An immense crowd of pilgrims, for the canonisation of Paul VI

St Peter’s Square was full for the canonisation ceremony, on Sunday 14: the crowd included 2500 from the diocese of Milan

paolo VI sacro monte varese floriano bodini

There was an immense crowd of pilgrims in St Peter’s Square, for the canonisation ceremony, which took place in the Vatican, on Sunday, 14 October; among them were 2500 who had come from the diocese of Milan, “captained” by the Archbishop, Monsignor Mario Delpini.

The people had come to the square to follow one of the blessed being declared saint this Sunday: Giovan Battista Montini, who the world knows as Pope Paul VI.

Together with the Pope of the Second Vatican Council, there was also Monsignor Oscar Romero, the Salvadoran bishop, who was killed in 1980 while celebrating mass.

Many inhabitants of Varese were in Rome for the canonisation of Paolo VI, which is heartfelt, because of the Pope’s closeness to the town, and because his personal assistant, Monsignor Pasquale Macchi, was from Varese, and, after the death of Giovan Battista Montini, was, for many years, the archpriest of Sacro Monte. The live pictures of the ceremony, which have been saved in the photo library, were taken by a pilgrim from Varese.


During the sermon, Pope Francis dedicated plenty of time to the Pope Saint.

“The Saint, Pope Paul VI wrote, ‘It’s in the heart of their anxieties that our contemporaries need to know joy, to hear his song,’ (Ap. Exhortation Gaudete in Domino, I). Today, Jesus invites us to return to the sources of joy, which are the encounter with Him, the courageous decision to take the risk to follow him, the pleasure of leaving something to embrace his example. The saints have walked this path. Paul VI did it, following the example of the Apostle from whom he took his name. As he devoted his life to Christ’s Gospel, crossing new borders and becoming his witness in the Annunciation and in dialogue, the prophet of an outgoing Church, which looks at those who are far off, and takes care of the poor. Even in exhaustion, surrounded by misunderstanding, Paul VI bore witness passionately to the beauty and the joy of following Jesus Christ totally. Today, he is still urging us, together with the Council that he wisely led, to live our calling: the universal calling to sainthood. Not to half measures, but to sainthood. It is wonderful that, with him and with all of the other saints today, there is Monsignor Romero, who left the safeties of the world, his own safety, to dedicate his life to the Gospel, close to the poor and to his people, with his heart attracted by Jesus and by his brothers. We can say the same about Francesco Spinelli, Vincenzo Romano, Maria Caterina Kasper, Nazaria Ignazia of Saint Teresa of Jesus, and Nunzio Sulprizio: the young, brave and humble saint, who met Jesus in the suffering, silence, and offering of himself. All of these saints, in different contexts, translated the Word of today with their lives, without being lukewarm, without expectations, but with the zeal of taking risks and letting go. Brothers and Sisters, may the Lord help us to copy their examples.”


“What a thrill.” This is how the President of Lombardy, Attilio Fontana, described the canonisation of Pope Paul VI and Francesco Spinelli, this morning, in St. Peter’s Square, in Rome. “This is a decision for which I’d like to thank Pope Francis, deeply, not formally. This is a gesture that demonstrates how carefully Pope Francis continues to look at those who effectively contributed to the life of the Church, also in particularly complicated historical times. As a man of the institutions, I remember it was Pope Montini who described politics as ‘the highest form of charity’. It was certainly a warning, but also an admonition to keep in mind what it is that must guide us when managing public affairs.”

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