Our Patron Saint: St. John
St. John Nepomucene Neumann
Born in Prachatitz,
Bohemia on March 28, 1811.
Nickname: "The Little Bishop"
Neumann was to be ordained in his home country in
1835. However, at the time, Bohemia was overstocked with priests and the bishop
decided there would be no more ordinations. He contacted bishops all over
Europe, but was continually turned away. Neumann, who had learned English by
working in a factory with English-speaking workers, finally wrote the bishops in
America. A bishop in New York agreed to ordain him in 1836.
one of 36 priests for 200,000 Catholics in New York and his parish in western
New York stretched from Lake Ontario to Pennsylvania. He spent most of his time
traveling from village to village to visit the sick, to teach and to celebrate
He joined the Redemptorists, a congregation of priests and brothers
dedicated to helping the poor and most abandoned in 1840. He served as a rector
of parishes in Pittsburgh and Baltimore, and later became head of the
Redemptorists in the United States.
In 1852, he was appointed Bishop of
Philadelphia by Pope Pius IX. As bishop, he was the first to organize a diocesan
Catholic school system, and he increased the number of Catholic schools in his
diocese from two to 100.
The ability to learn languages that had brought
him to America led him to learn Spanish, French, Italian, and Dutch so he could
hear confessions in at least six languages.
Neumann died on January 5,
1860. He was declared a Saint of the Church in 1977 and his feast day is Jan.