Collection: St. John XXIII

ARTIST: Br. Mickey McGrath, OSFS


I want to throw open the windows of the Church so that we can see out and the people can see in.
—Saint John XXIII

His feast day is October 11.

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Pope John XXIII was a very popular Pope who headed the Catholic Church from 1958 to 1963. Born as Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, he was elected as the pope at the age of 77 after eleven ballots. Because of his advanced age at the time of election, he was simply expected to be a caretaker pope. However, he ushered in a new era in the history of the Catholic Church by calling the historic Second Vatican Council. Even though he did not live to see it to completion, his efforts for initiating the council were much appreciated. Before becoming the pope he had served in various positions in the church including the papal nuncio in France, Bulgaria, and Greece. He embarked into a career in religion after completing his doctorate in theology. He had also served in the Royal Italian Army during the World War I as a sergeant. While serving as the Apostolic Delegate to Turkey and Greece, he used his position to help save thousands of Jewish refugees in Europe. He was the Apostolic Nuncio to France during the World War II and he made various efforts during the Holocaust to save Jewish refugees from the Nazis. He also wrote several encyclicals, the most important one being 'Pacem in Terris.'