January 5, 2016

Memorial of Saint John Neumann [w/ Intercessory Prayer]

St. John Neumann
John Nepomucene Neumann was born in Bohemia [now the Czech Republic]. While in the seminary he felt a desire to help in the American missions. After coming to the United States he was ordained in New York in 1836. Entering the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer, he worked in establishing parishes and parish schools. In 1852 he was consecrated Bishop of Philadelphia and prescribed the Forty Hours devotion.

Neumann was fluent in six languages before coming to the United States. Shortly after his arrival, he was ordained a Catholic priest of the Redemptorist order. He is the first United States bishop [and to date the only male citizen] to be canonized. As Bishop of Philadelphia, Neumann established the first Catholic diocesan school system in the United States.

The Life of St. John Neumann

John Nepomucene Neumann was born on March 28, 1811, the third of six children of a stocking knitter and his wife in the village of Prachatitz in Bohemia. From his mother he acquired the spirit of piety and through her encouragement entered the Seminary at Budweis.

During his seminary years, he yearned to be a foreign missionary in America. He left his native land and was ordained in June, 1836 by Bishop John Dubois in New York. He spent four years in Buffalo and the surrounding area building churches and establishing schools.

In 1840, he joined the Redemptorists. Eight years later he became a United States citizen. By order of Pope Pius IX in 1852 he was consecrated fourth Bishop of Philadelphia. His mastery of eight languages proved extremely helpful in his quest for souls. He was a pioneer promoter of the Parochial School System in America.

One of the highlights of Saint John Neumann's life was his participation, in Rome, in the Proclamation of the Dogma of our Blessed Mother's Immaculate Conception. Through his efforts, the Forty Hours Devotion was introduced in the Philadelphia Diocese. He founded the first church in America for Italian-speaking people. He also founded the Glen Riddle group of the Sisters of the Third Order of St. Francis.

At 48 years of age, completely exhausted from all his apostolic endeavors, he collapsed in the street on January 5, 1860. He is buried beneath the altar of the lower Church in St. Peter's Church in Philadelphia.

Collect Prayer

O God, who called the Bishop Saint John Neumann, renowned for his charity and pastoral service, to shepherd your people in America, grant by his intercession that, as we foster the Christian education of youth and are strengthened by the witness of brotherly love, we may constantly increase the family of your Church. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Prayer for St. John Neumann's Intercession

O Jesus, who on earth commanded and practiced a hidden life, grant that--in these our days of pride and outward display--the example of your servant John Neumann may lead us to follow your humble ways. Grant, O Lord, that like your holy bishop we may do all our work with the pure intention of pleasing you, and let not our deeds be done to win the favor of others but to give glory to our Father in heaven.

We thank you that our fellow citizen and devoted missionary bishop is recognized among the saints of your Church in heaven, and we beseech you, O Lord, to glorify him on earth by granting the favors we ask through his intercession. Amen.


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