+ Born near Lyons, France, John received little formal education because of the turbulence of the French Revolution. He faced many challenges while studying for the priesthood and only barely met the requirements for ordination.
+ Ordained a priest in 1815, he was assigned as curé of the village of Ars. After arriving at the parish, he began to restore the parish church and set out on an intensive pastoral program of preaching, teaching, and visit the sick.
+ A beloved confessor, John Vianney was also known as a worker of miracles. He attributed the conversion of the parish and the miracles to the intercession of Saint Philomena, to whom he had a great devotion.
+ Saint John Vianney died in 1859 and was canonized in 1925. He is honored as the patron of priests.
For prayer and reflection
“All our religion is but a false religion, and all our virtues are mere illusions and we ourselves are only hypocrites in the sight of God, if we have not that universal charity for everyone – for the good, and for the bad, for the poor and for the rich, and for all those who do us harm as much as those who do us good.”—Saint John Vianney
On this day, we also remember the Blessed Gil Rodicio y Rodicio. A Salesian lay brother, he served his community as a baker, helping to provide for the needs of the poor, and as a teacher. He was martyred in Barcelona, Spain, on August 4, 1936, during the anti-Catholic persecutions of the Spanish Civil War. Blessed Gil was beatified with other martyrs in 2001.
Almighty and merciful God,
who made the Priest Saint John Vianney
wonderful in his pastoral zeal,
grant, we pray,
that through his intercession and example
we may in charity win brothers and sisters for Christ
and attain with them eternal glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
(from The Roman Missal)
Saint profiles prepared by Brother Silas Henderson, S.D.S.