Author: Shirley Aaron

Mystery Solved? How Pope John Paul 1 Truly Died

Mystery Solved? How Pope John Paul 1 Truly Died

Pope John Paul l

Mystery Solved? How Pope John Paul I Died

A new book about Pope Luciani presents historical data that contradict popular conspiracy theories.

Classified documents and testimonies regarding the circumstances of the death of Pope John Paul I—who led the Catholic Church for only 33 days—was published November 7, in the book Pope Luciani: Chronicle of a Death (Papa Luciani: Cronaca di una morte, Piemme, 252 pages), written by journalist Stefania Falasca. The prologue was penned by Pope Francis’ secretary of state, Cardinal Pietro Parolin.

The book—written in Italian—shares part of the results of the investigation carried out by Falasca, who is also the vice postulator of the cause of beatification of John Paul I, born Albino Luciani.

The text draws on secret files from the Holy See and the medical report regarding one of the mysteries of the Catholic Church that has inspired great speculation: the death of the pope at age 66, barely a month after being elected the 263rd Successor of Peter.

“The research, which has now been compiled in this book, focuses on the last hours of the life” of Pope John Paul I, and is based on “the available documentation and evidence … carried out in accordance with historical-critical criteria,” wrote Cardinal Parolin.

An unexpected death

Among other documents, the book cites the report drawn up by Renato Buzzonetti, the doctor who ran to the bedside of the deceased pope. The night before (7:00 p.m.), Luciani had suffered chest pains for about five minutes, but this didn’t cause great alarm.

Angelo Gugel, the pope’s butler, confirmed that the Holy Father felt ill that night while praying with his secretary, John Magee. However, Magee recounts that the pope didn’t want anyone to worry. Consequently, he didn’t call a doctor, and as a result, he wasn’t given any medicine.

Countless pages have been written about the mysterious death of the “Smiling Pope,” as he was called, who was found lifeless in his bed shortly after dawn the following morning (5:15 a.m.) on September 29, 1978, by Sister Vicenza Taffarel and Sister Margherita Marin.

The nuns who served the pope are documented as having said that Pope Luciani hadn’t been living overwhelmed with anxiety—contrary to what some people have written—after being elected to the See of Peter. He prayed, worked, and smiled, and didn’t follow any special diet or receive any special care for health reasons.


Writers and journalists have delighted in presenting hypothetical connections between the story of the shortest papacy in history and the Italian Mafia and the Vatican Bank. Hollywood also made its speculative contribution in The Godfather 3 (Coppola, 1990).


“His sudden and unexpected death” has given life, in the following decades, “to a great number of theories, suspicions, and suppositions. He died too soon and too suddenly,” admitted the Vatican Secretary of State in the prologue.

Thus, the cardinal presented Falasca’s work as putting an end to inferences based on a lack of information, on exaggeration, and on distorted “film noir”-style reconstructions of the events that took place that night and the morning of September 29, 1978.

“Nor should we forget the value of the pages of the book’s introduction, before entering into the discussion of the last hours of Albino Luciani’s life; in them, the figure of the pope is briefly but effectively outlined. It is a useful guide for those who are interested in learning new details about the death of Pope Luciani, and for those who know little of his life and teachings,” Cardinal Parolin commented.

On the path to Beatification

Albino Luciani was born in Belluno, near Venice, in northern Italy. The diocesan stage of his cause for beatification, which began in 2003 with nearly 200 testimonies, is now in the hands of Rome. That is to say, the documents are being studied by the Vatican Congregation for Saints’ Causes so they can be verified. If they are approved, he can be declared blessed.

On November 7, the cardinals and bishops of the commission convoked by the Vatican dicastery to evaluate Luciani’s “heroic virtues”; they could then send the decree to Pope Francis to be signed in the coming days.

The beatification will have to await the due course of approval of the two processes that are examining presumed miracles through the intercession of the “Smiling Pope.”

Cardinal Parolin remembers fondly when Albino Luciani, the Patriarch of Venice, became John Paul I. “The cardinals, certainly, didn’t elect him based on political strategies, but rather, strictly according to ecclesial criteria.”

Secretary of State Parolin highlighted the humility and simplicity of John Paul I, and his personality as a bishop who was a “good shepherd.”


Amidst the collection of evidence in the process of beatification and canonization, there is the eyewitness account of Sister Margherita Marin, 77 years old, who served the pope and who found him dead that morning. “He was in bed with a slight smile,” she said.

Falasca interviewed the nun, who had served in the papal apartments; the journalist shared her revelations in the Italian newspaper Avvenire (Nov. 4, 2017).

It was 5:15 a.m., and as every other morning, Sister Vicenza (the older of the two nuns who served the pope) “had left a cup of coffee for the Holy Father in the sacristy right outside the pope’s apartment, in front of the chapel. The Holy Father, leaving his room, used to drink the coffee in the sacristy before going into the chapel to pray.”

However, “that morning, the coffee was still there. After about 10 minutes, Sister Vincenza said, ‘He hasn’t come out yet? Why not?’ I was there in the hallway. So, I saw that she knocked once; she knocked again, there was no reply … Still silence. Then, she opened the door, and then she went in. I was there, and I stayed outside while she went in. I heard her say, ‘Your Holiness, you shouldn’t pull these jokes on me.’” Sister Vicenza had heart problems as well.

“Then, she called me as she came out, shocked; then I went in quickly with her, and I saw him. The Holy Father was in his bed, the reading light over the headboard still on. He had his two pillows under his back, which propped him up a bit; his legs were stretched out, his arms were on top of the sheet, in pyjamas, and in his hands, resting on his chest, he was holding a few typewritten sheets. His head was slightly turned to the right, with a slight smile. His glasses were on his nose, his eyes partially closed … he looked just as if he were sleeping. I touched his hands, and they were cold; I looked, and was struck by the fact that his fingernails were slightly dark.”


Everything Was In Its Place

There was nothing to suggest that someone had disturbed the peace of his bedroom. Hopefully, the eyewitness details in this well-documented book will finally put equally to rest the rumors and conspiracy theories surrounding the death of Albino Luciani, Pope John Paul I.


Mass Is For The Eucharist Not Pictures – Pope Francis

Mass Is For The Eucharist Not Pictures – Pope Francis

Mass is for the Eucharist not Pictures…Pope Francis

Wednesday a fiery Pope Francis chastised those who spend Mass talking to others, looking at their phone or even taking pictures during papal liturgies, saying these are distractions that take focus away from the “heart of the Church,” which is the Eucharist.

“The Mass is not a show: it is to go to meet the passion and resurrection of the Lord,” the Pope said Nov. 8. “The Lord is here with us, present. Many times we go there, we look at things and chat among ourselves while the priest celebrates the Eucharist… But it is the Lord!”

In particular, Francis condemned the use of cell phones to take photos at papal Masses. At one point during the Mass the priest says, “we lift up our hearts,” he said. “He does not say, ‘We lift up our phones to take photographs!’”

“It’s a bad thing! And I tell you that it gives me so much sadness when I celebrate here in the Piazza or Basilica and I see so many raised cellphones, not just of the faithful, even of some priests and even bishops.”

“But think: when you go to Mass, the Lord is there! And you’re distracted. (But) it is the Lord!”

During the general audience, Pope Francis said the Eucharist would be the new focus of his weekly catechesis for the year, because “it is fundamental for us Christians to understand well the value and meaning of the Holy Mass to live more and more fully our relationship with God.”

In the Eucharist we rediscover, through our senses, what is essential, he said. Just as the Apostle Thomas asked to see and touch the wounds of Jesus after his resurrection, we need the same thing: “to see him and touch him to be able to recognize him.”

In this way, the Sacraments meet this very “human need” of ours, he said. And in the Eucharist, in particular, we find a privileged way to meet God and his love.

The Second Vatican Council was inspired by the desire to help Christians understand the beauty of the encounter in the Eucharist even better, he continued. This is why “it was necessary first to implement, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, an adequate renewal of the liturgy.”

A central theme emphasized at Vatican II was the liturgical formation of the faithful, which Francis said is also the aim of the series of catechesis he began today: to help people “grow in the knowledge of this great gift God has given us in the Eucharist.”

As a side note, Francis asked if people had noticed the chaotic way children make the sign of cross at Mass, moving their hand all over their chest, and asked people to teach children to make the sign of the cross well.

“We need to teach children to do the sign of the cross well,” he said, noting that this is how Mass begins, because just as Mass begins this way, “so life begins, so the day begins.”

Concluding his reflection on the Mass and the Eucharist, Pope Francis said that he hopes that through these brief weekly lessons everyone will rediscover the beauty “hidden in the Eucharistic celebration, and which, when revealed, gives a full meaning to the life of everyone.”

St. Padre Pio’s Mystical Encounters With The Souls In Purgatory

St. Padre Pio’s Mystical Encounters With The Souls In Purgatory

Padre Pio giving a piece of candy to his grand Nephew


St. Padre Pio’s Mystical Encounters With Souls From Purgatory.

“I know when you pray for me, and it is the same with all of the other souls here in Purgatory. Very few of us here get any prayers; the majority of us are totally abandoned, with no thought or prayers offered for us from those on earth” (Message from a soul in Purgatory).


St Padre Pio’s visions of the souls in Purgatory

In May, 1922, the stigmatized Franciscan Friar who bled daily for fifty years- St Padre Pio testified the following to the Bishop of Melfi, His Excellency Alberto Costa and also the superior of the friary, Padre Lorenzo of San Marco along with 5 other friars. One of the five friars, Fra Alberto D’ Apolito of San Giovanni Rotondo wrote down the account as follows:

“While in the friary on a winter afternoon after a heavy snowfall, he was sitting by the fireplace one evening in the guest room, absorbed in prayer, when an old man, wearing an old-fashioned cloak still worn by southern Italian peasants at the time, sat down beside him. Concerning this man Pio states: ‘I could not imagine how he could have entered the friary at this time of night since all the doors are locked. I questioned him: ‘Who are you? What do you want?’

The old man told him, “Padre Pio, I am Pietro Di Mauro, son of Nicola, nicknamed Precoco.” He went on to say, “I died in this friary on the 18th of September, 1908, in cell number 4, when it was still a poorhouse. One night, while in bed, I fell asleep with a lighted cigar, which ignited the mattress and I died, suffocated and burned. I am still in Purgatory. I need a holy Mass in order to be freed. God permitted that I come and ask you for help.”

According to Padre Pio: “After listening to him, I replied, ‘Rest assured that tomorrow I will celebrate Mass for your liberation.’ I arose and accompanied him to the door of the friary, so that he could leave. I did not realize at that moment that the door was closed and locked: I opened it and bade him farewell The moon lit up the square, covered with snow. When I no longer saw him in front of me, I was taken by a sense of fear, and I closed the door, reentered the guest room, and felt faint.”

A few days later, Padre Pio also told the story to Padre Paolino, and the two decided to go to the town hall, where they looked at the vital statistics for the year I908 and found that on September 18 of that year, one Pietro Di Mauro had in fact died of burns and asphyxiation in Room Number 4 at the friary, then used as a home for the homeless.

Around the same time, Padre Pio told Fra Alberto of another apparition of a soul from Purgatory which also occurred around the same time. He said:

One evening, when I was absorbed in prayer in the choir of the little church I was shaken and disturbed by the sound of footsteps, and candles and flower vases being moved on the main altar. Thinking that someone must be there, I called out, “Who is it?”

No one answered. Returning to prayer, I was again disturbed by the same noises. In fact, this time I had the impression that one of the candles, which was in front of the statue of Our Lady of Grace, had fallen. Wanting to see what was happening on the altar, I stood up, went close to the grate and saw, in the shadow of the light of the Tabernacle lamp, a young confrere doing some cleaning. I yelled out, “What are you doing in the dark?” The little friar answered, “I am cleaning.”

“You clean in the dark?” I asked. “Who are you?”

The little friar said, ‘I am a Capuchin novice, who spends his time of Purgatory here. I am in need of prayers.’ and then he disappeared,”

Padre Pio stated that he immediately began praying for him as requested, and it is not known if he had any further dealings with this particular soul. However, in regards souls in Purgatory it is very interesting to note that later in life Padre Pio once said that ‘As many souls of the dead come up this road [to the monastery] as that of the souls of the living.” Without a doubt, many souls from Purgatory visited Padre Pio seeking his prayers, sacrifices and sufferings to obtain their release.


What then should you do?

Join the Purgatorian Society in your parish.

Pray the De Profundis daily.

Our Lady recommended 5 Credo, 1 Pater, 1 Ave, 1 Salve (Hail Holy Queen), 1 Gloria & 1 Requiem (Eternal Rest Grant unto them O Lord…), daily, anything that it will release many souls.

Book Masses for them.

Gain indulgencies specially for them between November 1-8 by visiting the cemetery daily to pray for them and fulfill the conditions for indulgences.

Visitors From Purgatory: Do The Suffering Souls Visit The Chuch Militant On Earth?

Visitors From Purgatory: Do The Suffering Souls Visit The Chuch Militant On Earth?

Visitors From Purgatory: Do The Suffering Souls Visit The Church Militant On Earth?

​Nestled in Rome just outside the Vatican, a small unassuming museum dedicated to the souls in Purgatory displays simple items such as prayer books and clothing.

Nothing too unusual, until you realize that each allegedly show the marks of the deceased – such as inexplicably burned fingerprints – when they appeared to loved ones asking for prayers from Purgatory.

The Museum of the Souls in Purgatory is located inside of the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in Prati, near Castel Sant’Angelo, and contains around 15 of these testimonies and artifacts, collected from around Europe by a French priest Victor Jouët.

In many of the cases, it is held that the marks were left as proof that the deceased had really appeared, asking for prayers or for Masses to be said for their souls.

One artifact in the museum is the fingerprint of Sr. Mary of St. Luigi Gonzaga, left on a pillowcase when she appeared to Sr. Margherita of the Sacred Heart on the night after she died in 1894.

The appearance was recorded in the archives of the monastery of St. Clare of the Child Jesus in Bastia, Italy. According to the records, Sr. Mary told Sr. Margherita that she was in Purgatory as expiation of her lack of patience in accepting God’s will.

Another is the prayer-book of Maria Zaganti which shows three fingerprints left by her deceased friend Palmira Rastelli on March 5, 1871. The sister of the parish priest, she asked appeared to her friend to ask for Masses to be said by her brother Fr. Sante Rastelli.

A mark of fiery fingerprints were also left on the German prayer-book of George Schitz by his brother Joseph on Dec. 21, 1838. He asked for prayer in expiation of his lack of piety during his life.

The Museum of the Souls in Purgatory was created by Fr. Victor Jouët in 1897. A Missionary of the Sacred Heart, Fr. Jouët founded in Rome the Association of the Sacred Heart of the Suffrage of the Souls of Purgatory. The chapel the Association used from 1896-1914 was located at the place where the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus is now.

In 1897 the chapel caught on fire. When Fr. Jouët rushed into the chapel, he saw the image of a human face, looking sad and melancholy, impressed upon the wall behind the altar. He believed it to be from the soul of a deceased man trying to contact those on earth.

After this occurrence, the priest decided to create a museum dedicated to the artifacts of other appearances of souls in Purgatory. He travelled around Europe and Italy collecting the items and testimonies.

Each piece in the museum was collected by Fr. Jouët from the same person who experienced the vision. The image of the man from the chapel can also be found there.

While he travelled around, Fr. Jouët also asked for money to build a church on the site of the chapel, which he had received a message to build in a dream.

Other artifacts in the museum include the print of a hand and a cross left on a the wooden table of Venerable Clara Isabel Fornari, abbess of the Poor Clares of the Monastery of St. Francis in Todi, Italy, by the deceased Fr. Panzini, on Nov. 1, 1731.

There is also a copy of an Italian 10 lira banknote, one of 30 notes left at the Monastery of St. Leonardo in Montefalco by a deceased priest between Aug. 18 and Nov. 9, 1919.

Catholic teaching on the afterlife is that there are three places for a soul to go after death: Heaven, Hell, or Purgatory.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, those who go to Heaven are “(t)hose who die in God’s grace and friendship and are perfectly purified live for ever with Christ.”

Those souls that go to Hell are those who have freely chosen through mortal sin “exclusion from communion with God and the blessed.”

Purgatory is a place where the souls go who die in friendship with God but are still imperfectly purified. Purgatory is where “after death they undergo purification, so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joy of heaven.” These souls are ensured eventual entrance into Heaven, once they are purified.

The Church teaches that souls in Purgatory rely on the prayers of souls still on Earth to relieve some of their temporal suffering and speed their journey to Heaven. In return, the souls in Purgatory can also pray for those on earth.


This article was originally published on CNA Nov. 4, 2016.

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