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Pope Francis: Bl John XXIII a shepherd and a father

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis received pilgrims from the diocese of Bergamo on Monday evening, who had come to mark the fiftieth anniversary of the passing of one of their most illustrious sons: the now Blessed Pope John XXIII.Pope Francis remembered his predecessor as a pastor and a father, whose whole life was lived under the sign and in the key of obedience and peace – words that would eventually become his episcopal motto. “In fact,” said Pope Francis, “Pope John conveyed peace because he had a mind deeply at peace, the fruit of a long and challenging work on himself, an effort that has left abundant traces in [his autobiography], Journal of a Soul.” Listen: RealAudioMP3

The Holy Father said, “There we can see the seminarian, the priest, the bishop Roncalli struggling with the path to the gradual purification of the heart. We see him, day by day, careful to recognize and mortify the desires that come from his own selfishness, careful to discern the inspirations of the Lord.” Pope Francis went on to say that If peace was the outward hallmark, obedience constituted for [Pope John] the inner disposition: obedience, in fact, was the instrument with which to achieve peace. Pope Francis concluded with a prayer that his Blessed predecessor might continue to accompany the Church of Bergamo and all the Christian faithful from heaven.