Photos by Ed Casey
Bishop John Barres gathered with Long Island priests, bishops and seminarians for a Holy Hour that included Eucharistic Adoration and veneration of the incorrupt heart of St. John Vianney, the Curé of Ars, at the parish dedicated to the saint in Merrick on Thursday, April 11. Father George Rutler, pastor of St Michael’s parish in Manhattan and renown author, gave a reflection on St. John Vianney who is the patron saint of parish priests,
Many faithful of the Diocese of Rockville Centre visited saint’s relic throughout the day. It was the last area stop of a U.S. pilgrimage tour of the sacred relic — the incorrupt heart of the 19th-century French priest.
The tour, sponsored by the Knights of Columbus, has been dubbed “Heart of a Priest,” which refers to the physical heart of John Vianney that has resisted decay for more than 150 years, and to the good character that should belong to every priest. Vianney was famous for his tireless work on behalf of his people, especially in the confessional, and for the holiness of his life.
The term “incorrupt” refers to a human body that has avoided the normal process of decomposition after death. It is a sign — but not a proof — of the person’s holiness. Relics are a physical object associated with a saint that may be offered to the faithful for veneration – not worship.