Pope John Paul I becomes a Blessed: “His smile transmitted the Lord's goodness”

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Alibno Luciani, better known as Pope John Paul I was the last Italian pope to date. Which is why not even the rain could stop thousands from coming to St. Peter's, particularly from Venice, where he was patriarch, to witness his beatification. 

Renato Marangoni, the bishop of John Paul I's hometown, was in charge of opening the rite of beatification. 

Most Blessed Father, I bishop of Belluno-Feltre, humbly ask your Holiness to enroll the Venerable Servant of God Pope John Paul I, among the ranks of the Blesseds.

The postulator of his cause for beatification, Cardinal Beniamino Stella, then read the biography of the humble pope that came from a working-class family in northern Italy. Then came the moment in which Pope Francis formally declared him a blessed. 

By our apostolic authority we grant that the Venerable Servant of God Pope John Paul I, be henceforth called Blessed, and that he be celebrated every year according to the established rules, on the 26th of August. In the name of the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.

That's when, once again, the face of a 20th century pope was shown before thousands on an immense tapestry hung on the facade of St. Peter's Basilica. 

In his homily, Pope Francis said that John Paul I's infectious joy is what God asks of Christians and the Church. 

With a smile, Pope Luciani was able to convey the goodness of the Lord. A Church with a glad face, a smiling face, is beautiful. A Church that never closes its doors, that does not sour hearts, that does not complain, that does not harbor resentment, that is not angry. A Church that is not angry.

Joy is the legacy left behind by John Paul I, known as the “smiling pope.” It only took him the 33 days of pontificate to transmit the simple and disarming message of love that still resonates today.

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