The rain falls this morning on the few thousand faithful who have come to Saint Peter’s Square to see a pope beatify another. Francis officially declared, on Sunday September 4, John Paul I “blessed”. During the homily, the pope paid homage to his predecessor who reigned thirty-three days.
“Following the example of Jesus, he was a meek and humble pastor”, Francis explained, encouraging those listening to follow ” really “ Jesus, not by adopting a “perfect religious appearance” for “seeking personal prestige” or by being satisfied “of a faith in rose water” but in “carrying the cross” in order to “to take on one’s burdens and those of others”.
“The new blessed lived like this: in the joy of the Gospel, without compromise, loving until the end, continued Francois. He embodied the poverty of the disciple, who is not only to detach himself from material goods, but above all to overcome the temptation to put his self at the center and seek his glory. »
For Francis, John Paul IerPatriarch of Venice elected in 1978 for one of the shortest pontificates in contemporary history, embodied “a Church with a happy face”. the “smiling pope, as John Paul II’s predecessor was nicknamed, succeeded in transmitting the goodness of the Lord”. “He considered himself the dust on which God had deigned to write”, commented Francois.
The praise of a Church “that never closes the doors”
But above all, Francis relied on the figure of the brand new Blessed to praise his vision of the Church. A church “who never closes doors, hardens hearts, complains or harbors resentment,” he listed. Before continuing: the Church should only be “neither angry nor intolerant”, not “display a scowl, nor suffer from nostalgia for the past”.
Francis finally urged believers to “to purify distorted ideas about God and closures, to love him and others, in the Church and in society, even those who do not think of it as we do, even enemies”.
A “gentle” and “quiet” man
Among the faithful who put on the colorful rain capes characteristic of rainy Roman celebrations, many Italians had made the trip, especially from Veneto, the region of origin of John Paul I. Cristiana Constantini, who came from Venice with her husband, Maurizio, remembers very well the “Pope Luciani”, as everyone calls it here today. And for good reason: it was the brand new beatified who presided over the mass of his own confirmation, almost fifty years ago. “I remember that he came to my parish every year, he exchanged with us”, says this Venetian who came with a group from the region, cap on her head and yellow scarf around her neck.
She keeps the image of a man from him ” soft “,” calm “, who took the time to get to know those he met. On the day of Cardinal Luciani’s election, she and her husband were in the mountains, at a formation session for Catholics in the diocese. “Seeing him appear on the balcony, on television, we couldn’t believe our eyes”, she remembers.
Rino Pezzato, 77, also came from Venice. “By duty”he says today, also referring to this “humble pope” that he had seen when he was 10 years old. “He cared about people” he said. This overwhelmingly Italian audience was joined by a few foreigners, such as this group of nuns from the Congregation of Our Lady of Consolation in Rome for a month-long training session. “I must say that I don’t know John Paul I very well, admits one of them, Sister Ana Madueño, 37 years old. He was undoubtedly the first to embody what had been wanted at the Second Vatican Council, to embody change. »
Residing in Barcelona, this Spanish nun is still leafing through the magazine devoted to the newly beatified, placed on the chairs of the square. “When I see him in the photos, like that, he strikes me as a comfortable, good man, far from a form of rigidity with which one can sometimes associate the popes…”