St. Peters

Vatican II:
Celebrating 50 years

October 11 - October 17

October 11, 1962. The grand day had finally arrived. 2778 participants. They advanced in hierarchical order: 7 Patriarchs, 80 Cardinals, 1619 Archbishops and Bishops, 975 Superior Generals of religious orders, 400 theologians. Accompanied by Lutherans, Anglicans, Quakers, Methodists. 79 nations were represented. And even two observers from Moscow. More than 1200 journalists were accredited. It is the first reunion since centuries of schisms. St. Peter's Basilica had never hosted anything comparable and yet it seemed made to order to welcome this immense humanity that had remained invisible to this same church for centuries. Gaudet Mater Ecclesia, “Mother Church rejoices,” Pope John XXIII intones as he welcomed all in.

Opening Speech to the Second Vatican Council

Mother Church rejoices that, by the singular gift of Divine Providence, the longed-for day has finally dawned when —under the auspices of the Virgin Mother of God, whose maternal dignity is commemorated on this feast — the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council is being solemnly opened here beside St. Peter’s tomb.

The councils — both the 20 ecumenical ones and the numberless others, also important, of a provincial or regional character which have been held down through the years — all prove clearly the vigor of the Catholic Church and are recorded as shining lights in her annals. Continue reading ...


Vatican II