John Paul I To Be Beatified on September 4, 2022

By Pope Francis in Saint Peter’s

John Paul I
Juan Pablo I

It’s official! Pope Francis will beatify John Paul I — Albino Luciani — on Sunday, September 4, 2022,” said in the Italian Catholic newspaper Avvenire, Stefania Falasca, journalist and Vice-Postulator of the Cause for Canonization of the Pontiff known as the “smiling Pope.”

Pope Francis approved the necessary miracle for John Paul I’s Beatification on October 13, 2021. According to “Vatican News,” the approved miracle was the cure in July of 2011 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, of an 11-year-old girl suffering from severe acute inflammatory encephalopathy, malignant refractory disease, septic shock.”

At that time the clinical picture was very grave, characterized by numerous daily epileptic seizures and a septic state caused by bronchopneumonia. It seemed that she was at the end of her life. The idea to pray to Pope Luciani for her was that of the priest, who was very devout, of the parish to which the Hospital belonged.

According to “Vatican News,” Albino Luciani was born on October 17, 1912 in Forno di Canale (today Canale d’Agordo), in the province of Belluno, Italy. He was ordained priest in 1935 and in 1958, immediately after John XXIII was elected, he was appointed Bishop of Vittorio Veneto. He took part in the whole of Vatican Council II and implemented its directives enthusiastically. Paul VI appointed him Patriarch of Venice at the end of 1969 and created him Cardinal in 1973.

Following Paul VI’s death, he was elected Pope on August 26, 1978, in a Conclave that lasted one day. The smiling Pope chose the word humilitas (humility) for his Episcopal Coat of Arms. He was a Pastor who lived soberly, firm in the essential of the faith, open from the social point of view, close to the poor and to workers. In his teaching, he emphasized mercy.

He defined his program in the double name he chose: by uniting John and Paul, not only did he express his tribute and gratitude to the Popes who appointed him Bishop and Cardinal, but he marked a path of continuity in the implementation of Vatican Council II. He wrote a successful book entitled Illustrissimi [Most Illustrious], with letters he wrote and sent ideally to the greats of the past with judgments on the present. He gave special importance to catechesis and the need for those that transmit contents of the faith to do so in a way that all could understand.

He died suddenly on the night of September 28, 1978. He was found lifeless by the nun who took his coffee to his room every morning. As “Vatican News” points out, in just a few weeks of the pontificate, he won the heart of millions for his simplicity, his humility, his defense of the last, and his evangelical smile. He was on the papal throne for only 34 days, his being one of the shortest pontificates in history.

In the course of the years, many theories surfaced around his sudden and unexpected death, including alleged conspiracies, which appeared in books and in the cinema. However, a documented investigation of his death has been signed by Stefania Falasca, Vice-Postulator of his process of Beatification, entitled Cronaca di Una Morte [Chronicle of a Death], which closes the case definitively.

Translation by Virginia M. Forrester