Attending the beatification of Pope John Paul I last September 4 was an emotional experience. Pope Francis was the main celebrant at the ceremony and Mass held in St. Peter”s Square. I was fortunate to be included in the delegation from Canale d’Agordo, the late pope’s hometown. The clamor of thunder seemed to shake the very foundation of the basilica prior to the commencement of the ceremony. But it ceased before the onset of the the long-awaited beatification only to be replaced by a steady rain. I couldn’t help but be reminded of the same weather conditions during the pope’s funeral in 1978. This, however, was a joyous occasion, and the inclement weather seemed inexplicably inappropriate. For those who stayed until the conclusion of the 2-hour event, (almost everyone, it seemed) the sun unexpectedly appeared.

When the colossal tapestry draped over the central balcony of St. Peter’s and bearing Papa Luciani’s portrait was unveiled, it seemed as if he were actually looking down on the proceedings. Of course, those of us who remembered his first appearance there as pope thought how fitting it was that his smiling countenance should be gracing that same loggia once again.

In the days prior to the beatification, there were commemorative ceremonies at various venues in Rome. I attended a panel discussion that included my good friend Loris Serafini, director/curator of the Luciani Museum and member of the Vatican’s John Paul I foundation and Cardinal Beniamino Stella, the postulator for John Paul’s cause for sainthood. A stunning tribute took place in the Basilica of St. John Lateran where I met briefly with Cardinal Angelo De Donatis, the Vicar General, in the sacristy.

A most memorable occasion was attending a Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica, celebrated by the Bishop of Belluno, especially for the delegations who made the pilgrimage to Rome from that region that was so beloved by Pope Luciani.

Now we await the ultimate moment when Blessed Pope John Paul I will be canonized a saint. When that will happen remains unknown at the moment. In the meantime we can take comfort in seeking the intercession of the “Smiling Pope” as we confront the tribulations of life.

It’s Official: Pope Luciani to Be Beatified in 2022

Monday, December 27, 2021

Shortly before Christmas Eve, the Prefect of the Causes of Saints , Cardinal Marcello Semeraro, communicated to the Bishop of Belluno-Feltre, Mons. Renato Marangoni, the official date of the long-awaited ceremony for the beatification of Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I.

On Sunday September 4, 2022
in St. Peter’s in the Vatican
Pope Francis will proclaim blessed

Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I.

Papa Luciani Is One Step Closer to Sainthood

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Pope Francis approved a decree of heroic virtue today that attaches the title “Venerable” to the late pope John Paul I.

A special committee of theologians favored recognizing the pope’s heroic virtues, and on Tuesday the members of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Causes of Saints, endorsed the decree.

Francis, who is fond of quoting John Paul I has the option of waiving the requirement of a second miracle. A first, the nearly instantaneous cure of an Italian man whose body was riddled with cancer has passed muster with the investigatory committee.




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Mo Guernon, Ed.M Biographer