Pope Presides at Mass for Paul VI and John Paul I

25th Anniversary of Their Deaths

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VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II presided at a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica for the 25th anniversary of the deaths of his immediate predecessors, Popes John Paul I and Paul VI.

The Holy Father, appearing in public Saturday for the first time since an intestinal ailment kept him from Wednesday’s general audience, highlighted his predecessors’ ability to dialogue.

“They did not give in to the judgments of the moment or views connected to contingent interests,” he said during the homily. “Firmly anchored in the Truth, they did not hesitate to dialogue with all men of good will.”

“They were enormously free, as they were conscious that the Holy Spirit ‘blows where he wills,’ guiding in different ways the path of the history of salvation,” the Pope added.

He recalled the Christian joy of Paul VI on one hand, and the smile of John Paul I on the other, who “in one month won over the world.”

John Paul II participated in the Mass, celebrated by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and other cardinals present in Rome.

John Paul II himself read the homily in a weak voice, on the day he commemorated the 45th anniversary of his own episcopal consecration as auxiliary bishop of Krakow, Poland.

Father Pasquale Liberatore, postulator of the cause of beatification of John Paul I, said the process will begin officially Nov. 23.

Although the cause is under way in the Diocese of Belluno, where Albino Luciani, the future John Paul I, was born, three processes will take place in the collection of testimonies: one in Vittorio Veneto, where he was bishop (1958-1969), another in Venice, where he was patriarch (1969-1978), and one in Rome, where he was Pope for 33 days.

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