Albino Luciani: the pope who spoke to Pinocchio [and Mark Twain, and Benjamin Franklin, and Voltaire, and......]
This day twenty-five years ago, Albino Luciani, a joyous holy hard-working priest who became a joyous holy hard-working bishop, and who never saw himself as anything other than normal and ordinary, was elected pope, and named himself Gianpaolo, John Paul, after his two totally awesome predecessors.
He only got to stay with us as pope 33 days.
But before he was called, we all got a glinpse at the works, previously known only to the people of Venice and Vittorio Veneto, that would be his legacy to us: the letters he wrote to people living, deceased, and even fictional, then placed in the postal box called the diocesan newspaper.
Do remember him this day, and then, if you can, go to the public library or your favorite used book store and find a book called "Illustrissimi" ["Most Illustrious Ones"], and let this humble man's little letters lead you to the heights and depths of the love of God.