Giovanni Montini was born in Italy and lived with his dad, mom, and two brothers. When he grew up he became a priest and was later named a cardinal. He was elected pope in 1963 and took the name Paul VI. He is known as the pilgrim pope because he was the first pope to travel to many countries, including the United States.
Renewal of the Church
Pope Paul VI guided the Church in a time of great renewal. He made sure that the meetings of Vatican II, started by Pope John XXIII, were continued. Bishops from 116 countries took part. He put into practice the changes called for by Vatican II, such as having Mass celebrated in the language of the people.
Call for Peace
In 1965 he became the first pope to speak before the United Nations and called for all countries to work for peace. In 1968 he launched the annual World Day of Peace, which still continues each January 1. Pope Paul VI declared “If you want peace, work for justice.” These words remind us that all of us are called to work for justice for other people. Share the good news. He urged people to share the good news of Jesus Christ with others.
In his document Proclaiming the Gospel, he said, “Above all the Gospel must be proclaimed by witness.” These words still are true today. We show others what it means to follow Jesus Christ by our actions and the way we live. Pope Paul VI will be declared a saint in October 2018.
What We Can Do
■ Talk about his life. Why is Pope Paul VI called “the pilgrim pope”? Where did he speak about peace? When do we observe the World Day of Peace? What do his words “If you want peace, work for justice” mean to us? How did he say that we teach others about
■ Make peace posters. Let the children create individual posters with the words, “If you want peace, work for justice.” Add “words of Pope Paul VI” to the poster, too. Encourage children to use colorful markers for the words and add a border to their poster. Invite the children to take the posters home to share with their families.
■ Reach out to refugees. Contact a local organization, such as Catholic Charities, that helps families get settled after fleeing violence. Collect small items from the organization’s wish list to furnish apartments for refugees (alarm clocks, dish towels, can openers, first aid supplies, and blankets).
God of all people, give us courage to stand up for what is right and to work for justice for all, as Pope Paul VI said. May we learn to reach out and share what we have with others. Send your Holy Spirit to guide us that we may be peacemakers in our world today.
Patricia Mathson, MRE, has years of experience as a director of religious education. She has authored many books, including 70 Church Year Lesson Starters for Kids from Twenty-Third Publications.
This article was originally published in Catechist, September 2018.
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