In celebration of the 201st anniversary of the birth of John Neumann, the first male American saint, and the 160th anniversary of his ordination as a bishop, the relics of Saint John Neumann will make their own pilgrimage to “Mary’s Shrine” on March 28.
March 2012 — The Redemptorists are honored to bring the relics of our confrere, St. John Neumann, to the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. on March 28.
Exposition of the reliquary of St. John Neumann coincides with the 201st anniversary of his birth and the 160th anniversary of his consecration as a bishop.
The traveling reliquary — which includes a first-class relic — will be welcomed at the 12:10 p.m. Mass in the Crypt Church by Monsignor Walter R. Rossi, rector of the National Shrine and celebrant of the Mass; Redemptorist Father Matthew Allman will be the homilist. Following the Mass, veneration of the relics of St. John Neumann will continue throughout the afternoon and will end with Mass at 5:15 p.m. at which Father Allman will preside and preach.
“As fourth bishop of Philadelphia, Neumann was present in Rome in 1854 for the solemn declaration of the dogma of Mary’s Immaculate Conception. It was one of the highlights of his life, and he used it as an opportunity to teach his flock back home,” said Father Allman. “To bring his relics to the nation’s preeminent Marian shrine is a wonderful way to celebrate the life of this missionary priest, catechist, and devoted son of Mary.”
In January 2011, the Redemptorists kicked-off a special year marking the 200th anniversary of the birth of this first male American saint and the founder of the Catholic parochial school system. The Neumann Year included themed parish missions and retreats, the celebration of 40 Hours Eucharistic Devotion, a nationwide essay contest for Catholic school students, and the relic tour.
The traveling reliquary made stops in several locations including Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City; St. Alphonsus Church in Baltimore, MD; Buffalo, NY; the Diocese of Trenton, NJ; and several parishes throughout Pennsylvania. The relics will make a final stop at the Malvern Retreat House in Malvern, PA prior to the closing celebration of the Neumann Year on June 23, at the Cathedral Basilica of Sts. Peter and Paul in Philadelphia.
For more information about the Neumann Year, visit redemptorists.net/neumann.
Who is St. John Neumann?
Philadelphia’s “little bishop,” John Nepomucene Neumann, was born March 28, 1811 in what is today the Czech Republic. He immigrated to America and was ordained a priest in 1836 in Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. He served for several years as a missionary among German immigrants in the Buffalo area of New York before joining the Redemptorists in 1842; he was the first Redemptorist to profess vows in the New World. In 1848, he became a naturalized citizen of the United States.
Ordained the fourth bishop of Philadelphia on his 41st birthday (March 28, 1852) Bishop Neumann embarked on a huge building campaign that saw the creation and completion of more than 90 churches and schools. He died January 5, 1860, while running errands. Canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1977, John Neumann is the patron saint of immigrants and sick children. His Shrine is located in the lower church of St. Peter the Apostle Church in Philadelphia.
About Fr. Matthew Allman
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