John Paul I on path to sainthood

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Pope Francis perceived that Pope John Paul I, who served just 33 days as pope, experienced the Christian virtues in a heroic way.

The Vatican reported Pope Francis decision Nov. 9. It marks the first major step on the path to sainthood for the pope who died in 1978 at the age of 65 years old, astonishing the world and a congregation that had quite recently grieved the passing of Blessed Paul VI.

Pope Francis would need to recognize a miracle attributed to the late pope’s intercession in order for him to be beatified, the next step toward sainthood. A second miracle would be needed for canonization.

Stefania Falasca, vice postulator of Pope John Paul’s sainthood cause, said one “presumed extraordinary healing” had just been examined by a diocese and a second possibility is being studied, but the Vatican does not begin its investigations until a sainthood candidate is declared venerable.

Despite the fact that his was one of the shortest papacies ever, Pope John Paul left an enduring impact on the congregation that affectionately hat fondly remembers him as “the smiling pope.”

The surprise of his death after just over a month in office released a floodgate of rumors and conspiracy theories, running the gamut from murder to guilty neglect. The Vatican doctor insisted then, as the Vatican continues to insist, that Pope John Paul died of a heart attack.

His papal motto, “Humilitas” (“Humility”) not only emphasized a Christian virtue but also reflected his down-to-earth personality and humble beginnings.

Albino Luciani was born in the modest Italian mountain town of Canale D’Agordo on October. 17, 1912, the future pope and his three siblings lived in poverty and sometimes went to bed hungry.