St. John Vianney (1786-1859)
Patron of Parish Priests. John was born to a peasant family in Dardilly, France. His childhood years were marked by the French Revolution, and the upheavals and persecution of the Church at this time. Twice as a young man, John was drafted into the Napoleon army, but was prevented by circumstances from actually going to war. John struggled greatly with his studies for the priesthood, accomplishing these only by the assistance of a private tutor. Once ordained a priest, John was assigned as the pastor of the small village of Ars. Through the prayers, fasts, preaching, and example of this priest, God brought about the conversion of this village. People came from far and wide to speak to John and to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation with him. Hundreds of pilgrims would arrive every day, with John spending 11-16 hours a day in the confessional. At times, John aspired to a life of solitude in a monastery, but it was never to be. John also suffered persecution from others, including his fellow clergyman. For thirty-four years, John was also harassed by the Devil. After a life of good and faithful service, John passed peacefully on this day in 1859, at the age of 74.
Almighty and merciful God, who made the Priest Saint John Vianney wonderful in his pastoral zeal, grant, we pray, that through his intercession and example we may in charity win brothers and sisters for Christ and attain with them eternal glory.