Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, Pope John XXIII, was born on November 25, 1881 in Bergamo, Itali. As a young priest, he served as a hospital orderly during World War I, a military chaplain, a papal diplomat in Bulgaria, Turkey, Greece, and in France during World War II. He was the cardinal archbishop of Venice and finally the pope who convened Vatican Council II 48 years ago. He died on June 3, 1963 and was beatified in 2000 by Pope John Paul.
At the homily given at Pope John’s beatification, Pope John Paul shared these words in his homily:
Today we contemplate in the glory of the Lord another Pontiff, John XXIII, the Pope who impressed the world with the friendliness of his manner which radiated the remarkable goodness of his soul. Everyone remembers the image of Pope John's smiling face and two outstretched arms embracing the whole world. How many people were won over by his simplicity of heart, combined with a broad experience of people and things! The breath of newness he brought certainly did not concern doctrine, but rather the way to explain it; his style of speaking and acting was new, as was his friendly approach to ordinary people and to the powerful of the world. It was in this spirit that he called the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, thereby turning a new page in the Church's history: Christians heard themselves called to proclaim the Gospel with renewed courage and greater attentiveness to the "signs" of the times. The Council was a truly prophetic insight of this elderly Pontiff who, even amid many difficulties, opened a season of hope for Christians and for humanity.