John Paul I's Election to Be Commemorated

Cause of Beatification Is on the Horizon

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VATICAN CITY, AUG. 25, 2003 ( Twenty-five years ago, on Aug. 26, 1978, the patriarch of Venice, Albino Luciani, was elected Pope, taking the name John Paul I.

The solemn commemoration of this pontificate, which lasted only 33 days, will be presided over on Tuesday by the present patriarch of Venice, Archbishop Angelo Scola, in Canale d’Agordo, Luciani’s birthplace.

Over the past few months, Bishop Vincenzo Savio of BellunoFeltre, the diocese to which Canale d’Agordo belongs, has successfully concluded the investigation verifying the premises to open the cause of beatification.

The cause will be introduced officially this autumn. Testimonies are already being gathered.
«It is important to keep Luciani as a companion who will lead us to discover ordinary holiness,» Bishop Savio said.

«Luciani is not a holy saint characterized by many miracles or works of who-knows-what extent,» he added. «His holiness consists in the exercise of daily virtues, in the ordinary character of life.»

Albino Luciani was born on Oct. 17, 1912. Ordained a priest on July 7, 1935, he dedicated his priestly ministry to the study of theology and the formation of seminarians of the Belluno Diocese, of whose seminary he was vice rector.

Appointed bishop of Vittorio Veneto in 1958, he took part in the four sessions of the Second Vatican Council. In 1969, Paul VI named him patriarch of Venice.

Father Diego Lorenzi, Cardinal Albino Luciani’s secretary since 1973, recalls that the prelate was timid, and that he walked around Venice dressed as any other priest.

«But it must be added that when the truth had to be told, there was no timidness able to silence him,» he recalled.

Albino Luciani had a sense of humor, the priest continued. The former used to say that the not-so-interesting homilies he had given as a priest, automatically became brilliant and exciting for the people the moment he was consecrated bishop.

At least on two occasions, Paul VI expressed publicly before Patriarch Luciani the possibility that he would succeed him as Pope. However, in his first address, the new Pope John Paul I said: «Today, when entering the conclave, I would never have thought what was going to happen to me. Danger has started for me.»

And he added: «I don’t have either the wisdom of the heart of Pope John, or the preparation and learning of Pope Paul, but I am in their place, I must try to serve the Church. I hope that you will help me with your prayers.»

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