The National Shrine of St. John Neumann, in the spirit of the Redemptorist order, is located at St. Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
In the lower church, under the altar are the remains of St. John Neumann in a glass reliquary. The upper church is where St. John worshiped.
St. John was ordained in June 1836 at Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in NYC.
Father Neumann celebrated his First Mass on Sunday, June 26. He wrote home, “Now, my dearest Jesus, I have obtained that for which my soul yearned. What I have always believed so far away, You have now given me.”
He was assigned to the Buffalo New York region which was a boomtown in the mid and late 1830s with commerce on the Erie Canal and stagecoach routes. Father Neumann made rounds of attend to the sacramental life of about 400 families. A journal entry shows John’s concern for the German immigrants: “They have not received any schooling. They speak German poorly, and English just as poorly. The will soon have to work, and there will be no thought of religious instruction.” This thinking was the start of the Catholic Parochial school system.
While in Williamsville New York, Father Neumann started the parish of SS’s Peter and Paul, a parish in existance today. He also taught school four hours a day and used his knowledge of botany to make medicines from local herbs.
The Sisters of Mercy were instrumental in working with Father Neumann while in the Williamsville New York region. Several of the quotes in this article are from the Sisters research. For more info on the buffalo NY connection see http://jruthgang.wordpress.com/article/st-john-neumann-in-western-new-york-35d4f9dma4dbf-194/
A huge accomplishment for Father Neumann is the starting of the 40 Hours Devotion, practiced worldwide in the Catholic faith.
John became the fourth bishop of Philadelphia in 1852. Bishop Neumann was in attendance for Pope Pius IX’s proclamation of the Dogma of the Immaculate Conception.
Bishop Neumann took up residence at St. John the Evangelist parish in downtown Philadelphia. Also in the 1850′s a young Katharine Drexel received First Holy Communion at St. Johns Church. She later became founder of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, and a saint – St. Katharine Drexel.
Bishop Neumann passed away in Philadelphia while doing errands on January 5, 1860. St. John collapsed and died due to a stroke, a few blocks from Logan Street, where he was building the Basilica of St. Peter and Paul, the regional Church that stands today. He is a patron of immigrants and of sick children.
“A man must always be ready, for death comes when and where God wills it.” – Saint John Neumann
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