The late Pope John XXIII was canonized by Pope Francis on April 27, 2014.
Angelo was one of thirteen children in a poor family from Sotto il Monte (meaning “under the mountain”), a small town in northern Italy. Very good-natured and quite intelligent, Angelo was drawn to the priesthood at an early age.
When he was elected pope in 1958 at the age of 76, most people felt that he would be an interim pope, simply filling the position for a few years until his death, not causing many waves in the church.
However, Pope John XXIII shocked the world by calling for an ecumenical council, which was eventually known as the second Vatican Council. It was John’s wish that the church offer a message of hope and direction to the world. He also felt the Catholic Church needed to review itself and be “updated” in areas of Liturgy, Inter-church activity, the role of the laity, and more.
The council began October 11, 1962, with bishops from throughout the world in attendance. They would convene in Rome for four consecutive years, each fall for several months. It was an incredible undertaking. Sadly, Pope John XXIII only saw the first of the sessions. He died June 3, 1963. Our parish received the name Blessed John XXIII on June 3, 2005 and changed to Saint John XXIII on April 27, 2014.
In “Journal of a Soul,” his personal reflections through the years, he wrote, “My soul is open before you like a blank sheet of paper. Write on it what you will, O Lord: I am Yours.” We, Saint John XXIII Parish, say the same thing: “Write on our soul what you will, O Lord. We are yours.”