Born in Italy on November 25, 1881, St. Pope John XXIII began his work within the Church when he was ordained a priest in 1904.
When World War I broke out, John was drafted into the Italian army before being discharged in 1919. After doing his duty, he returned to serve as president of an organization in the Church that is responsible for sharing the faith around the world.
When World War II struck, John devoted himself to saving Jewish refugees. Because of this work, he was nicknamed the “Righteous Gentile” after the war.
In 1958, John was elected pope. Under this new role, he visited people who were poor, sick, and imprisoned. Additionally, he called the Second Vatican Council, a worldwide gathering of bishops that opened the doors of the Church to engage with the modern world.
Pope John XXIII was a great advocate for peace and tried to negotiate peace between the former Soviet Union and America. Although unsuccessful, he was recognized as Time Magazine‘s “”Man of the Year”” — making him the first pope to be named in that way.
John died on June 3, 1963, and was canonized on April 27, 2017, by Pope Francis. His feast day is on October 11. He is the patron saint of papal delegates, Vatican II, and the Italian army.
Get to know this saint and pope through our Spotify playlist inspired by his life — featuring artists Aaron Strumpel and The Ballroom Thieves, and themes of refuge and peace.