The Feast of St. John XXIII

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St. John XXIII, the pope who opened the Second Vatican Council.

October 11 is the feast of the 20th century pope, St. John XXIII. Born Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, the would-be pope was one of 13 children and came from a modest upbringing. After his ordination he would serve in a variety of important roles such as papal nuncio to Bulgaria and Turkey as well as archbishop of Venice.

Following the death of Pope Pius XII, Roncalli was elected to the papacy and took the name John. John XXIII would only be pope for five years but during that time he would call the Second Vatican Council, one of the most significant councils in the history of the Church. The council would bring about changes like the use of the vernacular in Mass, the expanded role of the laity and overall renewal of doctrine for modern times.

On Sunday April 27, 2014, Pope Francis canonized John XXIII and John Paul II, two of the most influential popes of the 20th century. It was the first time in the history of the Church that two popes were canonized at the same ceremony.

Below is a video of Fr. James Martin, SJ, talking about the significance of this saint.

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