Pope John Paul I, on September 28, 1978, the last day of his life, sent a letter to Msgr. Hugh Aufderbeck marking the occasion of the 700th anniversary of the building of the church of St. Serverus. It had recently been rebuilt and a celebration was to occur in a few weeks.
His words are fitting for any parish to consider, perhaps I would challenge, fitting to be displayed for public reviewal and pondering, for they speak eloquently of the purpose of a parish church.
His words, in part:
“These stones, therefore, speak of the faith and the devotion of our forefathers and they urge the faithful who are there now to preserve intact such sacred heritage and to make it effective in their lives. Furthermore, let those who frequent this holy place strive to be themselves ‘spiritual houses’ (cf. 1 Pet 2:5) in which God dwells by his grace, so that these words of Saint Augustine can be applied to them: ‘God…dwells in each one as in his temples, and in all gathered together, as in his temple’ (Ep. 187:13, 38; PL 33:84, 7).
As you are aware, Pope John Paul I is my favorite pope. What a refreshing breath of fresh air he was in August and September of the memorable year 1978, that saw the deaths of two popes and the election of two. God gifted me with being there in the middle of it all at the Vatican during those days.
Pray for us Papa Luciani.