In the hour of farewell, or, better, of leave-taking, I repeat once more that what matters most in this life is: our blessed Jesus Christ, his holy Church, his Gospel, and in the Gospel above all else the Our Father according to the mind and heart of Jesus, and the truth and goodness of his Gospel, goodness which must be meek and kind, hardworking and patient, unconquerable and victorious.

—John XXIII.Spiritual Testament. 1954 p.343, Journal of a Soul

On the Holy Rosary:

This is the rosary of Mary, considered in its various elements, which are linked together in vocal prayer and woven into it as in a delicate and rich embroidery, full of spiritual warmth and beauty.

—John XXIII. The Holy Rosary. P 360, Journal of a Soul

On being elected Pope:

To have accepted with simplicity the honour and the burden of the pontificate, with the joy of being able to say that I did nothing to obtain it, absolutely nothing; indeed I was most careful and conscientious to avoid anything that might direct attention to myself. As the voting in Conclave wavered to and fro, I rejoiced when I saw the chances of my being elected diminishing and the likelihood of others, in my opinion truly most worthy and venerable persons, being chosen.

—John XXIII. P 325, Journal of a Soul

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