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Did you know John Paul I was elected pope on Poland’s biggest feast day?

Pope John Paul I - Luciani

©MP/Portfolio/Leemage / AFP

Philip Kosloski - published on 08/26/22

John Paul I was elected the successor to St. Paul VI on August 26, the feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa, foreshadowing the election of his successor, St. John Paul II.
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St. Paul VI died on the feast of the Transfiguration, August 6, 1978. Shortly thereafter began a conclave to elect the next supreme pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church.

After the fourth ballot, Albino Luciani was elected pope on August 26, 1978, taking the name, Pope John Paul I.

August 26 is the annual feast of Our Lady of Częstochowa, arguably the biggest feast for Polish Catholics around the world.

What is interesting is that Pope John Paul I’s immediate successor, Karol Wojtyła, would be from Poland and would adopt the same name, John Paul.

St. John Paul II commented on this series of events in a homily he gave in 1979 while visiting Jasna Gora, the shrine of Our Lady of Czestochowa.

After the Lord called Pope Paul VI to himself on the solemnity of the Transfiguration last year, the Cardinals chose his Successor on August 26, the day on which Poland, and especially Jasna Gora, celebrates the solemnity of Our Lady of Czestochowa. The news of the election of the new Pope, John Paul I, was communicated to the faithful by the Bishop of Czestochowa in the course of the evening celebration.

Not only that, the day St. John Paul II was elected was the feast of St. Hedwig, a patron of Kraków, Poland, where John Paul II was archbishop.

What must I say, I, John Paul II, the first Polish pope in the history of the Church? I will tell you: on that October 16, the day on which the liturgical calendar of the Church in Poland recalls Saint Hedwig, I went back in thought to August 26, to the preceding Conclave and the election that took place on the Solemnity of Our Lady of Jasna Gora.

His response to this providential series of events was simply, “The call of a son of the Polish nation to the Chair of Peter involves an evident strong connection with this holy place, with this shrine of great hope: so many times I had whispered Totus tuus in prayer before this image.”

These events remind us all that God’s plan is not always evident at first, but can often be seen when looking back upon them.

PolandPope John Paul II
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