Saint John Vianney
John Vianney was a French Catholic priest who is internationally known for his priestly and pastoral work in his parish in Ars, France, because of the radical spiritual transformation of the community and its surroundings.
In 1790, when the French Revolution forced priests to work in secrecy or face execution, young Vianney believed the priests were heroes. He continued to believe in the bravery of priests and received his First Communion catechism instructions in private by two nuns who lost their convents to the Revolution. He struggled mightily with all of his studies and he had a particularly difficult time with Latin. Many, including his formation directors and instructors in the seminary and his own bishop, had very serious doubts that this man who did not have strong intellectual gifts, would be suitable for the priesthood. However, John Vianney persevered and finally was ordained a priest in 1815. In 1818, as pastor of the parish at Ars, John encountered people who were indifferent and quite comfortable with their style of living. His vision led him through severe fasts and short nights of sleep. In the winter months he was to spend 11 to 12 hours daily reconciling people with God. In the summer months this time was increased to 16 hours. From 1824 he suffered attacks that he believed were caused by the Devil, who allegedly on one occasion set fire to Vianney’s bed. From 1845 until Vianney’s death, about 20,000 persons visited Ars to see Vianney and especially to make their confession to him.
He was beatified by Pope St Pius X in 1905, and canonized twenty upon years later by Pope Pius XI. In 1929, the same Pope Pius XI proclaimed him the “Heavenly Patron of all Parish Priests throughout the world.”
A Prayer for Priests by St. John Vianney
God, please give to your Church today many more priests after your own heart. May they be worthy representatives of Christ the Good Shepherd. May they wholeheartedly devote themselves to prayer and penance; be examples of humility and poverty; shining models of holiness; tireless and powerful preachers of the Word of God; zealous dispensers of your grace in the sacraments. May their loving devotion to your Son Jesus in the Eucharist and to Mary his Mother be the twin fountains of fruitfulness for their ministry. Amen.
Prayer to Saint John Vianney for the Pastor and the Parish
Saint John Vianney, we pray you to bless and help our pastor so that he may love dearly in this life and be richly rewarded in the next. Obtain for him the grace always to be kind and generous, self-sacrificing and zealous. Watch over the people of our parish, and keep them free from all evils. Help them to be loyal and generous in the support of our pastor.
Help us particularly always to give him the respect and honor due him as a priest. Except for him we should not have the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, or Your presence among us, or the other sacraments that we so dearly love and need. From his anointed hands we receive the food of our souls, the most precious Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ From his lips we hear the word of God. By the power given to him our sins
are forgiven, and we are given all blessings And it is he who will anoint us when we are dying, and will offer the Holy Sacrifice for us when we are dead. Help us, dear Saint, to see Christ in him, and to cooperate with him in all his work for the good of our souls. Amen.
A PRAYER FOR OUR PRIESTS
We thank you, God our Father, for those who have responded to your call to priestly ministry. Accept this prayer we offer on their behalf: Fill them with the sure knowledge of your love. Open their hearts to the power and consolation of the Holy Spirit. Lead them to greater union with your Son. Increase their faith in the Sacraments they celebrate as they nourish, strengthen and heal us. Lord Jesus Christ, through the intercession of St. Jean Vianney, grant that your priests will be inspired to strive for holiness by the power of his example. As men of prayer, may they ponder your word, follow your will and faithfully lead the flocks you have entrusted to their care. St. Jean Vianney, obtain for the Church an abundance of vocations to the holy priesthood. Through your intercession, may many faithful men hear Christ’s call, and respond with courage and generosity. Mary our Mother, guard with your maternal care these chosen ones. Intercede for our priests, so that by offering the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, they may be conformed more each day to the image of your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
St. Jean Vianney, patron of parish priests, pray for us!
Lay person’s prayer for the Sanctification of Priests
Lord Jesus, through the intercession of St. John Mary Vianney, we your people pray to you for our priests. You have given them to us for our needs. We pray for them in their needs.
We know that you have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.
Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as we are, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgiven, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them among us so that they understand as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.
We ask that you give them this day the gift you gave your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, your holiness in their souls, your joy in their spirits. And let them see you face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.
We pray to you, our Lord, through Mary the Mother of all priests, for your priests and for ours.
Holy Mary, intercede for your priests. St. Joseph, protect them. St. Michael, defend them. St. John Mary Vianney, pray for them. Amen.
Novena to St. John Vianney
St. John Vianney, you exemplified what a holy priest of Christ should be. Your patience and fortitude in the confessional demonstrated the mercy of God to the penitents who sought forgiveness for their sins.
Like Christ, you were gracious and merciful, yet also you called your flock to repentance and amendment of life. Help me through your powerful intercession along the path to sanctity that our Lord has prepared for me.
In particular, I ask that you obtain for me the graces of (mention your intention here). Amen.
Daily Novena Prayers
Day 1 – July 27: God, you raised up humble St. John Vianney to show what one priest can do. Pour out your graces upon my parish priest, and all priests, that they follow the saint’s example. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Day 2 – July 28: Jesus, St. John Vianney was a priest after your own priesthood. Give me the courage to proclaim and live the Gospel boldly, as he did. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Day 3 – July 29: Lord, St. John Vianney sat in the confessional for hours on end. Help me go to Confession frequently and make good confessions, so that I might overcome my faults and grow in holiness. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Day 4 – July 30: St. John Vianney, you were gentle with sinners who came to you, seeking the forgiveness of God. Pray that I may be merciful to those who sin against me, and forgive them, remembering how much our Lord has forgiven me of. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Day 5 – July 31: St. John Vianney, you spent hours in prayer, in quiet contemplation, and so were molded into the shape of Jesus Christ. Help me to learn to pray better and spend time in silence with God. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Day 6 – August 1: St. John Vianney, you prized purity of heart highly and led others to purity. Obtain for me the graces I need to conquer all sins against holy purity and resist temptations against this great virtue. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Day 7 – August 2: St. John Vianney, you lived for Heaven and the Beatific Vision with the Holy Trinity, encouraging your flock to do the same. Pray for me, that I won’t be choked by the cares and worries of this world, but will keep my eyes firmly set on Heaven’s unending joy. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Day 8 – August 3: St. John Vianney, you fervently received Jesus in the Eucharist at each Mass you celebrated. Pray that I am kept free from mortal sin and obtain for me a share in the devotion with which you received Jesus in the Sacrament. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Day 9 – August 4: Holy priest of Ars, your coming to that town was like a spiritual avalanche in a time of great persecution and darkness. Pray for us that in our dark time, the light of Christ shines forth from us and shows the way to Heaven for all to see. Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.
Prayer of Love by St. John Vianney
I love You, O my God, and my only desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O my infinitely lovable God, and I would rather die loving You, than live without loving You. I love You, Lord and the only grace I ask is to love You eternally… My God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to repeat it to You as often as I draw breath.