Some speeches stay in our minds, whether we read them in history books, actually witnessed them or watched them on grainy U-Tube videos. Lincoln’s address at Gettysburg. Kennedy’s inaugural. Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream.” Winston Churchill on any day of World II. You probably can name speeches you cherish. We all have our favorites.
There’s one speech I take out and read every year on Oct. 11. It was delivered by a man who had recently learned he had cancer, who knew he had as many enemies as friends around him, who must have wondered why the Holy Spirit had put into his head the audacious idea to spring an ecumenical council on the world.
Tomorrow is the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II. Here is Blessed John XXIII’s address to the bishops of the council but also to everyone in the world. It begins, “Mother Church rejoices….”
Blessed John XXIII, pray for us, your church.