St. John Vianney is offered as a model for today’s priests
March 7, 2019 (Louisville, KY) – A major relic of the saint who is held up as the ideal of what a Catholic priest should be, will visit the parish named in his honor in the Archdiocese of Louisville beginning he night of Sunday, March 10.
Due to schedule and travel constraints, the veneration of the incorrupt heart of France’s St. John Vianney will begin with a Mass offered by Archbishop Joseph Kurtz at 9 p.m. Sunday night at the Church of St. John Marie Vianney, 4839 Southside Drive, Louisville.
“I am delighted to welcome this relic of St. John Vianney. As we do so, I pray for the sanctity of all priests through his intercession,” said Archbishop Kurtz.
The relic will be available for veneration throughout the night until 4 p.m. on Monday, March 11. The saint’s heart will be contained in special casing, making it visible to the faithful,
A national relic pilgrimage was announced by Knights of Columbus Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in an Aug. 21 letter to K of C chaplains and members. The relic pilgrimage will run well into the spring and will include stops throughout the country.
The tour has been dubbed “Heart of a Priest,” which refers to the physical heart of John Vianney that has resisted decay for more than 150 years and to the good character that should belong to every priest.
Father Anthony Ngo, pastor of Saint John Vianney Parish said, “Since we heard of the visit, St. John Vianney Parish has been making nine-day novena to pray for this occasion. We pray for our Archbishop, our diocesan priests and all priests as we deal with our human failings and with turbulence in our world and Church today. There are so many good priests in our Archdiocese and our world who dedicate their lives to serve the people. Through the visit, we learn together, and we seek to be strengthened and not lose heart.”
“The possibility of a pilgrimage was offered to us by the Shrine at Ars some months ago,” Anderson said recently. “We now welcome as providential this opportunity to invoke the intercession of the patron saint of parish priests, whose holiness and integrity is a singular model for clergy.”
To learn more about the relic pilgrimage, visit kofc.org/vianney
About St. John Vianney
St. John Vianney popularly known as the Curé of Ars, is revered as a model of priestly generosity, purity and prayerfulness. Born in France in 1786, he grew up in a time of open hostility to the Church in the wake of the French Revolution when the faith was attacked, churches destroyed, and the clergy martyred. Assigned to lead the parish in the small farming community of Ars. Father Vianney excelled at both prayer and work.
He was famous for hearing confessions for up to 18 hours a day as people from across Europe and beyond came to see him. His notoriety throughout the Catholic world grew even after his death in 1859 and he continues to inspire a quest for holiness by both priests and the laity. His incorrupt heart — a major relic — normally resides at the shrine named for him in Ars.
In Catholic tradition, a relic is a physical object associated with a saint that may be offered to the faithful for veneration. Neither the relic nor the saint are to be worshipped, but are rather venerated as holy objects in recognition of the fact that God has worked through the saint. A major or first-class relic was part of the saint’s body as opposed to something that the saint touched or wore. The term “incorrupt” refers to a human body that has avoided the normal process of decomposition after death. It is a sign — but not a proof — of the person’s holiness, and is sometimes seen in Catholic saints and blesseds.