Major Relic of Priest Renowned for Holiness to Visit Pensacola
Effort for repentance, reform and renewal will include talks by current Curé d’Ars
PENSACOLA, FL – A major relic of the saint who is held up as the ideal of what a Catholic priest should be will visit Pensacola’s Basilica of St. Michael the Archangel on Monday, Dec. 3, and Tuesday, Dec. 4.
The incorrupt heart of France’s St. John Vianney will be available for veneration beginning at a 12:10 p.m. Mass on Monday at the bascilica, 19 N Palafox St., and will continue throughout the day before concluding at 8 p.m. following Mass at 7. Confessions will be heard from 1 to 7 p.m.
Veneration will take place on Tuesday starting at 8 a.m. and conclude with vespers at 5 p.m. Masses will be celebrated at 9:30 a.m. and 12:10 p.m. and confessions will be heard from 9:30 to 11:45.
The theme of the day’s prayers will focus on purification in the wake of recent controversies surrounding sexual abuse by clergy.
The visit to Pensacola will be one of the first stops in “Heart of a Priest,” a national relic tour sponsored by the Knights of Columbus that will focus on the call to personal sanctification that is the vocation of all Christians, especially priests. It was announced by K of C Supreme Knight Carl Anderson in an Aug. 21 letter to K of C chaplains and members that focused on clergy sex abuse and proposed Vianney as a model of priestly love and service.
“The Knights of Columbus — laymen, priests and chaplains together — will have an important role to play in rebuilding the Church,” Anderson wrote. “We must commit the Knights of Columbus to work for repentance, reform and rebuilding of the Church.”
Anderson underscored in his letter that St. John Vianney is the example needed to help the Church to rebuild.
“The possibility of a tour was offered to us by the Shrine at Ars some months before the recent scandal,” he said recently. “We now welcome as providential this opportunity to invoke the intercession of the patron of parish priests, whose holiness and integrity is a singular model for clergy.”
To learn more about the relic tour, visit kofc.org/vianney for more information on the pilgrimage.
About St. John Vianney
St. John Vianney popularly known as the Curé of Ars, is revered as a model of priestly generosity, purity and prayerfulness. Born in France in 1786, he grew up in a time of open hostility to the Church in the wake of the French Revolution when the faith was attacked, churches destroyed, and the clergy martyred. Assigned to lead the parish in the small farming community of Ars. Father Vianney excelled at both prayer and work.
He was famous for hearing confessions for up to 18 hours a day as people from across Europe and beyond came to see him. His notoriety throughout the Catholic world grew even after his death in 1859 and he continues to inspire a quest for holiness by both priests and the laity. His incorrupt heart — a major relic — normally resides at the shrine named for him in Ars.
In Catholic tradition, a relic is a physical object associated with a saint that may be offered to the faithful for veneration. Neither the relic nor the saint are to be worshipped, but are rather venerated as holy objects in recognition of the fact that God has worked through the saint. A major or first-class relic was part of the saint’s body as opposed to something that the saint touched or wore. The term “incorrupt” refers to a human body that has avoided the normal process of decomposition after death. It is a sign — but not a proof — of the person’s holiness, and is sometimes seen in Catholic saints and blesseds.
About the Knights of Columbus
Founded in 1882, the Knights of Columbus is a 1.9 million member Catholic fraternal organization and Fortune 1000 insurance company. The organization is well known for the charitable activities carried out by its 15,000 councils that support their neighbors and the Catholic Church. However, the K of C’s reach extends beyond parishes and communities to the rest of the world. Whether it’s donating food and clothes, providing support for disaster relief, helping persecuted Christians in the Middle East, volunteering to help children with special needs with the Special Olympics or supporting mothers of unborn children, Knights demonstrate the power and impact of men turning their faith into action every day.
2017 was a record-setting year for Knights of Columbus charitable work with an unprecedented $185.6 million in donations and 75.6 million hours of volunteer service provided worldwide. For more information, visit www.kofc.org.
The Knights of Columbus insurance program allows the Order to continue to protect the families of its members by offering life insurance, long-term care insurance and annuity products. It has received an A+ (Superior) rating from A.M. Best and currently has more than $60 billion of life insurance policies in force.