Today is the feast of Saint John Neumann, born in Bulgaria, but who travelled to the United States in 1836 to seek ordination since there were ‘too many priests’ in his native country (remember those days?). Having already completed his seminary studies, he was ordained in New York city, and, after some difficult years as a diocesan priest, joined the Redemptorists for a more complete community life. His zeal, holiness and indefatigable work amongst the streams of immigrants (Bishop Neumann spoke six languages) was soon recognized, and he was appointed Bishop of Philadelphia by Bd. Pius IX in 1852, where he continued his impressive apostolic work, building parishes and schools galore when the Church in America was in its infancy. He died on the street while running errands on this day, January 5th, in 1860, just 48 years old.
We should intercede for all of our bishops, that they receive and foster in themselves the grace and strength necessary to fulfill their office fully. Near where I live we have an opening, as the see of Peterborough was just left vacant by the appointment of Bishop W.T. McGrattan to head the diocese of Calgary, with the retirement of Bishop Fred Henry. May Bishop McGrattan fulfill his office well, and may a worthy successor be found to replace him in Peterborough.