3: Saints of Mercy: Pope St. John XXIII (Pt. 2)

When Adolf Eichmann attempted to start deporting Slovenian Jews again, Roncalli intervened. The deportations stopped, Barlas wrote to the bishop, “Solely as a result of your intervention and that of the Holy See.”

The most striking case of Bishop Roncalli and Pope Pius intervening was in Hungary. With 750,000 Jews in Hungary, it had the largest Jewish community outside of German control. That ended when Germany invaded in March 1944, and the Nazis began issuing anti-Jewish decrees and beginning deportations.

Working on explicit verbal directives from Pius XII, and with the collaboration of the British government, Roncalli had the Church issue tens of thousands of immigration certificates and transit visas for Palestine.

Meanwhile, the region of Transnistria, in Romania, had become a penal colony for deported Jews. When it was made known to Roncalli that Jews were being moved westward from Transnistria to the death camps, Pius XII intervened to save them.

Alexandru Șafran, chief rabbi of Romania, joined Barlas and others in thanking the man who would one day be pope:

In these harsh times, our thoughts turn more than ever with respect and gratitude for what has been accomplished by the Vatican on behalf of the Jews in general, and of your Excellency Bishop Roncalli on behalf of the Jews of Romania and Transnistria. In this most difficult hour of which the Jews of Romania have passed through, the assistance of the Holy See, carried out by the intermediacy of your high person, was decisive and salutary. It is not easy to find right words to express the warmth and consolation we received because of your concern and that of the Supreme Pontiff for the sufferings which had been pointed out to him by you after your visit to Transnistria. The Jews of Romania will forever be grateful to you and will never forget these facts of historical importance.

From: Catholic Word Report

Pope St. John XXIII saw a people in misery, in danger. He saw the Image of the Lord being disfigured with every blow, every gunshot, every starving child. He exercised the ministry of mercy by responding with prayer faith and action. St. John XXIII, apostle of mercy, pray for us!

PRAYER: Almighty and eternal God, who in the Pope, Blessed John XXIII, gave to the whole world the shining example of a good shepherd, grant that, through his intercession, we may with joy spread abroad the fullness of Christian charity. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.