Saint of the Week:
St. Pope John XXIII
“What unites us is much greater than what divides us.”
FEAST DAY: October 11
FUN FACTS: Served as the 260th successor of St. Peter for less than 5 years — he was pope from October 1958 to June 1963.
Even the most seemingly ordinary people can become instruments of God’s extraordinary works of love and mercy. Take Pope John XXIII for example — he avoided the limelight as much as possible; however, one writer noted that his “ordinariness” seems to be one of his most remarkable qualities.
Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, he was the eldest of twelve children of a farming family in Sotto il Monte, Italy. As a teenager, he decided he wanted to be a priest. After he was ordained, Angelo expected nothing more than to be a normal parish priest in his hometown. It was what he knew and what he thought God was calling him to. But very soon, it became clear that God had other plans.
When Italy went to war in 1915, Fr. Roncalli was drafted as a sergeant in the medical corps and became a chaplain to wounded soldiers. After the war, the 71-year-old Fr. Roncalli came home and was appointed to be leader of the church in the city of Venice. When Pope Pius XII died in 1958, Angelo Roncalli was elected to be the next pope at 76 years old and took the name John XXIII. Filled with energy, ideas and the Spirit of God, Pope John XXIII enlarged the membership in the College of Cardinals by making it more international, wrote his most famous encyclicals — Mother and Teacher and Peace on Earth — and summoned the Second Vatican Council. Just when we needed it most, God gave us the gift of “the good Pope” — a reflection of the goodness and love of God!
PRAYER TO ST. POPE JOHN XXIII
St. John XXIII, your simple and meek persona carried the scent of God and the desire of goodness was inflamed in the heart. Pray for us so that we do not limit ourselves to mourn the darkness but rather to enkindle the light, bringing Christ everywhere and always praying to Mary. Amen.