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Rome Reports

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Vatican foundation promotes better understanding of “the smiling pope”

Aside from his brief pontificate, there's one characteristic of Albino Luciani that conquered the world: his smile.

He was 65 years old when he was elected pope, and he was the first one not to wear the papal crown. With his teachings and catecheses, always full of anecdotes, he opened new paths within the Church.

“I answered, 'Could it be? I find it strange that a blind woman could lead me.' She grabbed me by the hand and quietly said, 'Walk!' She was Faith.”

Those who knew him before he became the Patriarch of Venice felt his “holiness,” which is why the process for his beatification was opened.

John Paul II declared him a Servant of God. In 2017 Pope Francis officially recognized that he lived out the Christian virtues in a heroic way. This year, he established a Vatican foundation to study his life, message and works.

President of John Paul I Vatican Foundation
“The foundation's ultimate objective is to really show the world the figure whose pontificate passed like lightning, but who made a strong impact that can greatly benefit humanity today.”

The foundation is led by Secretary of State Card. Pietro Parolin, who is also from the Veneto region, like Pope Luciani.

He says one of the institution's first tasks is an arduous one, but that it will make the last Italian pope's life more well-known. That task is preparing the publication of his complete works.

President of John Paul I Vatican Foundation
“It's the part dedicated to studying the documents and thoughts of Pope John Paul. We're off to a good start. This is a good sign to keep moving forward.”

John Paul I used wisdom and creativity to communicate the faith. His life was also marked by gratitude. He even chose to combine into one the names of his two predecessors, who influenced his life and energized his brief, 33-day pontificate.

Daniel Díaz Vizzi

Translation: CT