Presentation on theme: "St John Vianney. Patron of Priests St John Mary Baptist Vianney was canonised in 1925 by Pope Pius XI who four years later also made him the principal."— Presentation transcript:
Patron of Priests St John Mary Baptist Vianney was canonised in 1925 by Pope Pius XI who four years later also made him the principal patron saint of parish priests. This was in recognition of the outstanding holiness of the French parish priest who, until his death on 4th August 1859, had served for 40 years in the small town in France and who even in his own lifetime was regarded by many as a saint.
St John was born in Dardilly, near Lyons, on 8th May 1786 and grew up on his father’s farm. From childhood he was conscious of a vocation to the priesthood but it was not until he was 20 that he was allowed to leave his work at the family home to study at a presbytery school in the nearby village of Ecully. In 1809 he was conscripted into Napoleon’s army but deserted the following year as he was about to be deployed to Spain. An amnesty for defaulters declared by the Emperor in 1810 enabled him to return home a free man.
St John returned to his studies but he struggled with Latin and some academic subjects. His tutors saw, however, that his keen grasp of moral theology was deeply informed by his own exemplary life of virtue and austerity, with one describing him as “the most unlearned but the most devout of seminarians in Lyon”. He was accepted for the priesthood and was ordained in August 1815, some two months after the Battle of Waterloo.
In 1817 he took up his post in Ars-en- Dombes, then a village of just 230 people. There, he exhorted the villagers to abandon their lives of petty vice and religious indifference and to seek holiness instead. He also opened parochial missions, a school and a shelter for orphans and abandoned children.
St John’s reputation for holiness spread and pilgrims to meet him from all over France so he could hear their confessions. Between 1830 and 1845 there was an average of 300 visitors a day, with the saint spending 11 or 12 hours in the confessional during the winter months and up to 16 hours a day in summer. In the final year of his life 100,000 pilgrims visited him.
St John was invested with immeasurable spiritual gifts, including healing, prophesy, and an ability to “read souls” whereby he exhibited a supernatural understanding of people’s lives and circumstances without having previously met them. When he received the final sacraments of the Church, at the age of 73, he was joined by no less than 20 priests. A total of 300 priests and 6,000 faithful attended his funeral. His feast day is celebrated on August 8th.
He died on Aug. 4, 1859, at the age of 73 and was canonized in 1925. Pope Pius X proposed St. John Vianney as a model for parish priests in 1929. When his body was exhumed in 1904 as part of the process of canonization it was found to be incorrupt, meaning that his remains did not show signs of typical decay despite not being artificially preserved. His body rests above the altar at the basilica in the village in which he was a Priest.
His heart is enclosed in a gold reliquary that is normally kept in a separate building called the Shrine of the Curé’s Heart.
The relic of St John Vianney visited our diocese at the beginning of July it travelled to various Churches in the Diocese and also to the Metropolitan Cathedral in Liverpool. Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, said that he hoped the presence of the relic would present a “moment of grace” for the Diocese of Shrewsbury.
To celebrate the relic of St John being in our Diocese, Bishop Mark is giving every student in all the Catholic schools in our Diocese a bookmark asking us to pray for vocations to the priesthood. During your time of reflection in Academic Review you are invited to pray the following prayer together: Loving Father, give us priests today who share in the same work as Jesus the Good Shepherd, so that they like St John Vianney, may show us the way to heaven and life with you forever. Amen St John Plessington Pray for us