The Catechetical Review - Communicating Christ for a New Evangelization

John Paul I: The Smiling Pope’s Gospel of Joy

Authored by Fr. Peter Conley in Issue #32.3 of The Sower
Fr Peter Conley reminds us of the catechetical qualities of the Pope who had the shortest Pontificate in history. I feel sure John Paul I would have incorporated the title of pop singer Taja Seville’s hit, ‘Love is Contagious’, in one of his Addresses. After all, he did suggest that we should ‘inject others with a goodness imbued with meekness and love taught by Christ’.1 His successor, John Paul II, spoke of him unleashing a ‘torrent of love’2 during his brief reign. The ‘Smiling Pope’ or ‘God’s Candidate’ to use Cardinal Basil Hume’s phrase, implored his audience to ‘throw me a safety belt with your prayers’3 and in imitation of his humble master admitted that Christ’s Yoke of Papal Office was laid on ‘fragile shoulders’.4 He literally, had an astronomic impact. Consider the Vatican preface to the collection of his homilies and addresses: ‘John Paul I passed in the Church and in the world like a whirling comet which casts a jet of inextinguishable light, like a flash of hope that leaves hearts ablaze, like a marvellous rainbow charged with promise for a poor, weary, divided and restless humanity.’5 His teaching was communicated with a brilliantly gifted catechist’s amalgam of compressed style, humour, honesty and humility. Seasoned with topical references, often from popular culture, John Paul I spoke passionately using simple yet profoundly-crafted observations on life, the universe and everything. This was a man who likened life’s journey to God to Jules Verne’s adventure stories and had the creative imagination to write letters to Pinocchio, Charles Darwin and even St Romedio’s bear! In his book Illustrissimi (the illustrious ones), he numbered Tom Sawyer’s creator Mark Twain and Sir Walter Scott of Ivanhoe fame amongst his favourite authors.

The rest of this online article is available for current subscribers.

Start your subscription today!


This article is from The Sower and may be copied for catechetical purposes only. It may not be reprinted in another published work without the permission of Maryvale Institute. Contact sower@maryvale.ac.uk

Articles from the Most Recent Issue

Children's Catechesis: For Freedom Christ Has Set Us Free
By Mary Mirrione
Diego is eleven years old. For years he has received religious formation through the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd (CGS) in a carefully prepared environment for the religious life of children called an atrium. He is working with a material known as the “Unity and Vastness of the Kingdom of God,” a timeline that takes a long and essential view of... Read more
Catholic Schools: Catholic High School Liturgy: A “Faithful Presence Within”
By Fr. Stephen Reilly
As another Holy Day of obligation rolls by, the question arises once again about the wisdom and sustainability of current Mass provision in our Catholic schools in Scotland. In our Cathedral parish here in Motherwell, we have three Sunday Masses, but between us as clergy we normally celebrate eight Masses on Holy Days, mainly in school settings,... Read more
RCIA and Adult Faith Formation: Christian Initiation for Families: A Rescue Mission of Mercy
By Lori Smith
Having realized the growing need for a process of Christian Initiation for Families at our parish that serves unbaptized children of catechetical age and their parents , we have developed, implemented, and continue to fine-tune our rescue mission using a family approach for our mid-sized parish. One of the adjustments made is we now refer to the... Read more

Pages

Watch Tutorial Videos

We've put together several quick and easy tutorial videos to show you how to use this website.

Watch Now