ROME – Pope John Paul I, the “smiling pope” of 33 days, will have a foundation dedicated to his memory, the Vatican announced Tuesday, another sign of how much the late pontiff is a point of reference for his successor, Francis.

Called the “Vatican John Paul I Foundation,” the new entity was established by Pope Francis Feb. 10 and is tasked with “the promotion and dissemination of the thought, words and example of John Paul I,” according to an April 28 Vatican communique.

Headquartered in the Vatican’s Secretariat of State, the foundation has five tasks:

  • To protect and preserve the cultural and religious heritage of John Paul I.
  • To promote initiatives dedicated to him and his works such as conferences and seminars.
  • To publish their own studies and research on John Paul I, and those of third parties.
  • To establish awards and scholarships.
  • To be a point of reference, both in Italy and abroad, for those working in the same area.

Pope Francis named the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Italian Cardinal Pietro Parolin, as president of the foundation, and Italian journalist Stefania Falasca, who is vice-postulator of John Paul I’s sainthood cause, as vice president.

Other members include Cardinal Beniamino Stella, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Clergy; Monsignor Andrea Celli, director of the Legal Office of the Vicariate of Rome; Father Davide Fiocco, who oversees the Pope Luciani Center in Italy; the niece of John Paul I, Lina Petri; and Alfonso Cauteruccio, an official with the Synod of Bishops.

Born as Albino Luciani Oct. 17, 1912, in Italy’s northern Veneto region, Luciani was elected pope at the age of 65, taking the name Pope John Paul in order to honor both of his immediate predecessors, St. John XXIII and St. Paul VI.


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