Pope St John was born the fourth of thirteen children into a shared farm at Sotto-il-Monte, Italy. Three of his siblings died in childhood.
Pope St John was ordained a Priest in Rome at the age of 23 and quickly appointed to a series of roles that led to Archbishop, Cardinal and Patriarch of Venice.
Pope St John was unexpectedly appointed Pope in 1958 and to many people’s surprise, he quickly embarked upon a series of major church reforms, now referred to as the Second Vatican Council. Following one of the council meetings, he addressed a crowd in St. Peter’s Square saying, “Dear children, returning home, you will find children: give your children a caress and say – this is the caress of the Pope”.
Pope St John was a persistent advocate for human rights including the unborn child and the elderly. He intervened on many occasions to help save the lives of persecuted and interned Jews, children and other suppressed groups. He offered to mediate between President John F Kennedy and the Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev during the Cuban Missile Crisis. He is often affectionately known as, “The Good Pope”.
Four and a half years into his papacy, Pope St John died from the effects of stomach cancer. His Feast Day is the 11th of October.
Pope St John XXIII:
O Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, I would like to be filled with love for You; keep me closely united with You, may my heart be near to Yours.
(Extract from prayers by Pope St John XXIII)
Glory be to the…