Surely tremendous graces have been obtained for the world.
Every few years a particularly notable relic travels throughout the United States, inviting the Catholic faithful to venerate and seek the saint’s intercession.
Relics of St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John Paul II, and St. Maria Goretti are some of the most recent of these “high profile” tours.
Over the last several months, thanks to the sponsorship of the Knights of Columbus, the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney toured the US. In the upcoming months, relics of St. (Padre) Pio of Pietrelcina will be available for veneration.
How to venerate a saint’s relic
The visit of St. John Vianney’s heart to the US was much needed and couldn’t have happened at a better time. Here are five reasons why.
1The heart becomes accessible
Not every Catholic has the means to jump on an airplane and visit all the wonderful “Catholic places” around the world. They might never go to Italy or France, but a relic tour allows devotees of saints to pay homage to someone they admire and love. Imagine all the people who spent time in silent prayer seeking the intercession of the saintly priest of Ars. Surely tremendous graces have been obtained for the world.
2To inspire and intercede
The Church in the United States is reeling from the sins of the hierarchy and the clergy. That is why the visit of St. John Vianney’s heart was needed more than ever. In this patron of priests, the lay faithful could be inspired by a priest who was selfless and heroic in his care for souls. As I witnessed the line of people waiting to venerate the heart, and as they approached, kneeling in prayer, I wondered, for who or what are they praying? I hoped many entrusted their parish priest to the intercession of the Cure of Ars, that he might have a heart like his.
3For priestly renewal
Not only did the lay faithful pray before the heart of St. John Vianney, but it was most appropriate that priests did as well. For the priest who is tempted, doubting, or struggling, praying before the heart of St. John Vianney is a source of renewal for his priesthood. For a priest who is steadfast and strong in his vocation, such an experience could only intensify the love for Christ, the Church, and the people of God.
4Renewal of the Church
The Catholic faithful flocked to the heart of St. John Vianney. This was a source of hope for the Church and society. People still care. They pray. They want holy priests. They love the Church.
Through their lives, writings, preaching, and witness, saints have the capability of sparking renewal within the Church as people discover or rediscover these holy forerunners as friends and intercessors.
5To raise up saintly priests
People of all ages prayed before the heart of St. John Vianney. The Church needs priests who want to be saints and form saints. In imitation of St. John Vianney, we need priests who will show the Faithful the way to Heaven.
Many seminarians prayed before his heart. And certainly many young men also prayed, asking for guidance and direction in their vocational discernment. Parents and grandparents prayed for priestly vocations to come from their families.
The visit of St. John Vianney’s heart gives hope for the Church, because through the heart of a saint, we know God will raise up more John Vianneys in the 21st century.
Dorothy Day, Bishops, and the Church