Roman Phase of John Paul I's Cause Is Open

VATICAN CITY, JAN. 7, 2007 ( The Roman phase of the cause for canonization of Pope John Paul I has opened.

The diocesan investigation into the cause ended on Nov. 10 and the Roman phase began last Wednesday.

Officials have expressed hope that this stage will progress quickly, taking into account that a cure attributed to John Paul I's intercession is being studied. If the cure is deemed miraculous, then the path to beatification would be open.

Albino Luciani, the future Pope, was born in Canale d'Agordo in 1912. He died in Vatican City on Sept. 28, 1978, after a 33-day pontificate. He was the patriarch of Venice before being elected Pope.


John Paul I's Cause Goes to Rome

Diocesan Phase of Process for Beatification Ends

BELLUNO, Italy, NOV. 12, 2006 ( The diocesan phase of the cause of beatification and canonization of the Pope John Paul I has ended, and the case has been sent to the Vatican.

The cause opened in Belluno three years ago with the first session of the tribunal, presided over at the time by Bishop Vincenzo Savio. The diocesan phase ended Friday in the cathedral of Belluno.

Albino Luciani, the future Pope, was born on Oct. 17, 1912, in that diocese. He was elected Bishop of Rome on Aug. 26, 1978, and chose the name John Paul I. He died 33 days later.

The tribunal's last session was presided over by Bishop Giuseppe Andrich, the current head of the diocese.

The history of the process was summarized and its phases read out. Then, all the documentation examined by the tribunal was closed and sealed before being sent to the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes, which now oversees the cause.

In the newspaper Avvenire the postulator of the cause, Father Enrico Dal Covolo, described the key characteristic of Pope John Paul I as "the figure of the Good Shepherd who gives his life, without holding anything back, for the flock entrusted to him."

Fed the flock

The newspaper recently reported Father Dal Covolo's words about John Paul I: "I see embodied in him the famous maxim of St. Augustine: 'It is a duty of love to feed the flock of Christ.'"

For the beatification of the Servant of God, a miracle is necessary, attributed to his intercession -- and there already is "a case of cure" which might have such characteristics, said the postulator. The evaluation of the miracle would take place only after the Vatican Congregation for Saints' Causes proclaims the heroic virtues of Albino Luciani.

The case that the postulator mentioned occurred in Puglia, in southern Italy. A man reportedly was cured of a tumor, without any possible scientific explanation, after praying to God for this grace through the intercession of the deceased Pontiff.

On Friday, after the closing of the diocesan phase of the cause, holy cards were distributed at the entrance of the Belluno cathedral with the prayer that the local bishop composed to obtain Albino Luciani's beatification.

The holy cards have a small relic from the clothing of Pope John Paul I.

This is the prayer for his beatification:

"O Lord,
Be always near me. Rest your hand on my head,
but make me also hold my head under your hand.

"Take me as I am, with my defects, with my sins,
but transform me as you will and as I also desire."

"With these words your Servant Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul II, prayed to you.

"His desire for holiness was heard: he became your generous and faithful disciple,
and you willed that he be your Shepherd and Vicar for the universal Church.

"He had the grace to be an exemplary communicator to give us, in simplicity and joy, what is true, beautiful and good,

"Make me aspire to what you desire, also in the particular graces I ask for:

"Following the example of the Servant of God, make me communicate intensely with you and with my neighbor to receive and to give, with humility and simplicity, the light and love that radiate from You. Amen."

+ Giuseppe Andrich
Bishop of Belluno-Feltre