St. John Neumann was born in Eastern Europe in 1811.
He wanted to be a priest, and completed the required studies, but they had too many priests in the area at that time, so the bishop was not approving any new ordinations. He could not find a bishop to ordain him, which was very discouraging.
John learned to speak English so he could have an opportunity to be a priest elsewhere. The bishop of New York was willing to ordain him. He was in his mid-20s when he left his homeland and traveled to the United States.
At age 29 he found himself longing for community and he joined the Redemptorist order. He continued to serve those in his community, especially the immigrants. He spoke six different languages, so he could hear the confessions of people from various countries.
In 1852 he became the bishop of Philadelphia. There he organized the first diocesan school system in the United States.
In addition to his contributions to establishing Catholic education, he was also known for his holiness and his spiritual writings.
He died on January 5, 1860. He was the first American bishop to be beatified and cannonized.
Patron Saint of ...
He is the patron saint of Catholic education and immigrants.
Mass Readings for the Memorial of Saint John Neumann, Bishop
The readings for this memorial may be taken from the Common of Pastors or the readings of the day.
Everyone who breathes, high and low, educated and ignorant, young and old, man and woman, has a mission, has a work. We are not sent into this world for nothing; we are not born at random; we are not here, that we may go to bed at night, and get up in the morning, toil for our bread, eat and drink, laugh and joke, sin when we have a mind, and reform when we are tired of sinning, rear a family and die. God sees every one of us; He creates every soul, . . . for a purpose. He needs, He deigns to need, every one of us. He has an end for each of us; we are all equal in His sight, and we are placed in our different ranks and stations, not to get what we can out of them for ourselves, but to labor in them for Him. As Christ has His work, we too have ours; as He rejoiced to do His work, we must rejoice in ours also.St. John Neumann
One of the many legacies St. John Neumann left behind is his prayer for those experiencing discouragement. The prayer is a humble plea to Jesus for relief from a troubled soul and a renewed sense of faith. In it, St. John speaks candidly of his struggles with doubts and obstacles, and his desire to remain steadfast in his devotion. The prayer encourages the faithful to turn to Jesus for comfort and guidance, and to hold fast to their faith even in moments of weakness.