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MEMORIAL OF ST JOHN VIANNEY, FRIDAY OF THE SEVENTEENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME, AUGUST 4, 2023


St Jean-Baptiste-Marie Vianney, Curé of Ars

(1786-1859)



Gospel

"And he did not work many mighty deeds there

because of their lack of faith."


Jesus was rejected by His own townspeople. He was met with incredulous questions about His family. It was His own decision to not do many works of power there because of their lack of faith.


PAPA Patron Saint and Patron Saint of Priests, St John Vianney, was met by many doubts by his teachers and his parishioners. But it was God who knew him and who gave him his vocation. How was he to fail?


St John Vianney loved the Lord. He was a slow, unpromising candidate for the priesthood. He struggled to learn. It was his persistence and his devoutness that netted him his heart's desire of being a priest. And though he had difficulties with his studies, he so loved God, the church and the Mystical Body of Christ. He freely gave of himself to God for his service, of doing His Will. In fact he failed many school tests and at one point was dismissed from the Seminary. His teacher saw qualities in St John Vianney that others did not see. He worked with him, preparing him for his tests and finally have him become a priest.


He lived in a time of Napoleon and Waterloo and the second restoration of France by the allies. Five days after the fateful battle of Waterloo, John Marie Vianney was ordained to the diaconate and was well on his way to becoming a priest.


His first assignment was as an assistant in Ecully, France. Like in Nazareth, he was rejected by the city and was removed.


His next assignment was to be a parish priest of Ars-en-Dombes, an isolated village close to Lyons. It was the poorest of parishes and spiritually impoverished. There was a great deal of apathy and indifference. When he first arrived, he was met by a small town with four bars, partying, no faith and no attendance to Church. But it was his faith in God that netted him the gifts of a persuasive preacher, persistence in his work, incite into the souls of sinners. He spent rigorous hours of penance, long hours of praying. He placed all trust in the Lord, believing that Grace was enough.


Aided by a passerby as St John Vianney was making his way to the City of Ars, he said, "You have shown me the road to Ars; I will show you the road to Heaven. "


After ten years of blood, sweat, suffering, tears, rejection and struggles, the village turned toward God. Their priest was a man of prayer and penance. When tempted he would recite the Regina Coeli and also say six times a day the prayer, "Blessed be forever the most holy and Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God! Amen


When Father Vianney was asked about the miraculous conversion of Ars, he attributed all to the intercession of St Philomena, a young unknown martyr of the early Church, faith, prayer and penance.


As the patron saint of priests, we are reminded of the purpose of PAPA. We pray for priests to be good shepherds. Remembering the remarkable life of St John Vianney, can we also remember his example of the vocation of the priesthood.


Thanking God for the many priests who "in persona Christi capitis in ecclesiae" or in the person of Christ, the Head, in the Church", have heard my confessions, forgiven my sins and consecrated the host to the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. May I be one of a thousand souls following a good and holy priest to heaven.


"I am nothing, God is everything. I can do nothing of myself,

God can do everything. The souls of men

belong to God, they were made for God.

And the reason I came into the world,

the reason I am here is to give them God!"

St John Vianney


(1) St John Vianney, Curé of Ars Patron Saint of Parish Priests, Bob and Penny Lord

(2) PAPA








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