August 4 was the feast day of St. John Vianney, patron saint of parish priests. Last year, I had the chance to pray before the incorruptible heart of St. John Vianney. “Incorruptible” meaning that his actual physical heart has been miraculously preserved from decay or decomposing. Last year this relic was taken to various places in the United States, including making a stop in the Archdiocese of Dubuque. It was a moving moment to be able to pray last year before his heart – and it happened to be just as I was starting my retreat last year!
But one thing that came up in my prayer before the heart of the patron saint of priests was a desire to better understand and grow in my relationship with Mary.
St. John Vianney had a deep love for and devotion to Mary. He said, “JESUS CHRIST, after having given us all He could give, that is to say, the merit of his toils, His sufferings, and His bitter death; after having given us His Adorable Body and Blood to be the Food of our souls, willed also to give us the most precious thing He had left, which was His holy Mother.”
Though I was born and raised Catholic, it has been a long slow journey and process for me to come to appreciate the Blessed Virgin Mary’s role in our spiritual life and walk with Christ, and for me to develop any sort of Marian Devotion. (Telling you of my journey in that would be a whole book in and of itself!). But in my priesthood and especially over the last year, I’ve continued to ever more understand and appreciate Mary’s role in our walk as Christians and how important and powerful she is, including my deepening in appreciation for the prayer that we know as the Rosary!
And as people have been asking me about if I’m going to make more videos on various topics, be watching out on our parish website and Facebook page for more videos from me, including a series of videos on the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Speaking of Mary, a reminder that August 15 is the Feast of the Assumption. Normally this is a Holy Day of Obligation, but this year it is NOT a Holy Day of Obligation, due to its falling on a Saturday.
However, we will still be offering special Masses on Friday evening, August 14, at 6:00 PM in Iowa Falls.