“My God,” St. Jean Vianney often prayed, “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.”
Nearly 160 years after the patron saint of parish priests breathed his last, that same heart remains inexplicably untouched by the decay of death.
People throughout the Jefferson City diocese are invited to see for themselves while offering prayers for an increase of diocesan priestly vocations for the diocese of Jefferson City on Saturday, March 16.
The diocesan Office of Vocations is pleased to announce, with the approval and invitation of Bishop W. Shawn McKnight, that on that day, the major relic of St. Jean Vianney’s incorrupt heart will make a visit to the Cathedral of St. Joseph, 2305 W. Main St. in Jefferson City.
St. Jean Vianney served in the village of Ars, France, during the first half of the 19th century.
Deeply mystical and spiritual, he tirelessly summoned pilgrims and parishioners alike to greater intimacy with Christ and complete reliance on His mercy in the sacrament of reconciliation.
The Shrine of Ars in France has entrusted to the Knights of Columbus the major relic of St. Jean Vianney’s incorrupt heart for a national tour in the United States from November 2018 through early June 2019.
The Knights of Columbus welcomes this special opportunity to offer for veneration a major relic of the patron of parish priests, whose holiness and integrity is a model for clergy and laity alike.
All are invited to worship God in the presence of this major relic of St. Jean Vianney, as part of a day of prayer asking St. Jean Vianney to intercede for an increase of Vocations to the Diocesan Priesthood for this diocese.
Holy Mass will open the day at 8 a.m.
Veneration of the relic will take place from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the Cathedral. Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament will take place from 8:30 a.m. to 5:15 p.m. The sacrament of reconciliation will be available until 5 p.m.
Reflections/talks will be given at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. The Divine Mercy Chaplet will be prayed at 3 p.m., the Hour of Mercy. The day will conclude with the regularly scheduled parish Sunday Vigil Mass at 5:30 p.m.
Relics are holy objects that are associated with saints who now live in God’s presence. Veneration of the earthly remains of saints is a spiritual practice dating back to biblical times and the Church’s earliest years.
Catholic Christians venerate relics in recognition of the fact that God has worked through a saint, and that an object associated with a saint is holy and can help lead people to God. The healing power of relics comes from God alone and never from the object.
Reference to an early form of relics can be found in the New Testament, when a women was healed by touching the hem of Jesus’ garment (Matthew 9:18-26) and when cloths touched by St. Paul were used to heal the sick and drive out demons (Acts 19:12).
A more developed use of relics began during the widespread persecution of the early Church, when the faithful would retrieve the bones of martyrs and place them under the altar for Mass. To this day, Catholic churches place first-class relics in altar stones.
With God’s help, St. Jean Vianney (“John” in English) overcame numerous obstacles and setbacks in answering his priestly calling.
Acutely aware of his own limitations and unworthiness to stand for Christ at His holy altar, he marveled at the power and grace he received through Holy Orders.
“The priest continues the work of redemption on earth,” he stated. “... If we really understood the priest on earth, we would die not of fright but of love. ... The Priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.”
Please visit www.kofc.org/vianney for information from the Knights of Columbus and the St. Jean Vianney Relic Pilgrimage, and www.cathedraljc.org/vianney for more information on the relic’s visit to Jefferson City.
For more information or if have any questions, please call the Office of Vocations at (573) 635-9127, ext. 211, or e-mail email@example.com.