MEMORIAL: OCTOBER 11
Born to a poor Italian family in 1881, Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the fourth of fourteen children. He was ordained a priest in 1904, and served as a priest secretary to Bishop Giacomo Radini-Tedeschi. He then served in the Italian army in WWI as a chaplain and attended to the wounded in the field of battle. When he returned from the war, he was made the Apostlic representative from the Vatican to Bulgaria, Greece, and Turkey respectively. During the time leading up to WWII, Roncalli saved thousands of Jews from the growing hate crimes against them and other minorities. He was also named the Archbishop of Mesembria and later Cardinal in 1953.
In 1958, Roncalli was elected as the successor to Pope Pius XII. He took the name of Pope John XXIII. A man of the people, Pope John XXIII reintroduced the idea of the Pope being among the sick, poor, and prisoners of Rome and worked for mercy and peace. He fought for the family by condemning contraception and divorce. Finally, possibly his most memorable action as Pope was the calling of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. He would die before it was completed, but the impact on the modern Church cannot be understated. He was the first Pope to be named the Time Magazine Man of the Year. Pope John XXIII died of stomach cancer in 1963. He was canonized in 2014 by Pope Francis.