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The speech of a lifetime: John XXIII's words dedicated to the Moon

2014-04-24

The night of October 11, 1962, thousands of people made it to St. Peter's Square to celebrate the beginning of the Second Vatican Council.

When Pope John XXIII saw the excited crowd, he improvised the most famous speech of his pontificate.

My dear children, I hear your voices. Mine is just one, but it sums up the world's. Here, the entire world is represented. I should say that even the moon has come out here tonight, to witness this amazing moment.

GIOVANNI MARIA VIAN
Director, L'Osservatore Romano
"And he added: 'Even the Moon showed up to greet us! When you go back to your homes, be tender to your children, to the elderly, to all people suffering...and say it's the Pope's tenderness.' I remembered it perfectly: I was at St. Peter's Square that evening!”

ALEXANDRA VON TEUFFENBACH
Writer of "Johanes XXIII. Begegnen”
"He was so close and familiar when he said it...Something never seen before. He was so sincere, it seemed that his words came from deep within his heart. It was very moving.”

The so called 'Moonlight Speech' was one of the most accurate portraits of John XXIII, who soon after being elected became 'the Good Pope.'

ALEXANDRA VON TEUFFENBACH
Writer of "Johanes XXIII. Begegnen”
"His ways were really easy-going. He always had a welcoming smile, even when he met with journalists... This way of being made him 'good' to the eyes of the world.”

GIOVANNI MARIA VIAN
Director, L'Osservatore Romano
"I can also recall when he passed away, in St. Peter's Square, he just looked like a patriarch. He passed away the way it happened years ago, surrounded by family members. And for John XXIII his family was his life.”

History will remember him as the Pope who kicked off the Second Vatican Council. An initiative that guided the Catholic Church, years before the social revolutions of the 60's and 70's.


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