John Vianney was born in France in 1786. When he was 20 years old, a school was opened nearby to educate men for the priesthood. John was sent there to study, but he and his teachers quickly discovered that he was not very good at learning, and studying was very difficult for him. The first time he tried to take the seminary entrance exam, he failed, but he worked very hard and passed it on his second try.
Although studying was difficult for John, he was very good at actually being a priest. Soon after he was ordained and assigned to a parish, he started an orphanage and taught the Faith to the children there. He also dedicated himself to giving spiritual direction, and people soon began coming from far and wide to talk to him. John’s advice was so good that the bishop told John he wasn’t allowed to leave the city to go on retreat, because so many people there needed him. In 1855, 20,000 people came to see John, and he would spend as many as 18 hours a day hearing confessions! Because of John’s tireless work in caring for souls, he is the patron saint of parish priests and seminarians.
This is a fantastic day to show appreciation for your parish priest! Write a thank-you note, bring him a meal, invite him to dinner or lunch, say extra prayers for him, or come up with some other way to thank him for all he does for your parish! Some of these ideas could also work with the seminarian you adopted through Family Formation this past year.
Take out your priest paper doll and vestments and play with the 3D Holy Mass set from the Vessels and Vestments Family Formation lesson from last October’s Home Lessons.
Finally, Saint John Vianney had a great love for the sacrament of Reconciliation. Make time to go today!