Roman Catholic Saint, Pope. Educated at Bergamo and the Seminario Romano (called the Apollinare), Rome, Italy, he was ordained a Catholic priest in 1904. While secretary to the bishop of Bergamo (1904 to 1914) he wrote scholarly works, among them a life of Saint Charles Borromeo. He was elected Pope on October 28, 1958, succeeding Pope Pius XII. As Pope, he put reforms into practice - he laid stress on his own pastoral duties as well as those of other bishops and the lesser clergy; he was active in promoting social reforms for workers, the poor, orphans, and the outcast; he advanced cooperation with other religions (among his innumerable visitors were many Protestant leaders, the head of the Greek Orthodox Church, the archbishop of Canterbury, and a Shinto high priest). He excommunicated Cuban communist leader Fidel Castro on January 3, 1962 in line with a 1949 decree by Pope Pius XII forbidding Catholics from supporting communist governments. The convening of the Vatican II Council on October 11, 1962 was the high point of his papacy. On November 27, 1962, he suffered a massive intestinal hemorrhage. The Vatican press office issued a report that he had a bad cold; rumors flew around Rome that he was already dead. But he rallied, and he survived another six months. United States President Lyndon Johnson posthumously awarded him the Presidential Medal of Freedom on December 6, 1963. Pope John XXIII was Beatified on September 3, 2000 by Pope John Paul II and was canonized on April 27, 2014 by Pope Francis.
Bio by: MC