Francis will beatify John Paul I, the Pope of the 33 days, on Sunday

Pope John Paul I.

He will be the fifth pontiff of the 20th century to reach the altars

Thursday, 1 September 2022, 20:31

Francis will beatify John Paul I in St. Peter's Square this Sunday, making him the fifth pope of the 20th century to reach the altars, after Pius X, John XXIII, Paul VI and John Paul II. Francis approved in October of last year the miracle necessary for the beatification of John Paul I, whose pontificate lasted only 33 days, one of the shortest in history, which caused the year 1978 (when he was elected) to be marked by three Peter's successors.

The miracle approved by Francis (a necessary step for beatification) is the extraordinary healing of an eleven-year-old Argentine girl who suffered from a severe form of encephalopathy. John Paul I was the first pope born in the 20th century and also the last to die in that century. He is also the last Italian pontiff to date and the last in a long, uninterrupted succession of Italian popes over more than four centuries, beginning with Clement VII in 1523. After his sudden death, he was succeeded by Polish Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, who took the name John Paul II.

He was declared a Servant of God by his successor, John Paul II, on November 23, 2003, the first step on the path to sainthood. Francis confirmed his heroic virtues on November 8, 2017 and proclaimed him Venerable.

Albino Luciani was born on October 17, 1912, in Forno di Canale (now Canale d'Agordo), Italy. The son of a glass manufacturer, he lost his mother at the age of ten; his father, Giovanni Luciani, contracted a second marriage with a very devout woman who would be decisive in the child's religious vocation. Educated at the Minor Seminary of Feltre and at the Gregorian Seminary of Belluno, Albino Luciani was ordained a priest in 1935, going that same year to Rome, at whose Gregorian University he studied philosophy and received a doctorate in theology.

Renovator at the Vatican

He served as professor and director of the Belluno Seminary before being named bishop of Vittorio Veneto in 1959, and patriarch of Venice ten years later. In 1973 he was made a cardinal and entered the Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship. Akin to the current of renewal initiated with the Second Vatican Council, Albino Luciani had participated in its sessions between 1962 and 1965, although he preferred pastoral work to that of the curia.

The 'Smiling Pope' left his mark on people's minds for his simplicity and his taste for simple and informal exchanges, especially with children. It remained very popular in Italy and the rest of the world. A beatification process began in 2003, after the Brazilian Episcopal Conference launched a petition for his beatification in the 1990s.

John Paul I will be the fifth Pope of the 20th century included in the book of the blessed. Four popes of the last century have already been canonized, covering a large part of the history of the Church, both before and after the Second Vatican Council: Pius X (1903-1914), John XXIII (1958-1963), Paul VI (1963 -1978) and John Paul II (1978-2005). Pope Francis personally canonized John XXIII and John Paul II in 2014, before beatifying Paul VI in the same year and then canonizing him in 2018.

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