Liturgical Calendars


« Back to Liturgical Calendars

Saint John Baptist Vianney

Confessor

In France at Dardilly, in 1786, there was born to a family of godly farmer-folk, named Vianney, a son, John Baptist Mary, who even as a child gave no small sign of holiness. In those days the Church in France was much hindered because of a revolution, and there was little religious instruction. At the age of eight John was often sent to tend the sheep, whereat sometimes he gathered together other little lads, and instructed them by word and deed in the Rosary, making them meanwhile kneel and pray with him. Sometimes also he would turn the flock over to anyone at hand, and withdraw into a more secluded spot wherein to find better occasion for prayer. When the Church was restored in France, John purposed to become a priest. Howbeit he had hitherto learned only the bare rudiments, and so was taken in charge by his parish priest for further instruction. Whereupon he was conscripted into the army, and shortly after, by a strange mischance, was posted as a deserter. To escape death he was forced to hide for many months, until his position was regularized. Meanwhile, as well as after he was discharged from the army, he gave himself to study. But he was slow of mind and could scarce master his lessons. Wherefore he besought God's help, and that as well by fasting as by prayer, importunately imploring such gifts as he needed. Thus, and by dint of much labour, he was able to finish his theological studies, and finally was found with sufficient knowledge for ordination.

Somewhat under three years he acted as assistant to his own parish priest, and then was given the cure of Ars, a little village which in spiritual things was a waste and desert place, but which he made to blossom like the rose. For he encouraged frequent Communions and instituted devout guilds, and was successful in teaching the Faith, so that Catholic devotion began to flourish. Meanwhile, because he believed it was the bounden duty of the pastor to make reparation for the sins of his people, he spared in their behalf neither prayers nor vigils, nor continual fastings. In particular he encouraged his penitents to make many little ejaculatory prayers, saying: Such prayer is like straw scattered here and there, which on being set on fire will make many little flames which are very hot. Whereas Satan could no longer endure the Christian manhood of this servant of God, the same evil one at first beset him with many vexations, and afterwards withstood him, like as it were, in open contest. But John Vianney had courage to suffer even the most dreadful afflictions, and they availed for the conversion of his people.

Often he was invited to act as missioner in other parishes. From this experience he was moved to arrange for the preaching of parochial missions in a continuous order in more than an hundred parishes, wherefrom grew frequent pilgrimages to Ars of those who knew of the power of this holy priest. So it came to pass that during his last twenty years at Ars well nigh an hundred thousand people of every rank and age came yearly thereto; and that not only from France and Europe, but even from distant parts of the Americas. And apart from the time necessarily devoted to sleeping or eating, he was either at the altar, in the pulpit, or hearing confessions. Worn out rather by labour than by old age, he rested in the embrace of the Lord on August 4th, 1859, being seventy and three years of age. Amongst the Franciscans he is especially beloved, because he early joined their Third Order, and through observance of its ideals, became a true son of Saint Francis. In 1925 he was formally canonized, and in 1929 he was declared the principal patron of all parochial clergy throughout the world.

Collect

ALMIGHTY and merciful God, who didst wonderfully endue Saint John with pastoral zeal and a continual desire for prayer and repentance: grant, we beseech they, that by his example and intercession; we may win the souls of our brethren for Christ and with them attain glory everlasting. Through the same our Lord Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the same Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

The Anglican Breviary, Frank Gavin Liturgical Foundation, Inc., New York, 1955, pages 1372-1373

Additional Information:

For additional readings, or to learn more about the Anglican Breviary, visit The Anglican Breviary Website.

Ordo Kalendars are available from the Anglican Parishes Association Book Publisher.