Saint of the Week: St. John Vianney

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I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally… My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.

St. John Vianney

FEAST DAY: August 4
PATRON SAINT of priests

Have you ever had a dream that seems crazy or impossible, but you can’t shake off the feeling that God placed that dream in your heart for a reason? At the time of his seminary studies, it seemed like John Vianney would never realize his dream of becoming a priest. When he entered the seminary at the age of 19, John had a difficult time understanding the Latin lectures that were part of his required studies because he lacked formal education. Instead of giving up, he asked a friend who was a priest to tutor him. After a few years, John was ordained and assigned to become the pastor of a parish in Ars, a small village in France. 

Many people in this village were indifferent to the faith and comfortable with their way of living, so they disliked Fr. Vianney for wanting to lead them closer to God and challenging them to live more charitably. When some villagers started causing trouble for him in hopes that he would give up and leave, Fr. Vianney increased his prayers, fasting, and penance instead. Over time, people started attending Mass. Within a few years, John was spending 10-15 hours a day in the confessional. Pilgrims from all over France and other countries came to see him. Even with his rising fame, Fr. Vianney continued his strict routine of prayer, fasting and penance to set a good example for others. He died at the age of 73 and was canonized in 1929 by Pope Pius XI. 

PRAYER FOR PRIESTS (BY ST. JOHN VIANNEY)
God, please give to your Church today many more priests after your own heart. May they be worthy representatives of Christ the Good Shepherd.

May they wholeheartedly devote themselves to prayer and penance; be examples of humility and poverty; shining models of holiness; tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God; zealous dispensers of your grace in the sacraments. 

May their loving devotion to your Son Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary his Mother be the twin fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry. Amen.