Salutations to one and all! How are you doing? Hope you are well. Oftentimes we as Catholic Christians will liturgically commemorate the life of a holy man, woman, or child on the day that he or she died. This makes sense from the perspective that we are celebrating their triumphant entry into eternal life. For example, we remember St. Catherine of Siena, one of the Doctors of the Church, on the day of her death on April 29th. That’s also true for St. Augustine of Hippo, another Doctor of the Church, on the day that he died on August 28th.
Every now and again the Church throws a proverbial curve ball and honors a saintly person on the day of his or her birth. That’s certainly the case for June 24th, September 8th, and December 25th for the traditional birth dates of John the Baptist, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and Our Savior Jesus Christ. At the same time a more recent example is the saint whose birthday and feast day we celebrate today.
Known by the nickname of “The Pilgrim Pope,” one would initially think that it is St. John Paul II since he was the most traveled Holy Father in Church history. We actually celebrate him on October 22nd, the date of his papal inauguration. The Pope that we remember today was born on September 26th, 1897 in the little village of Concesio in what is now Lombardy, Italy. He was given the name of Giovanni Battista Montini and grew up with two brothers. His parents were named Giorgio and Giuditta Alghisi Montini. They were a well-to-do family but also hard-working, faith-filled, and humble.
This solid foundation enabled the future Roman Pontiff to interact well with peoples of various backgrounds and religious beliefs throughout his ecclesial, that is to say vocational, career. This was the case when he became a priest on May 29th of 1920 and continued when he served in the Secretariat of State within the Vatican. His openness to conversation and working with all kinds of people continued when he was named the Archbishop of Milan in 1954 and after he was elevated to become a Cardinal in 1958 and became evident on a global scale when he was elected the 262nd Pope on June 21st of 1963.
He earned the nickname of “The Pilgrim Pope” because of his visit to the Holy Land in 1964 as well as his visits to India, Portugal, Turkey, Colombia, Switzerland, Uganda, and even New York City to visit the United Nations. You might have already deduced that this Holy Father was more commonly known as Pope Paul VI. He helped to conclude the Second Vatican Council, promoted world peace through social justice initiatives, affirmed the beauty and dignity of human sexuality within the 1968 encyclical
, and went to his eternal reward on August 6, 1978. With gratitude for his life’s witness we ask that St. Paul VI please pray for us!(Source of Biographical Info: