My most recent newsletter for the Pope John Paul I Association. If you want to receive these newsletters by e-mail, sign up here.
Dear friends of Pope John Paul I,
Today we are commemorating the 39th anniversary of Pope John Paul I’s election. I know I haven’t communicated with you for almost a year; I have to apologize for that, but it was due mostly to the lack of news about John Paul I, especially the process of his beatification.
There is actually not much news on that front right now, though there are some signs that in Italy they are gearing up for the big 40th anniversary celebrations next year. There are plans to have the whole episcopal conference of the Triveneto (the region where all the places Luciani lived are located) come to Canale d’Agordo for next year’s commemoration. Many people are hoping that he may be declared Venerable then, though it usually takes a long time for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints to do its work of examining the documentation on a candidate’s life.
There are also a few details coming out about a possible new miracle for Papa Luciani, the cure of a nun in Brazil. Members of a Vatican congregation have recently been to Brazil and verified that the details are credible, so perhaps the process for this miracle will now begin. I hope to be able to post more details about this on the website soon. (All the details I have come from the Belluno paper Corriere delle Alpi).
Papa Luciani and Fatima
In the meantime, in honor of the centenary of the Fatima apparitions (1917-2017), I have posted my translation of Luciani’s account of his talk with Sister Lucia in the convent in Coimbra on our website.
More on Papa Luciani and Pope Francis
One last bit of news. The last issue of Humilitas in Italian showed again how fond Pope Francis is of quoting his predecessor. Here are the passages that were cited there.
They asked the Pope: “How do you keep your simplicity and your Jesuit rigor after celebrating a Mass in Manila in front of seven million of the faithful and hundreds of millions of viewers?” He replied: “When a priest celebrates Mass, it is certainly in front of the faithful, but above all it is in front of the Lord. However, the more we stand before the crowds, the more we must always be aware of our littleness, of our being “useless servants,” as Jesus asks of us. I ask every day for the grace to be a sign that points to the presence of Jesus, a testimony of his embrace of mercy. For this, sometimes when I hear “Long live the Pope!”, I invite people to say, “Long live Jesus!” From Cardinal Albino Luciani, on facing applause, he recalled: “Do you think that the donkey Jesus rode as he entered Jerusalem amid ‘Hosannas’ might think that this welcome was addressed to him?” Here the Pope, bishops and priests keep faith in their mission if they know how to be that donkey and help to show the true protagonist, always aware that if today there are ‘Hosannas’ tomorrow will come the “Crucify him!” “(“Spesso mi arriva una rosa. Intervista di Papa Francesco in Paris Match, reprinted in L’Osservatore Romano, October 15, 2015).
An actual citation from Luciani’s work was not given, but he did use the comparison in several places, including his letter to King David in Illustrissimi. Pope Francis also most likely took the last part part on “Hosanna” and “Crucify him directly from Papa Luciani, as he did say this as Pope when referring to his popularity. Here is the other one:
“Since the Decree Unitatis Redintegratio was promulgated more than fifty years ago, and we rediscovered Christian brotherhood based on one baptism and the same faith in Christ, travel on the road of the search for unity has gone ahead in small and large steps and has yielded its fruit. I continue to follow these steps. All those things that have been carried out by my predecessors. A further step was that talk of Pope Luciani with Russian metropolitan Nikodim, who died in his arms and was embraced by his brother Bishop of Rome, Nikodim told him such beautiful things about the Church” (Stefania Falasca, “Papa Francesco: non svendo la dottrina, seguo il Concilio,” in Avvenire, November 17, 2016)
It would be wonderful if Pope Francis could have the honor of beatifying Papa Luciani. Let’s pray it does happen soon.