Memories of John Paul I

Here are statements made by cardinals who were with Papa Luciani during the 1978 conclave which elected him pope and by an author who recorded another cardinal’s thought about the conclave (my translation).

“I had various opportunities to assist Cardinal Luciani during the conclave that elected him pope. He had a terrible cough during those days and I remember having to especially help him during the nights when he seemed to be without peace and couldn’t sleep. He impressed me as a holy man, a little delicate but very happy. I liked his simplicity. He was always smiling. It came from his simplicity. ‘Eminence (I asked Luciani), where is the bathroom?’ “I don’t know,’ said Luciani. ‘But in a little while you will be the master of this house,’ I said. ‘Are you a prophet?’ he said. After the election, John Paul I said,’You, Eminence, have been the prophet, but my pontificate will be brief.'” — Cardinal Jaime Sin, Manila, Phillipines

“We rose to our feet to applaud, but we couldn’t see him. He was crouched on his chair, making himself small, so small; he wanted to hide. What a shame we cannot recount what we saw, because it would have been much more beautiful than you can immagine.” — Cardinal Vicente Enrique y Taraconc√≥n of Madrid, Spain.

“Cardinal Jean Guyot, archbishop of Toulouse, who was next to Luciani during the conclave, retold with much emotion how Luciani had not yet recovered from a serious illness and it fatigued him just to clothe himself, and how the Patriarch of Venice would remove his shirt and he would have to help him put on the liturgical vestments.” — Jean Ch√©lini, from The Daily Life in the Vatican under John Paul II.

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Moderator: Deacon Bob Yerhot of the Diocese of Winona-Rochester, Minnesota.
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