Within minutes after the Pope’s death Vatican Radio announced:
“It is with profound sorrow that we announce the death of our beloved Pope John XXIII. His Holiness, whose kindness and humility have won the admiration and affection of all mankind, died peacefully and serenely in his apartment in the Vatican apostolic palace at 7:49 p.m. this evening, the third of June 1963.
Pentecost, Monday, June 3, was a day which the church would never forget for it marked the day when one of the most beloved popes of all times died.
Never before had a pope’s final agony been followed so closely and with such deep and sincere sorrow, not only by Catholics but by men of every creed and circumstance on the face of the earth.
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation has been working relentlessly to honor Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli, and to spread his magnificent legacy.
Roncalli was a remarkable man who epitomized courage, passion for justice and a strong spirit of reform. His record as Pope John XXIII is well documented and widely known. In 1961, he commissioned the drafting of the revolutionary Decretum de Judaeis (“Decree on the Jews”) which served as a basis to Nostra Aetate (Our Age), a declaration of the relation of the Church with Non-Christian Religions, which was promulgated in 1965 by his successor, Pope Paul VI, after Roncalli’s death.
Many other anecdotes surrounding his Papacy clearly show his innermost feelings towards Jews. One of them relates to his famous statement: “I’m Joseph, your brother”, referring to his middle name “Giuseppe” (Joseph, in Italian), in clear Biblical allusion of what Joseph said to his brothers in Egypt.
Before his papacy he also demonstrated his unconditional love for the Jewish people and for the State of Israel. Back in the 1940′s, during the dark days of the Holocaust, Angelo Roncalli served as Apostolic Delegate in Istanbul and in this position he went out of his way to save as many Jews as possible. His door was always open to the Jewish Yishuv leaders involved in the rescue efforts, especially Haim Barlas, who documented the aid he got from Roncalli.
The International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation promoted the naming of streets, schools and a kindergarten after him, the erection of busts and monuments, the creation of educational programs and so forth.
Back in 2011, the International Raoul Wallenberg Foundation submitted a massive file (the Roncalli Dossier) to Yad Vashem, with a strong petition and recommendation to bestow upon him the title of Righteous among the Nations.
The foundation has some good news:
A few weeks ago we learned that the city of Ashdod was favorably considering the possibility of naming a street after him and we continue our campaign with other cities and have asked Minister Gilad Erdan to contemplate the possibility of a special stamp issue bearing Roncalli’s semblance.We are very happy that one of our first members, Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio (better known nowadays as Pope Francis), who has always been very supportive of our mission to keep alive the legacies of the rescuers, is likely to follow the same path set by Angelo Roncalli, fostering a brotherly dialog between Christian and Jews.Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was a remarkable human being – a role model to whom we all owe a debt of eternal gratitude.