A four-day public veneration of the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, will be offered Feb. 14-18 at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington.
The sacred relic will be available for veneration each day beginning at 10 a.m.
During those four days, events for the public will be offered, including Mass, recitation of the rosary, a day of recollection, a retreat from families, and a priest-only time of veneration.
This is the third time the relic of St. John Vianney has been offered for veneration in Washington.
The relic was displayed Dec. 9-12 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, and Jan. 17-20 at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine.
The display of the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney – popularly called the Curé of Ars – is part of a six-month tour of the holy relic across the United States. Sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, the “Heart of a Priest” tour was launched in wake of the clergy sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church.
Carl Anderson, the Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, said in statement that St. John Vianney offers an example to help the Church heal and rebuild.
“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,” Anderson said in his statement.
St. John Vianney was born in 1786 and served as a simple parish priest in the French town of Ars. He was known to spend as many as 18 hours a day hearing Confessions from people who traveled from throughout Europe to see the priest who was known for his holiness and piety. He also had a great love of and fostered devotion to St. Philomena. He died in 1859.
Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1925 and proclaimed him patron saint of parish priests in 1929. His incorrupt body and heart are displayed at his shrine in Ars.
The Catholic Church teaches that a relic – such as the heart of St. John Vianney – is offered to the faithful for veneration, but neither the relic nor the saint are worshipped. The Church teaches that relics are venerated in recognition of the fact that God has worked through the saint.
For a complete schedule of events at the Saint John Paul II National Shrine, call (202) 635-5429 or visit www.jp2shrine.org
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