.- The incorrupt heart of the patron saint of priests, St. John Vianney, was in Boston last week. Organizers said they hoped the visit would help to promote vocations and healing in the Catholic archdiocese, The Pilot reported.
During the relic’s two-day tour in Boston, from Oct. 12 to 14, more than 7,000 clergy, seminarians, religious and lay Catholics came to pray. The Boston tour was organized by the archdiocese’s vocation office, headed by Fr. Daniel Hennessey, who said he hoped the relic would inspire priests and future priests to recognize their call and to live their vocations fully like the French saint, the archdiocese’s paper reported.
The heart, enclosed in a glass case, traveled from the Shrine of St. John Vianney in Ars, France, first to New York and then to Boston. According to The Pilot, the heart has only left the shrine on two other occasions - once for St. John Vianney’s canonization in Rome and again for World Youth Day 2005 in Germany.
On its first day in the archdiocese, the relic was hosted at St. John’s Seminary in Brighton, for a time of prayer exclusively for priests, religious, and seminarians.
“It’s a very important moment of grace, of prayer for all of us. In the saints we are able to glimpse a little bit of God’s holiness and His beauty,” Cardinal Sean O’Malley reportedly said after the relic was placed near the seminary’s statue of the Saint. “It’s a great joy to have this relic here, calling us all to prayer, conversion and inviting, particularly our young people, to reflect on their own personal vocation.”
Fr. Phillippe Caratge, moderator of the sanctuary of St. John Vianney in France, said the saint reminds people that “a priest is a man of prayer.”
St. John Vianney participated willingly in God’s salvation and desired to give himself fully to God, he said. “His secret is his heart … filled with God’s love,” Fr. Caratge said through an interpreter.
“John Marie Vianney received his priesthood as a gift,” said Bishop Guy Bagnard of Belley-Ars, France, who also accompanied the relic. “He was conscious that it was not because of his own strength that he had been given the priesthood,” he said.
The bishop ended with a quote from the saint: “There will come a time when many will be so tired of men that they will not be able to hear about God without crying.”
“I believe that it is the time now where people are longing for God and that we, as priests, have to bring them to Him,” he said.
The relic was accessible to the public the following day at St. Mary Parish in Weston and at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross on Oct. 14. Thousands of Catholics lined up to have a moment of prayer before the relic. Confessions were heard throughout the evening. Those gathered also participated in the rosary, adoration, and Mass, celebrated by Bishop Bagnard.