St. John Neumann

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January 5 Saint of the Day

January 5 Saint of the Day

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Saint John Neumann was the first member of his community, the Redemptorists, to profess vows in the United States. He did missionary work in Maryland, Virginia, and Ohio and became the bishop of Philadelphia. Noted for his humility and organizational skills, he helped form the Church in the new world.

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Liturgy of the Hours - 2nd Reading

I have labored with all my powers to fulfill the duties of my office

From a letter to Cardinal Barnabo by John Neumann, bishop
Indeed, I have apparently delayed too long in writing to the Holy See the letter promised by the Archbishop of Baltimore in the name of the council. However, this delay was not without reason. For the council was scarcely finished and I was discussing the division of Diocese of Philadelphia and my translation to a new see with one of the Fathers of the council, when the Father intimated to me [that he did not know] whether that could more probably be hoped for, since the Holy See thought that I would resign from the episcopate, or wished to resign. In the same way when the Archbishop of Baltimore informed me of the designation of a coadjutor, he added that in the event that I should persevere in the desire to resign, the Holy See would permit me to give the title of the ecclesiastical property to the same coadjutor.
I was no little disturbed by the fear that I had done something that so displeased the Holy Father that my resignation would appear desirable to him. If this be the case, I am prepared without any hesitation to leave the episcopacy. I have taken this burden out of obedience, and I have labored with all my powers to fulfill the duties of my office, and with God’s help, as I hope, not without fruit. When the care of temporal things weighed upon my mind and it seemed to me that my character was little suited for the very cultured world of Philadelphia, I made known to my fellow bishops during the Baltimore council of 1858 that it seemed opportune to me to request my translation to one or the other see that was to be erected (namely in the City of Pottsville or in Wilmington, North Carolina). But to give up the episcopal career never entered my mind, although I was conscious of my unworthiness and ineptitude; for things had not come to such a pass that I had one or the other reason out of the six for which a bishop could safely ask the Holy Father permission to resign. For a long time I have doubted what should be done…
Although my coadjutor has proposed to me that he would take the new see if it is erected, I have thought it much more opportune and I have asked the Fathers that he be appointed to the See of Philadelphia, since he is much more highly endowed with facility and alacrity concerning the administration of temporal things. Indeed, I am much more accustomed to the country, and will be able to care for the people and faithful living in the mountains, in the coal mines and on the farms, since I would be among them.
If, however, it should be displeasing to His Holiness to divide the diocese, I am, indeed, prepared either to remain in the same condition in which I am at present, or if God so inspires His Holiness to give the whole administration of the diocese to the Most Reverend James Wood, I am equally prepared to resign from the episcopate and to go where I may more securely prepare myself for death and for the account which must be rendered to the Divine Justice.
I desire nothing but to fulfill the wish of the Holy Father whatever it may be.

St. John Neumann


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A saint for Catholic Teachers

When a young Bohemian immigrant arrived in New York City on a rainy June day in 1836 his hopes for priesthood were uncertain. Due to an ordination moratorium imposed by his homeland’s government, St. John Neumann could not be ordained at home. Forsaking the comforts of home and family, desiring only his life’s oblation in love and service, Neumann chose to go to America. He read accounts of such storied missionaries as Frederic Baraga — a current candidate for sainthood — and he hoped to follow in their footsteps. Little did the young seminarian know when he set foot on American soil that the path God had in store would result in his canonization as the country’s first male saint..


Saint John Neumann

As a boy, John Neumann lived in Bohemia, which is now part of Czech Republic. He studied hard, for he wanted to be a missionary priest in America. By the time he was twenty-four, he had learned six languages and had completed his studies for the priesthood. He was not ordained, however, because his bishop thought there were enough priests in his country. So John Neumann decided to leave for America, hoping to be ordained there. He said goodbye to his parents and brother and sailed for the United States. When he arrived, he had one suit of clothes and one dollar in his pocket. Three weeks later, the bishop of New York ordained him.
Father John’s first work was with the German-speaking people in mission parishes near Buffalo, New York. He was not considered very handsome, and some people disliked him and his ways. Priests at that time traveled on horseback and went long distances to care for people in neighboring towns and villages. People laughed at the clumsy way Father John rode. Because he was short, his feet did not reach the stirrups. Children made fun of him. John remained silent, however, and continued going about teaching religion, visiting the sick, and training teachers.
from Saints Kit
SOURCE: LoyolaPress.co

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