Wednesday 6th May 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:

Untitled 3

Pope FrancisAn Open Letter To His Holiness Pope Francis      Given the controversy and confusion surrounding the 2014 Synod on the Family, the staff of The Wanderer and its supporters thought it appropriate to address Pope Francis with an open letter . . .

Archbishop Cupich Getting Comfortable With Pro-Aborts On Immigration Reform

True to his claim that immigration reform is “God’s agenda,” Chicago Archbishop Blase Cupich has been cozying up to pro-abortion Democrats to get his social justice initiatives underway.  On Sunday, the Archbishop joined Senate Minority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Il), a…Continue Reading

Pope’s doctrine chief under attack as he takes strong stand for marriage and family

muller

ROME, May 1, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Pope Francis’ top advisor on Catholic doctrine is coming under attack as he continues to defend the Church’s teaching on marriage, family, and sexuality amid a campaign by a “progressive” faction of prelates. On…Continue Reading

Obama Admin. Denies Visa to Nun Pleading For Persecuted Iraqi Christians – Will Media Cover?

The Hudson Institute’s Nina Shea spotlighted the plight of a Catholic sister, who was denied entry to the U.S. by the Obama administration, in a Thursday item for National Review. She noted how “every member of an Iraqi delegation of…Continue Reading

States could force Catholic priests to perform same-sex ‘marriages’ or lose legal status: Justice Scalia

WASHINGTON, D.C., April 29, 2015, (LifeSiteNews.com) – If the Supreme Court rules that same-sex “marriage” is a constitutional right, one justice has said that the government could force clergy of all denominations to perform gay “weddings” or lose the ability…Continue Reading

The Attack on San Francisco’s Archbishop Cordileone–Who’s Behind It and Why?

In spite of a recent newspaper poll that showed 89% of the public supports San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, a small but vocal group of people are keeping up a campaign to get Pope Francis to replace him as archbishop…Continue Reading

Christian Leaders Threaten Civil Disobedience

“We will not obey.” That’s the blunt warning a group of prominent religious leaders is sending to the Supreme Court of the United States as they consider same-sex marriage. “We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross that line,”…Continue Reading

Feminist Steinem Touts Abortion, Ridicules Church at St. Norbert College

gloria

Abortion advocacy, support for euthanasia and applause for excommunicated and “ordained” women priests—such were the highlights of last week’s “dialogue” with radical feminists Gloria Steinem and Bell Hooks on the Catholic campus of St. Norbert College in De Pere, Wis.…Continue Reading

Vatican hosts two leading pro-abortion, population control activists at climate conference

April 28, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) — Two of the world’s leading pro-abortion advocates were addressing a Vatican workshop on the environment today. At the same time, a press conference at the Palazzo Cesi, in Rome, organised by the Heartland Institute, was…Continue Reading

Climate Change Skeptics Write Open Letter Urging Pope Francis to Rethink Global Warming

ROME, Italy, April 27, 2015 (Thomas D. Williams, Ph.D.) – As the Vatican gears up for a high-level workshop on climate change this Tuesday, a group of 90 prominent scientists, religious leaders and academics have written an open letter to Pope Francis,…Continue Reading

Charlotte Bishop To LGBT-Advocate Nun Gramick: You’re Not Speaking in My Diocese

Charlotte Bishop Peter Jugis has cancelled a speaking event by Sister Jennine Gramick that was scheduled to take place at one of the parishes in his diocese. Sister Gramick is the founder of New Ways Ministry, self-described as a “gay-positive…Continue Reading

OVER 500 PRIESTS . . .PRIESTS INVITING PRIESTS TO WITNESS TO THE DIGNITY OF MARRIAGE AND FAMILY LIFE

As Catholic priests we commit ourselves anew to the task of presenting the teaching of the Church on marriage in all its fullness, while reaching out with the Lord’s compassion to those struggling to respond to the demands and challenges…Continue Reading

Cardinal Burke criticizes German cardinal’s ‘ridiculous’ claim that German Church is not a ‘subsidiary of Rome’

ROME, April 24, 2015 (LifeSiteNews.com) – In an interview today with the prominent German newspaper, Die Welt, Cardinal Raymond Burke criticized Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who suggested German Catholic dioceses are not a “subsidiary of Rome” on the question of Communion…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 . . .

Pope Francis tells Swiss Guards they have a “significant” friendship

pope780

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis greeted the members of the Swiss Guard and their families on Monday, ahead of the annual May 6th swearing in ceremony for new Guards. Pope Francis said the meeting was an opportunity to “strengthen a [significant] friendship,” noting the words of Christ who said “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” “In the history of the Church, many men and women have embraced…Continue Reading

Pope: Bear The Fruits Of Membership In Christ And The Church

pope311

(Vatican Radio) On Sunday, Pope Francis spoke about Jesus’ parable of the vine and the branches – Jesus is the true vine, and we are the branches, dependent on Him. Through this parable, “Jesus wants us to understand the importance of remaining united to Him.” What is this new way, the Pope asked? Although Jesus is no longer with us as He was with the Disciples, we are able to remain united with Christ “in vital…Continue Reading

Pope Francis Attends Swiss Guard Flag Ceremony

swiss

(Vatican Radio) Pope Francis attended a Swiss Guard ceremony Friday afternoon — unexpected by most of the people present — and addressed the corps, speaking as well about the characteristics of a commander, according to the Gospel. Following the nomination in February of Christoph Graf as the new Commander of the Swiss Guard, the military corps held a ceremony May 1 for the inauguration and blessing of its new flag. Secretary of State Cardinal Pietro…Continue Reading

Pope: Parish Must Be ‘Privileged Place’ Of Listening, Proclamation

(Vatican Radio) Faithful from the Diocese of Isernia-Venafro paid a return visit to Pope Francis on Saturday. The Pope received the pilgrims in an audience and recalled the message of solidarity he shared with them during his pastoral visit last July. He also spoke of the call of parishes to be missionary communities. “Every parish is called to be a privileged place of listening and of the proclamation of the Gospel; a house of prayer…Continue Reading

Betrayed By Culture

By DONALD DeMARCO I was reading, with genuine sadness, about a Jesuit priest who visits a Catholic home for unwed mothers three times a year to give weekend retreats. He describes the tragedies in the lives of these young girls as “appalling.” The age of these young mothers ranges from 13 upwards, with the median…Continue Reading

Can America Stop The Tide Of Assisted Suicide?

By CRAIG TURNER (Editor’s Note: Craig Turner is a graduate of the English honors program at the University of Texas and a former journalist who covered Capitol Hill. Since 1990, he has served as director of communications for three Washington, D.C., companies. Turner is the author of two books recently published by Saint Benedict Press:…Continue Reading

Reel Faith . . . An Interview With Catholic Actor And Filmmaker Eduardo Verastegui

By REY FLORES Eduardo Verastegui is a man on a mission. He is tirelessly traveling, either working on his latest film project or helping to promote his most recently completed one. On top of that, Verastegui (pronounced Ver-ah-steg-eeh) also helps run a crisis pregnancy clinic in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Los Angeles. The…Continue Reading

Give Every Child In Baltimore A $17,329 School-Choice Voucher

By TERENCE P. JEFFREY (Editor’s Note: Terence P. Jeffrey is the editor-in-chief of CNSnews.com. Creators Syndicate provided this column. All rights reserved.) + + + “The education system has failed them.” That is part of the explanation that Billy Murphy, a lawyer representing the family of Freddie Gray — who died after his spine was…Continue Reading

John-Henry Westen . . . Addresses Developments In The Synod Of Bishops On The Family

By MAIKE HICKSON (Editor’s Note: Maike Hickson holds a doctorate in French literature from the University of Hannover. She is a contributor to LifeSiteNews.) + + + John-Henry Westen, cofounder and editor-in-chief of the world’s largest pro-life and pro-family website, LifeSiteNews.com, gave a talk in Front Royal, Va., at Human Life International (HLI), on April…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)

A Leaven In The World . . . Social Networks, Virtual Reality, And Trinitarian Love

By FR. KEVIN M. CUSICK The omnipresent cell phone is blamed as often as it is praised. We like our cell phones for the convenience of reaching out to others by voice or text whenever we like as well as surfing the Internet and obtaining information and directions whenever we need them. Electronic devices of all kinds have become a…Continue Reading

Did Jesus Christ Found A Church? If He Did, How Can She Be Identified?

By RAYMOND DE SOUZA, KM Part 4 The Church is holy. Sanctam: The ultimate goal of the Church is personal holiness, identification with Christ, as St. Paul says, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Gal. 2:20). It is not merely covering oneself with the Blood of Christ, and allowing the inside to remain sinful…Continue Reading

The Mystery Of The Church

By DON FIER The one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church, as the “convocation” of God’s people, was prefigured from the beginning when our first parents sinned and were promised a Redeemer. Her remote preparation began with the calling of our father in faith, Abraham, and her immediate preparation began with the election of the Chosen People of Israel, a sign…Continue Reading

Catholic Replies

Editor’s Note: Writing in his blog (http://johnkippley.com) about the long-term consequences of dissent from Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical Humanae Vitae, John Kippley said that this dissent not only “entailed the rejection of the whole idea of natural law as the reasoned basis for Catholic moral teaching,” but it allowed Catholics to substitute personal preference for personal morality, which means…Continue Reading

True Love Of Others

By FR. ROBERT ALTIER Sixth Sunday Of Easter (YR B) Readings: Acts 10:25-26, 34-35, 44-48 1 John 4:7-10 John 15:9-17 In the second reading today, St. John calls us to love one another because love is of God. This last part of the sentence is very important, especially in light of what follows: Whoever loves is begotten by God and…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . St. Philip Neri

By CAROLE BRESLIN Throughout the history of the Church when great persecutions and heresies have been promoted, there were also great saints who underwent persecution in their attempts to protect the Deposit of Faith. Such was the case in the early 16th century, when the Catholic Church was suffering her greatest crisis to date with the Protestant Revolt. During this…Continue Reading

Catholic Heroes . . . Pope St. Pius V

By CAROLE BRESLIN Can anyone imagine a more challenging time in the history of the Church than the 16th century — besides this century? The Protestant Revolt north of Rome decimating the numbers of faithful Christians; to the west, England persecuting all Catholics; to the southeast, the Turks of the Ottoman Empire conquering at will place after place, setting their…Continue Reading