Re-visit John XXIII: Academic meeting in Bologna

From 31 May to 3 June and with the presence of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation, the International Conference ”Revisitare Giovanni XXIII”, a meeting organized by the University of Bologna and the Foundation for the Religious Science John XXIII, took place.

The conference , in which participated philosophers, historians and scholars from all over the world, had as objective the commemoration of the life and work of whom is known as the ”Good Pope”.

His baptismal name was Angelo Giussepe Roncalli. He had been born in Bergamo, Italy, on 25 November 1881. He passed away during his pontiff, on 4 June 1963.

On the 40th anniversary of his death, history remembers him as one of the most renewing and powerful Popes, especially in the field of the interconfessional dialogue.

In the year 2000 the Wallenberg Foundation, created by the Argentine Baruch Tenembaum, who leads the interfaith dialogue in Latin America, decided to initiate the activities of the Angelo Roncalli International Committee. The ceremony, organized by the president of the Pontific Council ”Justice and Peace”, Archbishop Renato Martino, took place at the Legation of the Holy See to the UN. Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Vatican Secretary of State, who attended the inaugural ceremony, approved the initiative with enthusiasm.

As Apostolic Delegate of the Vatican to Istanbul, Monsignor Roncalli saved the lives of thousands of Jews and other persecuted by Nazism.

Mr. Tenembaum had the honor of closing the conference by reading his presentation named ”The Hebrew world and Roncalli”.

Professor Alberto Melloni, of the University of Bologna and a renowned specialist on the life and deeds of the former Pope, opened the meeting with his conference ”Roncalli’s soul”. With the closure of the encounter he received from Tenembaum the Roncalli’s Commemorative Medal, a work of art specially coined by request of the IRWF and similar to the one received by Maria Nicoletta Gaida, President of the Dionysia Center, in October 2002 during the celebration of the ceremony ”Nostra Aetate”.

Among the many activities carried out to remember Angelo Roncalli it is worth mentioning the issue of a commemorative postal card launched by the Argentine Postal Service following an idea of the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation and the Roncalli Committee.