Born in what is now Czechoslovakia, John Nepomucene Neumann came to the United States, became a priest, and joined the Redemptorists. In 1952 he was consecrated bishop of Philadelphia and labored zealously to begin parishes and schools. John did missionary work in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. He knew eight Slavic dialects and modem languages, and traveled through his vast diocese by canal boat, stagecoach, railway, or horseback and on foot. He drew into the diocese of Philadelphia many teaching Orders of Sisters and Christian Brothers. He was the first bishop to organize the parochial school system, and he wrote a catechism. He died in 1860 performing his duties, and he was canonized on 19 July 1977.
A prayer by St. John Neumann
My God, possess me that I may become a fit instrument of your graces and mercies to the souls you have confided to my care. If you know that success will make me vain, do not, on that account allow me to fail. Humble me in some other way, but do not punish me through those you have confided to me.
My heart is pierced with sorrow when I hear of the loss of one of my sheep. Lord Jesus, have mercy. Permit not that any one of those whom you have entrusted to me should be lost. O my Jesus, I will pray, fast, suffer, and, with the help of your grace, sacrifice life itself.
O Lord, imbue my words with power and healing that they may glorify the truth. As for myself, I am fully satisfied with the labors assigned to me in your vineyard, for I came here to atone for my sins and to win souls for God. Nowhere can a better opportunity be found for doing good. May God grant me the grace to discharge my duties in a worthy and fruitful manner.
O my Jesus, though I am poor in so many ways and so ignorant, I have been chosen as a shepherd to your sheep. Give me an ever-increasing love for those souls redeemed by your Precious Blood, that I may labor at their salvation in wisdom, patience, and holiness. Grant that not one of those you have confided to me may be lost through my fault. O my Jesus, help me to sanctify those committed to my care.
O holy Mother of my Lord, pray for me and for those in my vineyard. Holy guardian angels of these dear ones, teach me how to act toward them so as to be able to instil into their hearts the maxims of faith and true love of God. Lord, teach me how to live and, if need be, to die, that all may be saved, that all may love and praise you throughout all eternity, that they may also love and cherish your dear Mother.
Prayer for St. John Neumann’s intercession
O St. John Neumann, your ardent desire of bringing all souls to Christ impelled you to leave home and country; teach us to live worthily in the spirit of our baptism which makes us all children of the one Heavenly Father and brothers of Jesus Christ, the first-born of the family of God.
Obtain for us that complete dedication in the service of the needy, the weak, the afflicted, and the abandoned which so characterized your life. Help us to walk perseveringly in the difficult and at times painful paths of duty, strengthened by the Body and Blood of our Redeemer and under the watchful protection of Mary our mother.
May death still find us on the sure road to our father’s house, with the light of living faith in our hearts.
St. John Neumann Prayer
Merciful Father, you have given me
all that I have in this world, even life
itself. In all my daily needs, help me to
remember the needs of others too.
Make me aware of the need to pray to
You not just for myself but for the
Church, the Pope, for the clergy and for
people who suffer any need.
Make me selfless as Saint John Neumann
was. Throughout my life, give me the
grace to direct my first thoughts
to the service of You and of others.
Make my prayer— “Your will be
done” knowing that in Your mercy and
love, Your will for me is my sanctification.
I ask this through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Saint John Neumann, pray for us.
Novena prayers to St. John Neumann, C.Ss.R.
St. John Neumann, acknowledging our dependence upon Almighty God and recognizing the power of your intercession, we come to you because many prayers have been answered through your intercession. You were an inspiration to all who knew you. You went wherever the care of souls required your presence. You were always an example of charity and sacrifice. It was your life of virtue which merited a place in heaven. As we submit to the will of God in heaven, we pray that our petitions be granted for His honour and glory and for the salvation of souls.
St. John Neumann, pray for us.
St. John Neumann, manifest yourself to all who seek your help. Teach us to prefer God in everything we do. Protect us from spiritual and temporal harm. Alleviate the sufferings of the poor, the aged, and the infirm. Many times, you experienced the sorrows of life, and yet you overcame those trials. Show us how to overcome our trials and tribulations. We want to grow in faith, hope, and love. Never let us forget that we are temples of the Holy Spirit. May we always be worthy of that honor.
St. John Neumann, intercede for us.
St. John Neumann, you had great devotion to our Eucharistic Lord. Pray that we may know and love the Eucharist as you did. Give strength and courage to the Vicar of Christ. Protect our bishops, priests, and religious. May all people be zealous for the kingdom of God. Enlighten the minds of people who seek truth. Lead them to the path of justice. How good it is to know that you will never forget our families, relatives, and friends. Protect our loved ones away from home. May your prayers comfort the souls of our departed brethren.
St. John Neumann, pray that we may live and die in the state of grace.
Look upon us with favor, St. John Neumann. We claim you as our very own. You are familiar with the places where we live, work, and pray. As a priest, you lived here among our forefathers. You taught them. You blessed them. You prayed for them. How often they gathered to pray with you. You did this so that they might enjoy the glories of heaven. Just as our predecessors came to you, so now we come to you. We are confident you will not disappoint us. Pray for our intentions.
(Pause and reflect on your intentions)
Whatever God grants through your intercession, we accept with a deep sense of gratitude. We thank Him. We praise Him. We want to be with Him forever.
Let us pray:
Almighty God, you placed the holy confessor St. John Neumann among the elect of Your sanctuary. May his life be an inspiration to all who seek eternal glory. May our prayers be answered through his intercession. May they be answered not only through his intercession but most especially through the merits of Jesus Christ, who lives forever and ever.