Friday, January 4, 2013
St. John Neumann
Saturday, January 5, is the feast day of St. John Neumann, the fourth bishop of Philadelphia. Oddly enough, when he was made Venerable, there was some concern that his virtue was not "heroic." Pope Benedict XV had this to say in reply: "...the most simple of works, if carried out with constant perfection in the midst of inevitable difficulties, can bring every servant of God to the attainment of a heroic degree of virtue....Wonderful results can come from simple deeds when they are graced with perfection and carried out with unremitting constancy." Fr. Alfred C. Rush, C.Ss.R., adds "Neumann advanced on the way of Christian holiness from day to day and from virtue to virtue."
He became a hero for us, for the Catholics of America. He established parish schools and churches. He fostered the wide practice of Forty Hours' Devotion and Eucharistic Adoration. He stood firm in the face of bigotry and violence. In the statue above, he holds the first Baltimore Catechism, which he wrote, enabling all to understand and live the Faith.