S+L logo

40th anniversary of the death of John Paul I, Albino Luciani

Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB

September 27, 2018
CNS/L'Osservatore Romano
Elected on August 26, 1978, after just 33 days of pontificate, the pope was found lifeless in his bed on the morning of September 28th. His pontificate is among the shortest in history. Born in Canale d'Agordo, in the province of Belluno, on October 17, 1912, at the time of his election to the papacy, Cardinal Albino Luciani was Patriarch of Venice and assumed the name of John Paul I as a tribute to his two illustrious predecessors: John XXIII and Paul VI, who had died just 20 days earlier.
In his only "Urbi et Orbi" address, John Paul I reiterated to the Church that her first duty was that of evangelization and urged her to continue ecumenical efforts. In his speech on September 10th, addressed to the representatives of the international press, he asked them to "bring their peers closer together, perceive more closely the anxiety of justice, peace, fraternity, establish with them deeper bonds of participation, of agreement and solidarity in view of a more just and humane world."
In only four General Audiences, he managed to present the image of "the humble Pope" as he addressed the themes of humility, faith, hope, and charity, speaking with a style so personal that he immediately allowed his pastoral and catechetical vocation to shine forth. One of the names by which he is remembered is "the Catechist Pope" and "the Pope who is the parish priest of the world," to underline his love for catechesis, understood as a communicative passion at the service of Christian truth and not as a reduced form of evangelization.
All photos courtesy of Catholic News Service (CNS)