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Pope pays tribute 25 years after death of Paul VI

Honouring Pope Paul VI on yesterday's 25th anniversary of his death, Pope John Paul II celebrated a memorial Mass and dedicated much of his weekly general audience to the anniversary.

Pope Paul died on 6 August 1978, at the Castel Gandolfo papal summer residence south of Rome after serving as pontiff for 15 years. Marking the anniversary at Castel Gandolfo, Pope John Paul celebrated an early morning memorial Mass and met 3500 visitors who came for the general audience.

In remarks before the Mass in the chapel of the summer villa, Pope John Paul said the liturgy for the 6 August Feast of the Transfiguration includes a prayer that by receiving the Eucharist "we will be transformed into the image of Christ".

"Paul VI also made this prayer," the pope said. "And we ask this for him today so that, contemplating the face of his Lord, he will enjoy forever the vision of his glory."

At the audience, Pope John Paul spoke of the Angelus address Pope Paul had prepared for the public the day he died, an address he was unable to read.

Reflecting on the light the Gospel described as radiating from Jesus during the transfiguration, Pope Paul had written: "That light which flooded him is and will be part of our inheritance and splendor as well. We are called to share such glory because we are participants in the divine nature."

Pope John Paul said his predecessor knew that every gesture and choice he made each day must be part of "the great passage he was preparing for step by step" as his death approached.

At the audience, the present Holy Father also paid tribute to St. Pius X, who was elected pope 100 years ago this week, on 4 August 1903. More than 300 pilgrims from the Diocese of Treviso, St. Pius' home diocese, attended the audience to mark the anniversary.

Catholic News Service

At audience, frail Pope honor his predecessors (Catholic World News
Pope Paul VI (Vatican website)
World mourned pope's death 25 years ago this week (
Pope pays tribute to Pope Paul VI (27/6/03)
Pope Paul VI, 1963-1978 by Gerald Darring
Giovanni Battista Montini Pope (

7 Aug 2003