Saint John Neumann (1811-1860)
for January 5
Saint John Neumann was born in Bohemia around the year 1811. He desired to become a priest in his home country, but because there were so many priests in Bohemia at the time he was denied. However, John persevered, and was eventually ordained in New York. He was assigned to a rural parish in western New York. John spent much of his time visiting neighboring villages, tending to the sick, teaching the Good News, and celebrating Mass. John craved the companionship that a religious community offered, so he joined the Redemptorists, a group of priests and brothers who were devoted to ministering to the poor. As a member of the Redemptorists, he took a vow of poverty. John took this vow very seriously and gave away everything that he owned; he didn't even have a spare pair of shoes. He was selected as bishop of Philadelphia and was the first person to establish a diocesan Catholic school system. Even after founding a very successful diocesan Catholic school system, John did not forgo his love of ministering to the poor and ailing. Saint John Neumann died in 1860 and was the first American bishop to be beatified and canonized.
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Saint John Neumann knew that he was called to serve God, but he experienced some obstacles along the way. Do you give up when you encounter an obstacle on the way to becoming closer to Christ, or do you persevere, as John Neumann did? Ask the Lord to help you always strive to do his work, and to persevere and listen to his call to become closer to him.
Dear God, I praise and thank you for the grace you give to help me find my way to you. Please guide my footsteps every day so that I become righteous, godly, faithful, loving, patient, and gentle. (Taken from “Good News Day by Day: Bible Reflections for Teens.”)