Pope Francis to Beatify ‘Smiling Pope’ John Paul I in September 2022

The miracle attributed to Pope John Paul I’s intercession is the 2011 healing of a girl in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from a severe form of encephalopathy, a disease affecting the brain.

Pope John Paul I in an undated file photo.
Pope John Paul I in an undated file photo. (photo: Courtesy photo / Vatican Media/CNA.)

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis will beatify Pope John Paul I on Sept. 4, 2022.

Vatican News, the website overseen by the Vatican’s Dicastery for Communication, said on Dec. 23 that the pope who reigned for only 33 days would be beatified in St. Peter’s Basilica.

It added that the ceremony’s date was given to Cardinal Beniamino Stella, postulator of the cause of canonization, and Bishop Renato Marangoni of Belluno-Feltre, the Italian diocese where the cause opened on Nov. 23, 2003, and closed on Nov. 9, 2017, with the proclamation of Pope John Paul I’s heroic virtues.

Pope Francis recognized a miracle obtained through the intercession of his papal predecessor in October.

Often called “the smiling pope,” Pope John Paul I died unexpectedly on Sept. 28, 1978. A priority of his short pontificate was carrying forward the work of the Second Vatican Council.

But even before he was elected Pope John Paul I, Albino Luciani was known for his humility, his emphasis on spiritual poverty, and his dedication to teaching the faith in an understandable manner. 

The miracle attributed to Pope John Paul I’s intercession is the 2011 healing of a girl in the Archdiocese of Buenos Aires, Argentina, from a severe form of encephalopathy, a disease affecting the brain. 

Last year, Pope Francis instituted a Vatican foundation to promote the thought and teachings of Pope John Paul I.

In an article in L’Osservatore Romano, Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro Parolin wrote that “Pope John Paul I was and remains a reference point in the history of the universal Church, the importance of which — as Pope St. John Paul II pointed out — is inversely proportional to the duration of his very short pontificate.”

In 2008, on the 30th anniversary of Pope John Paul I’s death, Pope Benedict XVI reflected on St. Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, when the apostle writes: “Do nothing out of selfishness or out of vainglory; rather, humbly regard others as more important than yourselves.”

Pope Benedict XVI said that the biblical text brought to mind Pope John Paul I, who chose the same episcopal motto as St. Charles Borromeo: Humilitas. 

Pope John Paul I’s simplicity, according to Pope Benedict XVI, “was a means of solid and fruitful instruction, which, thanks to the gift of an excellent memory and vast culture, was enriched by numerous citations of church and secular authors.”

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