From Weedy@21:1/5 to All on Tue Jan 5 00:19:08 2021
The road to Christ
The road pointed out to you is not a long one; you do not have to
cross the seas or pierce the clouds or climb mountains to meet your
God. Enter into your own soul and you will find him, for his word is
near you; it is on your lips and in your heart. Go down deep into your
heart until you are stirred to compunction; make your confession, and
so at least turn your back on a conscience so defiled as to be
unworthy of entertaining the author of purity.
--Bernard of Clairvaux
January 5th - St. John Nepomucene Neumann.
Also known as Giovanni Nepomuceno Neumann, Jan Nepomucký Neumann
Born in Prachititz, Bohemia (now Czech Republic), March 28, 1811; died
in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, on January 5, 1860; beatified
1963; canonized in 1977 by Pope Paul IV, the first American male
saint. John was the third of six children of a German father, Philip,
and Czech mother, Agnes. His parents owned a small stocking factory.
John was named after a 14th-century Bohemian martyr, John Nepomucene.
As a young boy he showed great intellect as well as a religious
vocation. He was educated in Budweis (original home of that now famous
American beer/swill) and began at the diocesan seminary there in 1831.
John was especially interested in botany and astronomy, in addition to
theology and Scripture. Two years later he continued his study of
theology at the Charles Ferdinand University in Prague. Because of the overabundance of clergy, the Austrian government delayed his
ordination, so he decided to go to America as a missionary. He arrived
in Manhattan (New York) in June 1836, and was warmly welcomed by
Bishop John DuBois of New York, even though he was unannounced. On
June 28, 1836, John was ordained by Bishop James, who sent him to
engage in pastoral work among German-speaking Catholics, who were
clearing forests in the district of Niagara (upstate New York).
Four years of constant and isolated labor left him with a knowledge of
his own need for support and an appreciation of the value of community
activity in missionary work. Therefore, he entered the novitiate of
the newly-established branch of the Redemptorists at Saint Philomena's
in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1840. When he made his vows in
Baltimore, Maryland, in 1841, he became the first Redemptorist to take
his vows in the United States. He continued his missionary activities
as a mission preacher in Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Virginia.
He became rector of Saint Philomena's in 1844. In 1847, John was named
vice regent and superior of the American Redemptorists, while he was a
parish priest in Baltimore. Most of his parish work involved the
establishment of parochial schools. Because of his outstanding
pastoral work, John was appointed the fourth bishop of Philadelphia in
1852 by Pope Pius IX--a diocese that had not accepted him when he
first came to America.
During his episcopate he followed the full spirit of the Redemptorist
founder, Saint Alphonsus Liguori, by making especially his own the
care of the materially and spiritually impoverished. Much of his time
was spent in visiting the remote and hitherto neglected areas of his
diocese. Diminutive in stature and lacking in 'charisma,' John Neumann
devoted time to encouraging others, especially nuns and other
laypeople, to lives of hidden sanctity.
He reorganized the diocese, inaugurating a widespread program of new
parish building (100 additional churches) and expanding the parochial
school system with 80 new schools. The population of his schools
increased 20-fold after he attracted a number of teaching orders to
staff them. He founded the School Sisters of Notre Dame, who observe
the rule of the 'active' Franciscan Third Order, for religious
teaching and to staff his orphanage. He also introduced the devotion
of Forty Hours and began work on a cathedral.
He made his ad limina visits to Rome and was there in 1854 at the
formal declaration of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception of the
Blessed Virgin Mary (American bishops in council at Baltimore had
already chosen Mary under this title as patroness of the United
He wrote much during this time--including articles for newspapers--and
produced two catechisms that were very popular in the United States in
the 19th century. The catechisms were endorsed by the American bishops
at their first Plenary Council in 1852. He continued to compose his
most important works in German, although he was fluent in seven other languages.
At the time of his sudden death in 1860 on Vine Street in
Philadelphia, he was worn out by his labors. Already he was renowned
for his holiness, charity, pastoral work, and preaching. Popular
devotion preceded the official investigation and approval of his
cultus. After over 100 years, with the continued support of both his
diocese and the Redemptorists, he was canonized (Attwater,
Benedictines, Delaney, Farmer, Walsh, White).
Since every man of whatever race is endowed with the dignity of a
person, he has an inalienable right to an education corresponding to
his proper destiny and suited to his native talents, his cultural
background, and his ancestral heritage. At the same time, this
education should pave the way to brotherly association with other
peoples, so that genuine unity and peace on earth may be promoted. For
a true education aims at the formation of the human person with
respect to the good of those societies of which, as a man, he is a
member, and in whose responsibilities, as an adult, he will share.
--Saint John Neumann
A man must always be ready, for death comes when and where God wills it. --Saint John Neumann
He hath put down the mighty from their throne, and hath exalted the
humble. (Luke 1:52)
"Lord Jesus, your love knows no bounds and you give without measure.
All that I have comes from you. May I give freely and generously in
gratitude for all that you have given to me. Take my life and all that
I possess--my gifts, talents, time and resources--and use them as you
see fit for your glory."