December 19: Blessed Urban V
Blessed Urban's name before he became pope was William de Grimoard. He was born in France in 1310 and became a Benedictine monk. After being given many high positions, he became pope. At this time, the pope lived in a city called Avignon, in France. However, Urban made up his mind to go to Rome, because that is where the pope should live. The pope is the bishop of Rome, and Urban knew that his place was in Rome. There were many difficulties. The people in France objected to his going, but Urban did what he felt was right.
The people of Rome were overjoyed to have the pope back. They were especially joyful to have such a holy man as was Urban V. He set about at once to repair the great churches of Rome. He helped the poor, and encouraged the people to be fervent and devout again. Emperor Charles V showed great respect to the Holy Father. But Urban had a great many problems. For one thing, he was getting sicker and weaker all the time. Many of his cardinals kept urging him to go back to Avignon. So at last he gave in. As he prepared to leave Rome, the people of the city begged him to stay. He was very sad, but left anyway. About three months later, he died. It was in the year 1370.
It was not right for Urban to leave Rome, because as the bishop of Rome he belonged there. But aside from this weakness, he was a very holy and good man. He did much for the Church, for schools and universities, and for the people. He was called "a light of the world and a way of truth."
Sometimes we are faced with difficult decisions to make. At these times, let us pray for the light of Christ to guide us.