How Paul VI influenced one young man who now leads his home diocese

IMAGE: CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Brescia

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — His voice, his outstretched hands,
his boarding an airplane to meet the world — those are some of the most striking things about
Blessed Paul VI that moved and inspired a young man discerning the priesthood.

“I still remember his voice when we would hear him
on television,” Bishop
Pierantonio Tremolada of Brescia told Catholic News Service by telephone
Oct. 8.

“It was such a unique voice, very heartfelt,
authoritative, the voice of a good man,” said the 62-year-old bishop who grew
up and was ordained in Milan — the archdiocese Pope Paul led before he was
elected pope in 1963. Once again crossing the pope’s path, Bishop Tremolada has
— since 2017 — been leading the Diocese of Brescia where the pope was born.

The bishop will be among those concelebrating Mass and
attending the canonization
of Blessed Paul and six other men and women in Rome Oct. 14. More than
5,000 Catholics from Brescia signed up to travel with the bishop for the

The saint-to-be is a particularly suited example for
young people, Bishop Tremolada said from his office in Brescia, because he
exemplified a youthful optimism, hope, curiosity and openness to the world and the

“He offers us an example with his esteem, his love
for the world,” the bishop said. That love was especially evident at the
Second Vatican Council and in its pastoral constitution, “Gaudium et Spes”
(Joy and Hope), revealing a church eager to engage with everyone and share the
good news.

The document “explains Paul VI’s approach very well
— not to run away, not be defensive, but wanting to know and dialogue with the
world, offering it the Gospel for the good of the world,” the bishop said.

This desire to contribute and speak sincerely with others
“is very much in line with young people,” he said.

pope’s love for the world was rooted in Christ, “being in communion with
him, the conviction he is the savior,” which is still “very
timely” today in reaching out and responding to young people, he said.

When asked what it was about the pope that struck or
impressed him most as a young person growing up, Bishop Tremolada said it was
his voice and the way he spoke “with words that were not his, but were
important” and aimed at everyone.

“It was a voice that proposed, not imposed, meek but
authoritative,” he said.

He said, “What also struck me very much were the images
of him getting on an airplane,” something that had never been seen before
— not only because he was the first pope to use an airplane in 1964, but he was the first pope since
1812 to venture outside

“And his hands. The way he reached out toward
people” is another image that still remains with him, he said.

“Now as a bishop, the things I would like to emulate
about him are his ability to dialogue,” his ability to “read”
and understand the world, his great humility and the reserved, inner strength
that inspired him
to offer “the gift of the Gospel,” he said.

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