Pope John XXIII: The Man Who Loved All People - The Seminary

"Young Pope John XXIII", Seminary Student, CNN, Fair Use.

Living at the strict seminary was exactly what Angelo needed.  He studied harder and became genuinely interested in his studies. By the time he graduated, his grades were so high that he was one of seven students chosen to attend Apollinaire Seminary in Rome, where only the most promising students went. Rome was an old city and home to the Vatican, the world headquarters of the Catholic church. Just living there was exciting for a boy who never expected to travel far from his village.  By the time he reached Rome, he had become fully committed to becoming a priest, as he felt a calling to help people.

All seminary students were required to spend one year in the Italian army.  Angelo loved it – as he was used to physical work and primitive living conditions. Here he made many lifelong friends.

On August 10, 1904, Angelo Roncalli was ordained to the priesthood and the next day celebrated his first Mass. Angelo was now called Father Roncalli, or Don Angelo (“Don” is a title of respect in Italy).  It was Don Angelo’s ambition to become a country priest – to spend his life among people just like the ones from his village.  Shortly after he finished his doctorate in Rome, he was indeed sent to his home territory as the assistant to the new bishop there.  Together they visited all 352 parishes in their territory.  They also traveled outside of Italy on church business, visiting France, Austria, Palestine, and Germany.

Don Angelo also taught classes to seminary students, but when World War I broke out, most of his students left to join the army.  Don Angelo himself became an army chaplain in 1915, and had medical training so he could help out at the makeshift hospital.  He was given the rank of sergeant.  He was 34 years old at the time.

Original Release: Sep 19, 2016

Updated Last Revision: Sep 10, 2016

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