Monday, March 8, 2010

St. John of Ars

He is my natal saint, and ever since I have become a Catholic my interest has been drawn to him. Having collected many books about him and spent many hours reading them, especially the priceless book of his homilies, the news of this new book, The Grace of Ars, from Catholic Culture, is wonderful.

An excerpt.

“St. John Vianney, the CurĂ© of Ars, spent his whole ministry as the pastor of the small parish at Ars in France. He was known for his sanctity in his own lifetime, he performed many miracles, and he could read souls. Having died in 1859 at the age of 73, he was declared venerable within fifteen years by Pope Pius IX in 1874. Pope St. Pius X beatified him and recommended him as a model to parochial clergy in 1905; Pope Pius XI canonized him in 1925 and made him the Patron of Parish Priests in 1929. He was the subject of an encyclical by Pope John XXIII in 1959 ( Sacerdotii Nostri Primordia), and he was the subject of Pope John Paul II’s Holy Thursday Letter to Priests in 1986. Finally, last year Benedict XVI inaugurated the current Year for Priests in honor of the 150th anniversary of John Vianney’s birth, and commended his example to all the priests of the Church

“Apparently there is something about the CurĂ© of Ars. That “something” has been discovered by Fr. Frederick L. Miller (Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, Maryland) in the course of guiding several pilgrimage-retreats to Ars for priests and seminarians. His new book The Grace of Ars synthesizes the experience and spiritual depth of those retreats. Reading it is, hopefully, a first step toward receiving the immense graces occasioned by a study of and devotion to the incomparably fruitful yet simple priesthood of John Vianney.”