"There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, he would have given it to us." -St. John Vianney
Over 700 people flocked to Our Lady of Lourdes Church in Gales Ferry on December 13th to venerate the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney.
The major relic is in the early stages of a national tour organized by the Knights of Columbus, and at the request of Bishop Michael R. Cote, it was hosted as part of the diocese’s Monthly Holy Hour for Vocations. Housed in an ornate gold reliquary, the incorrupt heart was carried into the church in a procession led by the Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, the Very Reverend Gregory Galvin, diocesan director of vocations, the Very Reverend Brian Converse, pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes, and Deacon William McGann of Our Lady of Lourdes. Beginning at 5 p.m. quiet prayer and veneration was led by Bishop Cote. Monthly Holy Hour for Vocations, which included a rosary prayed in front of the Blessed Sacrament.
The reliquary was placed on the altar beside the Sacred Host in the monstrance, recalling the saint’s great love for the Eucharistic Jesus. As Vianney explains, “There is nothing so great as the Eucharist. If God had something more precious, he would have given it to us.” The pews of the church were overfl owing with not only clergy and religious but also hundreds of lay people ready to honor the saint and ask for his powerful intercession.
Those present were able to line up in front of the reliquary and approach it individually, some even touching personal belongings to the reliquary to make them third class relics. The Knights of Columbus, entrusted with this relic by the Shrine of Ars in France, are focusing the tour on praying for the Church and her priests, as Vianney is the patron saint of parish priests.
St. John Vianney was a priest in postrevolution France. Making it his mission to deal with the religious indifference in his parish in Ars, he became famous for his powerful homilies and the 10 or more hours he spent in the confessional on a daily basis. “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus,” he once said.
“The priest is not a priest for himself – he is for you.”