VATICAN CITY, SEPT. 28, 2005 (Zenit.org).- “Unforgettable for all of us” is how Benedict XVI evoked the memory of his predecessor Pope John Paul I, on the 27th anniversary of his death.
Benedict XVI spoke spontaneously at the end of today’s general audience, to greet in Italian “the faithful of the Diocese of Belluno-Feltre who, together with its bishop, Monsignor Giuseppe Andrich,” came to Rome “to make a grateful and prayerful remembrance” of the Servant of God, John Paul I, on the anniversary of his death.
John Paul I was born Albino Luciani in that diocese on Oct. 17, 1912. He was ordained a priest in 1935, and received episcopal ordination in 1958. Eleven years later, Pope Paul VI named him archbishop patriarch of Venice, and in 1973 he was elevated to cardinal.
Elected Pope on Aug. 26, 1978, he died unexpectedly, 33 days later.
On Nov. 23, 2003, the diocesan phase of John Paul I’s cause for beatification opened in the Cathedral of Belluno.
In late 2004 Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger (now Benedict XVI) acknowledged in the province of Belluno that he prayed “every day for this beatification.”
“Pope Luciani is an example for us all,” said the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The postulator of the cause for John Paul I’s beatification, Monsignor Giorgio Lise, told the Web site Korazym: “From the testimonies I receive, humility, confident abandonment in God, and hope are the characteristics of his spirituality.”
Monsignor Lise is director of the Pope Luciani Center.