The excellent Bishop Mark Davies has arranged for the relics of St John Vianney to visit his diocese in early July 2012.
The heart of St John Vianney, the patron saint of parish priests, is to be brought to the Diocese of Shrewsbury next summer.The three intentions of the four-day visit of the relic of the Cure of Ars in early July 2012 are to provide an occasion of prayer for the renewal of the ministerial priesthood in the diocese, to inspire new and generous vocations, and to spur the renewal of the missions and life of all parishes in the diocese.
The relic will be accompanied by the Rt Rev. Guy Bagnard, Bishop of Belley-Ars, France, and two priests of his diocese, and will be taken to a number of locations to provide opportunities for its veneration by priests and laity and as an invitation to prayer. A programme will be announced at a later date.
The visit is being arranged following a request by the Rt Rev. Mark Davies, the Bishop of Shrewsbury, to Bishop Bagnard when they met in September during a visit of the young Shrewsbury clergy to Ars, where three seminarians for the Shrewsbury Diocese are also in training. Bishop Bagnard later wrote to Bishop Davies to confirm that it would be possible to transport the heart of the saint to England.
Bishop Davies said: “I am delighted we can welcome this relic of St John Vianney to England. The Scriptures speak of the saints as those ‘witnesses’ who encourage us in our faith. This visible reminder of the heart of a simple and extraordinary pastor will encourage us to look to that love and truth found at the heart of the Catholic priesthood, for St John Vianney said simply: ‘The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus.’
“This will be an invitation for everyone to pray for the renewal of the ministerial priesthood in our time, a renewed sense of mission in our parishes and for new and generous vocations for the future.”