St. John Neumann was born in Bohemia (in today’s Czech Republic) in 1811. He was to be ordained in 1835, but Bohemia actually had too many priests. Determined to heed God’s call, he wrote to bishops all around the world until the bishop of New York agreed to ordain him. The diocese was poor, so rather than staying in a home church John traveled from village to village, ministering in homes as far away as Pennsylvania. He joined the Redemptorists, a congregation dedicated to helping the poor. He was appointed bishop of Philadelphia from 1852 until his death in 1860, and was instrumental in developing the city’s Catholic school system. His feast day is January 5.
Questions for Reflection:
- St. John Neumann faced a huge change in his life when he moved from Bohemia to New York. Have you faced change or redirections in your own life? How have you dealt with them?
- St. John Neumann’s passion for the priesthood and Catholic education is inspirational. How can you use some of this passion in your own life?