Fifty years ago on October 11, 1962, the then-Pope John XXIII opened the Second Vatican Council, an ecumenical gathering of Catholic bishops, observers from a cross section of other Christian religions, and laity from around the globe. It was to be a gathering asking input on the lives and faith of Catholic Christians in order to update the Church.
It was a landmark experience for the Catholic Church in the 20th Century whose vibrations we are still feeling today! The following is an excerpt from the Opening Message to all gathered:
"Coming together in unity from every nation under the sun, we carry in our hearts the hardships, the bodily and mental distress, the sorrows, the longings, and hopes of all the peoples entrusted to us... Let our concern focus on those who are poor and weak - weighed down with hunger, misery, and lack of knowledge. We want to fix a steady gaze on those who still lack the opportune help to achieve a way of life worthy of human beings."