Bergamo, Italy: Institute of Pope Saint John XXIII
About Pope John XXIII:
Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the fourth in a family of 13 children born to to Giovanni Battista and Marianna Giulia Roncalli, a family of sharecroppers in Sotto il Monte, Italy.
As an Archbishop and Papal Nuncio in neutral Turkey during World War II, he helped many Jews to escape Nazi persecution by issuing “transit visas” from the apostolic delegation and coordinating rescue plans with other ambassadors.
Elected Pope in 1958, he took the name John XXIII. At age 76, he was the oldest pope to be elected in more than 200 years. One of the most recent Popes is Pope John XXIII, also known as the “good pope John”.
He is perhaps best known for convening the first session of the Second Vatican Council (October 11, 1962 – 8 December 8, 1965), which set in motion major changes in the church regarding its structure, liturgy and relations with other Christians and other religions. He would not live to see the completion of the council, dying of cancer on June 3, 1963.
About Bergamo and the home of Saint Pope John XXIII:
A visit to the home where he lived and took his vacations is worth a day in Italy. Located near the town of his birth and about 30 miles Northeast of Milan, it offers a glimpse into the life of this Pope.
Located about two miles from Bergamo is the tiny hamlet of Torre Baldone where you will find the farmhouse used by Pope John XXIII for vacations. The future pope was born in this area in 1881, the fourth of 13 children.
There is a museum here with many artifacts from his Papacy on display here. In addition, there are thousands of ex-votos pinned to the walls here. There is also a chapel here, dating from the 15th Century, that was dedicated to the Blessed Mother and where the Pope would go to pray.
He was canonized on April 28, 2014 by Pope Francis. His Feast Day is October 11. An interesting note: While normally we celebrate a feast day on the date of death, in this case his feast day is October 11th, the date that the Second Vatican Council was called in to order.
Traveling to Bergamo:
This is not included in most Italy pilgrimages that we have found, but is well worth the visit if you are traveling independently. The nearest airport is Milan (about 50 miles away). If traveling by train from Milan be aware there is more than one train station in Milan, so check to be sure that you will be catching a direct train that will take you to Bergamo station in less than an hour. From there it is a short cab ride. We recommend that you contact them in advance of your arrival.
Address: Via Colombera, 5, 24039 Sotto il Monte Giovanni XXIII BG
GPS coordinates: 45° 42′ 21.6720” N, 9° 29′ 39.3360” E
Click here for the official website of the home of Pope John XXIII