By Francis Agada and Delphine U. Isong

Pope Francis on Sunday 4th of September, 2022 at St. Peter’s Square beatifies Pope John Paul I, a Pope who briefly served and also known as smiling Pope, who distinguished himself with his humility and cheerfulness, and whose sudden death in his bedroom in 1978 shocked the world and fueled suspicions about his demise.

Albino Luciani; an Italian, took the name Pope ‘John Paul I’ when he became the Pope on 26 August 1978. In his short-lived papacy, which concluded with the discovery of his body in his bedroom in the Apostolic Palace.

When elected pontiff on Aug. 26, 1978, Luciani, 65, had been serving as patriarch of Venice, one of the church’s more prestigious positions. In that role as well as that previously as a bishop in northeastern Italy, Luciani sounded warnings against corruption, including in banking circles.

In his short-lived papacy, which concluded with the discovery of his body in his bedroom in the Apostolic Palace, John Paul I immediately established a simple, direct way of communicating with the faithful in the addresses he gave, a style change considered revolutionary considering the stuffiness of the environment of church hierarchy.

During the beatification, a large banner on St. Peter’s Basilica unveiled a portrait of Blessed Pope John Paul I as the Pope’s Postulator processed through the square with a relic – a handwritten note by the Blessed Pope on the theological Virtues.
Blessed Pope John Paul I presided over four general audiences as Pope offering catechesis on poverty, faith, hope and charity.
Pope John Paul I said “If you want to kiss Jesus crucified, “you cannot help bending over the Cross and letting yourself pricked by a few thorns of the crown on the Lord’s head. “(General Audience 27 September, 1978). A love that persevered to the end, thorns and all: no leaving things half done, no cutting corners, no fleeing difficulties”.
John Paul I was born in the 20th century, he was ordained a priest for the Italian diocese of Belluno e Feltre in 1935. He served as a rector of the diocese’s seminary for 10 years and taught courses on Moral Theology, Canon law and Sacred Art. He made history in 1978 when he became the first pope to take a double name after his two immediate predecessors Popes; John XXIII and Paul VI. His episcopal motto was ‘Humility “.
Before his death at age 65, John Paul I prayed “Lord take me as I am, with my defects, with my shortcomings ,but make me become what you want me to be”.

In describing Pope John Paul I, Pope Francis says he managed to communicate the goodness of the Lord with a smile and encouraged people to pray to the newly beatified churchman.

Last year, Pope Francis approved a miracle attributed to the intercession of John Paul I, that of the recovery of a critically ill 11-year- old girl in 2011 in Buenos Aires, the hometown of the current Pope.

“How beautiful is a church with a happy, serene and smiling face, that never closes doors, never hardens hearts, never complains or harbors resentments, isn’t angry, does not look dour or suffer nostalgia for the past,” said the Pope Francis