This Week in Christian History: Second Vatican, First Pilgrim Worship Service, Georgetown Founded

Pope John XXIII Announces the Second Vatican Council - January 25, 1959

Pope John XXIII, (1881-1963), the head of the Roman Catholic Church who called the Second Vatican Council. |

This week marks the anniversary of when Pope John XXIII announced that a church council that came to be called Second Vatican would take place.

Elected pope only a few months before, John XXIII's announcement was a surprise for many in and out of the Church, as it had been about a century since the last church council had been called.

"The council called between 2,000 and 2,500 bishops and thousands of observers, auditors, sisters, laymen and laywomen to four sessions at St. Peter's Basilica between 1962 and 1965," noted NPR in a 2012 story.

"Cultural changes in the aftermath of World War II spelled a need to reconsider church practices. These meetings did just that — 16 documents in total came out of it, laying a foundation for the church as we know it today."

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