Yesterday my diocese had the great joy of welcoming the incorrupt heart of Saint John Vianney to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament in Altoona. The day began with Mass and Holy hour at one parish (where I am administrator) then I returned to my other parish for Mass. A good priest friend joined and concelebrated the Mass. After that mass we met up with yet another brother priest and drove to the Cathedral. Despite the Cure D’Ars diet of rotten potatoes, we stopped to eat some Lasagna and pasta along the way. When we arrived, there was a handful of people in the Cathedral. We quickly were able to go to the relic and say a little prayer and have some items touched to the reliquary for them to become third class relics. I had my pocket stole touched to the heart of this great confessor. I begged him to help make me a better confessor. I returned to the pew to say some prayers and as I was doing that, the Vicar General came over. He asked if I would be willing to sit in the confessional. I said no problem, but I have to admit I was a bit skeptical–the confessional I was assigned was tucked way in the back and there was barely anybody there at all!
Well…Saint John Vianney had other plans. I had sat down, and nobody was coming. I decided to head out to see if anybody was even around. Somebody was looking at the lights clearly checking to see if a priest was in. After about an hour of confessions, I took a break to check in with my friends. Then I saw many people I knew and the Cathedral filling up. Before I knew it I was brought back to the confessional and about 40 minutes later I had to go. Priests lined the walls of the Cathedral hearing confessions.
I was a little saddened I didn’t have much time to really pray in front of the relic, but I knew this Cure d’Ars had other plans for me, so I was grateful to share in that work. What a truly graced day for which I am grateful: time with brother priests, holy Mass, time spent in the presence of this great saint, hearing confessions, seeing many old friends.
By the time I departed, the Cathedral was filled up and the line to see this heart was to the door. It’s a pretty big building so I was really moved.
So many people are longing for the mercy of God. If you are in a situation where you think you are beyond God’s mercy, stop listening to that voice. Go to the nearest Catholic Church and sit in front of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. Look for a priest to hear your confession.
Let us pray to Saint John Vianney for our bishops and priests. Let us pray to him to inspire men to say yes to the vocation to the priesthood. Lord grant that we only seek to serve you, and not to appease the world.
“The heart is drawn towards what it loves most. The heart of a good Christian turns towards heaven, where God is, who is his treasure” -Saint John Vianney