On Sunday 19 October, Pope Francis beatified Pope Paul VI in St Peter’s Square.
The beatification Mass came at the end of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family which concluded the previous evening.
In his homily Pope Francis reflected on the fact that it was Blessed Paul VI who established the Synod of Bishops: 'On this day of the Beatification of Pope Paul VI, I think of the words with which he established the Synod of Bishops: “by carefully surveying the signs of the times, we are making every effort to adapt ways and methods… to the growing needs of our time and the changing conditions of society” (Apostolic Letter Motu Proprio Apostolica Sollicitudo).'
He went on to say, ‘when we look to this great pope, this courageous Christian, this tireless apostle, we cannot but say in the sight of God a word as simple as it is heartfelt and important: thank you,’ drawing applause from the 30,000 strong-congregation on an uncharacteristically warm day for October in Rome.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI took part in the Mass in front of the façade of the basilica. He was named a Cardinal by Blessed Paul in 1977.
Among the congregation in the Square were seminarians from the Venerable English College including those from the diocese studying in Rome.
Blessed Pope Paul VI was born Giovanni Battista Montini in 1897. Before becoming Pope he was Archbishop of Milan from 1954 until he succeeded Pope St John XXIII after his death in 1963. He is known primarily for overseeing the final stages of the Second Vatican Council which he closed in 1965. He is noted for some key encyclicals, among them Humanae Vitae, Mysterium Fidei, Populorum Progressio, and Ecclesiam Suam. His famous apostolic exhortations included Evangelii Nuntiandi and Marialis Cultus, among others. He was greatly devoted to Our Lady and named Mary as the ‘Mother of the Church’ during the Second Vatican Council. He died in 1978 aged 80.
Photo Credits: Cover photo Mazur/Bishops Conference. Photo of seminarians: A Balzanella