Friday 6th March 2015

Home » saints » Currently Reading:

Catholic Heroes… St. John Nepomucene Neumann, C.Ss.R.

December 30, 2013 saints No Comments

By CAROLE BRESLIN

In the early years of the 19th century the Catholic Church was thriving in what is now known as the Czech Republic. In England, in the meantime, the Anglican Church of King Henry VIII was also meeting with popularity. Into the English population John Henry Newman, who later converted to the Catholic Church, was born in 1801, and beatified by Pope Benedict XVI in September 2010. In Bohemia John Nepomucene Neumann was born on March 28, 1811. These two men with names so similar were very different in appearance and in speech, but very much alike in their love of God and education.
Neumann was born in Prachatitz which was then part of the Austrian Empire. Not much is known of his early years in Bohemia — nor is much known of his parents — except that he attended school in Ceske Budejovice. Perhaps this is because St. John was a quiet, humble man who rarely talked about himself.
When it came time for him to enter the university, he went to Prague where he studied botany, astronomy, and Church matters. He entered the seminary and applied for Ordination in the mid-1830s. By the age of 25, his gift for languages was highly developed. He knew six languages. However, his application was denied not because he was unfit but because the bishop had too many priests. (What a wonderful problem to have!)
Providentially, and happily for the young nation of the United States, he came to America, hoping that he could be ordained here. He arrived in New York with one suit to wear and virtually no money. The bishop of New York warmly welcomed John, ordaining him in June of 1836 and sending him to the industrious German laborers around Niagara, N.Y.
This was no easy task, especially since the short man could not even reach the stirrups of his horse. The winters were harsh with heavy snowfalls and bitter westerly winds. Nevertheless, he rode a horse around the widely dispersed area to minister to the sick, to catechize the Catholics, and to teach the children. In addition, he would train others as catechists to take over during his absence.
As much interaction as he had with so many German migrants who were working to fell the trees for lumber, he was lonely for fellow priests. Therefore, he decided to enter the Redemptorist order. Although accepted as a member, he did not have much time with fellow priests, since the superior sent him out to give missions as a novice.
Because he was sent away so much, the poor man imagined that he was not wanted by the order. He continued as ordered and took his vows in May 1842, making him the first priest in the United States to profess vows in the Redemptorist order founded by St. Alphonsus Liguori. His love for education resulted in the order founding many schools in the Baltimore area, where he was assigned. This was not to last long, though.
In 1852 he was named the bishop of Philadelphia. Sadly, but not surprisingly, this appointment met with much opposition. The “refined” Catholics of the city of brotherly love did not want such a simple man for their bishop. They preferred a much taller, more eloquent man for their shepherd and expressed this desire openly. In addition, the Irish migrants wanted a man of their own heritage to be bishop.
St. John, although deeply hurt by this reception, decided he would obey his superiors and do the best he could, knowing that God asks nothing more. Despite his quiet ways, he was very strict and would not ignore or turn a blind eye to the more un-Christian practices of his flock. This also brought much difficulty for the faithful man of God.
Furthermore, the Know-Nothings, a political party very much against immigrants — especially those from Ireland and Italy — caused him problems. They virulently hated the Catholic Church and sought to destroy it and wipe it out in Philadelphia. They destroyed churches, leveled convents, and burned the schools of the Catholics. This discouraged John so much that he wrote to Rome, begging to be replaced as bishop. However, the Pope would not accept his request and told John to continue what he was doing.
Most saints, who will do much work, help hordes of persons, and administer the sacraments, do not see themselves as doing much at all. Hence, even though St. John thought he was not a good shepherd, he discharged his responsibilities so successfully that he was held up as an example to the bishops who met at the Second Vatican Council.
The work for which he was admired was catechesis and visiting his flock. When he arrived in Philadelphia, there were only two Catholic schools. He spent so much time and effort in developing parishes by his frequent visits, an overseeing the establishment of schools for the children of Catholics, that soon there were over 100 schools in eight years.
To assist in this phenomenal growth, he brought in various orders of nuns and brothers to teach in the schools. He also wrote catechisms for the Germans, a Bible history, and had numerous articles published in the newspapers. In 1852, he set up a diocesan board to oversee the parochial school system, which became the model for the rest of the country.
His facility for languages helped to win over the Irish immigrants as well. In order to be a better shepherd for them, he learned the Gaelic language — one of the most difficult European languages — of the Irish so that he could hear their Confessions. One Irish lady remarked after Confession what a delight it was to have a fellow countryman hear her Confession, not knowing that he was actually from the Austrian Empire!
He was not a man to sit in office and do paperwork. Like a true shepherd, he went out to meet his flock. Every year he visited each parish and mission post in his diocese. While in the city, he would run errands. During one such errand, as he returned, he collapsed to the ground as he and his deacon neared the cathedral. As the deacon ran for the holy oils, St. John lay on the pavement. Before his assistant returned, he had died.
During the Second Vatican Council he was beatified, with his canonization taking place in 1977. His feast is celebrated on the anniversary of his death, January 5, 1860.
Dear St. John Neumann, obtain for us the zeal for the greater glory of God. May we understand our obligation to both evangelize and especially to catechize those persons entrusted to our care. May we serve faithfully, as you did, until the day of our death. Amen.

+    +    +

(Carole Breslin home-schooled her four daughters and served as treasurer of the Michigan Catholic Home Educators for eight years. Mrs. Breslin’s articles have appeared in Homiletic & Pastoral Review and in the Marian Catechist Newsletter. For over ten years, she was national coordinator for the Marian Catechists, founded by Fr. John A. Hardon, SJ.)

Share Button

Comment on this Article:

‘Quit Catholic schools if you can’t stand our principles’

The President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Most Rev. Joseph Osei-Bonsu has dared students who cannot comply with the religious rules and practices in Catholic schools to quit and move to other schools, if they so desire. According to him,…Continue Reading

Robert McElroy Named New Leader of Roman Catholic Church

The new leader of the Roman Catholic Church Diocese in San Diego has been named. Robert W. McElroy, 61, an auxiliary bishop in San Francisco, has been named the new bishop for San Diego, which has about one million Catholics…Continue Reading

Catholic Schools Should Be Catholic, Even in San Francisco

Archbishop Cordileone is predictably blasted for a commonsense policy. If you care to learn how thin our conception of religious liberty has become, look to the Bay Area. In early February, San Francisco archbishop Salvatore Cordileone released a statement “regarding…Continue Reading

EXCLUSIVE: CARDINAL BURKE INTERVIEW WITH RORATE CAELI

burk10

Last week, Rorate Caeli interviewed Raymond Cardinal Burke via telephone on numerous topics. Nothing was off the table for this interview and His Eminence was incredibly generous with his time. He showed himself to be brilliant and yet filled with…Continue Reading

Hit job on Card. Pell because he’s doing his job

His Eminence George Card Pell was appointed by Pope Francis to oversee cleaning up the finances of the Holy See. He is doing his job. And so as Pell drills into the financial corruption and is getting closer to the…Continue Reading

Oil company hit man has Archbishop Cordileone in his sights

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 27, 2015 / 05:20 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Sam Singer’s public relations firm spun a Chevron oil refinery disaster in California and fought back a legal ruling in Ecuador that could have awarded billions of dollars to…Continue Reading

What about Henry VIII?

Interestingly, Jesus’ hard teaching that “what therefore God has joined together, let no man put asunder” (Mt 19:6) follows not long after his insistence to Peter on the necessity of forgiveness (see Mt 18:21–35). It is true that Jesus did…Continue Reading

Sacrificing Priests on the Altar of Insurance

Fr. Bob (that’s what we’ll call him) was a faithful parish priest for more than 25 years. One day, a process server showed up at the rectory door and handed him a summons and complaint. The complaint alleged that some…Continue Reading

Catholic Colleges Must Save Students from Pornography Epidemic, Says Counseling Expert

Catholic colleges and universities owe it to their students to do everything within their power to help combat the destructive effects of pornography, argued Dr. Peter Kleponis in a recent interview with The Cardinal Newman Society. Kleponis, a licensed clinical…Continue Reading

Imagine: A Catholic Archbishop!

If it weren’t so predictable, it would be infuriating, but because of that, it is infuriating to thinking people. It’s happening again as San Francisco drops the hammer – again – on the Catholic Church and especially Archbishop Cordileone. He’s…Continue Reading

As storm brews, San Fran archbishop strikes back at school guideline critics

San Francisco, Calif., Feb 20, 2015 / 03:19 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Politicians have targeted San Francisco Catholic schools’ teacher standards, but Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone says they are a matter of Catholic mission and common sense. “Would you hire a campaign…Continue Reading

University of Scranton to end all abortion coverage

SCRANTON, Pa. (AP) – The University of Scranton plans to end employee health care coverage for abortions in cases of rape, incest and to preserve the life of the mother. The Times-Tribune of Scranton (http://bit.ly/1JstU9i ) reports Thursday that the…Continue Reading

Untitled 5 Untitled 2

Attention Readers:

  Welcome to our new website. Readers who are familiar with The Wanderer know we have been providing Catholic news and orthodox commentary for over 145 years in our weekly print edition. Now we are introducing the online daily version of our print journal.


  Our daily version offers only some of what we publish weekly in print. To take advantage of everything The Wanderer publishes, we encourage you to subscribe to our flagship weekly print edition, which is mailed every Friday or, if you want to view it in its entirety online, you can subscribe to the E-edition, which is a replica of the print edition.
 
  Our daily edition includes: a selection of material from recent issues of our print edition, news stories updated daily from renowned news sources, access to archives from The Wanderer from the past 10 years, available at a minimum charge (this will be expanded as time goes on). Also: regularly updated features where we go back in time and highlight various columns and news items covered in The Wanderer over the past 145 years. And: a comments section in which your remarks are encouraged, both good and bad, including suggestions.

 
  We encourage you to become a daily visitor to our site. If you appreciate our site, tell your friends. As Catholics we must band together to rediscover our faith and share it with the world if we are to effectively counter a society whose moral culture seems to have no boundaries and a government whose rapidly extending reach threatens to extinguish the rights of people of faith to practice their religion (witness the HHS mandate). Now more than ever, vehicles like The Wanderer are needed for clarification and guidance on the issues of the day.

Catholic, conservative, orthodox, and loyal to the Magisterium have been this journal’s hallmarks for five generations. God willing, our message will continue well into this century and beyond.

Joseph Matt
President, The Wanderer Printing Co.

Untitled 1

A Powerful Weapon: 15 Quotes on the Holy Rosary

We live in evil times. I hardly need elaborate the multitude of crises that fill the globe. Sadly, many are being swept away by this flood of evil and are succumbing to an overwhelming anxiety and discouragement. But no matter how tempting it is, we must not shrink back. We must pray and fast with a living faith and a firm confidence—and there is no better way to…Continue Reading

12 Ways to Become a Committed Catholic Man

There is a Catholic “man-crisis.” Large numbers of men who were baptized Catholic have left the Church and the majority of those who remain are “Casual Catholic Men”, men who do not know the Catholic faith and don’t practice it. This large-scale failure of Catholic men to commit themselves to Jesus Christ and His Church has contributed to the accelerating…Continue Reading

Today . . .

Holy See to UN: Countries Should Strive To End The Death Penalty

(Vatican Radio) The Holy See on Wednesday declared “bloodless means” are capable of defending the common good and upholding justice, and called on States to abolish the death penalty. Speaking to the United Nations Human Rights Council, the Holy See’s Permanent Observer of the Holy See to the United Nations and Other International Organizations in Geneva, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, urged countries to use a “more humane” form of punishment. “As for those countries that claim…Continue Reading

Pope Francis: Worldliness Blinds Us To The Needs Of The Poor

(Vatican Radio) Worldliness darkens the soul, making it unable to see the poor who live next to us with all their wounds: this was the message, in brief, that Pope Francis had for the faithful gathered for Mass in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence in the Vatican on Thursday morning. Commenting on the parable of the rich man, a man dressed “in purple and fine linen,” who “every day gave lavish banquets,” the…Continue Reading

Pope At Santa Marta: An Invitation To Do Good

pope731

(Vatican Radio)  God “generously forgives” those who “learn to do good”, but what he doesn’t forgive is “hypocrisy and fake saints”, said Pope Francis at Mass Tuesday morning in Casa Santa Marta chapel. Pope Francis said that there has never been any doubts that God prefers “sanctified sinners” – people who, despite their past sins, learn how to do a greater good — to “fake saints” – people who are more concerned with appearing saintly…Continue Reading

Pope: Jesus reveals himself, as the perfect icon of the Father

(Vatican Radio) Before the Angelus the Pope recalled Sunday’s Gospel on the Transfiguration in which Jesus “is at the peak of his public ministry. The Holy Father explained that Jesus is on his way to Jerusalem, where the prophecies of the ‘Servant of God’ will be fulfilled. The crowds, he added, facing the prospect of a Messiah that does not fit their earthly expectations, abandoned him. They thought that the Messiah would be a liberator…Continue Reading

Our Lady And The New Evangelization

By DONAL ANTHONY FOLEY This article will look at the Marian dimension of the New Evangelization in the documents of Vatican II, and also in the teaching of Popes John Paul II and Benedict, as well as further aspects of the Fatima message. We can see the documents of Vatican II as a blueprint for…Continue Reading

Best Of Times Or Worst Of Times?

By PATRICK J. BUCHANAN Last week, John Kerry seemed to be auditioning for the role of Dr. Pangloss. Despite jihadi violence across the Middle East and ISIS terror in Iraq and Syria, Kerry told Congress, we live in “a period of less daily threat to Americans and to people in the world than normally —…Continue Reading

The Good Pagan’s Failure

By JUDE P. DOUGHERTY As Europe faces what seems to be a cultural crisis, a book written in 1939 comes to mind for its present relevance. It is Rosalind Murray’s The Good Pagan’s Failure. (1) Murray was the daughter of the Australian-born, British classical scholar Gilbert Murray, and the wife for 30 years of Arnold…Continue Reading

Culture Of Life 101… “Birth Control For Teens Who Are ‘Doing It Anyway’?”

By BRIAN CLOWES (Editor’s Note: Brian Clowes has been director of research and training at Human Life International since 1995. For an electronic copy of chapter 21 of The Facts of Life, “Contraception,” e-mail him at bclowes@hli.org.) + + + If pressed, many “family planners” admit that, in an ideal world, all young people would…Continue Reading

Virginia Parish Calls On Catholics . . . Join In An “Affirmation Of Faith” To Pope Francis

By LISA BOURNE FRONT ROYAL, Va. (LifeSiteNews) — A Virginia Catholic parish is publicly affirming Church teaching on marriage and its fidelity to the Church, while at the same time calling on Pope Francis to proclaim and defend the same. In the wake of the October Extraordinary Synod on the Family in Rome, St. John…Continue Reading

The Wanderer Interviews His Eminence Raymond Cardinal Burke . . .

burk10

By DON FIER Part 1 (Editor’s Note: Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, Patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, who previously served as Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome from June 2008 until November 2014, recently visited the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in La Crosse, Wis. Prior to that he served as Archbishop…Continue Reading

Advertisement

Our Catholic Faith (Section B of print edition)

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Regarding the question of whether the story of Jonah really happened, R.T. of South Dakota recalled the time that he was a seminary student in Rome and one of his professors said that the story was a myth. R.T. said that one of the other students in the class produced a modern-day newspaper article, which was about a…Continue Reading

Practice Mercy And Charity

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Fourth Sunday Of Lent (YR B) Readings: 2 Chron. 36:14-16, 19-23 Eph. 2:4-10 John 3:14-21 In the second reading today St. Paul reminds us that God is rich in mercy. For this we are all most grateful because without that mercy we would all be headed to a very hot eternity. Sometimes, however, we get impatient…Continue Reading

It Looks Like Someone Is Trying To Shout Us Down

By JOSEPH CARDINAL ZEN ZE-KIUN (Editor’s Note: The widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless, according to Cardinal Zen, the archbishop emeritus of Hong Kong. He says that the key issues remain unresolved, namely, episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI’s Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited…Continue Reading

A Leaven In The World… Root Of Faith Crisis In Rupture Between Life And Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK Quite a few years ago, I went hiking in the Alps on the border between Italy and France with a group of reformed drug addicts and their family members. One father brought his two sons who observed my delight as I ran up to the snow line ahead of the group and collected fresh snow…Continue Reading

Are Statues Idols? The Meaning Of “False Idols”

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 2 “I, the Lord, am your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, that place of slavery. You shall not have other gods besides me. You shall not carve idols for yourselves in the shape of anything in the sky above or on the earth below or in the waters beneath…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Isidore Of Seville

By CAROLE BRESLIN Spain is one of two countries located on the Iberian Peninsula. During the time of the Roman Empire, it was the Romans who first called this land “Hispania.” To this land the Romans brought the Latin language, civil organization, and law, as well as the Christian religion. However, as the Roman Empire began to crumble during the…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Augustus Chapdelaine

By CAROLE BRESLIN Christianity has never been warmly welcomed by the authorities in China, but that did not stop the missionaries over the centuries who have gone there to save souls. Christianity has existed in various forms since the Tang Dynasty (eighth century). The first reports of Catholic priests going to China go back to the 13th century. John of…Continue Reading