Saturday, 8 August 2009

Feastday of St. John Vianney


St. John Vianney

“Love for your neighbour consists of three things: To desire the greater good of everyone; to do what good we can when we can; to bear, excuse and hide others' faults'” (St. John Vianney)
The Curé of Ars.

The feastday of St. John Vianney in the Traditional Calendar is August 8th, so here is some info about the patron saint of Parish Priests.

John Mary Vianney was born on May 8, 1786, in a tiny village, Dardily, 3 miles north of Lyons. His parents were small farmers. He was the third of six children. The family was known to be kind to beggars. In fact, sixteen years before his birth, St Benedict Joseph Labre, known as beggar saint, had visited the family and left them his blessing.

To be a priest, to win many souls, were the thoughts shaping in John Mary's mind as he turned seventeen. His mother was overjoyed, but it took another two years for his father to be brought around.

In spite of his poor marks, John Mary was finally accepted because of his holiness. He would rise from bed at around one in the morning, then make his way with a lighted candle to the church where people would already be waiting for him. He would kneel at the foot of the altar and pray, then enter the confessional and hear confessions without a break until the hour for Mass. After Mass, he would again sit in the confessional until eleven. Then he would give his catechism lesson for about forty-five minutes. In order to recite his breviary, he would frequently tell his penitent to remain quietly at the confessional while he said the office, this being the only way to find time for it.

A young priest wrote to him: "Monsieur le Cure, a man with as little theology as yourself ought never to enter a confessional." The Cure of Ars replied: "My very dear and respected colleague, how right I am to love you. You alone really know me. As you are good and charitable enough to deign to take interest in my poor soul, help me to obtain the favour for which I have been asking for so long, so that I may be moved from a post I am unworthy to fill because of my ignorance and retire into obscurity to atone for my wretched life."

Visitors began appearing at Ars in large numbers, some out of curiosity, but most of them in order to make their confession and received Holy Communion from his hands.

Worn out by his labours and austerities, he grew weaker. He kept fainting in the confessional. His voice in the pulpit became very feeble. At one o'clock in the morning on July 30, 1859, he called for the Cure of Jassons and humbly made his confession. He received Holy Viaticum at three in the afternoon. He wept. "It is sad to receive the Lord for the last time," he said. "How good God is! When we cannot go and see him, he comes to us."

He was beatified on January 8, 1905, by Pius X and canonized on May 31, 1925, by Pius XI. In 1929, Pius XI declared him patron Saint of parish Priests all over the world. His incorrupt body now reposes in the new basilica at Ars in a glass coffin.

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