John Vianney was born on May 8, 1786 near Lyons,
France. He was the fourth of six children and spent
his childhood and young adult life working the
family farm. John grew up during the years of the
French Revolution, a time of great persecution for
Catholics. He realized from a very early age that
to live one’s Catholic faith took much courage and
heroism, and this only made his love for his faith
stronger than ever.
1803, at the age of 17, John felt God’s call in his
life to the priesthood. Two years later he began to
take formal instruction. He struggled with his
studies, as he never had the opportunity to go to
school growing up. However, his perseverance would
August 13, 1815, John was ordained a priest, and
after a brief assignment as an assistant pastor, he
was assigned to the small country parish of Ars in
1818. The church had been sacked by
revolutionaries, and the parishioners were in dire
need of spiritual guidance.
Through a life of
personal penance, clear common-sense homilies, and
the revitalization of the sacrament of
reconciliation, Fr. Vianney began to “right the
ship.” On a typical day, he would hear confessions
for 17 hours. He was everything a pastor should be,
and he was faithful to his vocation to the very
August 4, 1859, Fr. Vianney died, having served at
Ars for more than 41 years. He was beatified
January 8, 1905 and canonized May 31, 1925 by Pius
XI. Since then, he has been invoked as the patron
saint of parish priests.
Heavenly Father, please grant to Your faithful
servants, the grace and strength to carry out
Your mission for the church each day.
priests close to You and continue to inspire
them to serve others in Your holy name.
help to inspire men who are called to a priestly
vocation to answer your call and participate in
the fullness that You have planned for them.