I am getting a bit ahead of myself here, but I will likely busy tomorrow, so I am getting an early start on the celebration of an important date. Oct. 11 is the anniversary of the opening of the second Vatican council and the feast of Blessed Pope John XXIII. Because both Vatican II and Pope John were instrumental in advancing our relations with our non-Catholic brothers and sisters, I thought that it would be appropriate to post a tribute on this board.
It is the will of God, the Church’s founder, that all the sheep should eventually gather into this one fold, under the guidance of one shepherd. All God’s children are summoned to their father’s only home, and its cornerstone is Peter. All men should work together like brothers to become part of this single kingdom of God; for the citizens of that kingdom are united in peace and harmony on earth that they might enjoy eternal happiness some day in heaven. - Ad Petri Cathedram
Blessed John was born to a family of Italian peasants in 1881 at Sotto il Monte as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli. He was ordained in 1904 and served at first as secretary to the bishop of Bergamo. During World War I he served in the medical corps and as a chaplain. He worked in Rome after the war and reorganized the Society for the Propagation of the Faith. He was consecrated an archbishop in 1925, working as a Vatican diplomatic representative to Bulgaria, then Turkey and Greece, then France. He was created Cardinal Patriarch of Venice in 1953 and finally elected pope on Oct 28, 1958.
As pope, he stressed his own pastoral duties as well as those of other bishops and clergy. He was very concerned to promote social reforms for workers, poor people, orphans, and the outcast. He advanced cooperation with other faiths and traditions including Protestant, Greek Orthodox, Church of England, and even Shinto.
On Jan, 25 1959, he announced his intent to call a council to consider ways to renew the Church in the modern world, promote diversity within the unity of the Church, and consider reforms promoted by ecumenical and liturgical movements. Convening the council, known as Vatican II, on Oct 11, 1962, was the high point of his reign.
His heartiness, his overflowing love for humanity individually and collectively, and his freshness of approach to ecclesiastical affairs made John one of the best-loved popes of modern times. Today would be an excellent day to read some of Bl. John’s work; I especially recommend the encyclical quoted at the top of this thread: Ad Petri Cathedram. It would also be a good day to pray for Bl. John’s intercession for the cause of Christian unity. Finally, as Blessed John liked to eat, I think that it would be appropriate to celebrate this feast with a big, Italian dinner.
Blessed John, pray for us!