“John Nepomucene Neumann spent the whole of his adult life striving to live as a total Christian. Nevertheless, no one would have been more shocked than John Neumann at the thought that one day he would be canonized a saint. The possibility never crossed his mind. While his whole consciousness was directed toward serving God in immediate relationship with Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the saints, he was constantly aware of shortcomings in saying his prayers, in faithfulness to the rule of life he had set for himself, and in the accomplishment of his daily duties.
“One of his primary objectives was to introduce the Forty Hours Devotion – a three-day ceremony in which the Blessed Sacrament was exposed in a monstrance on the altar, and priests and people encouraged to keep a constant vigil in the church, honoring Christ’s bodily presence among them. Neumann drew up the diocesan-wide schedule, recognizing the fact that while this practice would be fairly easy in the large city parishes it would be most difficult in the smaller settlements. His objective was to have this devotion in progress somewhere in the diocese, all year long. (Francis Xavier Murphy, C.SS.R.)
O Saint John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our Baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers and sisters of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God.
Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted and the abandoned which so characterized your life. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and, at times, painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our Mother.
May death still find us on the sure road to our Father’s House with the light of living Faith in our hearts. Amen.
A few dates in the saint’s life
28 March 1811 at Prachititz, Czech Republic
28 June 1836 ordained priest by Bishop John Dubois, NYC
January 1842 taking his vows at Baltimore, MD, the first Redemptorist in the USA
28 March 1852 ordained bishop 4th bishop of Philadelphia, PA; The Episcopal motto was Passio Christi, conforta me – Passion of Christ strengthen me
5 January 1860 of a stroke at 13th and Vine Streets, Philadelphia
19 June 1977 canonized by Pope Paul VI