The heart of St John Vianney has been venerated at various venues in the North of England since last Thursday. One of the families from my parish set off early in the morning on Thursday for the four and a half hour drive to Manchester to venerate the relic at Wythenshawe. Despite returning very late, they were back for our monthly Mass and homeschoolers gathering on Friday, all in good form.
has a report of the trip and here is a photo from the official Catholic Church in England and Wales flickr set:
Photo credit: © Mazur/catholicnews.org.uk
There are various videos and texts related to the visit at the website of the
. Bishop Davies is a great devotee of St John Vianney and knows his life and work in depth. In his sermon at the Cathedral of Christ the King in Liverpool for a National Day of Prayer for the renewal of parish life and vocations, he recalled an amusing story:
St. John Vianney never set out to ‘please people’ responding to demands like a tin can blown about on the piazza outside. Rather he proceeded purposefully in seeking to please God. This led him very close to all his people and especially close throughout his life to the most difficult and confused of his people – the types of people we might naturally be inclined to avoid. Yet there was nothing of a ‘people pleaser’ in this. The stories are legion of his remarks and sayings which might appeal to Lancastrian plain-speaking. Yet it is hard to know how they were first received such as when he told his congregation that in their dealings with each other most of them were probably thieves! Or that man who brought his fine dog for the Curé to see, who was told with a sigh ‘If only your soul was as beautiful as your dog!’.”
There’s no need to us this quote to have a dig at people with dogs. That gentle jibe of the holy Curé could be applied to our cars, our iPads, our gardens or anything else that we take more care of than our souls.