150 Years Ago Today…

…the patron saint of parish priests died. It is St. John Vianney’s Dies Natalis, the day he was born into the next lilfe.

heart reliquaryPope Benedict dedicated this year to priests because of this anniversary.

St. John Vianney’s heart is kept in a reliquary separate from the rest of his body. The heart is enshrined in a small chapel outside the basilica in Ars. The basilica houses both the entire parish church of Ars and the sepulchre of the saint.

Today, after Holy Mass in the Basilica, there was a somewhat rag-tag procession of the heart of the Curé through the town.


There is a monument down the hill from Ars which marks the place where the saint asked a boy to direct him to his new parish. (The priest was arriving on foot). He said to the boy: “If you tell me the way to Ars, I will tell you the way to heaven.”

Today the CurĂ©’s heart was carried to this monument, as well as other places in the town. Looks like it was a pretty hot day over there. St. John Vianney never had air-conditioning, of course. And he hardly ever slept. And he ate only boiled potatoes.

But the main thing is that he loved the holy faith of the Church and never tired of teaching it.


Hello, St. Jerome

smmhighaltarWhen I was in the Holy Land in February, we visited the cave in Bethlehem where St. Jerome spent years translating the Holy Scriptures. The cave is just a few yards from the grotto of the Nativity of Christ.

St. Jerome was originally laid to rest in a little chapel in his cave in Bethlehem. But then, when the Muslims were threatening to take over Bethlehem, the Christians took St. Jerome’s relics to Rome, where they would be safe.

St. Jerome’s tomb is now the High Altar in Santa Maria Maggiore, immediately above the reliquary of the Manger of Bethlehem. This morning I finally got to greet the Doctor and Father of the Church, the patron of the study of Holy Scripture.