VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis on Sunday beatified one of his predecessors, John Paul I, a briefly serving pontiff who distinguished himself with his humility and cheerfulness, and whose abrupt death in his bedroom in 1978 shocked the world and fueled suspicions for years about his demise.
The ceremony in St. Peter’s Square constituted the last formal step in the Vatican before possible sainthood for Albino Luciani, an Italian who died 33 days after being elected pontiff.
“With a smile, Pope John Paul managed to communicate the goodness of the Lord,” Francis said in his homily.
“How beautiful is a church with a happy, serene and smiling face, that never closes doors, never hardens hearts, never complains or harbors resentments, isn’t angry, does not look dour or suffer nostalgia for the past,″ the pontiff said.
Francis then encouraged people to pray to the newly beatified churchman to “obtain for us the smile