The feast day of St. John XXIII is celebrated on October 11. He was known also known as “Good Pope John”.
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born in 1881 near Borgano, Italy. He was the oldest of 13 children. Angelo joined the Secular Franciscan Order. After he was ordained a priest in 1904, he returned to Rome to study canon law. He became the bishop’s secretary, Church history teacher in the seminary and publisher of the diocesan paper.
During World War I, he served as a stretcher bearer for the Italian army. During World War II he was a papal diplomat, serving in Bulgaria, Turkey and France. With the help of Germany’s ambassador in Turkey, Archbishop Roncalli, he helped save approximately 24,000 Jewish people from death.
In 1953 he was named a cardinal and Bishop. He was elected Pope at the age of 77, taking the name of John. He soon called an ecumenical council and presided over the first session of the Second Vatican Council. The purpose of the Council was to bring the church into the modern world. It also was an effort to end hostilities between religions. Eastern Orthodox, Anglican and Protestant religious leaders were invited to attend.
One quote he is remembered for is:
“The Church has always opposed errors. Nowadays, however, the Spouse of Christ prefers to make use of the medicine of mercy rather than that of severity.”
Pope John XXIII earned the title Good Pope John because of his kind and cheerful demeanor.
He died on June 3, 1963. He was beatified November 15, 1881 by Pope John Paul II. He was canonized on the same day as Pope John Paul II by Pope Benedict on April 27, 2014.
In the Blessed Sacrament a heavenly school is open to me, with the best teacher one can possibly imagine…Jesus Christ himself.
Quote of Bl. John XXIII
October is the Month of the Most Holy Rosary