To celebrate the canonization of Pope John XXIII, Loyola Press offers resources on his life and contributions to the Catholic Church.
Noted for his openness and simplicity, John XXIII (1881–1963) was one of the best-loved popes of recent times. He was elected pope at the age of 76. He said that as a pope he was “a priest, a father, a shepherd.” Pope John XXIII’s pastoral work sincerely identified him with the people, for he visited both prisons and hospitals. He said his goal in calling the Second Vatican Council was to “let some fresh air in.” Since the world had witnessed a great deal of change in the 20th century, Pope John XXIII felt it was necessary for the Church to change to better address the needs of the world.