Vatican City, Jul 5, 2018 / 10:50 am America/Denver (CNA).
Most mayors do not live in unheated monastic cells, deliver candy from Orthodox patriarchs to the pope, or become ambassadors for international peace.
Giorgio La Pira was not like most mayors.
The cause for sainthood for Giorgio La Pira, the “holy mayor” of Florence, was moved forward on July 5 as Pope Francis authorized the decrees of “heroic virtue” for the Italian politician, along with three other “Servants of God.”
Pope Francis met with Cardinal Angelo Amato, the prefect for the Congregation for the Causes of Saints on Thursday, and approved Giorgio La Pira (1904 - 1977), Carlo Acutis (1991 - 2006), Pietro Di Vitale (1916 - 1940), and Alessia González-Barros y González (1971 - 1985) to each bear the title of “Venerable.”
As the mayor of Florence from 1951 to 1965, La Pira’s influence extended well beyond his municipality. He made several official trips behind the Iron Curtain to Russia, China and Vietnam during the Cold War to promote peace and human rights, which were virtually unheard of among Western politicians. Before traveling to Moscow, La Pira visited Fatima and wrote to cloistered religious orders asking for their prayers for his journey.