Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was born to sharecroppers at Sotto il Monte in Italy. His vocation evident, he entered the seminary at nearby Bergamo as a child and studied theology extensively. In 1904 he was ordained to the priesthood. By 1925 he was nominated Archbishop of Areopolis, thereafter held several diplomatic positions and became the first Permanent Observer of the Holy See at UNESCO. In 1953, he became Cardinal-Patriarch of Venice and expected to spend his remaining years there in pastoral work.
But in 1958 he was elected Pope. As Pope John, he promoted both reunion with separated Christians and world peace. Exceeding expectations, he convoked an ecumenical council, known as Vatican Council II, and appointed the Pontifical Commission for the Revision of the Code.
Despite the enormity of his contributions to the Church, the depiction reflects the simplicity of his life. His stole bears the symbols of his devotional life. Bl. John XXIII blesses us with holiness and warmth from his beatitude in heaven.
(This narrative is printed on the back of Note Cards. A copy is included with each plaque, print and photo.)
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