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John XXIII and Marcellin

 

When Roncalli was Patriarch of Venice

 

The 29th of May 1955, Father Champagnat is proclaimed Blessed by Pius XII. All Marist Communities get ready for such a great event, but they want the school communities to share in their joy.

In Piove di Sacco, Johnthe Marist Brothers direct a parish school. It is a time to involve the whole church community and therefore they think of inviting the Patriarch of Venice, Cardinal AngeloRoncalli, to attendthe celebrations.

The director of the school, Bro. Bernaba Amici, goesto Venice. During the interview he is impressed by the affection and the kindness of the Prelate, but even more by his smile. The Brotherinterprets it a smile of tenderness towards his youth, while he is speaking about the new Blessed and his Congregation. The doubt was cleared upwhen the Brother gave the Cardinal the biography of Blessed Champagnat. He hears the Cardinal say: "Listen, that does not help me." Withan air of kindness the Cardinal takes him by the arm, leadshim to his bedroom and invites him to raise the pillow. With great surprise he sees a familiar book: Life of Venerable Marcellin Champagnat. The Cardinal adds: "Each night, before I sleep I read a few pages." He accepts with pleasure to preside at the celebrations, and to express his appreciation for theBrothers whom he had known in Greece.

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