There came a man (1958)

This is the first letter that La Pira wrote to Pope John immediately on his election. La Pira had known Cardinal Roncalli for some time and had visited him frequently when the latter was Patriarch of Venice.

La Pira had a lot of confidence in the Pope based on the sensitivity he had manifested especially regarding the Eastern Churches. To those who remarked that the man just elected was an elderly cardinal who would be a caretaker Pope, he would reply  “… wait and see – this is a man who will change the world and the Church!”.

Already here, he wrote …. In that broad, affectionate and salutary sign of the cross there was all your hope and all your programme, most blessed Father – a hope and a programme also seen in the name you took on – John XXIII.

Hope and programme expressed in two names – unity and peace both for the Church and for nations

We said it right away in Florence – the taking of this name is like a glance of infinite charity on the “extension” of the Church, from West to East, members united and members separated from the sole Body of Christ

Not only, but it was also like a glance of infinite charity on the entire body – still unfortunately split – of peoples and nations!

… It is undoubtedly this – a great hope has sprung in our hearts, a hope as big as a rainbow that stretches from one part of the world to the other.

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