September 2022 date set for beatification of John Paul I

Pope John Paul I walks at the Vatican in 1978. Pope Francis will beatify the late pontiff Sept. 4, 2022, at the Vatican. (CNS file photo/L’Osservatore Romano)

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Pope Francis will beatify Pope John Paul I Sept. 4, 2022, at the Vatican, according to Stefania Falasca, a journalist and vice postulator of the late pope’s sainthood cause.

In October, Pope Francis had signed a decree recognizing a miracle attributed to the intercession of Pope John Paul I, clearing the way for his beatification. At the time, a date for the ceremony was not announced.

Writing Dec. 23 in Avvenire, the daily newspaper owned by the Italian bishops’ conference, Falasca said the date had been set.

Pope John Paul I, an Italian who was born Albino Luciani, served only 33 days as pontiff; he died in the papal apartments Sept. 28, 1978, three weeks shy of his 66th birthday, shocking the world and a church that had just mourned the death of St. Paul VI.

The miracle approved in his cause involved a young girl in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who developed a severe case of acute encephalitis, experienced uncontrollable and life-threatening brain seizures, and eventually entered septic shock.

After doctors told family members her death was “imminent,” the local priest encouraged the family, nurses and others to pray to the late pope for his intercession, according to the website of the Congregation for Saints’ Causes. A panel of experts studying the cause determined there was no scientific explanation for her complete recovery in 2011 and that it could be attributed to the late pope’s intercession.

Although his was one of the shortest papacies in history, Pope John Paul I left a lasting impression on the church that fondly remembers him as “the smiling pope.”

Born in the small Italian mountain town of Canale D’Agordo Oct. 17, 1912, the future pope and his two brothers and one sister lived in poverty and sometimes went to bed hungry.

He was ordained a priest in 1935 and was appointed bishop of Vittorio Veneto in December 1958 by St. John XXIII. More than 10 years later, he was named patriarch of Venice by St. Paul VI and was created a cardinal in 1973.

His surprise election, after St. Paul VI’s death, did not sway him from continuing his humble manner of living, such as rejecting the use of the traditional papal tiara and calling his first Mass as pope the “inauguration” of his papal ministry rather than a coronation.