On Tuesday afternoon, Pope Francis visited the Vatican Grottoes, located below the St. Peter’s Basilica, and prayed in front of the tomb of his predecessor Pope Paul VI. The visit was to commemorate the 35th anniversary of his death.
Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini was elected Pope on June 21, 1963. In taking the name Paul after his election, the late Holy Father wished to emphasize the need to evangelize and spread the Gospel all over the world. Paul VI also continued the Second Vatican Council which began under his predecessor, Blessed John XXIII.
Paul VI died on August 6, 1978 on the Feast of the Transfiguration. His beatification process began 15 years after his death and on December 20, 2012, Pope Benedict XVI declared him Venerable.
According to a report by Vatican Radio, Pope Francis met with a group of young people from Brescia, who came to Rome on a vocational pilgrimage to commemorate the death of Paul VI, who was born in the same province. The Holy Father met with the group in the plaza in front of the Domus Sanctae Marthae in Vatican City.
Fr. Alessandro Tucinardi, the director of the Vocations Office for the Diocese of Brescia, told Vatican Radio that the Holy Father encouraged the youth, exhorting them to not live their lives as if it were a game but to live life in “a full and serious way.”
“He invited the youth to be responsible,” Fr. Tucinardi said in the interview. “He blessed each person and finding an exact word for each one. He asked who we were, knowing that the group consisted of people who were choosing a different vocation.” The Vocations director went on to say that the youth were touched by the Holy Father s words and re-awakened a desire in each of them to be heralds of the Gospel.