Remains of St John XXIII begin pilgrimage in his home diocese
Accompanied by Bishop Francesco Beschi of Bergamo and escorted by both Italian and Vatican police officers, the glass coffin containing the body of St John XXIII left the Vatican early on 24th May for a 370-mile drive to Bergamo.
The route taken for the trip north was kept secret for security reasons.
When the procession reached Bergamo’s central Vittorio Veneto Square, Bishop Beschi told thousands of people gathered there that it was “with great joy and emotion that I accompanied to our diocese, our city, the urn with the mortal remains – now relics – of John XXIII, which return for a few days to the land of his birth.”
St John, who opened the Second Vatican Council, was born on 25th November 1881, in Sotto il Monte, a town near Bergamo. After his ordination as a priest and years of service in the Vatican diplomatic corps, he was appointed patriarch of Venice in 1953. He was elected pope on 28th October 1958, and died five years later.
The pilgrimage with his remains was meant to mark the 60th anniversary of his election and the 55th anniversary of his death.
Picture: The coffin containing the body of St John XXIII is driven in procession after a ceremony in Vittorio Veneto Square in Bergamo, Italy, on 24th May. The body of the late pope left the Vatican early on 24th May to be displayed in his home region until 10th June. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).Tags: Bergamo, Italy, pilgrimage, St John, St John XXIII, Vatican