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The Calendar which begins on page 15 of the Book of Alternative Services indicates that June 4 is set aside for the commemoration of John XXIII, Bishop of Rome who died of incurable cancer in June, 1963.

He is known as the Reformer Pope who was elected in 1958 at the age of 73 to be a caretaker Pope. As a caretaker he set in motion a number of changes that swept away accumulated cobwebs in the Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church. Under his guidance new steps were taken to open the doors to Christian Unity. In 1962 he called together the second Vatican Council for the purpose of bringing the Church into the modern world. Some of his time during his final months on earth was given to encouraging American and Soviet leaders to broaden the nuclear disarmament talks initiated during the Cuban Missile Crisis. Such diplomacy was reminiscent of his careful work during World War II in helping Jews escape from Nazi control, and in bringing food supplies to starving Greeks.

Anglicans especially remember John XXIII for his dedication to promoting ecumenism.

Bible Reading: John 17: 9b-11, 14-19