Papa Luciani, on September 28, 1978, the day of his death, said this:
I must bear witness to his name: Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God…. he is the king of the new world; he is the secret of history; he is the key to our destiny.
He went on to say:
Among the rights of the faithful, one of the greatest is the right to receive God’s word in all its entirety and purity, with all its exigencies and power. A great challenge of our day is the full evangelization of all those who have been baptized…. Our message must be a clear proclamation of salvation in Jesus Christ. With Peter we must say to Christ in the presence of our people: “You have the words of eternal life.”
For us, evangelization involves an explicit teaching about the name of Jesus, his identity, his teaching, his Kingdom and his promises. And his chief promise is eternal life. Jesus truly has words that lead us to eternal life….. it is necessary for us to emphasize this element, in order to complete our message and to model our teaching on that of Jesus….. More than ever before, we must help our people to realize just how much they need Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Mary. He is their Savior, the key to their destiny and to the destiny of all humanity.
John Paul II clearly took up this challenge to a new evangelization of the world. The new evangelization began, it seems, the day Papa Luciani died, the day in which he called for this evangelization of the world in the name of Jesus Christ.
Another example of how John Paul II completed the papacy of John Paul I.
Papa Luciani, pray for us!